List

8 Coolest Castles in Fiction

We wish that these fictional fortresses were real.

This story was first published on The Reading Room.

Nothing jazzes up an epic story like an awesome castle! Literature is full of fantastic fortresses, but we think that these eight are the best.


 

1. Camelot from Arthurian legend

Camelot

Photo: Enid, by Lord Alfred Tennyson / Wikipedia

King Arthur is the original fantasy hero, and Camelot remains the most iconic castle ever conceived. Some scholars think that there was once a real Camelot somewhere in Great Britain, but most agree that it’s a strictly fictional location. Too bad, because it looks very cool.

2. Castle Caladan from the Dune series by Frank Herbert

Castle Caladan

Photo: AndrewRyanArt

How about a sci-fi castle? Castle Caladan is from Frank Herbert’s famous Dune series. It was once the home of the Atreides family, until they were asked to go take over Arrakis (or “Dune”).

3. Castle Dracula from Dracula by Bram Stoker

Bran Castle

Photo: Courtesy of Bran Castle

Creepy castles are cool, too! Bram Stoker’s Dracula lived in a creepy castle fortress, and the climactic action of the novel takes place within its walls. The photo above is of Bran Castle, which is “the only castle in all of Transylvania that actually fits Bram Stoker’s description of Dracula’s Castle,” according to the castle’s website.

4. The Eyrie from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin

Eyrie Castle

Photo: Ted Nasmith

There are several cool castles in Westeros, but our favorite is the Eyrie. The Eyrie is perched on the top of a peak called the Giant’s Lance, and it’s pretty much impossible to take over. It looks a bit rugged in the Game of Thrones TV series, but we like the more glamorous take on it in the illustration above.

5. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts School

Photo: Courtesy of Harry Potter Wiki

Hogwarts is one of the coolest schools in fiction and one of our favorite places in general. J.K. Rowling’s vivid writing imagines a wonderful space full of moving staircases, friendly ghosts, and secret passages. Hogwarts has been featured in everything from movies to LEGO sets.

6. Howl’s Moving Castle from Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle

Photo: Courtesy of Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Howl’s Moving Castle is a strange and complex thing. It’s the most surreal of the castles on this list, but it’s also one of the coolest. Four doors in the magical castle open to four entirely different locations. The image above is from the film version, which changed some elements from the book but is equally well-loved.

7. Minas Tirith from The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Minas Tirith

Photo: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

There are a few really cool castles in The Lord of the Rings, but by far the coolest is the super-fortress of Minas Tirith. It’s basically an entire city built into the side of a mountain and protected by impregnable walls. Too bad that these crazy fans couldn’t raise enough money to build it in real life.

8. The White Witch’s Castle from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

White Witch Castle

Photo: Courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures

The White Witch is the primary antagonist in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series, and her fortress is appropriately creepy. It’s made of ice and was constructed with black magic. The shot above is from the movie adaptation.

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