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City of Domes

A notebook from a tour of Minas Tirith with Boromir. Boromir read the notes and you can see his reaction...

Architecturaly Minas Tirith has pinned it's hopes to the dome and the arch forms. Domes give focus to human words and actions and aid communication. The dome focusses the prevailing culture of the city and spreads it around. Popes and Imams like domes too because of their qualitiy of spreading the word. If you whisper on one side of the dome someone standing way over the other side can hear you. So domes spread ideas. Since Minas Tirith is in the care of a steward not a king then the central figure of the steward has to keep control by communicating his authority. Domes are great for this purpose. Domes keep everyone focussed and in the loop. The streets are connected by arches. As the citizen passes under each arch they are reminded that they are linked to the centre by domes.

But there is a downside. Whispers and rumours can also spread quickly. The whole city is linked by domicle transmitters. Whispers can spread over town like a great fire. If the steward has an off day then the whole city has a rough time. One sneeze for the steward and the city catches cold. One Palantir put in the right place can disrupt the whole psychology of the citizenry. Fear and doubt can spread like a virus.

This is a city not really sure of itself, of its identity. A king would thrive here as the architecture is really designed for a king to transmit his rule. One command in the throne room would be instantly received via the focussing and communicating domes. Rule would travel fast. Put a steward in there with some identity problems and a touch of depression and things can go to rot. The streets would turn mean and noone could quite put a finger on why.

Imagine the instant panic if an enemy threw over the walls bodies of dead soldiers. The dome city would transmit panic in seconds to all corners of town.

The art in the city, such as it is, is simple and representational. Nothing complicated. Statues of proud riders and soldiers are meant to remind the citizens of who they are. This is no Lothlorien or Rivendell where the symbols are everywhere of the connection to the spirit world. Not in Minas Tirith would there be such fanciful follies. The street layout is mostly functional. Citizens constantly pass under arches, reminding them that they are linked by the domes. In Minas Tirith it is thought important to know that you are a citizen. Citizens need constant reminders of who they are. You wonder if this doesn't rather add to a sense of personal insecurity.

No wonder Boromir doesn't feel comfortable in Lothlorien.

Minas Tirith wants to be based on solid facts. Without a king people here are suffering a bit of an identity crisis. To fight this the stewards have turned to domes to keep the citizens in check. By spreading authority the stewards hope people will remember who they are. The architects and artists are employed to constantly remind them. But Minas Tirith is vulnerable. Send in the right psychological warfare and the doubt can ignite. If the steward can be made to have a bad couple of months mentally then everyone is off balance and the rubbish never seems to be collected. Domes can spread doom.

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