Many of us built our first LEGO models in childhood and, a few years thereafter in adolescence, read our first Lord of the Rings novel. We continue to look fondly back on such formative cultural experiences in adulthood, and indeed, some of us retain a genuine appreciation for the artifacts themselves well into middle age.
It is toward that very intersection of enthusiasm and means that LEGO has targeted its latest and largest Lord of the Rings-themed set: a 6,167-piece model of the Rivendell, the sanctuary located in the eponymous Elvish valley, which is set to retail for $500 USD.
This new LEGO Rivendell has room “for the entire Fellowship to debate The One Ring, and the shards of a particularly noteworthy sword,” writes The Verge’s Sean Hollister, and it includes “tiled rooftops, imaginative arches, and enough distinct spaces to recreate multiple scenes from the movies.”
This marks a considerable improvement on the sets that came out at the time of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies in the early 2000s: Andrew Liszewski at Gizmodo notes that “the largest one was a 1,300+-piece recreation of the Battle of Helm’s Deep that, by today’s LEGO standards, was relatively small. The collection also included a tiny 243-piece recreation of the Council of Elrond, which, understandably, left LOTR fans disappointed.”
You can see an in-depth review of the new Rivendell set in the video just above from LEGO Youtuber Bricksie. He has a great deal of praise for the details of its components, yet whatever resources LEGO can put toward an official consumer product, they can hardly match the power of sheer fan obsession.
If you want to experience a truly faithful re-creation of Rivendell in the medium of LEGO, you’ll have to attend a convention with Alice Finch and David Frank, builders of an elaborate model that includes no fewer than 200,000 bricks: a sprawling monument to the kind of quasi-religious (and sometimes lifelong) devotion inspired by both the imagination of Tolkien and the possibilities of LEGO.
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.