With Middle-earth, Tolkien has developed one of the most extensive, narratively deepest and therefore also most “realistic” worlds of Fantasy. The famous tales “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” are set there. But also the collection of legends “The Silmarillion” or other stories contribute significantly to the success that has lasted for decades.
Not only the literary works make Middle-earth so tangible and fascinating. Scenes and locations were also depicted in pictures at an early stage. This began with Tolkien himself, who was also active as a painter and often began work on a story with an illustration.
Well-known illustrators include Alan Lee, John Howe and Ted Nasmith, who made illustrations for all of Tolkien’s works.
Lee and Howe are the ones who played a major role in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, designing the scenery, sets and locations. The filming of The Lord of the Rings at the turn of the millennium can be seen as a milestone and as part of the foundation on which the continuing boom of the Fantastic is still based today.
Especially in the Lord of the Rings trilogy Minas Tirith, the city of the kings and capital of Gondor, plays a special and outstanding role. Already in the description of Tolkien this is emphasized and the enormous and overwhelming architecture of the city is described. But the city was immortalized by the illustrations of Alan Lee, on which the realization in the films is also based.
The city was built in/of/on/from the sides of a mountain and is therefore mainly vertically oriented. In rings the streets and houses run upwards, where the hall of the king, a tower and the tombs of the kings are located. The view is breathtaking.
The whole city was built uniformly from the same building material, which strongly reminds of white marble with its typical lines. In the sunlight, the city shines for miles and miles and underlines its sublime status as a royal seat.
The architectural style is strongly influenced by the Italian Romanesque architecture style, which is further enhanced by the use of marble. This is particularly evident in the King’s Hall: it is presented as a Romanesque church. Both the exterior and the interior take up the structures of a church building. At the place of the altar, however, there is the throne of the kings on a high pedestal.
Minas Tirith is a city of kings through and through. This is expressed both in the noble building material and in the representative buildings and monuments. The literal crown of the city is the Hall of the King, which is shown as a sacred space. In this way it particularly underlines the importance of royalty for Middle-earth, which is then also shown in the third part of the film “The Return of the King”.