When us come across a fantasy castle in a story, the sparks ours imaginations. We imagine the stonework, the parapets, the swallowtail flags flapping in the breeze, the soldiers lined up along the walls. And also some of the fight scenes involving fantasy castles are quite just mind-blowing.

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So often, we think that a medieval fantasy castle. They’re unmistakeable—great, stone structures that conquer landscapes, and also which conquer so plenty of of ours favourite fantasy stories.

But how do us come up with principles for a fantasy medieval castle? exactly how do we discover inspiration for the beautiful fantasy castle that lives lengthy in ours memories? just how do us understand just how they influence how we write battle scenes?

How perform You construct A middle ages Fantasy Castle?

To conquer such challenges, it have the right to really help to perform some research.

In experimenting our past and also learning around the structures of the time periods fantasy color etc upon, we have the right to empower our composing with information readers love. So below, we’ll take a watch at medieval castles in fantasy and also how they translate into the genre, a selection of different fortifications native the center ages, just how they to be overcome, and what life was prefer in a keep.

We’ll likewise take a watch at some fantasy lock art prior to taking a look at exactly how you can attract your own outstanding fortification. There’s also a ar on comes up through fantasy castle ideas.

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The Fantasy Castle

When we think ago to few of our favourite fantasy books, there will undoubtedly be part that function a lock or two.

For me, the one the springs come mind is Legend by David Gemmell. If you’re unfamiliar v the story, it’s basically about the greatest military of all time besieging the biggest fantasy castle ever before built. Fine worth checking out, specifically given Gemmell’s symbology—he composed the tale when he was suffering from cancer. The military represents the cancerous cells within him, and also the fortress is him, resisting.

Another famed fantasy castle have the right to be uncovered in lord of the Rings. In fact, two decisive war in the publications are sieges—Helms Deep and 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 complete of dramatic moments entailing castles, keeps, and also fortified cities. David Gemmell’s Legend speak the story the the siege the a city with the greatest protective fortifications through the most powerful army in the land. 2 of the most iconic war in The mr of the rings series come in The 2 Towers through Helms Deep and also at Minas Tirith in The Return that the King. Pan of game of Thrones will certainly recall the battle of Blackwater Bay and also Daenerys’s conquest across the narrow Sea.

It’s the author’s expertise of these defensive structures and also how they affect the food of fight which provides these moment so memorable. What obstacles do the besiegers’ face? What actions must it is in taken to overcome those challenges? and what should the defenders execute to resist, if anything at all? We’ll discover the answers to this as soon as we think about real castles.

The subject issue is quite big so this short article will it is in the an initial in a brief series. You have the right to read the next parts that the guide by click below:

Click below to read part two of this overview to the lock in fantasy (defensive features)Click right here to read part Three (sieges)

A Brief history Of medieval Castles

The Middles eras lasted about a thousands years, kicking off in or roughly the 5th century and lasting until the 15th. It deserve to be split into two periods: the ‘Dark Ages’, i beg your pardon ran from 5th to 10th century, and also the High middle Ages, indigenous the 10th come 15th. (I understand the expression Dark eras is no longer embraced by some, but for ease, it’ll offer here).

Castles didn’t yes, really exist in the Dark Ages. What did exist to be the stays of roman fortifications, yet only in western Europe. Anywhere else structures were make from wood.

Then the High Middle eras came around and so as well “The period of Castles.” friend couldn’t move for a lock in Europe. There were so many that no historian has been able to comprehensively paper them all. Castles were standing symbols, a method for the the aristocracy to difficulty their king, and incredibly, many proceed to exist today.


Glossary of middle ages Fortifications

Before us hack our method further right into this fantasy creating guide, it’d be helpful to have a rundown of few of the different species of fortifications:

Castle: a fortification that the High center Ages, qualified by high walls with towers and also usually a moat. Offered both residential and/or governmental purposes. Fort: a small strongpoint occupied by military personnel.Citadel: a word supplied to refer to either a castle or a strengthened section within a city comparable to a lock in size.Fortress: likewise referred to together a strengthened city or town, the has plenty of features in usual with a castle, such together high walls, gatehouses, and battlements, though much larger, housing a populace.Motte and also bailey: consisted of a tower standing top top a artificial mound, additionally known together a motte. This motte was situated within a courtyard recognized as a bailey and encircled by a fence of wooden stakes (also known as a palisade) through a strengthened gate.Donjon: a good tower or innermost save of a castle. The hatchet donjon was later replaced v keep.Rampart: a defensive wall surface of a castle or walled city, having a large top with a walkway and also typically a rock parapet.Portcullis: a strong, heavy grating that deserve to be lowered into grooves in the ground. Usually found in gatehouses.

