First you're here
. Walk through this here gate—possibly only when the moon is gibbous, or you have yellow violets in your left hand, possibly only with the Applied Phlebotinum
and Techno Babble
of quantum mechanics or folding space-time
or maybe even magic
—and then you are... there
Cool, ain't it
Unlike Cool Car
, Cool Boat
, etc., this is not about distinctly cool gates. Gates tend to be rare enough that they are all
cool. Even when they interconnect into a Portal Network
This is a common way of getting to Magical Land
. After all, even the coolest of airplanes and boats have a little trouble with the travel there; subtropes include Portal Pool
, Portal Door
, and Portal Picture
It's also common in Science Fiction
Be warned that there is no guarantee of pleasantness or even familiar physics on the other side. Alien Geometries
are not unknown.
After a time, Portal Slam
may result, or it may close when in use
Since there's no real-world analog to teleportation, writers can apply any variety of bizarre special effects to the act of being transported without hurting Willing Suspension of Disbelief
. On the other hand, they can also appear relentlessly mundane—perhaps a simple arched doorway in a wall of crumbling stone—until you look or step through them, and notice the discrepancy.
Note that this does not
encompass characters who can transport themselves without crossing the intervening distances, or mere holes that create space. Teleporters and Transporters
also do not cover it even if one end must have certain equipment to it. It may overlap Our Wormholes Are Different
Has nothing to do with media or political scandals being referred to with a reference to "Watergate"
or with a particular brand of toothpaste
You go in here...
open/close all folders
- Cats in elaborate Friskies catfood commercials step through portals into a world of tasty CGI fish, chickens, and other cat treats.
Anime & Manga
- The Gate of Truth in Fullmetal Alchemist, which features the Sephiroticum..
- Bleach: The Gate To Hell.
- Bleach also had a gate (that looked like a big sliding door) that Soul Reapers could create to travel from the world of the living to the Soul Society (Captain Kuchiki uses one early in the series to return himself, Rukia and Renji).
- The Door of Era a.k.a. the Door of Truth in Madlax.
- In one of the later Manga of Ah! My Goddess we get to meet the gate between Earth and Heaven, and she's a kinda cute kinda loli creepy girl. One that wants to have some fun and won't open for anyone till she's had some. Eventually, Keiichi is dragooned into opening her, with a (big) key, Does This Remind You of Anything?
- In the movie, there is also a magic gate that only true lovers could pass through and still remain together. Guess what happened.
- One of Doraemon's recurring tools is the "Anywhere Door", which when walked through brings you to any location you tell it, as long as you made sure you worded your request carefully.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has the Gateports to the Magic World. One of them is underneath The World Tree, another is Stonehenge.
- The entrance to C's world is some sort of psychic stone wall in Code Geass.
- In Naruto, Sakon/Ukon and Orochimaru can both summon a demonic version of the main gate to Kyoto to block attacks.
- The gate in Myotismon's castle from Digimon Adventure is used in reverse: it doesn't take you to Magical Land but from it.
- The Gates Of Justice in One Piece that connect Enies Lobby, Impel Down and Marineford qualify for this-they are hundreds of meters tall and several meters thick.
- Blue Exorcist: The Gehenna Gate which is like a sort of Eldritch Abomination in its own.
- Johan reveals in Season 3 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX that Duel Monsters cards aren't like Pokeballs that contain and release monsters but are actually the gates monsters use to travel between their world and their master's.
- For a while the X-Men were the proud owners of the Siege Perilous (named for the Arthurian myth), a magical portal which shrunk down to handy portable size. Passing through it would reboot your life (and give you amnesia along the way).
- And there's a Shi'Ar Stargate at the edge of the solar system. Don't tell anyone, though, because using it can destabilize the Sun. The Shi'Ar also use smaller personal Gates.
- Under Wonder Woman's home island Themyscira is a gate to Hades, at least in Post-Crisis continuity and on the Justice League cartoon.
- The Authority can call the Carrier for a Door to anywhere in the world, or back to the Carrier, and at least once to parallel universes.
