The Missing Sets of Middle Earth

With the announcement of set 10333 The Lord of the Rings: Barad-dûr, today we are looking at all the characters, creatures, locations and scenes from The Lord of the Rings that do not have official LEGO sets based off of them.

So enjoy this encore article from Nerdvember as you begin your quest into Middle Earth!


I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was nine, and since then I’ve been hooked on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world of Arda and Middle Earth. One of the things that’s always appealed to me about Middle Earth is the incredibly dense worldbuilding that Tolkien imbued it with and the wealth of amazing locations featured within its stories.

When LEGO started releasing sets based on the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies back in 2012, they captured many of these stunning locations in brick form to the delight of many LOTR-obsessed LEGO fans. However, while the sets we got were incredible, the theme ended far too quickly and we were left with quite a few prominent locations and creatures missing from the lineup. As such, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the locations that failed to make it into the official sets and check out some MOCs that have tried to fill that gap with their own interpretation of those scenes. Finally, we’ll theorize on what some of these scenes could have looked like if turned into a LEGO set.

Of course, Middle Earth is a very broad world full of countless incredible locations and wondrous tales, so we’ll have to set some limits to keep this article at a reasonable length. First off, I’ll only talk about locations from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, so nothing from the new Rings of Power show or any of Tolkien’s other books. Additionally, I’ll be focusing primarily on Peter Jackson’s movie adaptations as the books feature a lot of additional locations that would make this whole process a lot more complicated. Finally, I’ll only be covering some of the most prominent missing locations. I could go on for hours talking about the most obscure little cutscenes and how they each deserve their own set (or, better yet, fuve sets!), but you don’t want to listen to that (trust me, it would get really old really quickly).

So, now that I’ve set some guidelines for what we’ll be looking at, let’s dive into the deep end of Middle Earth!

Missing Locations From The Hobbit

Bilbo’s encounter with three trolls near the beginning of The Hobbit serves as Bilbo’s first introduction to danger when the trolls manage to capture Bilbo and his dwarf companions and attempt to eat them. It’s a fun scene that would have made for a neat set. This vignette by Thorsten Bonsch gives an idea of how this scene looks in LEGO. (NPU for the use of hotdog buns as ears!)

Ravenhill is another location from the Hobbit movies that was never realized in a LEGO set. Azog uses this strategic hill to command his armies during the Battle of the Five Armies, and it serves as the setting for the climactic showdown between Thorin and Azog. Below is an example of what this could look like, courtesy of Carter Witz. Personally, I think that a scaled-down version of this vignette, similar to the recent Star Wars duel sets like 75236 and 75269, would have been really cool!

Missing Locations From The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings starts out with Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday party during which Bilbo disappears and leaves the Shire, entrusting Bag End and the one ring to Frodo. While the non-conflictual nature of this scene may not make it the best-suited to being an official LEGO product, I think that it could still make for a neat smaller set. Below is Thorsten Bonsch’s interpretation of this scene.

While LEGO did make a set of the Mines of Moria, they never made a set of the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, despite the fight between Gandalf and the balrog that takes place here being one of the most iconic scenes in the franchise. While the large scale of the bridge and the Balrog would have necessitated some significant scaling down, it still could have made for an epic set. Jonas Kramm’s rendition of this duel demonstrates just how cool this scene looks in LEGO form.

One of the most visually-stunning locations in the Lord of the Rings, Lothlorien, also failed to make it into LEGO’s LOTR line. That’s a real shame as the elven refuge where the Fellowship takes refuge after escaping from Moria would have made for a really neat set. A scaled-down version of Caleb Walker’s recreation of Lothlorien could have made for a really beautiful set.

Missing Locations From The Two Towers

The Golden Hall of Meduseld, the residence of the king of Rohan, is another location that could have made a stunning LEGO set. I would have loved to see the Rohirrim architecture depicted in an official set, horses and all. Norlego’s depiction of the hall gives us a pretty good idea of how this aesthetic can be captured in LEGO.

While we did get a small model of Treebeard in the Tower of Orthanc set, I would have loved to see more sets with ents too. Maybe a set of Fangorn forest with Treebeard’s home and a couple of ents at the Entmoot? Caleb Walker near perfectly captured the look of the ents in Peter Jackson’s movies.

I’d also love to have seen LEGO’s take on the Window of the Sunset, the hideout where Faramir and his band of rangers reside in Ithilien (especially considering that we never got a proper minifigure of Faramir). For now, we’ll have to make do with Marcel V’s fantastic depiction of the secret hideaway.

Missing Locations From The Return of the King

Probably the most prominent location missing from the LOTR line is Minas Tirith, the central city in Gondor and the setting for the largest and most epic battle in the Lord of the Rings franchise. While it would be incredibly hard for a single set to do the city justice, Aaron Newman shows us what a set could have looked like with his LEGO IDEAS submission depicting the stone city. His entry actually garnered the 10,000 votes needed to be considered for an official set (and back when that was a big deal, too), but unfortunately was not approved. A microscale version akin to the big Hogwarts Castle or even just the courtyard with the White Tree of Gondor would have been wonderful, not to mention the missing Fellbeast too [now an exclusive GWP with 10333 Barad-dûr].

Another key location in the movies that failed to make it into the LOTR line is Osgiliath. By the time the Lord of the Rings takes place, the city has been reduced to rubble but it still plays a significant role in the series. Carter Witz’s vignette depicting the scene where Faramir leads Frodo and Sam through the city perfectly captures the ruined aesthetic.

Okay, so this one isn’t technically a location, but it still deserves to be mentioned: oliphaunts. The war elephants used by the Haradrim have become a beloved part of Middle Earth, and yet they never made it into a set. Elliott Feldman’s recreation of one of the majestic beasts makes it even more obvious how cool that could have been.

While we did get a massive set of the Tower of Orthanc, we didn’t get a set of the other of the two towers, Barad-Dur, the residence of the Dark Lord Sauron’s spirit in the form of a giant eye. Admittedly, it would be rather hard to make into a LEGO set, but it would still be cool. Luckily, we have Koen Zwanenburg’s depiction of the intimidating tower instead! [This has thankfully now changed with the launch of set 10333 Barad-dûr.]

Another notable absence from LEGO’s LOTR lineup is Mount Doom, the volcano where the One Ring was forged and the only place where it can be destroyed. Something along the lines of Graham Gidman’s set-like interpretation of the climactic battle between Frodo, Sam, and Gollum could have made a pretty neat set if I do say so myself.

There and Back Again

As you can see, Middle Earth is an incredibly dense world full of numerous stunning locations and creatures, many of which could have been the star of any LOTR product line. Luckily, there’s a wealth of amazing MOCs to make up for this (with many more MOCs by amazing builders we didn’t have the space to mention). And, who knows? With LEGO Lord of the Rings back again, who knows what official sets will come next!

Best of BrickNerd – Article originally published November 2, 2022.

Which missing LOTR set would you want most? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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