We're crawling closer and closer to the premiere of Peter Jackson's second entry in his trilogy-sized adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit (subtitled The Desolation of Smaug for the screen), which means an inundation of promotional material to herald its imminent arrival - a new trailer, TV spots, countless featurettes, and so much more. If your anticipation for the film is at a high, there are plenty of outlets for sating your excitement between now and December.
But when it comes to massive, global blockbusters of this magnitude, there's rarely such a thing as "too much", and with that philosophy in mind, an interactive map of Middle Earth has gone up online, providing a brand new time sink for dedicated to both The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings loyalists and casual fans of the joint saga as well.
Whether you're a die-hard admirer of all things Tolkien, both on the page and in the multiplex, or someone who's liable to get lost in the massive world that remains his lasting legacy even today, you should find plenty of content within Journey to Middle-earth to keep yourself busy up until The Desolation of Smaug's release next month. Do be aware, though: the map has been programmed specifically for use with Chrome, and even now remains a work in progress, so make sure your browser is up to date.
As the film approaches opening day, tide yourself over with the odd character bio, behind the scenes stuff, and even some mini-games; you can play catch-up, too, if you need a refresher on the events of An Unexpected Journey or if you're just now being introduced to the franchise. There's something for everybody, in other words, no matter how deep your love for the story runs.
Feel like taking a trip to Dol Goldur, Sauron's decrepit, haunted fortress in Mirkwood? Prefer a jaunt to Rivendell, the seat of Elrond's power? Or do you want to revisit the three trolls that caused Bilbo and his dwarven company so much trouble? Click away, and go nuts - they're all present and available for your viewing pleasure.
They're not the only hot spots of note, though. You may notice a few locations on the map - Lake Town, the Lonely Mountain, and Thranduil's Hall - which are currently locked off and inaccessible. All of these should open up as the days go by, providing an even greater wealth of information for us to pore over, though if you're spoiler-sensitive, you're probably better off ignoring them entirely; those are as-yet undiscovered places in the film series, and The Desolation of Smaug promises to take us to each one.
We'll just have to patiently wait as they're unveiled over the coming weeks. But for the time being, this is a pretty cool bit of geek baiting for everybody who thinks of Middle-earth as their second home.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theaters December 13th, 2013.