THE IDEAS BEHIND THE MAP LOCATIONS
When I started writing Grayskull, I realised that I needed a map to help me make sense of the various locations in the story. I was keen to invent original locations too, as this helped create the sense of history and scale that I wanted. As the story developed, so did the map. Several locations do not appear in Grayskull, but it did not seem right to have a map that showed only the places I used. Besides, I now have a stock of new places where I can send the characters in other tales.
I ended up inventing over fifty locations. Some of the names simply turned up in my
imagination, but the technique I used for several names was to search through unusual
language dictionaries looking for a translation of an English word. Other times, a word
would catch my eye as I flicked through the pages. Some of the Eternian place names
on the map derive from Cornish, Welsh, Irish and Arabic words. If you are interested in
reading about the real meanings of the words, and how I imagine the places to be, please
read the tables below.
REGIONS AND PROVINCES
A vast expanse of moor and tundra that lies between the Dragonslayer Mountains to the west and the Ice Mountains to the east.
An area of rolling hills and meadowland between the Crystal Sea and the Dragonslayer Mountains. Small copses and settlements are dotted across this remote wilderness.
A wild landscape of rocky tors and hardy vegetation spreading across the central part of the Northern Continent. The name is a variation on England's Dartmoor.
A beautiful region that provides a safe route past the Vine Jungle. Its magnificent coastline is mostly of high granite cliffs.
An area of moorland that separates the Ice Mountains and the Mystic Mountains.
An area of mangrove swampland to the north of the Vine Jungle.
Situated on the Eternian equator, the Vile Marsh is a permanently hot and humid region of treacherous swamp.
A dry expanse of moor and desert in the Dark Continent.
|MOOR OF DOOM||
Lying to the east of the Great Wall, the Moor of Doom is a landscape of rough vegetation and stone tors and cromlechs.
An undulating area of moorland with hidden swamps.
A dry and dusty valley with sparse vegetation, reminiscent of the classical Greek landscapes. Waedi is the Arabic word for valley, and mort comes from the French word for death.
|VALLEY OF ELDOR||
A classical landscape of forest and dusty soil. It was inspired by Delphi in Greece.
Sand dunes and more sand dunes to the south of this region, yet the northern border with the Sea of Rakash is an area of wild mangrove swamps.
A lifeless, volcanic landscape in the south-east corner of the Dark Continent.
In the modern Eternian common language, the name for this mountain range is a corruption of dragon's lair. The peaks are particularly treacherous, making them the perfect refuge for the mighty Eternian dragons.
A land mass that incorporates all the great Eternian mountain ranges, extensive moorland and tundra, and the sinister Vine Jungle.
Dominated by the Evergreen Forest and the Fertile Plains, the Southern Continent is where the mysterious Castle Grayskull is located.
The entire land mass to the east of the Great Wall. It incorporates both the Fright Zone and the Plain of Perpetua, where Snake Mountain is located.
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
The centaur settlement in the far north of the Eternian Highlands. The is a derivation from the Irish word seanda, meaning ancient.
A long deserted city in the enormous caverns below the Ice Mountains. The underground chambers are lit by the crystals in the rocks and ice. I wanted to use a name that had echoes of Valhalla from Norse mythology, and also had a sense of death and despair to it, hence the mor part.
A fortified town near the border between Darkmoor and Giant's Pass. Grymus means powerful in Welsh.
An ancient city of temples and pyramids at the edge of the Vine Jungle. If this place was on Earth, it would have been built by the Mayans long ago. The word gorth is Cornish for opposed or contrary. The rest of the name fell out of my imagination once I had the first part.
The name combines the words wilderness and mire. It is a town of stone-built dwellings that stands on one of the few rocky areas of the Vile Marsh.
Perpetually surrounded by fog and an aura of despair, Nightflame is a ruined city at the heart of the Vile Marsh. Long abandoned by its settlers, it is believed to be the haunt of malevolent undead warriors.
This is the name of an album by Capercaillie. Nàdurra means naturally in Scots Gaelic. I felt this was a good name for a rustic settlement deep in the Evergreen Forest.
A small settlement on a hill deep in the Evergreen Forest. It is a rustic collection of timber buildings surrounded by a perimeter wall.
