When we come across a fantasy castle in a story, it sparks our imagicountries. We imagine the stoneoccupational, the parapets, the swallowtail flags flapping in the breeze, the soldiers lined up alengthy the wall surfaces. And some of the battle scenes including fantasy castles are rather sindicate mind-blowing.

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So often, we think of a medieval fantasy castle. They’re unmistakeable—great, stone frameworks that overcome landscapes, and which conquer so many type of of our favourite fantasy stories.

But how perform we come up with principles for a fantasy medieval castle? How perform we uncover catalyst for that beautiful fantasy castle that stays lengthy in our memories? How do we understand just how they influence how we compose battle scenes?

How Do You Build A Middle ages Fantasy Castle?

To overcome such challenges, it can really help to carry out some research study.

In experimenting our previous and finding out about the foundations of the moment periods fantasy draws upon, we have the right to empower our composing with detail readers love. So below, we’ll take a look at medieval castles in fantasy and exactly how they analyze into the genre, a variety of various fortifications from the middle eras, just how they were get over, and also what life was favor in a save.

We’ll additionally take a look at some fantasy castle art prior to taking a look at just how you can attract your own superior fortification. There’s additionally a area on coming up through fantasy castle principles.

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The Fantasy Castle

When we think back to some of our favourite fantasy publications, tright here will undoubtedly be some that feature a castle or 2.

For me, the one that springs to mind is Legfinish by David Gemmell. If you’re unacquainted via the story, it’s basically around the greatest army of all time besieging the greatest fantasy castle ever before constructed. Well worth discovering, specifically provided Gemmell’s symbology—he composed the tale once he was experiencing from cancer. The army represents the cancerous cells within him, and also the fortress is him, resisting.

Another famed fantasy castle can be uncovered in Lord of the Rings. In fact, 2 decisive battles in the books are sieges—Helms Deep and also Minas Tirith.


" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/helms-deep-fantasy-castle.jpg?fit=300%2C146&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/helms-deep-fantasy-castle.jpg?fit=640%2C311&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/helms-deep-fantasy-castle.jpg?resize=581%2C283&ssl=1" alt="helms deep fantasy castle" class="wp-image-32358 jetpack-lazy-image" width="581" height="283" data-recalc-dims="1" data-lazy-srcset="https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/helms-deep-fantasy-castle.jpg?resize=300%2C146&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/helms-deep-fantasy-castle.jpg?resize=600%2C292&ssl=1 600w, https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/helms-deep-fantasy-castle.jpg?resize=768%2C373&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/helms-deep-fantasy-castle.jpg?w=800&ssl=1 800w" data-lazy-sizes="(max-width: 581px) 100vw, 581px" data-lazy-src="https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/helms-deep-fantasy-castle.jpg?resize=581%2C283&is-pending-load=1#038;ssl=1" srcset="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">Medieval Castles In Fantasy

Fantasy is full of dramatic moments including castles, keeps, and strengthened cities. David Gemmell’s Legend tells the story of the siege of a city with the greatest defensive fortifications by the many effective army in the land also. Two of the the majority of iconic battles in The Lord of the Rings series came in The Two Towers with Helms Deep and at Minas Tirith in The Return of the King. Fans of Video Game of Thrones will recall the Battle of Blackwater Bay and also Daenerys’s conquest throughout the Narrow Sea.

It’s the author’s understanding of these defensive structures and exactly how they affect the course of battle which makes these moments so memorable. What obstacles do the besiegers’ face? What actions have to be taken to get over those challenges? And what have to the defenders carry out to resist, if anything at all? We’ll learn the answers to this as soon as we think about real castles.

