The Great Wall
A barrier of unusual length to protect a large area, usually from a specific threat.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-10-06 19:48:20 sponsor: BlueIceTea edited by: Paradisesnake (last reply: 2013-07-15 15:48:09)

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This trope actually exists already, but the original YKTTW bears scant resemblance to the current page, which contains no examples and needs to be indexed. So I'm bringing it back here for some work.

Current Page, Former YKTTW


Suppose the Big Bad has a very definite territory he calls his own, from where his hordes of darkness spawn. It's good because you always know where the baddies come from, but what do you do if you don't have the necessary manpower to end them once and for all?

Simple: Just put a wall between you and them. The bigger, the better.

The Great Wall is what happens when you try to get your enemies not only out of your city but of your county, state or country, resorting to the simple mechanism of building a wall that will (one hopes) keep them out.

It's similar to The Wall Around the World, except that this is more about separating two realms from each other, whereas The Wall Around the World is about separating one realm from everything else. The most famous Real Life example is, of course, The Great Wall of China. It may have been the inspiration for many fictional Great Walls, although the Berlin Wall and Hadrian's Wall have also been influential.

May be an Absurdly Ineffective Barricade if it doesn't work. Compare Insurmountable Waisthigh Fence. Invisible Wall works like that.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • The Gate Wall in Darker than Black used to ward off the negative effects of the Hell's Gate.

Comic Books
  • In Infinite Crisis, the Green Lantern Corps erect a 7-mile thick wall to hold back Super-boy Prime. It fails.

Film
  • In The Last Starfighter, the Star League created The Frontier, a force field barrier generated by a pattern of fixed devices. It was designed to keep out the Ko-Dan Armada, the starfleet of the Ko-Dan Empire.
  • The Coastal Defense Wall featured in Pacific Rim was built to keep out the Kaiju. Fails.

Literature
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the aptly named "The Wall" protects the seven kingdoms' northern territories from the Wildlings. It was actually constructed to keep out something far worse...
  • In Codex Alera, a giant wall protects the Realm from the Icemen.

Tabletop Games
  • Legend of the Five Rings has the Kaiu Wall between the Shadowlands and Rokugan, where the Crab Clan spend their lives protecting the rest of the Empire from the demonic forces. It is a point of both pride and annoyance for the Crabs that no other clan knows of how hard their duty is.

Video Games
  • World of Warcraft: The Serpent's Spine in Pandaria was built by the pandaren to protect their empire from mantid raids.
  • Guild Wars had a Great Wall in Ascalon, which kept the charr in the northern lands. Its penetration is what started the initial game's plot. Many parts of it still stand come the sequel.
  • In Grandia, there's a gargantuan mile-high wall that bifurcates an entire continent.
  • In Civilization IV, the Great Wall improvement prevents barbarians from landing on the entire continent it is built on. In Civilization V, it doesn't stop enemies from entering your territory, but it does slow them down.

Western Animation
  • In Avatar universe, Ba-Sing-Se, the biggest city of the Earth Kingdom has a massive outer wall, and many inner walls used to divide the people of different social classes.

Real Life
  • In Ancient China, The Great Wall divided the kingdom from the Mongol horde. When it was built, there was no Horde nor any development to this end yet, only mentions of prices on slaves dropping. And once there was the Horde, the wall didn't slow it down much. Not that one overstretched and undermanned fortification line could be reasonably expected to do this anyway.
  • In Australia, the Dingo fence protects southeast Australia from dingos.
  • The Maginot Line, built by the French in the 1930s to defend against a German invasion. Unfortunately it only covered part of the border, allowing the Germans to invade through the uncovered part. The money the French spent on it limited the amount they could spend on their armed forces, contributing to their defeat in World War II.
  • The Berlin Wall, which both literally subdivided the city of Berlin, and became a symbol of the proverbial Iron Curtain dividing the communist and capitalist worlds.
  • The US-Mexico fence.
  • Hadrian's Wall and the other limes walls of Ancient Rome, built for keeping Celtic and Germanic tribes at bay.


Removed Examples:

(I think these are a better fit for Wall Around the World.)

  • In Haibane Remnei A giant wall surrounds the town and surrounding countryside, forbidding anyone to enter or leave except under special circumstances.
  • In Xanth, during the isolationist period, a lethal magical barrier prevented anyone from leaving or entering Xanth.
  • The citie of Houryou, in the Kingdom of En, from The Twelve Kingdoms also has many layers of walls, but in this case, is because of the constnat popluation growth, as more people migrate to En from other kingdoms, the city consantly needs to expand more to acomodate them, and since the walls are needed to protect them from the monsters, they have to constantly be build with the expanding city
  • South Park: In one episode, the kids' parents become so afraid of child molesters that they have a wall built around the town. It gets repeatedly destroyed by Mongols.
  • The Little Mermaid II: To keep her daughter from endangering herself in the sea, Ariel has an enormous wall built around the palace to separate them from it. However, Melody by 14 has learned a way through it: a loose bar on one of the gratings allows her to squeeze through.

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