Although it may not seem that way at first glance, J.R.R. Tolkien intended Middle-earth from Lord of the Rings to be a fictional part of our own Earth’s past. If Tolkien says it, that’s proof enough for us! Middle-earth is a lush, beautifully designed world that set the gold standard for fantasy world building. Most of the fictional races of people he came up with are still common tropes today, and Lord of the Rings is arguably the most influential fantasy series ever.