A small village in the Fertile Plains. The name derives from the Arabic qárya, meaning village.
A port on the east coast of the Southern Continent. It is the centre of maritime trade in Eternia.
Another village in the Fertile Plains. The name comes from the Irish word síoraí, which means eternal.
A settlement at the largest oasis to be found in the heat of the Equatorial Desert.
Although it lies within the boundary of the Plain of Perpetua, this town of mud-built dwellings conducts much trade with the nomadic travellers of the deserts, for it is located near to the convergence point of the Fright Zone, Quagmire and the Equatorial Desert.
A walled city deep within the Plain of Perpetua, full of evil ne'er-do-wells. The word meargánta is Irish for foolhardy.
A town of timber-framed buildings and cobbled streets on the south coast of the Plain of Perpetua. The most evil characters usually find their way here. The name derives from marwolaeth, which means death in Welsh.
A trading port on the north coast of the Dark Continent. It is a bustling town where exotic goods are bought and sold at the open air markets and in the tiny shops. The buildings are constructed of white stone with flat roofs and shuttered windows. It is so named due to the black sand of the local coastline.
FORESTS AND LAKES
A large lake lying between the Ice Mountains and the Northern Polar Cap.
A vast lake in the far eastern part of Darkmoor near to the Ice Mountains.
A huge lake in the Fertile Plains. The word haedi is Arabic for calm.
The Gwylvos Forest is a huge expanse of sylvan landscape that looks like the woods of Greece and the Mediterranean. Gwylvos means wild forest land in Cornish.
Situated on the south coast of the Northern Polar Cap, Bleydek Forest is a rich landscape of evergreens, something like the conifer forests of Canada. In Cornish, bleydhek means abounding in wolves. How cool is that?
A huge icy expanse of water in the Northern Polar Cap. In Arabic, maiya means water.
RIVERS AND COASTS
A mighty river that begins at two separate locations in the Northern Reaches, and converges in Darkmoor before meeting the Crystal Sea south of the Dragonslayer Mountains.
A waterfall on the Grayskull River in the southern part of the Evergreen Forest.
The river that flows through the Gwylvos Forest and enters the ocean just east of Mar'alar.
|BAY OF WRECKS||
A vast bay that is perilous for ships travelling the southern coastline of the Plain of Perpetua due to thousands of treacherous rocks that lie just below the surface of the water.
The headland at the south-eastern corner of Lavaland.
The river that runs through the Evergreen Forest and parts of the Fertile Plains.
ISLANDS AND CASTLES
Two islands off the west coast of the Southern Continent. They are named after the village of Qarya.
An island off the coast of Giant's Pass. It marks the geographical boundary between the Sea of Rakash and the Dread Sea. The birdmen of Avion have an outpost here. This one was named after one of my best friends.
A group of tropical islands in the Harmony Sea. Maelstrom is one of my favourite words, so I had to include it somewhere!
Standing on the coastline where the Gwylvos Forest meets the Harmony Sea, Mar'alar is a fortress built of stone around a quadrangular courtyard. Mar or its derivatives exist in several European languages, and it means sea. Alar comes from the Arabic word for castle.
A small citadel on an island off the coast by the Evergreen Forest, Ynys'alar is currently used as a prison. The word ynys is Welsh for island.
A large island off the north coast of the Dark Continent, where the ruins of an ancient castle stand.
A beautiful uninhabited island off the coast of the Northern Polar Cap. Small areas of evergreen woodland stand on the island, and much wildlife thrives above and below the water.
Little more than large rocks rising from the Sea of Rakash, these two large islands lie off the coast of Quagmire.
Two large islands of the Harmony Sea near the coastline of the Southern Polar Cap.
A group of islands near to Peril Point in the Ocean of Gnarl.
Hopefully that will give the potential writers among you a few ideas! There are a lot
of people out there who have had a go at writing some MOTU fan fiction, and I believe
this should be encouraged. There are lots of different interpretations to be
explored. It is important to do some research too. Robert Jordan, Katharine Kerr and
David Gemmell are really good fantasy writers. Go ahead - create your own Eternia!