Middle-earth vs. Westeros: Which Fantasy World Is Bigger? (Including Differences & Similarities)

We know that two of the most popular fantasy worlds belong to The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, as they have fictional worlds with their own lands. Of course, the worlds of these storylines are larger than the setting of the events of the books and movies, as The Lord of the Rings focuses on the continent of Middle-Earth while Game of Thrones focuses on the continent of Westeros. Both of these continents are large. But which between Middle-Earth and Westeros is bigger?

Middle-Earth is bigger than Westeros because JRR Tolkien meant for the entire continent of Middle-Earth to be the planet before it was split into the continents that we have now. On the other hand, Westeros, according to George RR Martin, is said to be similar to South America in terms of size.

The one thing that people often forget when it comes to Middle-Earth is that only the north-western portion was mainly featured in the books, movies, and series. That means the entire continent is much larger than what the maps would show, as Tolkien meant for Middle-Earth to be present-day Earth but united. On the other hand, Westeros is only one of the many continents in Game of Thrones. That said, let’s look at how big these continents are.

How Big Is Middle-Earth?

It has always been the case that Middle-Earth is one of the most notable fantasy locations in the history of fantasy literature, as it is the main setting of the entire The Lord of the Rings storyline. Of course, there are a lot of different places that can be found in the vast continent of Middle-Earth. But just how big is Middle-Earth?

The thing about Middle-Earth is that JRR Tolkien wasn’t exactly precise in detailing just how big Middle-Earth is and what its geography looks like. Most of the maps that we have about this land are based only on interpretations of Tolkien’s works. And we also know that Tolkien never finished his entire Middle-Earth storyline during his lifetime.

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But what we do know is that the western portion of Middle-Earth is already big and vast on its own, as this is the main setting of the entire The Lord of the Rings storyline and the other works that are related to it. In that regard, it was already estimated, based on the maps of the western portion of Middle-Earth, that it is 2900 miles from west to east and 4200 miles from north to south in the Third age. That means that the total land mass of Middle-Earth is right around 12,180,000 square miles. 

It is also worth mentioning that Middle-Earth is supposed to be larger than it is because of the fact that we haven’t seen the eastern portion in the works of Tolkien. Called Rhûn, the east is supposed to be quite big as well, but Tolkien was never able to expand the storyline of Middle-Earth to the eastern portion.

Of course, it is also interesting to note that Middle-Earth is supposed to be what the planet was like before the continents split from one another. As such, for JRR Tolkien, Middle-Earth was our planet thousands of years before the present day. That means that it was supposed to be as big as the total landmass of planet Earth.

How Big Is Westeros?

While we do know that there are a lot of different places in the Ice & Fire world that was created by George RR Martin, what we also know is that the storyline mainly focuses on the events happening in the rich continent of Westeros, which is the home of the Seven Kingdoms that were ruled by House Targaryen in House of the Dragon and during the events before Game of Thrones.

The entire continent of Westeros is home to the Seven Kingdoms, which is a realm composed of seven different kingdoms ruled by Great Houses. The fact that the king needed Great Houses to rule the different kingdoms found in the Seven Kingdoms is a testament to just how big the continent was. And we are not even talking about the lands beyond the Wall, which are uninhabitable.

Martin once said that the entire continent of Westeros is estimated to be just about as big as the entire continent of South America. That means that it is a really big land that’s full of different places with their own terrain and climates. This explains why the north is cold and why Dorne is desert-hot.

Based on estimates, Westeros is right around 5,084 miles from north to south and is 1,500 miles from east to west. That means that it is right around 7,117,600 square miles. As such, Martin wasn’t off when he said that Westeros is right around the size of South America, which is estimated to be 6,888,000 square miles.

Which Fantasy World Is Bigger?

As can be seen in the fact that Middle-Earth is 12,180,000 square miles and that Westeros is right around 7,117,600 square miles, it is clear that Middle-Earth is bigger than Westeros. Of course, this probably doesn’t even include the eastern portion of Middle-Earth. But the thing is that, while Middle-Earth is bigger than Westeros, the known world in George RR Martin’s literary masterpiece is composed of four continents as opposed to the two continents that can be found in JRR Tolkien’s Legendarium.

The world in Tolkien’s Legendarium is composed of Aman, where Valinor is located, and Middle-Earth. Aman is said to be just as big as Middle-Earth or may even be bigger or smaller, depending on the source material.

RELATED: What’s West of Westeros in Game of Thrones?

Meanwhile, Westeros isn’t even the biggest continent in the known world in Martin’s works. Essos, which is east of Westeros, is so much bigger, as it is said to be at least 24,000,000 square miles. South of Essos is the mysterious continent of Sothoryos, which is full of different mysteries. It is said that Sothoryos is so huge that a Valyrian and her dragon couldn’t even fly through the entire continent in two years, as she said that it is possible that it is as big as Essos. Meanwhile, on the edge of the map of the known world is Ulthos, which may be big but is largely a mystery.

So, when the four continents of the known world are combined, it is easy to see that the world of George RR Martin’s works is so much bigger than the world of JRR Tolkien’s literary masterpiece. And when you consider the fact that the continent of Aman had already been separated from the rest of the world in Tolkien’s Legendarium, then the world is only as big as the entire continent of Middle-Earth.

Middle-Earth And Westeros Similarities And Differences

Even though both Middle-Earth and Westeros belong to different worlds that are full of different characters, there are still a lot of different similarities between these two fantasy worlds, especially when it comes to their overall geography.

Like Middle-Earth, Westeros seems to follow the same kind of geography-based climate in the sense that northern areas are so much colder than the rest of the continent and are largely uninhabited due to how cold they are. On the other hand, the southern areas are warmer but are still quite harsh.

There is also the fact that the lands east of both Middle-Earth and Westeros weren’t the focus areas for their respective authors. The lands of Rhûn, which are east of Middle-Earth, were left untouched by Tolkien. Meanwhile, Martin wrote a few things about the different lands in Essos, but he didn’t focus too much on that continent. In that regard, a good part of the lands east of Middle-Earth and of Westeros tend to be not as fleshed-out.

Still, there are some differences between these two fantasy lands. For example, in terms of races, Middle-Earth is home to a wide variety of different people that are composed of Men, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and Hobbits. There are also plenty of creatures of fantasy found in Middle-Earth. On the other hand, the known world of Game of Thrones is largely inhabited by humans, even though there are also creatures of fantasy, such as the Children of the Forest and the Giants.

Nevertheless, it is clear that Middle-Earth is more of a fantasy world than the known world of George RR Martin’s Ice & Fire. Of course, there are still plenty of elements of fantasy in Game of Thrones and its related works.