In enhancement to this main types of fortification, there were tower houses, observation posts, and fortified churches and also monasteries. These kinds of terms have the right to be of an excellent use when describing your very own fantasy castle in her stories.

If you’re making a medieval fantasy castle, these terms deserve to be an especially useful.



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The bergfried was a tower, offered as a lookout and also later together a residence. Prior to the 13th century, they were mainly made that wood. Entrances to bergfrieds were found on the very first floor rather of the soil floor. The reason? Bergfrieds and keeps often tended to offer as the last suggest of defence and also having it a floor higher made that more daunting for the foe to take it it.

The motte and also bailey consisted of a wooden tower standing ~ above a fabricated mound, likewise known together a motte. The motte was situated within a courtyard known as a bailey, which itself was encircled by a fence of wooden stakes (also recognized as a palisade), with a fortified gate. It was a popular fortification v the Vikings. In the picture below, the bailey is the reduced level, the motte the upper.

Motte and bailey

Medieval Towers

Towers play an integral role in the defence of a fortification. When created as component of the wall, they jutted front to allow for flanking fire. They were additionally constructed separately. In the beforehand years, they to be made from wood, later, stone.


A tower that Portchester castle

In many instances towers were inserted at corners but were also included at intervals, periodically at collection distances, others random. That all relied on the terrain, easily accessible resources, and also the skill of the builder. These factors additionally influenced the height of a tower.

A clever function seen in some towers to be an open back. Not only did it permit for provides to conveniently be hauled up, but if attackers overran that tower, they couldn’t usage it versus the defenders. Some towers were cut off indigenous the wall by drawbridges for included defence.

One vulnerability of towers was mining. Early on towers to be square in shape, however the dead angle made them vulnerable to mining attacks. In the 12th century, an ext circular or semi-circular towers were introduced. This was a risk the Romans were currently aware of is why numerous Roman fortifications had actually D-shaped towers.


Circular towers, Lusk, Dublin.

Gatehouses, Moats, and Drawbridges

The gatehouse is probably the many eye-catching function of a castle’s defensive fortifications. And also many a fantasy castle has actually featured them.

The gate was perhaps the most important feature the a fortification because, in theory, it to be the easiest allude of accessibility for attackers. Many gatehouses had battlements which defenders might stand upon to store attackers in ~ bay. Moats and also drawbridges were added later to boost defence.

Gatehouses included a set of reinforced wood and/or steel doors and also a portcullis do of reinforced wood or iron. An instance of a mighty gatehouse have the right to be watched in Harlech lock in Wales. It had actually three portcullises, 3 doors, and four towers. If you regulated to get past the first you to be trapped in ~ the second, and so on. The walls of the gatehouse were punctuated with arrow slits through which the defenders could fire ~ above the attackers, and murder feet in the ceiling through which arrows can be fired, rocks dropped or hot liquids poured.


Harlech lock gatehouse, Wales

One simple yet effective feature of gates was to ar them at an angle rather of dealing with outwards. The purpose was to prevent damaging rams from having a clean charge. One more feature designed through this in mind was the barbican, which to be an outcropping of wall surface in former of the gatehouse.

Drawbridges were an easy in construction, increased by chains and also winches. They walk hand in hand v moats, therefore if there was no moat, there was no drawbridge. The moat is among the oldest functions of fortifications. Just put, it to be a ditch bordering the castle or keep. Rivers, lakes, ponds, or swamps were supplied to fill in moats, others to be dry.


A moat had to it is in deep sufficient to prevent an attacker indigenous wading with it and vast enough to stop someone indigenous leaping across. About 3 meters, or 9 feet, was the typical depth before the 11th century. ~ that, they flourished much deeper. The dimension of the moat, however, depended upon the terrain and also how conveniently it could be excavated.

Moats were also reinforced with other obstructions, such together sharp stakes along the bottom or inner wall. A deep moat additionally protected against the danger of mining.