- The Sandman has several magic gates. Each of the Endless has a gallery which they use to talk and visit each other's realms. In the real world, any labyrinth can be used as a gate to Destiny's realm. Destruction creates a gate (with an appropriate big explosion) that Orpheus uses to visit Death's realm. Dream's realm has an ornately carved big gate at the front which dreams pass through.
- The Grant Morrison era of Justice League has Portal Gates like this at certain times that seemed to link the JLA moonbase to a few key locations. Not used very often (at least "on screen").
- In the Star Wars comics, they introduce the Infinity Gates built by the Kwa using the technology of the Celestials. Apparently, there was a network that allowed instantaneous travel nearly anywhere in the galaxy. Oh and for added fun, they could be used as devastating superweapons, projecting Infinity Waves which destroyed all life and matter at the target and made hyperspace travel impossible in its vicinity.
- Boom Tubes in the New Gods mythos. They can be summoned anywhere with a Mother Box computer, and are in general used by the Gods on a regular basis.
Films — Animation
Films — Live Action
- The Digital Gate in TRON.
- Phantasm: The gate in the mausoleum consisted of two metal poles stuck in the floor. Anything that passed through them went to the planet which the Tall Man came from.
- Poltergeist: The entity haunting the house creates a gate in the children's closet leading to the other side: another gate in the ceiling of the living room leads back to our world.
- The Tannhäuser Gate was merely mentioned once in Blade Runner, and its function not even described, but Memetic Mutation has made it a Cool Gate nonetheless.
- In The NeverEnding Story, Atreyu passes through a mirror that serves this purpose.
- In Time Bandits, the characters rely on a map to locate gates that lead to various points in time and space.
- El Santo's time machine (of course he can build a time machine!) in Santo en El Tesoro de Drácula is basically a cheaper-looking version of TV's The Time Tunnel.
- In Beetlejuice, when you're dead, drawing a door on a wall will open a path to a wonderland of dreary bureaucratic waiting rooms. Which is still better than if you walk out of the location you're stuck haunting...
- There are nine gates in the title sequence of Polanski's The Ninth Gate, made all the more portentous by Wojciech Kilar's score.
- In The Catastrophe of the Emerald Queen, the magical teleportation device called the Shimmer. Powered by crystals and activated by stepping into a dip in a stone floor. The effect is described as like watching a stone being dropped into water. Can also be rigged or tampered with to enable users to arrive helpless.
- The Dresden Files has Practitioners able to open a hole into Fae, an alternate dimension where physics, geometry, and time don't always work the way they do here. The upside? Rapid transportation for wizards, especially since their magic makes mundane travel hard. The downside? The wizard has to hold it open, and even powerful wizards can only open small holes. It takes a very powerful wizard (Harry's caliber or so) to be able to open a crossing in more than a few places to begin with. And while the Ways are great for getting places, it's also where most of the Eldritch Abominations live.
- The door in Dan Abnett's Ravenor, a plain wooden door that opens through space and time. Originally, it used by special trained operators, to let the questions of those who came to them direct it; when the house was broken, Ravenor operated it to put his powerful psionic abilities into play.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel His Last Command, Chaos warp gates open up in boulders to let out monsters. When Maggs is thrown through one, and Mkoll jumps after him, they find a frigid, impossible landscape with the stars all wrong and blocks of stone floating in the sky. They stagger to another gate, which lands them at the foot of another boulder, both of them covered with frost (on the other side, they communicate back through the vox, though it finds them both out of range and within ten kilometers at once).
- In the Myth Adventures series, Skeeve's tiny tent leads into a huge luxurious mansion. The mansion is actually in another dimension, which occasionally leads to some problems.
- Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. Mirrors are frequently used as portals to other realms. There's just something about mirrors...
- In C. J. Cherryh's Morgaine Cycle, the planet-based gates allow both interstellar and Time Travel. Not to mention body-switching. Also, any Time Travel leading to a Time Paradox triggers a Time Crash which wipes out civilization on every planet containing a gate, which is why Morgaine is on a quest to shut down the Portal Network.
- Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series. Powerful Old Ones (such as Merriman Lyon) are able to summon a magical gate (which looks like a pair of doors) that allows travel through time and space.
- John DeChancie likes this trope; his Castle Perilous has 144,000 doors, each leading to an Alternate Universe, and they don't just wait for you to walk through—the portals wander, and actively seek out those who want to travel or get away. His Skyway series has "Tollbooths" (no doubt named as a Shout-Out to The Phantom Tollbooth) which use miles-tall columns of virtual particles to create wormholes linking a vast Road across thousands of planetary surfaces.
- Tunnel Through Time by Lester del Rey. A Time Travel machine/gate.
- In The Redemption of Althalus by David Eddings, the protagonists live in a house with as many rooms as they like, as large as they like (they occasionally have armies on the march through the corridors) and can open doors to literally anywhere on command. One of the protagonists attempt, out of curiosity, to open a door to "nowhere"—although they avert the attempt before they succeed, the concept is enough to freak out their patron goddess something fierce.
- Philip Jose Farmer's World of Tiers series. Inter-dimensional machines/gates.
- There's a magical hole in the wall of some sort in Coraline, by Neil Gaiman.
- The interstellar gates in Robert A. Heinlein's novel Tunnel in the Sky.
- In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, Mother Ragga (an Elemental Personification) has a house whose doors can open, it seems, anywhere in the world.
- The door leading out of the title castle in Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle.
- The Wheel of Time has them in at least three flavors:
- The redstone doorways look like empty doorframes, but walking through one will transport you to a dimension populated by weird aliens who see the future or grant wishes.
- The Waygates, built of finely carved white stone and having nice reflection visual effect, which lead to a place where the distance between the Gates is less than outside
- The One Power-created Gateways for Skimming (travel via subspace) and Traveling (instant teleportation).
- There are also Portal Stones, which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. They link not only to other portal stones in the world, but also to Portal Stones in Parallel worlds. Very handy, if not well understood at all.
- The title tollbooth of Norman Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth.
- The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key. An inter-dimensional machine/gate.
- The appropriately-named Gates in Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series. They have a number of important limitations, in that they are single-use constructions created by a powerful mage using his own life force, and can only go somewhere said mage has been to and knows well. The ancient Adepts of the Mage Wars, as well as the mysterious Eastern Empire, on the other hand, knew/know the secrets of Permanent Gates, which once created are simple to activate and use.
- One other notable restriction is that they have to be set up with both ends in a doorway, or similar constraining structure. They can't be freestanding. This restriction also doesn't apply to the Eastern Empire.
- Reality Thresholds are pretty much the driving force behind the entire book in Darkness Visible. Venturers can tear holes in the fabric of reality with their bare hands and, if they're focusing properly, simultaneously open a second Threshold in another location, allowing them to step instantly between the two places. If they aren't focusing properly, bad things happen... Deliberately abusing Thresholds may lead to even worse things happening.
- The wardrobe in C. S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Also, the Portal Pools in the Wood Between the Worlds in The Magician's Nephew, the door to the Telmarines' original home at the end of Prince Caspian, the Portal Picture in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the door that normally led to the open moor in The Silver Chair, and the door that normally led to the stable in The Last Battle. All the books except the one that took place exclusively in Narnia needed magic gates, because the characters were from another universe (the real one).
- In Lee Lightner's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Sons of Fenris, Cadmus's Blood Magic lets him open a portal to a Chaos Space Marine.
- In Wolf's Honour, they conclude that the entire planet is riddled with gates, allowing the Chaos Space Marines to invade at will.
- In Patricia A. McKillip's The Bell at Sealey Head, Emma keeps opening doors and finding Princess Ysabo. She never dares go in for fear that she can't come back. And one day when she opens the door to her grandmother's room, it shows the princess in a different room. She closes it, reopens it, and finds her grandmother's room.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky Black Sun, when Sergeant Ellard confesses to having actually seen the rumored daemon on a battle field, he explains that in the end, it summoned up a black gate and vanished into it.
