A group of J.R.R. Tolkien superfans have taken to crowdfunding site Indiegogo to realize their dreams of raising enough money in 60 days to create a life-size replica of Minas Tirith, the massive multi-tiered city seen in The Lord of the Rings movies and books. How much money would it take to build a gigantic fantasy city you ask? Well, nearly £2 billion, that’s how much.
“We are a team of Tolkien fans who are passionate about creating a beautiful, inspirational and fully-functioning replica of Peter Jackson’s depiction of Minas Tirith, as seen in his Lord of the Rings films,” the page says, ostensibly without a hint of irony. The hilariously short-sighted and woefully meaningless page continues, “We all share a love of Tolkien’s work, and a desire to challenge the common perception of community and architecture. We believe that, in realising Minas Tirith, we could create not only the most remarkable tourist attraction on the planet, but also a wonderfully unique place to live and work.”
This is escapism to the extreme, but you’ve got to give them an A for effort. “The vast majority of this expense would cover building costs,” they explain, “£15m for land, £188m for labour and £1.4bn for material.”
Two undisclosed locations are currently being proposed for the project, with no other details about them besides the fact that they’re both in southern England somewhere. If built, they also hope to create commercial and residential properties in the city so you can look out of the window in your hovel to see tourists stopping in to enjoy a nice frappuccino in Starbucks, just like Tolkien wrote about in his office at Oxford all those years ago.
Though £1.85 billion is a hell of a lot of money, one must consider the perks of donation. Well, £3 gets you a follow-back on Twitter, £15 gets your name on a monument they want to build for the city, £50 gets your name on a plaque and a free tour of the city, and £500 gets you all of the above plus a one-night stay “at one of the city’s 300 two star lodgings.”
If you really want to live the life of nerdy luxury, empty your bank account to the tune of £100,000 for a lordship or ladyship title, which gets you access to all areas of the city and the “use of horse-drawn carriages for transport.” There’s no indication on if you need to bring your own horse and carriage, though.
Allow me to paraphrase Boromir here for a second: One does not simply crowdfund any old idea then expect people to pay up to over a billion pounds to make it happen. Considering that the highest crowdfunded project ever was Star Citizen, a video game that raised over $65 million, we’re fairly certain the Minas Tirith project has a hobbit’s chance in Mordor of success (not that we miss the irony there).