Art and Literature News

Architectures of Middle-earth – The King’s Hall of Minas Tirith

If an artist named Marta seems suspiciously familiar, it may be because she was the runner-up in our Tolkien Book Cover Redesign contest from Tolkien Reading Day! Given her artistic talent, it should come as no surprise that she is a professional architect in Italy! Luckily for all of us, she has decided to combine her two greatest passions–architecture and Middle-earth–in an article series aptly called “Architectures of Middle-earth.”


In her first article, she goes into detail on the throne room that is so central to the action in Minas Tirith in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King film. Using Tolkien’s writing, The Atlas of Middle-earth, and the images from the film as her guide (along with Alan Lee and John Howe’s concept designs), she compares its construction to that of a basilica.

In Ancient Rome, the Roman basilica was a public building, used as a place of public meetings and the administration of the justice: it was usually rectangular, internally divided into three or five aisles by pillars or columns, and had one or two apses semi circular or rectangular, in the middle of the longer side or the shorter. The entrances (one or two) were positioned on the opposite side to each apse […] It was a building with a massive solidity and strength, characterized by thick walls, often double shells filled with rubble, or sections of walls called piers, and small openings; the buttresses were another important characteristic, generally of flat square profile, use to help to buttress the nave, if it was vaulted; the external walls, finally, were usually scanned with blind round arches and pillars.

That sounds a lot like the Tower Hall from the film, doesn’t it?

With photo comparisons and her own drawings and explanations, she makes a compelling argument for the influence of the classic basilica design on the filmmakers. Head over to Architectures of Middle-earth and draw your own conclusions!

Remember to tell Marta what other Middle-earth structures you would like her to write about. And don’t forget to follower her on Twitter, Tumblr, and DeviantArt.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you so, so much for this nice article! I can’t stop smiling! It is my pleasure and own fun to share this with you all and I truly am honored to be mentioned here! You are the best. 🙂