Place of Protection

Brown-robe types are always protecting something. It's the only way they can justify giving up girls.
Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Blood Ties"

Some places are so holy or magical that they have the property of protecting those inside the location from harm, either by keeping out ghosts, demons, or other supernatural beings, or by preventing any sort of violence or evil from occuring there.

This might be because a spell was placed on the location or simply because the place is inherently sacred. In mythology, many places that are considered holy ground, such as churches and graveyards, have the ability to keep out undead or evil spirits.

If a character is merely trying to invoke the symbolism of a place, most likely a church, they are Seeking Sanctuary.


Anime and Manga
  • In Berserk, Schierke is able to set up a massive defensive spell over a church... because the church had been built over a sanctuary to one of the elemental spirits.
  • In Highlander: The Search for Vengeance immortals are not allowed to fight on holy ground (just like in the live-action Highlander films). In one scene an immortal refuses to put his weapon away while standing on holy ground, and he is immediately struck by lightning.
  • Mount Hakurei in InuYasha is a place so holy demons are purified just by setting foot on it. The Big Bad Naraku hides within the mountain using its holy barrier by placing the undead monk who keeps the barrier under More Than Mind Control.

Children's Games
  • Some variations of Tag - you know, that game where you run around until whoever is "it" tags you - have safe areas or similar.

Comic Books
  • DC Comics' Blue Devil is a devout Catholic, who also happens to be a demon. The result is a blue guy being immolated by holy fire every time he goes to church. You'd think either he'd take this as a sign or God would arrange some kind of waiver after a while.

  • Any 'sacred ground' in the Highlander 'verse might fit, though it is unclear whether it's an actual place of protection or they won't fight there because of their rules.
    • The series seems to imply that it's only a rule.
  • Warlock (1989). The title Big Bad is a Satanic creature who can't set foot on holy ground.
  • In Tribulation from the Apocalypse film series, Tom Canboro is being chased through a hospital by a One Nation Earth agent who uses his mind powers to close all doors in the hallway so his prey cannot escape — all except for one room that Tom enters, which turns out to be a chapel which provides for him a means of escape.

  • Tolkien has a few examples:
    • The Girdle of Melian in The Silmarillion.
    • Rivendell and Lothlórien in The Lord of the Rings because each is secretly protected by one of the Three Rings, though you wouldn't know it from the film version...
  • Andre Norton's Witch World novels, particularly the High Hallack cycle. Some areas have a benevolent aura which prevents evil creatures from entering.
    • The Witch World series also has examples of the inversion of this trope — stones and circles that are so overwhelmingly evil that they are not safe places to be near.
  • Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series book The Dark Is Rising. The Old Ways (ancient roads) can be commanded to expel creatures of the Dark from them and prevent such creatures from passing over them.
  • In The Dresden Files churches act as these against unholy creatures. It's indicated that the significance of the church controls how difficult it is to enter it.
    • Homes also get a sort of this as any creature of Nevernever must either use mirrors or reflections to weaken the protection or be invited inside. Even wizards are weakened if they come in uninvited.
  • The city of Petra in the Left Behind books is a safe haven for Israelis and believers, due to God's protection over the city from Global Community forces.
  • The Wizard Tower and many so-caled Safe Chambers in Septimus Heap serve this purpose in Darke.
  • The Earth Wife's Lodge in the Chronicles of the Kencyrath. Characters frequently arrive there pursued by enemies, or barely ahead of a natural disaster, but as soon as they're in and the door closes behind them, they're safe. Makes perfect sense, because the Earth Wife is a goddess, one of the Four who embody the elements of Rathillien. So of course her house is open to those she wants to help, and not to their enemies.

Live-Action TV
  • One episode of Doctor Who sees the gang take refuge in a church...magically shielded not by any holy powers, but simply because the monsters of the day were agents of time. Older things have more history and thus take more time for the creatures to penetrate, and the centuries-old church was the oldest thing around.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "Route 666" (S01, Ep13), a ghost truck is destroyed when it chases Dean on to the hallowed ground of a burnt down church.
    • The Men in Letters bunker is warded against almost all supernatural creatures.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Invoked when Glory instructs a demon to seek out the Key in the "holy places", unaware that the Key is now in human form and living at Buffy's house in the form of her little sister. Instead of a place of protection, those hiding the Key sent it to a person of protection.

Table Top RPG
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Has various spells in each edition to create an area like this as well as evil equivalents, presumably in case a player wants to build their own graveyard. It also strengthens certain undead created in the area.
    • Adventure S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth had an area where wandering monsters wouldn't attack the PC party.
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Fragments of Fear, adventure "Valley of the Four Shrines". In the valley there's a path surrounding a lake with the magical property of preventing zombies from passing over it. This protects the human fishing village from being destroyed by zombie attack.

Video Games
  • In the Quest for Glory series of games, places where Erana has been are protected by her magic, and are safe havens for the hero to sleep at night. The town in the first game also has her spell cast over it, preventing any violence from occuring there, except for in the back of the alley and the graveyard.
  • In Pokemon Red And Blue/Yellow Lavender Tower had a "purified" area near the top which restored all your mon's health and PP. It implied it was simply enchanted to keep ghost pokemon out, allowing the player to rest (since other such non-Pokecentre "heal" points tended to be beds).
  • Circle MUD has PEACEFUL rooms, which prevent anyone from attacking anything there. Often used for rest areas, shops, and so on.
  • Save Points in Final Fantasy IV.
  • Safe Zones in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Phantoms can't see or enter them, and time doesn't drain from the Phantom Hourglass when Link is in one.
  • In World of Warcraft Light's Hope Chapel weakens the Lich King because of the souls of all the heroes buried beneath it.
    • PVP combat is disabled in "Sanctuary" cities shared by Alliance and Horde

Web Original
  • In the Whateley Universe, just off the campus of Superhero School Whateley Academy, is 'The Grove', a Genius Loci forest which physically keeps out the unwanted and attacks undesired visitors, while protecting beings it wants (like Fey). Students and security forces are warned not to try to go in there, at their own peril.

Western Animation