The Real Thing:
Actually, it's more like a dude in a skirt with a hard-on.
As it turns out, Middle Earth - that is, the Shire, the forests, Isengard, even freaking Mordor -- all came from author J.R.R. Tolkien's surroundings growing up in and around the city of Birmingham, England. Seriously. The above image is what the University of Birmingham looked like back when Tolkien was in town.
OK, so what about Mordor? That charred, ruined country is pure fantasy, right?
The Thain's Book