Several reliable websites explored the top fiction universes ever created, from The Guardian to Syfy.com, Barnes & Noble, and a few others. We scoured half a dozen sites to find the most-loved fictional worlds that showed up consistently in readers’ votes.
Here, in no particular order, are the top 10 greatest fictional worlds ever created.
- 1. Middle-Earth from The Lord of the Rings
- 2. Narnia from The Chronicles of Narnia
- 3. Westeros from A Game of Thrones
- 4. The Unnamed Land in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time
- 5. The Land of Oz from The Wizard of Oz
- 6. Dinotopia by James Gurney
- 7. Earthsea from A Wizard of Earthsea
- 8. Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series
- 9. Wonderland from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
- 10. Neverland from Peter Pan
- Final thoughts
1. Middle-Earth from The Lord of the Rings
By far and wide the most popular choice, Middle-Earth was at the top of every list. Perhaps the most famous fictional world, Middle-Earth has everything from the wise and immortal elves to barbaric savages and a dark overlord who wants to conquer the world.
2. Narnia from The Chronicles of Narnia
An epic world with fantastic creatures and fierce battles between good and evil, Narnia has it all. Just like Middle-Earth, Narnia has risen above the fantasy genre to find itself firmly lodged in classic literature. Narnia is a land where magic meets reality, one that has drawn in young and old alike over the past decades.
3. Westeros from A Game of Thrones
Regardless of the wildly popular television series, fans and non-fantasy-fiction fans alike love George R. R. Martin’s epic tales set in Westeros. However, Westeros is only one part of the entire fictional world created by Martin. Thanks to a firm grounding in historical lore, Westeros feels entirely real.
4. The Unnamed Land in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time
Fans of Jordan call his land Randland from one of the main characters, Rand Al’thor. Full of various nations, each with a rich and distinct history, Randland also feels entirely real because it’s inspired by real cultures around the globe. Based on a mix of history and mythology, Randland is a compilation of cultural traits.
5. The Land of Oz from The Wizard of Oz
No list would be complete with the Land of Oz. From the little people to horses that change color and flying monkeys, Oz is rich with magic and witchcraft. Charming and perhaps a little old-fashioned, the land of Oz is surreal and magical, and captures one's imagination with enchanting detail.
6. Dinotopia by James Gurney
The book and the land named the same, Dinotopia is a peaceful society where humans and dinosaurs live in harmony. In fact, the dinosaurs there are sentient and can speak; they somehow avoided being wiped out like all the other dinosaurs around the world and created a haven on this remote, uninhabited island.
7. Earthsea from A Wizard of Earthsea
Ursula K. Le Guin created the greatest sorcerer in all of Earths, Sparrowhawk. Full of magic, power, dragon-taming, and more, Earthsea features thousands of islands surrounded by an uncharted ocean. People in Earthsea base their way of life on contact with the sea. Magic is a central part of life in Earthsea, except for Kargish where it is banned.
8. Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is truly magical. The school itself feels sentient thanks to magic that moves staircases and statues that come to life. There are dark parts to Hogwarts like the murderous centaurs, Dementors, and others, but it can also be a place of comfort to those who dwell within.
9. Wonderland from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
When young Alice tumbles down a rabbit hole, she enters an entirely different world where everything seems absurd and mind-bending. Talking animals, animated playing cards, and a tyrannical queen, one speculates if Wonderland is close to the center of the earth.
10. Neverland from Peter Pan
With the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell the fairy, Peter Pan never has to grow up thanks to Neverland. He can fight pirates, duel Captain Hook, elude the crocodile that ticks, and fly around to his heart’s content thanks to pixie dust. Neverland is both wild and seductive, a place full of amazing adventures.
There are so many other fictional worlds that deserve mention, but we don’t have room for them all. Check out Madeleine L’Engle, Suzanne Collins, Louis Lowry, and Margaret Atwood, to name a few, for more intriguing stories set in unique worlds.
And stick with us in 2019 as we dedicate part of our monthly newsletter to World-building. We’re going deep into how to create your own one-of-a-kind world that readers will fall in love with and dream about.
In the meantime, let us know in the comments below what favorite fictional world you’d like to live in.