Sunday, 10 April 2011


Have you ever noticed that the vast majority of castles in fantasy are basically the same castle? They all seem to have towers and spires poking up for no apparent reason. They all have a moat. They all have a single surrounding wall. They are, in short, all that annoying wannabe castle the Disney Corporation has as a logo.

The thing is, there are so many more options when it comes to castles. Here are just a few, ranging from the vaguely real to the completely made up.

A few real options:
  1. A traditional motte and bailey arrangement, with two separate bits, one of them on a hill.
  2. A concentric set up with multiple rings of walls. Though for fantasy, this might be a bit like a neat bullseye for a passing dragon to hit.
  3. Something consisting of just a keep, the way many Scottish castles do.
  4. Something with multiple interlocking courtyards, like cells of a beehive, so that you have to invade them one at a time.
  5. A country house with castle-y bits on, for the look of the thing.
Some made up ones:

  1. A castle made of some odd substance (I'm currently thinking sand)
  2. A castle that is actually the abandoned shell of a giant hermit crab
  3. A castle with no apparent walls or windows, that you can only walk through the walls of with the right key.
  4. A 'castle' made of fragments of lots of other people's, spread throughout time and space.
  5. A castle that started to get National Trust style renovations, but had so many that only the scaffolding remains in a vague castle shape.


Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

I never really had to describe the outside of my castle, but when I picture it, I would have to say it is rather square-is with a lot of different inner courtyards.

Tessa Conte said...

LOL I blame Ludwig for the current fairy tale castle style.

Uhm... I think you mean a castle with no apparent doors or windows?


ps I have great fun making up towns and castles for stories that will probably never get written...

Angeline said...

Interesting post and some great ideas. My fantasy castles are pretty much always very, very militaristic stronghold types placed on hills or on strategic roads and crossing points.

Donna Hole said...

Watch that sand castle in a rain storm :)

I'm looking into castle-type buildings for the setting of my cyborg fairytale.