- Andre Norton's Witch World has dozens of these.
- How Simon Tregarth got there in Witch World
- Where the Kolder had come from.
- Where Simon and Jaelithe vanished to, and Kaththea found them and Hilarion.
- His Dark Materials, as if to fight back against Narnia listed above, has a knife that can make a gate anywhere by cutting holes in the fabric of the universe. Unfortunately, it has the nasty side effect of unleashing soul-eating beings of nothing whenever it's used.
- James H Schmitz set The Lion Game on a planet in the Hub where all transportation was done by gates. The villains in that story have another Cool Gate — the Vingarran Gate is too long-range to be useful on the planet surface, but it's ideal for them to transfer people to and from their spaceships hiding in the outer reaches of the solar system.
- Looking glass bosons, in the John Ringo (and later Travis S. Taylor) series Into the Looking Glass (with shout outs a-plenty to the other looking glass portal, mentioned above).
- The Manticore Wormhole Junction, and similar junctions elsewhere, in the Honor Harrington novels.
- The Green Door in H. G. Wells' short story of the same name.
- In Patricia C. Wrede's Talking to Dragons, Morwen has one door to all the rooms in her house. When it keeps giving Daystar the wrong ones, she tells him he has to be firm.
- The novelization of the Doom series had the Gate to "Hell" actually be a matter transmitter leading to aliens who used psychological warfare, by imitating feared images from humanity's collective unconscious. But, unlike most fictional interstellar teleportation, it was not faster than light.
- The Veil in the Department of Mysteries that claimed Sirius is an example of such a portal from Harry Potter.
- In Sergey Lukyanenko's Rough Draft series, the portals to Alternate Realities are shown as regular doors, although they can only be opened by the customs officer-Functional who lives at the customs office. This, as well as the abilities of the Fuctionals, is explained by their advanced understanding of quantum physics.
- The Young Wizards series has "world gates", small patches of space-time only visible to wizards, which occur naturally but can also be created by magic or very advanced technology. Though wizards can teleport without world gates, using a gate requires much less energy, especially for trips that are measured in light-years. On Earth world gate complexes are maintained by teams of cat wizards, since cats are the only Earth species which is naturally capable of seeing the string structures which the gates are made from.
- One means of getting around in the endless world of The NeverEnding Story is The Temple of a Thousand Doors (Der Tausend-Türen-Tempel) which contains an infinite number of hexagon-shaped rooms with three doors each. Every door different in colour, shape, material etc. To get to the place you wish to go, you only need to pass through the rooms until you find the door that reminds you strongest of the thing/place/person you're looking for. This may take some time.
- In Spin there is the Arch, a gigantic structure connecting to another planet.
- The portable door in The Portable Door by Tom Holt. A door-shaped sheet of something that can be rolled up, but when put against a wall will open to the desired location.
- In Stephen King's The Dark Tower, Roland discovers a series of doors which allow him to look into other worlds, possess a specific individual on the other side when he steps through the door, and pull that person back through the door into his own world. This is how he eventually gathers his three traveling companions who follow him in the later books.
- In Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Door opens doors. All doors. Her family house had its locations all over the place because they could open the doors between them.
- The Farcasters connecting the WorldWeb, in Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos.
- Doors that open to distant locations, times, and/or realities are a dime a dozen in the Nightside series, and one minor character even operates a business where people can pay to pass through any of the hundreds of Cool Gate doorways he's stocked his shop with.
- The Great Door Of Time in Septimus Heap.
- In Devon Monk's Dead Iron, what LeFel is trying to build.
- The Flumes in "The Pendragon Adventure".
- In Andre Norton's Dread Companion, Bartare opens one to transport them from the planet.
- The Power of Five: The Gates that keep the Old Ones at bay are kinda cool, once you look past how terrifying the entire concept is.
- On a considerably less scary note, there are also the 25 doors with blue star symbols which allow the Five and up to one other each to travel to any one of their choosing.