One thing around moats to save in psychic is that they tended to be disgusting. Excrement and also waste from the fortification were tossed into the water, turning them right into cesspools. It was the job of the peasantry to clean that up, on median twice per year. Peasants are always left v the worst jobs, aren’t they?


Fantasy castle Examples

We’ve talked much around the middle ages castle, but not much about the fantasy castle. For this reason in this section, we’re going come look at some awesome fantasy fortresses i m sorry may provide you some ideas for your very own writing. To discover an ext and to uncover all the credits for the images below, head end to mine Pinterest page.

What’s your favourite lock in fantasy? please share in the comments below!

When it pertains to inspiration for your own stories, the can help to look at at some fantasy castle art. Luckily, there space scores of photos that terrific artists have actually knocked together. Their levels of creativity are incredible, and also they have the right to really aid you to acquire into the appropriate mindset.


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This one’s other of a fairy tales castle!

For an ext fantasy castle art, head here.You can likewise check the end Deviantart for more. Deviantart is the world largest virtual socialmedia platform because that artists and also a hub for exceptional sci-fi and fantasy art.

Castles In Fantasy

As well together the wonderful principle art above, I’ve also included some good images the really record what the essence of the castle in fantasy is about. And that is, the it should take the breath away. Inspire intrigue and also curiosity. Do you want to explore, or to fear.

Here room some great examples the a middle ages 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 do you think that this fantasy artwork? nice damn remarkable if girlfriend ask me. I an especially like the last one by Jeff Brown.

Fantasy Castles In Real-Life

When we encounter a fantasy lock in fiction, there is undoubtedly some kind of real-world influence. Indigenous the shape of parapets come conical towers, many fantasy writers draw their inspiration from fortifications that existed in the past.

In this section, I wanted to present you part real-life fantasy castle instances to give you one idea of how writers can delve right into the previous to create their very own fictional fortresses.

Petra, Jordan

While no a medieval castle together such, the structures sculpted into the rocky cliffs of Petra motivated my own fantasy lock in Pariah’s Lament.

A UNESCO civilization Heritage Site, Petra dates ago all the way to 312 BC and also here the is, quiet standing in 2021. That structures encompass tombs, temples, a treasury and also an amphitheatre.

Imagine the ways that you can adapt something favor this right into your own fantasy castle?

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

Arguably the motivation for that famed school the witchcraft and wizardry, hogwarts in take care of Potter is claimed to have actually been based on Kenilworth Castle, discovered in Warwickshire, England.

Like Hogwarts, Kenilworth Castle has a sprawling lake, known as a mere, which provided much-needed defence from attacks. Curiously, this moat was synthetic by damming two streams.

Maiden Castle, Dorset

Maiden lock is claimed to be component of the catalyst behind the iconic Minas Tirith in JRR Tolkien’s mr of the ring series, specific featuring in the Return that The King.

Minas Tirith was recognized for that is layered ring which climbed up progressively as that climbed the height of the hillside.

Maiden castle is that a comparable design. Very first occupied approximately 6,000 year ago, the was developed heavily in the Iron period into a large settlement, heavily fortified with earthwork ramparts and also ditches.

Just imagine together a function for your own fantasy castle. Defenders might fall ago in step if overran, bleeding the attackers out together they progress through the protective fortifications.

Dover Castle

One of the strangest fantasy castles, and also one that regularly gets queried by fantasy writers and also readers, is the Eyrie from video game of Thrones. Seemingly sit atop a slim mountaintop, with its many iconic feature being the ‘Moon Door’ with which civilization are hurled come plummet through clouds to your death, that lived long in the memory of many readers and also watchers.

But certain it’s not based on a real middle ages castle? Well, don’t get too excited. In fact, elements of The Eyrie are motivated by middle ages history.

Features such as the ‘Moon Door’ are no different from murder holes, or machicolations to provide them your formal French title. Plenty of a medieval castle has such a feature, however rather 보다 throwing prisoners through them, they were an ext used because that defending the walls from attackers, v burning pitch and also skull-crushing stones to reduce through.

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In terms of the elevation of the Eyrie, Beeston lock is an instance of a fortification that was built upon a hill. Little remains of this medieval castle, yet its location was no doubt selected to be visible to all—a prize of power. In middle ages writings, the was described as Castellum de Rupe, or the lock on the Rock.

Medieval Castles and also Sieges

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Also check out my guide on sieges here. Or examine out my guide on fight tactics here.