The subject matter is fairly big so this post will be the first in a short series. You have the right to review the following components of the overview by clicking below:

Click here to read component two of this guide to the castle in fantasy (defensive features)Click right here to read Part Three (sieges)

A Short History Of Medieval Castles

The Middles Ages lasted around a thousand years, kicking off in or around the 5th century and also lasting until the 1fifth. It have the right to be separation right into two periods: the ‘Dark Ages’, which ran from fifth to 10th century, and the High Middle Ages, from the 10th to 1fifth. (I understand the phrase Dark Ages is no much longer embraced by some, but for ease, it’ll serve here).

Castles didn’t really exist in the Dark Ages. What did exist were the continues to be of Romale fortifications, but only in Western Europe. Everywright here else frameworks were made from hardwood.

Then the High Middle Ages came about and also so as well “The Era of Castles.” You couldn’t move for a castle in Europe. Tbelow were so many kind of that no historian has actually been able to comprehensively record them all. Castles were standing signs, a method for the the aristocracy to difficulty their king, and extremely, many kind of proceed to exist this day.


Glossary of Middle ages Fortifications

Before we hack our method additionally right into this fantasy composing guide, it’d be valuable to have a rundown of some of the different types of fortifications:

Castle: a fortification of the High Middle Ages, qualified by high walls through towers and normally a moat. Served both residential and/or governmental objectives. Fort: a little strongpoint populated by army personnel.Citadel: a word supplied to describe either a castle or a strengthened section within a city equivalent to a castle in dimension.Fortress: likewise referred to as a strengthened city or town, it has many type of attributes in prevalent via a castle, such as high walls, gatehomes, and battlements, though a lot larger, real estate a populace.Motte and also bailey: included a tower standing upon a man-made mound, also well-known as a motte. This motte was located within a courtyard well-known as a bailey and encircled by a fence of wood stakes (likewise well-known as a palisade) through a strengthened gate.Donjon: an excellent tower or innera lot of store of a castle. The term donjon was later on replaced via store.Rampart: a protective wevery one of a castle or walled city, having actually a wide top with a walkmeans and generally a rock parapet.Portcullis: a solid, hefty grating that deserve to be lowered into grooves in the ground. Normally discovered in gatedwellings.

In enhancement to these primary forms of fortification, tbelow were tower houses, observation posts, and strengthened churches and also monasteries. These kinds of terms deserve to be of good use as soon as describing your very own fantasy castle in your stories.

If you’re developing a medieval fantasy castle, these terms deserve to be particularly valuable.



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The bergfried was a tower, provided as a lookout and also later as a residence. Before the 13th century, they were mainly made of timber. Entrances to bergfrieds were uncovered on the first floor instead of the ground floor. The reason? Bergfrieds and keeps tfinished to serve as the last allude of defence and also having actually it a floor better made it even more tough for the foe to take it.

The motte and bailey consisted of a wooden tower standing upon a artificial mound, likewise known as a motte. The motte was situated within a courtyard recognized as a bailey, which itself was encircled by a fence of wooden stakes (likewise recognized as a palisade), with a strengthened gate. It was a famous fortification via the Vimajesties. In the image listed below, the bailey is the lower level, the motte the top.

Motte and bailey

Medieval Towers

Towers played an integral role in the defence of a fortification. When created as component of the wall, they jutted forward to allow for flanking fire. They were additionally created individually. In the early years, they were made from timber, later on, stone.


A tower of Portchester castle

In most instances towers were put at corners however were also included at intervals, periodically at set distances, others random. It all relied on the terrain, available resources, and also the ability of the builder. These determinants additionally influenced the height of a tower.

A clever attribute checked out in some towers was an open ago. Not just did it enable for provides to conveniently be hauled up, but if attackers overran that tower, they couldn’t use it versus the defenders. Some towers were cut off from the wall by drawbridges for added defence.

One vulnercapability of towers was mining. Early towers were square in shape, yet the dead angles made them breakable to mining assaults. In the 12th century, even more circular or semi-circular towers were introduced. This was a hazard the Romans were currently conscious of is why many type of Romale fortifications had D-shaped towers.


Circular towers, Lusk, Dublin.

