Sky Cell YKTTW Discussion

Sky Cell
A prison with fatal drops instead of walls
(permanent link) added: 2011-05-26 15:28:29 sponsor: nameheregrrer (last reply: 2011-12-18 12:08:38)

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Most prisons have walls and guards. This one is open to the air. In fact, there's open air below it as well. The only way out is through the door or by flying. May be on top of a tower, but that's not necessarily the case. Obviously, this tends to be an example of The Alcatraz, as most settings rarely have people capable of unpowered flight. It's rarely an Oubliette, simply because it's a rather generic way of containing people who can't fly.

Note that the key aspect is an easily reachable drop, or unlocked airlock IN SPACE!. If reaching the fatal drop requires what would be a major breakout attempt on the ground, it's not an example of this trope. If you're not quite sure, ask yourself if it would be remotely secure on the ground.


  • In Time Bandits, after Evil takes the map, he locks the Bandits in a cage hung above a huge chasm.
  • In Thorgal there is "mouth of the Sun", though it is more a death penalty than a prison. The victims are taken (via a net on ropes) to a small cave in the face of the cliff. Not only do they have no way out, short of jumping to their deaths but the whole thing is located in the desert and the cave is facing south and not nearly deep enough to provide shade... even if it wasn't filled with mirror-like crystals.


  • The Trope Namer is A Song of Ice and Fire, where the Eyrie's cells are slightly sloped and carved into a mountain, with one side open to the sky.
  • In Lord of the Rings, Gandalf is confined on top of Orthanc until he is rescued by a giant eagle
  • In Jim Butcher's Codex Alera, some Alerans are confined on top of these by enemies who don't believe in windcrafting.
  • Rapunzel's tower is one without a door.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • In the Farscape episode "The Ugly Truth", the characters are put on a "holding cell" on an alien spaceship that consists of a metal disc hung from the ceiling above a huge drop, with no railings.
  • In the british miniseries Casanova, the titular character was in one. He manages to escape, though.

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • The citizens of Columbia in Bioshock Infinite have done this to themselves out of extreme xenophobia. Booker is infiltrating it to get what may be the only sane person left out.
  • The Aerial Prison in Final Fantasy Crystal Bearers.

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