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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman want to see J.R.R. Tolkien's house turned into a literary center

Illustration for article titled Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman want to see J.R.R. Tolkiens house turned into a literary center
Photo: Haywood Magee/ Stringer (Getty Images)

J.R.R. Tolkien, the man who gave us hobbits, talking trees, and, indirectly, a massively popular film where a pointy-eared Orlando Bloom surfs on a shield as a successful battle tactic, lived in a house in Oxford, England while writing The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings. In order to honor his legacy, the once and future Gandalf, Ian McKellen, has rounded up a few of his old buddies for a video showing his support for Project Northmoor, a fundraising campaign to buy Tolkien’s house so it can be turned into a literary center.

Project Northmoor is led by author Julia Golding and aims to crowdfund the £4.5 million (roughly $6 million) needed to buy Tolkien’s Oxford home and start the renovations that will ultimately let it be used as a writer’s retreat and center for creative lessons. In the video tweeted by McKellen, the actor’s joined by fellow Hobbit and Rings pals like Martin Freeman and John Rhys-Davies, as well as Annie Lennox, who contributed to The Return Of The King’s soundtrack. They implore Tolkien fans from across the world to chip in so that 20 Northmoor Road can be dedicated to the author’s work.


“£500,000 [of the fundraising goal] will be spent on renovating the house so that the ground floor reflects how it was when Tolkien lived at the property,” the site reads. “Upstairs, we would transform the bedrooms into aspects of his Middle-earth cultures, and outside, restore the garden he loved.”

Considering that Tolkien’s life has, until now, most notably been celebrated through mediocre biopics that everyone close to him seems to hate, this seems like a better way to honor one of the 20th century’s most influential writers.

If you want to support Project Northmoor, visit the campaign’s site. Depending on the amount pledged, the Project will even reward you with “gifts” marked at contribution levels named “Hobbit,” “Dwarf,” “Human-sized,” “Wizard,” and “Valar”—surely the sort of recognition that will make some diehard Tolkien-heads very happy.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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