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Ice Palace

Kristoff: [seeing Elsa's ice castle] Now that's ice! I might cry.
Anna: Go ahead. I won't judge.
Frozen

At cold enough temperatures, ice can be a suitable building material, but why stop at a simple igloo? Enter the ice palace, if you can stand the cold.

The ice palace tends to be a castle-sized and shaped piece of an ice world. It may belong to a larger ice world, or it may be relatively self-contained...

It's a huge, foreboding building that seems as if it was once inhabited by normal people. However, it has now frozen over, and any people who currently live there are definitely not normal.

Expect any videogame boss or Big Bad who lives there to be An Ice Person. Snowlems might also be found living here.

Ice palaces tend to turn up in the mid-to-late story or videogame because of their nature. Also expect icicles, the occasional floor that's too slippery to walk on, and —if it's a videogame — Block Puzzles and various Malevolent Architecture.

A brick-and-mortar dungeon that's entirely underground counts as an Ice Palace if it is otherwise cold enough. But an ice palace has to be more, um, palatial than an icy cave.

May even be ruled by a Winter Royal Lady, or a literal Ice Queen, or Santa Claus.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga 
  • In Saint Beast, Zeus turns the palace where the Saint Beasts live into a freezing ice palace and imprisons them there as punishment for their disobedience.

     Comic Books 
  • Superman's Fortress of Solitude is, at least in modern comics, an Ice Palace. This largely comes from the Donner films, however; see the example under Films. It is true that the Fortress was located in the arctic since the Silver Age, but it wasn't depicted as being made from ice until the films.

     Film 
  • The depiction of Superman's Fortress of Solitude as an Ice Palace really comes from the Richard Donner-directed Superman films starring Christopher Reeve. Since then, that idea has migrated into the comics and into certain television portrayals as well.
    • It's a bit complicated; in animated features, the Fortress usually resemble ice; but in live-action cases like the films and Smallville, it is made of crystal growing out of the single crystal Clark throws into the arctic, although the floor seems to still be ice. It's slightly hard to tell sometimes ("The ice is warm.")
  • In a rare non-fantasy and non-Sci-Fi example, the villain in the James Bond film Die Another Day has an ice palace in the middle of Iceland. Needless to say, Bond soon trashes the place.
  • The Arctic World hideout in Batman Returns isn't a literal Ice Palace, being a former zoo exhibit. However, it is very, very cold (thanks in part to a massive air-conditioning apparatus), features a cathedral-like skylight, and is ruled by the Penguin as if he were a king (he even sits on a throne).

     Fairy Tales 

    Gamebooks 
  • In the third Lone Wolf game book, The Caverns of Kalte, the ice-fortress of Ikaya is, well, an ice-fortress. The fortress of the Deathlord of Ixia is located in an arctic or subarctic region, but it isn't quite an Ice Palace.

     Literature 
  • Discworld:
    • In Wintersmith, once the title character has become capable of understanding why it would, it creates an ice palace for it and the Summer Lady to live in.
    • The Castle of Bones, home of the title character in Hogfather is not made of bones but of ancient ice, with occasional hints that it was once sculpted to look like bone. And in the absence of its owner, it quickly collapses.
  • The White Witch's palace in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is made out of ice and black magic.
  • In the Dragon Lance novel Dragons of the Highlord Skies, and in the corresponding Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules, one group of the Heroes of the Lance must retrieve one of the Dragon Orbs from Icewall Castle.
  • The Dresden Files features Arctis Tor, a large ice castle belonging to Mab, the queen of winter. She even has a nice courtyard where she keeps enemies frozen solid.
  • Norwegian author Tarjei Vesaas wrote a novel with the name The Ice Palace, which contains Exactly What It Says on the Tin, complete with a young girl who gets trapped there and never returns.

    Music 

     Mythology 
  • Ryujin, the Shinto dragon god of the sea, has four halls in his palace that correspond to the seasons. The hall of Winter is like this, and is beautiful, but—since they also refer to the seasons of human life—no mortal who enters it can return.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • The Northern Water Tribe from Avatar: The Last Airbender is all over this, having an entire City of Canals sculpted from ice.
  • One of Dr. Drakken's lairs from an episode of Kim Possible.
    Kim: Chillin' new lair, Drakken!
    Drakken: Kim Possible?
    Shego: [mocking] 'We'll build a frozen fortress, she'll never find us there!'
  • The Ice King's palace, in Adventure Time.
  • Naturally, Elsa in Disney's Frozen builds an enormous, beautiful Ice Palace during the course of her song "Let It Go". It ends up reflecting her emotions — growing more frightening the more scared she becomes, with icicles spiking out everywhere and changing to darker colours.
  • Although this trope is usually the territory of Winter Royal Ladies, Professor Coldheart is shown living in Coldheart Castle about half the time (the other half, in a mad scientist laboratory in whatever town he happens to be menacing that week).

    Real Life 
  • There exist hotels and castles/palaces made of ice! Typically inhabited by paid guests, unless an Action Hero happens to be stopping by.
    • An episode of Dinner: Impossible had Chef Robert cooking for one of these ice hotels, forcing him to do his cooking outside lest the heat from the ovens melt the building.
  • Then there's the St. Pete Times Forum, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, which used to be called the Ice Palace.
  • Not a palace, and never actually realized, but there have been plans to build various large and labyrinthine structures, most famously HMS Habakkuk out of a frozen mix of water and wood pulp.
  • The Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse looked like one waves of ice water covered it with frost.