Like the soul-aching pull of the One Ring, men have long wanted to harness the power of Middle Earth, and the mountains of gold awaiting those who would make commerce with J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world. And so the Spanish seaside hamlet of Rincon De La Victoria seeks to build its own shire-within-a-shire.
“La Comarca,” which roughly translates to “The Shire,” is a local tourism development project that has been allocated about 20 acres with a budget of €1.7 million ($2 million). Despite funding that seems thin for a highway shopping plaza, much less a fantasy theme park, mayor Francisco Salado confirms that the park “will become one of the major tourism attractions of our town.”
Before you book a four-day vacation to chill with low-rent Brandybucks, be warned: Euro Weekly News reports that the project may not be free from the all-seeing eye of Warner Bros. While presenting the park to the international tourism fair FITUR, city council representatives invoked Tolkien’s name, which alerted Warner’s legal equivalent of the Nazgûl.
Possibly in response to the abrupt appearance of hissing, ethereal horseman cloaked in black, opposition groups started pushing back against the idea. “The pictures used are really similar to those widely known from The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings’ sagas, and the font used for advertisements is practically identical. We could get in serious trouble,” said a representative of the Izquierda Unida party.
The council countered by clarifying that the designs were created by “municipal experts,” so that there couldn’t possibly be any copyright licensing fallout. They did not clarify if those “municipal experts” also provided blueprints for an elevated, single-track transportation system.
Mayor Salado has also made assurances that the legal issues had been resolved and that the park was on track for completion in 2015. Presumably he concluded those remarks by coughing nervously, slipping his hand into his coat pocket, and suddenly disappearing.