Live Action TV
- Jumpgates in Babylon 5 are used to enter and exit hyperspace.
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Girl in the Fireplace", clockwork androids from the future use the hyperspace drive of a spaceship to create temporal gates disguised as mirrors, tapestries and fireplaces to stalk Madame de Pompadour's lifespan, finding the proper moment in her life to take her.
- Foreign Exchange is about a portal between Perth and Galway. The writers started ignoring the time difference after a few episodes.
- LOST: turning the wheel under the Orchid moves the island and teleports the wheel-turner to the Tunisian desert.
- The comedy-fantasy Mister Merlin has a door in Merlin's house that lead to a magical realm.
- The Outer Limits TOS episode "The Borderland". Scientists generate a gate to another dimension.
- Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Stargate Universe.
- Star Trek: The Original Series:
- Episode "All Our Yesterdays". The Atavachron, a gate to the past.
- Episode "Assignment Earth". Gary Seven's "mist gate" transporter.
- Episode "The City on the Edge of Forever". The time travel sentient stone ring called The Guardian of Forever.
- The Iconian Gateways seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.
- The Wormhole from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- The titular device from The Time Tunnel.
- The Twilight Zone TOS episode "Little Girl Lost''. The title character accidentally falls through a spontaneously appearing gate in the wall of her room and ends up in another dimension. Her parents and a family friend try desperately to get her back before the gate closes.
- In the Kaamelott episode "Stargate", a "Gate of Chaos", through which "the worst possible creatures" are going to arrive, is opened in Kaamelott. Arthur and Lancelot investigate, Bohort panics until... Perceval steps through. And then a chicken flies through. It turns out the gate leads to another part of the castle.
- First, you see something like shattered glass floating in the air. Next thing you know, you are being chased by a velociraptor. Welcome to Primeval.
- Angel has portals to Pylea. They can only be opened at psychic hotspots and can't be opened too many times.
- The Legend Of Dick And Dom has an episode, "Valley of the Bigheads", where the heroes want to use a Cool Gate guarded by the Bigheads; to be allowed to use it, they need to prove they are geniuses, which is rather difficult for them. It turns out the gate only transports you ten yards further along the road, and the Bigheads only bother to guard it for lulz.
- Kamen Rider Fourze has an ordinary school locker which connects to a base on the moon.
- The movement The Great Gate of Kiev (in Russian Богатырскія ворота (Въ стольномъ городѣ Кіевѣ), meaning The Bogatyr Gates (in the Capital in Kiev)) from Modest Mussorgsky's magnum opus Pictures at an Exhibition.
- Varkon features a stone gate through which the monstrous Varkon can be seen. Playing well on the main table enables the lower level, allowing players to attack Varkon on the other side.
- The Stargate pinball has the titular gate as the centerpiece of the backbox, using a mirrored "infinity" effect to give the illusion of entering it.
- The "transphazers" of TX-Sector, which are used to teleport pinballs across the playfield.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The portals of the Planescape setting.
- The Forgotten Realms has many magical Gates, most of which are (naturally) forgotten.
- The Gate of the Silver Keys in adventure X2 ''Castle Amber", which leads to the land of Averoigne on another plane.
- Module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. A temple in a Drow city has a mural of a starry sky which is a Gate. If the PCs pass through an image of Lolth and touch it, they will be transferred to the level of the Abyss where Lolth's Demonweb exists.
- The Necrons of Warhammer 40,000 use portal technology to teleport with impunity. Chaos forces occasionally use portals of their own to access the Warp without waiting for a Negative Space Wedgie.
- Call of Cthulhu has spells that create Gates through time or space.
- Eclipse Phase's Pandora Gates, leftovers of The Singularity and the only current method of reaching planets outside the solar system.
- While not shaped like gates in the conventional sense, every Pantheon in Scion has an Axis Mundi, something that links that Pantheon's Godrealm to the World that's tied to their myth or their people's culture. As examples, the Aesir use Yggdrasil to get between Asgard and any ash tree on Earth, while the Amatsukami use the Pillar of Heaven to get into the Overworld from anywhere that Japanese culture is strong.
