The works of J.R.R. Tolkien were among the first that opened my mind to the possible scope of the human imagination. In seventh grade I was required to read for thirty minutes at the beginning of my English class. I must have failed to read even my syllabus because I was left with nothing to read, save my choice of the bruised and battered books in the teacher's personal cabinet.
Tolkien's good friend, C.S. Lewis, author of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, would have loved the way opening that cabinet revealed entire new worlds for a young boy. It was there, nestled among the other newer and less haggard spines, that I found a spine taped together. Curious, I pulled it out and found a highlighted, dog-eared copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. The pages clung to the taped spine at somewhat haphazard angles, but still the book called out to me. It wasn't long before my eyes devoured all three novels of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
One of the most iconic locations in the trilogy is Minas Tirith. This city is largely described as the front line against the forces of evil (Mordor) that threaten to overtake anything that is good in the world. I have often wondered what a real version of this city might look like, whether it was reading about it and visualizing it with my imagination, or watching Peter Jackson's films.
It appears I am not alone.
A crowdfunding project on Indiegogo has launched a campaign to secure £1.85 billion (around $2.9 billion) in order to realize an exact replica of the city as portrayed in the novels. The money will go towards securing land, material, and labor as well as maintaining the city through the year 2053. Minas Tirith would be fully functional, with residential and commercial properties. You would even be able to choose from a variety of residences, each with differing size and quality ranging from 1 to 5 stars.
Happen to have £100,000 to donate to the project?
Well, you would secure yourself a title of nobility within the city. The title comes with perks such as exclusive access to all parts of the city and to horse-drawn carriages to transport you in style. The sum also purchases you a position on the city's Executive Committee, direct communication to the developers, and a standing ticket to city-wide exclusive events.
While the development team responsible for initiating this venture (@realiseminas) understand their slim chance of reaching such a grand sum in under 60 days, they have managed to raise £77,634 from over 2,005 contributors in just 16 days. Although this would leave them, at this pace, roughly £1,849,708,872.50 short, you can't help but admire the endeavor.
For now, I can imagine that a part of this vivid Tolkien world can leap from a tattered book, to the silver screen, and then perhaps, to reality.
If you would like more information on this project, feel free to click here.