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The Inn of the Prancing Pony - LoTR

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Updated on 3/4/2022 - Lord of the Rings - Medieval Fantasy Castle Theme
This update was entirely about the criteria for selection "brand fit with Lego". Lego sets have lots of awesome colors in them and after building this set I felt I could strike a better compromise between having a nice splash of color and the source material.
  • Added more color and darker wood for more contrast
  • Added a supply cart for the pony to pull
  • Added some plants growing on the stonework

Updated on 1/20/2022
We made the following updates listed below. The goal was to improve the set while staying close to the original proposed design. I believe these changes are a solid improvement to the original design.
  • Made the inn able to disconnect into two separate buildings using pins
  • Changed the roof style and add some texture to the folding sides of the building to make it look closer to historical Tudor style architecture
  • Added 25% stonework to the build for more variety in building style and brick color
  • Added a second ring wraith to the set
  • Added a stable, pony, two chickens, and a cat
  • Added an interior staircase that leads to the attic

The origin
This is a build of the Inn of the Prancing Pony from The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien. I have seen other versions of this inn and tavern submitted to LEGO ideas in the past, so I know there is interest out there in having this inn as a set. I hope to honor those previous submissions and see if we can reach 10K. The Prancing Pony is one of the most famous fantasy inns of literature and I would love to see this added as a set to the LEGO portfolio in the Lord of the Rings or castle genre. It is a very iconic medieval building. This also would be a great celebration of the 20th anniversary of The Fellowship of the Ring movie which was released in December 2001.
 
Design Considerations
The challenge with this build was to balance the source material from the books with the movies while also adjusting for piece count and minifigure scale. For instance, in the book the Prancing Pony is a three-story building, but three stories would make this build too large, so I reduced it to two. I tried to incorporate some of the period-era lighting from the movies into the pictures to help match the feel of the scenes while still making sure to include pictures without lighting to give you a better idea of how the set would look when built. 
 
Play Features
The inn opens on a hinge, so you can access all the play features on the inside and play along with the narrative of the movie starting with the arrival of the hobbits at the inn and playing along until the arrival of the ring wraith. The design includes a lounge area downstairs with bedrooms on the second floor and an accessible attic. The roof is also modular which makes the second floor more accessible. There is a carrot garden for making food and for the ponies staying at the inn. The hobbits can run and hide throughout the tavern from the ring wraith as Frodo tries to keep the ring of power safe. There is a ladder to the attic and also one of the windows on the second floor opens for an escape route. The whole set opens flat to make for a nice display on a shelf. I tried to make the set look realistic and accurate to the era with lots of wooden tiles, woodwork, and earthy tones. I did not want to make the piece count any higher, but the set could certainly be expanded to include things like a horse area in the back, a raft for crossing at Buckleberry Ferry, a glowing brick for the fireplaces, another horse, or more fun tavern minifigures. The proposed design includes Aragorn (Strider), Samwise Gamgee, Pippin, Merry, Frodo Baggins, Barliman Butterbur, Bill Ferny, and two ringwraiths for 9 minifigures total. Hope you enjoy it!