There are millions of dedicated Lord of the Rings fans out there — from people who re-read the novels every year to people who’ve collected every fantasy weapon from the films to those who’ve pilgrimaged to New Zealand to walk through the locations from Peter Jackson’s films — but we seem to have found the next level of devotion to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
Earlier this month, a team of architects launched an IndieGoGo campaign in an attempt to construct a fully functioning, liveable, life-size version of Minas Tirith, the massive tiered city as depicted in the final Lord of the Rings film, The Return of the King. Their plan is to construct the capital of Gondor on a site in southern England, complete with living and commercial spaces to make it a combination of tourist attraction and functioning city. The cost of this ambitious endeavor: 1.85 billion British pounds, or about $2.9 billion dollars.
If it sounds crazy, that’s because it is, and the creators of the campaign know it, writing on the page that anyone who donates to the project should do so with “the knowledge that this project is a light-hearted venture with virtually no chance of succeeding.” The page also notes, right at the beginning, that all money will be refunded if the project does not hit its astronomical funding goal.
Still, if word gets around enough, who knows what might happen? A report from the Telegraph just two days ago notes the campaign had raised only 400 pounds in 11 days, but two days later, as of this writing, the count sits at 58,589. Granted, that’s still not enough to even declare it 1% funded by IndieGoGo standards, but there are still 47 days left in the campaign. How many Lord of the Rings fans are just bonkers enough to make this happen?