Gatedwellings, Moats, and Drawbridges

The gatehome is maybe the many eye-capturing attribute of a castle’s protective fortifications. And many a fantasy castle has actually featured them.

The gate was probably the a lot of important attribute of a fortification because, in concept, it was the simplest allude of accessibility for attackers. Many gatedwellings had battlements which defenders might stand also upon to keep attackers at bay. Moats and also drawbridges were included later to enhance defence.

Gatedwellings had a set of reinforced wood and/or steel doors and a portcullis made of reincompelled wood or iron. An example of a mighty gatehome can be seen in Harlech Castle in Wales. It had 3 portcullises, three doors, and also four towers. If you controlled to gain past the first you were trapped at the second, and also so on. The walls of the gatehome were punctuated with arrow slits through which the defenders might fire upon the attackers, and also murder holes in the ceiling through which arrows might be fired, rocks dropped or hot liquids poured.


Harlech Castle gateresidence, Wales

One basic yet reliable feature of gates was to place them at an angle rather of facing outwards. The purpose was to prevent battering rams from having a clear charge. Anvarious other feature designed through this in mind was the barbideserve to, which was an outcropping of wall in front of the gatehome.

Drawbridges were standard in construction, elevated by chains and winches. They went hand also in hand with moats, so if there was no moat, there was no drawbridge. The moat is just one of the oldest attributes of fortifications. Sindicate put, it was a ditch neighboring the castle or keep. Rivers, lakes, ponds, or swamps were used to fill in moats, others were dry.


A moat had actually to be deep sufficient to prevent an attacker from wading through it and wide enough to sheight someone from leaping throughout. Around 3 meters, or 9 feet, was the average depth before the 11th century. After that, they prospered a lot deeper. The size of the moat, yet, relied on the terrain and also exactly how quickly it could be excavated.

Moats were additionally reincompelled via other obstructions, such as sharp stakes along the bottom or inner wall. A deep moat additionally protected against the threat of mining.


One point about moats to store in mind is that they tfinished to be disgusting. Excrement and waste from the fortification were tossed into the water, turning them into cesspools. It was the job of the peasantry to clean it up, on average twice per year. Peasants are always left via the worst work, aren’t they?


Fantasy Castle Examples

We’ve spoken a lot about the medieval castle, however not a lot about the fantasy castle. So in this area, we’re going to look at some awesome fantasy fortresses which might provide you some principles for your very own composing. To find more and also to discover all the credits for the imperiods below, head over to my Pinterest web page.

What’s your favourite castle in fantasy? Please share in the comments below!

When it pertains to catalyst for your very own stories, it deserve to help to look at some fantasy castle art. Luckily, there are scores of images that great artists have knocked together. Their levels of imagination are significant, and also they deserve to really help you to acquire right into the appropriate mindset.


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This one’s somepoint of a fairytale castle!

For even more fantasy castle art, head below.You have the right to likewise check out Deviantart for even more. Deviantart is the human being largest digital socialmedia platcreate for artists and a hub for exceptional sci-fi and also fantasy art.

Castles In Fantasy

As well as the wonderful concept art above, I’ve likewise included some excellent imeras that really capture what the essence of the castle in fantasy is around. And that is, that it need to take the breath amethod. inspire intrigue and curiosity. Make you want to check out, or to are afraid.

Here are some excellent examples of a medieval fantasy castle.

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Isn’t this a beautiful fantasy castle?

" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/medieval-fantasy-castle-1.jpg?fit=300%2C155&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/medieval-fantasy-castle-1.jpg?fit=640%2C331&ssl=1" width="640" height="331" src="https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/medieval-fantasy-castle-1.jpg?resize=640%2C331&ssl=1" alt="beautiful fantasy castle" class="wp-image-33313 jetpack-lazy-image" data-recalc-dims="1" data-lazy-srcset="https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/medieval-fantasy-castle-1.jpg?w=1024&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/medieval-fantasy-castle-1.jpg?resize=600%2C311&ssl=1 600w, https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/medieval-fantasy-castle-1.jpg?resize=300%2C155&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/medieval-fantasy-castle-1.jpg?resize=768%2C398&ssl=1 768w" data-lazy-sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-lazy-src="https://i0.wp.com/juniorg8.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/medieval-fantasy-castle-1.jpg?resize=640%2C331&is-pending-load=1#038;ssl=1" srcset="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">What execute you think of this fantasy artwork? Pretty damn remarkable if you ask me. I particularly like that last one by Jeff Brvery own.

Fantasy Castles In Real-Life

When we encounter a fantasy castle in fiction, there is undoubtedly some type of real-world influence. From the form of parapets to conical towers, many type of fantasy authors draw their incentive from fortifications that existed in the past.

In this area, I wanted to show you some real-life fantasy castle examples to give you an idea of just how authors have the right to delve into the previous to create their own fictional fortresses.

Petra, Jordan

While not a medieval castle as such, the structures sculpted right into the rocky cliffs of Petra inspired my own fantasy castle in Pariah’s Lament.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra days earlier all the way to 312 BC and also right here it is, still standing in 2021. Its structures incorporate tombs, temples, a treasury and an amphitheatre.

Imagine the ways that you might adapt something like this into your own fantasy castle?

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

Arguably the motivation for that well known school of witchcraft and also wizardry, Hogwarts in Harry Potter is shelp to have actually been based upon Kenilworth Castle, found in Warwickshire, England also.

Like Hogwarts, Kenilworth Castle has a sprawling lake, well-known as a mere, which provided much-required defence from attacks. Curiously, this moat was artificial by damming 2 streams.

Maiden Castle, Dorset

Maiden Castle is sassist to be part of the incentive behind the iconic Minas Tirith in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, namely featuring in the Rerevolve Of The King.

Minas Tirith was well-known for its layered rings which increased up gradually as it climbed the optimal of the hillside.

Maiden Castle is of a similar design. First populated approximately 6,000 years ago, it was emerged heavily in the Iron Period right into a huge negotiation, heavily strengthened via earthoccupational ramcomponents and also ditches.

Just imagine such a feature for your very own fantasy castle. Defenders can loss earlier in steras if overran, bleeding the attackers out as they progression via the defensive fortifications.

Dover Castle

One of the strangest fantasy castles, and one that frequently gets queried by fantasy authors and also readers, is the Eyrie from Video Game of Thrones. Seemingly sitting apeak a slender mountainoptimal, via its most iconic attribute being the ‘Moon Door’ with which people are hurbrought about plummet through clouds to their death, it lived lengthy in the memories of many type of readers and also watchers.

But sucount it’s not based upon a real medieval castle? Well, don’t get as well excited. In reality, facets of The Eyrie are influenced by medieval history.

Features such as the ‘Moon Door’ are no various from murder holes, or machicolations to provide them their formal French title. Many a medieval castle has such a attribute, but rather than throwing prisoners through them, they were more used for deffinishing the walls from attackers, through burning pitch and skull-crushing stones dropped with.

See more: Which One Of The Following Sentences Or Phrases Is Most Likely To Be Considered A Cliché?

In regards to the height of the Eyrie, Beeston Castle is an instance of a fortification that was developed upon a hill. Little stays of this medieval castle, but its area was no doubt selected to be visible to all—a symbol of power. In medieval works, it was described as Castellum de Rupe, or the Castle on the Rock.

Medieval Castles and Sieges

I wanted to share this great video by Shadiversity. This is a cracking YouTube channel for any kind of fantasy fan and writer. Shad is forever complex fantasy tropes and also stereokinds, unspanning myths and stating flaws. He likewise creates awesome videos on medieval background to aid fantasy authors, out, such as this video below.

Also see my guide on sieges right here. Or inspect out my guide on battle methods below.