The Lord of the Rings Takes Place In The Far Future, Not The Distant Past


You may have heard the theory that The Lord of the Rings takes place in a past version of our Earth before the different races left humans to rule. An opposing theory to this is that Lord of the Rings is about a future post-apocalyptic version of Britain and New Zealand. This theory is based on the existence of Numenor, an island that can be compared to Atlantis in The Silmarillion. 

Map of Numenor

Numenor, a kingdom of Men, was a 5-point star shaped island. The island was technologically advanced, with “metal ships that sailed without sails” and “missiles” that could travel over a long distance.


Image by Martin

This Numenor is the future, post-apocalyptic version of Britain, after a “great catastrophe”, occurs.

The catastrophe was most likely caused by a nuclear reaction, and in turn, spread mutations throughout the world. These mutations are responsible for creating the different races that we see in The Lord of the Rings.

Nuclear explosion

Image by Maxwell Hamilton

Mutations spread, eventually reaching New Zealand, which is where the movies happened to be filmed. The radiation was weak at this point, but people still felt the effects and became hobbits.


What about the other races though? The advanced society of men avoided the radiation and fled to the forest, becoming elves.


Dwarves were mutated city-dwellers, which explains their underground cities. Orcs were men that mutated into ‘rabid dogs’.


According to this theory, a few thousands of years passed after this catastrophe, letting the world settle in with these new species. The land became green again, and generations of these new species inhabited the world.


The nuclear blast effected some areas harder which created dead zones, such as Mordor.

Interestingly, this nuclear radiation is responsible for the Mad Max world too. Next door to New Zealand, Australia has become a post-apocalyptic desert.

Mad Max

So, with this theory, we can expect a nuclear fallout so large that it creates a few new species.

Here’s the Lord Of The Rings theory all summed up. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, or save it on your phone and text it to your friends:

This fan theory explained in a sharable image

Like it? Share with your friends!