Rivendell Build in ACNH

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Rivendell is a fictional location in Lord of the Rings that has always excited my imagination, often called the Last Homely House East of the Sea, or its elvish name Imladris, which means “deep valley.” It’s in a beautiful valley of waterfalls and often depicted with Autumn colors in its appearances in the movies and in fanart, because that’s the season when the Fellowship is formed in Rivendell at the Council of Elrond. It’s a home of lore and song, where Bilbo warns Frodo that the days all seem to blend together.

I’ve heard of other towns in Animal Crossing being named after Rivendell over the years, sometimes shortened because of the beloved 8-character limit AC had for a long time. I’ve never attempted a Rivendell theme before now because I knew I could never really do it justice with the tools we had in the past. But after the ACNH 2.0 update gave us gazebos and columns and castle walls, I thought I could give it a shot for the first time, which was exciting since I’ve always loved drawing inspiration from the Lord of the Rings world of Middle Earth for Animal Crossing builds. I love landscapes and worldbuilding, so ACNH is such a perfect cross of a game and creative outlet where you can craft a world of your own, or your own take on a beloved world from fiction.

Here’s Arwen, Elrond’s daughter, looking out over Rivendell with a lovely hazy, out of focus effect on the scenery of the valley.

I tried to get a feel of Autumnal colors with the plants I used, which was an interesting contrast with all the elegant white architecture.

A wide angle view of the entire scene! Arwen makes such a poignant model for these photos.

This is a closer look at the bridge illusion, the bridge being one of the most iconic parts of Rivendell’s design in the films. The bridge is crossing the valley, with the gazebos representing the roof over the bridge, and custom design face-cutout standees forming the supporting beams of the bridge. I made these designs myself, including the base that blends in with the cliff, which will come in handy with other designs that need to blend in with the cliff.

I thought why not have a seating area in front of the main viewing balcony? We can imagine it’s where the Council of Elrond took place.

This is kind of an illusionistic incline, it doesn’t truly serve any navigational purpose. But Rivendell looks to have lots of stairs weaving between the rooms in the shots I see of it from the films. Also, the gazebo on the ground (separate from the ones forming the bridge illusion) is supposed to be a reference to the one that Arwen and Aragorn have a romantic scene together in the films.

Arwen looks out over the main balcony of Rivendell

And last but not least, I thought it would be fun to create the Council of Elrond & the forming of the Fellowship with AC characters! Can you hear Gimli say “and my axe!”, or hear the hobbits other than Frodo say “hey, we’re coming too”?

References

Hopefully you can see the inspiration for the architecture I chose in my build, and the inspiration for my approximation of the bridge!

This one highlights the bridge even more, and the autumnal colors.

I actually misremembered a romantic scene between Aragorn and Arwen in Rivendell? It actually takes place in Aragorn’s dream 👀 But the scenery still kind of reminds me of Rivendell. I’ve always envied her dress in this scene!

It was very fun and satisfying to build Rivendell on stream! I think my final dream-Lord of the Rings build that is still out of reach for now is Lothlórien, the elven forest with its homes in the trees, and which I don’t think there’s a great way to approximate in ACNH yet. Here’s hoping in the next AC game we have even more design tools to bring our dream builds to life!

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