If you know whether someone’s archetypal scary place is
- a wasteland full of dead trees and craters
- or a jungle full of dangerous plants and animals
then you know a lot about them.
Some of it is probably when they were writing, but still.
(Was “Pure evil is so powerful it kills plants” a thing before Tolkien? He’s probably the inspiration behind a lot of it nowadays, but is there stuff like that in actual myths? I’m not sure.)