Millions of fans of Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of the trilogy “The Lord of the Rings” still get a shine in their eyes when they think back to the years 2001 to 2003. All three films are cinema history. The epic films won a total of 17 Oscars at the time. The prices that adult collectors and fans are paying today for “Lord of the Rings” Lego sets that were brought onto the market by the Danish toy manufacturer in 2012 are also record-breaking. Even small sets can be traded on online portals for several hundred euros. If you want to have the “Tower of Orthanc”, the largest set of this license to date, in its original packaging in your collection, you should set aside at least 700 euros (as of February 2023). The first wave is no longer being produced.

Lego took up the prequel story, which was released in cinemas as “The Hobbit,” in a total of 14 sets in 2013. The figures and sets are also difficult to obtain. Frodo fans were all the more pleased to hear news from Billund at the beginning of the year. For the 20th cinema anniversary of “The Return of the King”, the Danes are breathing new life into the popular license. First with three small sets for feeding.

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As an appetizer, three Brickheadz sets with the most important characters from “The Lord of the Rings” came onto the market in January 2023. Hobbit Frodo at Gollum’s side, the new King Aragorn with his wife Arwen and his predecessor Gandalf the Gray with the dark demon Balrog join the Lego Brickheadz series with numbers 183 to 188. For just under 55 euros, fans and collectors can put the six heroes from Middle-earth in their display case – a comparatively inexpensive pleasure.

UPDATE: From June 2024, the five and a half LOTR Brickheadz will be getting reinforcements. With numbers 233 and 234, Legolas is now also in line

For what Lego has been selling in stores and its online shop since the beginning of March 2023, fans have to dig significantly deeper into their pockets. What do they get in return? This one.

A total of nine designers are said to have tinkered and refined on set number 10316. The Council of Elrond also consists of nine people. Coincidence? Probably not. But above all it shows how important the comeback of “Lord of the Rings” to the Lego cosmos was to the Danes. It’s no big surprise that they chose the picturesque setting of Rivendell, the Elves’ retreat, as a project. How Lego 10316 Rivendell (that’s the name of the place in English-speaking countries) was ultimately implemented was still surprising.

First the hard facts:

Collectors of special Lego minifigures clicked their tongues in March 2023. This iconic set includes 15 mostly completely newly designed and printed figures. Including all nine companions who formed the community of the ring after the meeting in Rivendell. There are Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin for the hobbits, the humans Aragorn II and Boromir, Gimli for the dwarves, Legolas for the elves and last but not least Gandalf the Grey. There are also host Elrond and his daughter Arwen, Gimli’s father Gloin, the aged Bilbo Baggins and two other elves. Strictly speaking, Lego Rivendell even contains 21 minifigures. The statues that adorn one of the set’s towers are also designed as minifigures.

Measured by the number of parts, the replica of the Elbe city of Rivendell ranks seventh among the largest Lego sets (as of 2023). For example, a few hundred more bricks had to be put together for the Lego Eiffel Tower, the Lego Colosseum, the Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon or the Lego Titanic. After ten to twelve hours of construction, the approximately 70 centimeter wide and almost 40 centimeter high ensemble is complete. The focus is on Elrond’s Council, where the Community of the Ring is founded in the first part.

There are countless details and allusions to Peter Jackson’s trilogy as well as the legendary book by J.R.R. Tolkien. The fragments of Narsil’s mighty sword, with which Isildur cut the “One Ring” from Sauron’s finger, can be found in the main house. It was later reforged for Aragorn. The designers also integrated this forge into the set. The Elvish pavilion and Elrond’s study with the golden telescope, which fans certainly noticed in the film, were also lovingly implemented.

For a little over a year, Lego kept fans of Frodo, Gollum and Middle-earth fidgeting. It is now clear that the next opulent set from the “Lord of the Rings” series will appear on June 4, 2024: the massive fortress of Barad-dûr. It’s certainly no coincidence that the second season of “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” starts on Amazon Prime on August 29th. Among other things, it revolves around how Sauron has the fortress of Barad-dûr built in Mordor, from which he wants to dominate and subjugate the population of Middle-earth.

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Lego uses around 700 fewer parts for Sauron’s mighty tower than were used for Rivendell. But that doesn’t mean Barad-dûr is any less impressive than peaceful Rivendell. On the contrary: With a height of 83 centimeters, Sauron’s dark fortress clearly towers over the set from 2023. The fearsome Eye of Sauron, which looks down on Middle-earth, sits enthroned and shines on the top (the luminous stone is included). Inside the dark tower are Gollum’s hiding place, a dungeon with an orc cage, Sauron’s chamber with the throne and a secret hiding place with the map of Middle-earth as well as a weapon forge. The set is modular in design and consists of four large parts that are built independently of each other and gradually combined to form the Barad-dûr fortress.

And these are the most important numbers about the set:

Even when it comes to popular minifigures, Barad-dûr can’t compare to Rivendell. A total of ten of the approximately four-centimeter-tall figures can be placed in or around the tower. For the first time in Lego history, this includes Sauron, played by Gavi Singh Chera in the second season of “The Rings of Power.” Gollum fans can also look forward to a new figure. The hobbits Frodo (with the One Ring) and Sam are also included – but in the version that appeared in the Rivendell set from 2023. A small mini-build shows the scene in which the two destroy the One Ring at Mount Doom.

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The target group for this collector’s set for the showcase is undoubtedly adult Lego and “Lord of the Rings” fans. With an RRP of just under 460 euros, it belongs in the top drawer. At 8.4 cents, the parts price is even slightly higher than for the Rivendell set. On the other hand, the modularly constructed tower, which is open at the back, can only be used to a limited extent. There will also be plenty of building fun for younger children, as large parts of Barad-dûr are made from black stones. Apart from the fact that children under twelve are unlikely to be familiar with the plot of the Tolkien saga (and parts of “The Rings of Power” on Amazon Prime have not yet been released for them). Both of these things make the Lego LOTR sets rather uninteresting for them.

What is anything but uninteresting is that the more than 5,000 stones of the second large LOTR set have been packed in paper bags since 2023. And not just partially. A total of 40 white paper bags fall out of the packaging. Lego has been announcing this overdue and long-awaited step for years. Now it has been implemented in a large set for the first time after the Lego Ideas Polaroid camera and the days of mountains of crackling plastic waste seem to be over. Practical: The bags printed in the brick design can be displayed at the bottom and therefore placed next to each other. They are opened via a perforated line on the top edge.

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