xkcd channels Tolkein and Tufte at the same time

In case you didn't see it, the latest xkcd is a visual shout-out to data visualization guru Edward Tufte's favorite map, this 1861 depiction of Napoleon's march on Moscow, by Charles Joseph Minard. Yay!


Movie Narrative Charts


Charles Minard's 1869 chart showing the losses in men, their movements, and the temperature of Napoleon's 1812 Russian campaign.

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I have actually mapped stories out that way, for no reason other that my own warped entertainment. Discovering the Minard diagram was like a revelation.

aha! I knew when I saw the xkcd comic that it reminded me of something. The LOTR diagram is truly awesome in its detail and obsessivitude. But the Tufte connection makes the whole thing even cooler.

By ecologist (not verified) on 05 Nov 2009 #permalink

No, it's the film of the Lord of the Rings. Nothing to do with Tolkien at all. You can tell by the elves at Helms Deep.

There doesn't seem to be a version that's magnifiable to the point of being readable, which is a pity.

The "Primer" joke is lost on me, as I'm not familiar with it.

I think I've sometimes wished for a diagram like this when reading particularly complex novels (not so much for movies), but it's easy to think of situations that would be difficult to handle (so character A, in between doing X and Y, is later revealed to have impersonated character B, who in retaliation steals the time machine that we saw in the flashback, and so forth).

I don't expect to see such diagram as standard appendices any time soon, not even in e-books.


Click the link 'Movie Narrative Charts' bioephemera provided, then click on the graphic once you're there. Very big image. Very obsessive with detail, too :-)

(bioephemera: If you don't know it already, you're on my blogroll!)