One obvious component of world-building for a fictional universe is charting the lay of the land. Looking at the map section of any fantasy series growing up was a part of reading I enjoyed as much as the actual consuming of words. I judged fantasy novels that didn’t have a map covered in forests, rivers, and handy labels. It helps you lose yourself in the world to a greater degree, and it allows you to track the physical paths of the characters. Getting an idea of the amount of physical ground they’re covering and the terrain they’re facing can add to character growth. I’m not saying the maps make the book… or maybe I am.
Maps enhance video games, gaming campaigns, and comics too. I’ve poked around the interwebs for this week’s Fan Art Friday to find some great examples of work fans have done to navigate fictional universes for the first time or to reimagine them. For example, look at this take on Westeros from Game of Thrones:
Westeros (Game of Thrones) map by AKADoom
It’s obviously inspired by the map printed in the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin, but it’s also its own thing. AKADoom’s map has some embellishments that make the guide fancier.
More maps from books, games, and television series are in the gallery below. Click through to the source–I’ve linked the artists so you can follow them on social media or see if they have prints available.
Do you have a favorite fan-made map of a fictional location? Please share all the links in the comments.