"Hobbit" fans can now take their own unexpected journey through Middle Earth -- a virtual journey, anyway -- thanks to a promotion between Google Maps and Warner Brothers.
Just in time for the release of the second installment in the "Hobbit" series, "The Desolation of Smaug," the new map provides an overview of Middle Earth's geography, with bonus sections that expand and allow users to explore certain significant areas more thoroughly. Familiar landmarks like The Shire and Rivendell are all there, and there are still portions of the map waiting to be unlocked (no doubt being gradually revealed as "Smaug"'s release date looms).
Fans can click on certain highlighted areas of the map to reveal bonus content, with trivia about the landmarks narrated by Ian McKellan (or at least someone who sounds an awful lot like Gandalf). There are film stills from the movies, as well as information about who or what can be found there. (Trollshaw, for instance, gives a summary of Bilbo's run-in with a trio of trolls in the first film, and includes a character bio, among other features.)
It's a fun bit of PR for the movie, with appeal for both diehard "Hobbit" fans and those curious to learn more. Leave it to Google to have a slick marketing team.
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" opens on December 13.
[via Chrome Experience, h/t The A.V. Club]