Once a fellowship, always a fellowship, right? The actors who banded together to film Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have been known for their close-knit community and dedication to the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien for the past two decades, and here comes one more example of the valorous fellowship in action. A handful of LOTR and Hobbit cast members are joining a wide community of academics and fans in a push to buy the former home of Tolkien himself in an epic quest to turn it into a museum dedicated to the author.
Participating actors include Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) and Ian McKellen (Gandalf), all of whom appear in a fundraising video from Project Northmoor, the group attempting to buy Tolkien’s former home at 20 Northmoor Road in Oxford. Tolkien lived at the address from 1930-1947—at the very end of the time depicted in the Tolkien biopic last year—and it was in this address that he first wrote The Hobbit for his children. He would go on to write the majority of The Lord of the Rings at this address as well. Project Northmoor intends to restore the house and its grounds, including Tolkien’s garden, and turn it into a museum for the public to enjoy. It will be “restored to a beauty of which the inventor of Sam Gamgee would be proud,” according to the organization.
“Unbelievably, considering his importance, there is no center devoted to Tolkien anywhere in the world,” said Rhys-Davis said in a press release. “The vision is to make Tolkien’s house into a literary hub that will inspire new generations of writers, artists and filmmakers for many years to come.”
The price, unfortunately, is quite steep—Project Northmoor is trying to raise 4.5 million British pounds—roughly $6 million—for the project, which has entered the market for the first time in two decades. Still, large donations have already started to roll in, and anyone around the world is allowed to chip in a few bucks. We’ve seen crazier fundraising goals be successful online, and this one has a bit of time to grow—fundraising is scheduled to continue until March 15, 2021. If you want to donate yourself, you can do so right here.
“We cannot achieve this without the support of the worldwide community of Tolkien fans, our fellowship of funders,” said the beloved Ian McKellen in a statement. Check out the Project Northmoor initiative here.