- Fringeworthy (1982) was built entirely around this trope: PCs were members of a UN military exploration force, walking from world to world through circular portals left by an alien race millions of years before.
- Rumor has it that a copy of the game was given to the writers of a certain motion picture on the assumption that "Tri-Tac is out of business, and besides, our lawyers are bigger."
- Exalted has bits of First Age technology called the Gates of Auspicious Passage, allowing one to cross vast distances with a single step (although only to a similar Gate). They require truly monstrous amounts of power to function even for brief periods however, and are extraordinarily difficult to build, repair and program.
- Similar to the Call of Cthulhu example, Arkham Horror has gates to other universes that the players must close in order to win.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, it's surrounded by Creepy Crows, it has to be dug up, it's an ordinary door—flat in the ground; and when they open it, it draws November and Clare in.
- The five Gates in The Order of the Stick, though you're not meant to walk through them — they're built on holes in the fabric of the universe leading to a demiplane containing an Eldritch Abomination.
- In Dream Catcher due to running in between the two worlds, Riza gets plenty of use out of a couple. One being a door, the other being the titular dreamcatcher.
- In the comic Flipside, creating a portal involves slapping a door-sized piece of enchanted paper on a surface.
- Thunderstruck's take on magical portals.
- In Planes Of Eldlor, the dragons are concerned about the appearance of a strange vertical rift which turns out to be the precursor of a gate to the demonic realm.
- Bob and George: The portal
- The portal cloth of Wapsi Square is interesting on its own, but it really becomes a cool gate when it is attached to Shelly. If you enter it, you come out the other cloth, but you have to be able to teleport on your own to use it. It still does have its uses though.
- Underling: Portal travel is common. Like this one.
- Problem Sleuth: Almost anything can be a gate: windows, traffic lights, hot tubs, corsets... it's a weird story. Also there is the door to Death.
- Homestuck Each game planet has seven gates, which teleport players to far-off regions of their planets and to other players' planets. There are also return nodes which, predicably, return the player to their house. Finally, there are defence portals used by Skaia to teleport approaching meteors away to the players planet (most of them land before the players start playing).
- In Endstone, the Eternity Spire let you create them.
- Associated Space uses Catapult Points for interstellar travel. These are giant metal circles placed in orbit around a sun, which gives the devices the immense amount of power necessary to use the things. Once a ship goes into the circle, the gate activates, creating an effect that zaps the ship to another star system, which catches you with similar catapult point, using its immense power to disrupt the effect.
- How does the effect work? Very well, thank you.
- The Einstein-Rosen bridge from Darwin's Soldiers.
- Tech Infantry has several types.
- Jump Gates, immobile spaceborne structures that open up a portal to Hyperspace for ships that can't open up a jump point on their own.
- Digital Gates, immobile spaceborne structures that scan an entering ship, convert it to pure energy, and beam that energy in the form of tachyons, to another digital gate in a distant star system, which re-converts the ship back into matter at the other end, for near-instantaneous interstellar travel.
- Correspondence Portals, which certain Mages can create as a sort of magical emergency point-to-point teleportation system.
- Transit Beacons, a weaponized military version of the Correspondence Portal, built into a starship, and used to teleport whole formations of soldiers at once down to the surface of a hostile planet.
- The Where's Waldo? cartoon (possibly a video-only series) utilized Waldo's "hiding" aspect by making his cane magical—he traced a ring with its tip in the air in front of him to create a portal to anywhere. It was his Evil Twin Odlaw's desire to steal this cane and use it for nefarious purposes.
- In the Doctor Strange animated movie, the Sanctum Sanctorum contained a gate to Dormammu's realm.
- Family Guy's Poltergeist parody has Meg's butt as one end of a portal.
- ReBoot copied the Stargate in one episode and brought it back in a later episode. The show also had sphere portals, which functioned in a similar manner.
... And you come out here!