Portal Door

This is a door that opens to a location other than the one behind it; in time, space, and even outside of it! This door may be a Cool Gate, but it can be of much more mundane make and manufacture.

How does this door bend space and time like a Dali painting? It may be a technological teleportation device, a Time Machine (or both). It could also be made through magic (which usually justifies it being otherwise mundane looking), and may lead to the Magic Land, Spirit World or Dark World. Lastly, it may be some form of "naturally" occurring gateway of Eldritch origin that leads to an Alternate Dimension.

See also Cool Gate, Portal Network, Portal Book and Portal Pool. Sub-Trope of Teleporters and Transporters.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: The Gate To Hell.
    • Bleach also had the senkaimon (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).
  • 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.
  • The door leading out of Howl's Moving Castle.
  • Done interestingly in Blue Exorcist, where the doors are completely mundane- it's the key that is used to open it which changes the location. This is a necessary system to get around True Cross Academy due to all the anti-demon traps.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • 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 Matrix Reloaded. The doors that can open to different locations depending on which person or key opens them.
  • Done in Monsters, Inc. with the doors that serve as portals from the monsters' office building to the bedrooms of children they're supposed to scare.
  • Beetlejuice. Following the instructions in a book, the ghostly protagonists use chalk to draw a door on a wall, open it and walk through it into the afterlife bureaucracy.
  • Likewise in Pan's Labyrinth, in which Ofelia uses a piece of magical chalk to create a door to the Pale Man's realm.
  • In The Adjustment Bureau, the Adjustors use any door to travel to any other door.
  • The Rift from Pacific Rim.
  • Blink from X-Men: Days of Future Past has the mutant power to create these at will.
  • The Return (1980) has the portal in the back of The Prospector's mine which may lead back to the alien homeworld.

  • Dan Simmon's Hyperion Cantos overcomes the problem of space travel and communication with two different systems. The space travel system is essentially portals. Some very wealthy homes consist of rooms on different planets connected by these portals.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (book and show), Door and her family can open up doors anywhere. Their home is a bunch of unconnected rooms.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The door leading out of the title castle in Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle.
  • The redstone doorways in The Wheel of Time 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 Wheel of Time has them in at least three flavors: the aforesaid redstone doorways, the Waygates built of finely carved white stone and having nice reflection visual effect, and 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.
  • 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.
  • The Green Door in H. G. Wells' short story of the same name.
  • 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 five-sided 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the last volume of Labyrinths of Echo, Max and Melifaro end up in a magical reality where all doors are this for them: stepping through any kind of portal or door (even self-constructed) transports them to another world (seemingly) at random. When they finally make it back to Echo, Max discovers all doors still continue to function like portals to random universes for him, so he has to condition himself to check every doorway he passes through for this effect.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix during the battle in the Department of Mysteries, Sirius Black gets pulled into an ominous veiled archway after being cursed by Bellatrix. And he hasn't been back since...
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian when Aslan sends the four Pevensies home and some of the Telmarines to the deserted island their ancestors came from through a door made of 2 vertical sticks and a horizontal one on top.
  • Professor Chronitis's time-traveling study in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency appears as a door in a convenient wall, or cliff face.
  • In Rebecca Lickiss's Eccentric Circles, Grandma Dickerson's house leads to a Magical Land.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's The Boy and the Darkness, each world has three such doors that link it to a parallel world. In the novel, the Sunny Kitten takes Danny through one such door to a world perpetually covered in darkness. The door promptly gets destroyed by the Flyings. Danny manages to find the other two doors, but they get destroyed as well, leaving him stranded in this world. He has a final chance to return to his own world but sacrifices it to save his friend. Finally, the Sunny Kitten explains that the doors directly to Danny's world are gone, but there are other doors leading to other parallel worlds. Thus, they may be able to find a door to Danny's world there.
    • In Lukyanenko's Rough Draft duology, the protagonist is put in charge of a Warp Zone with several doors, each one leading to a different world. Throughout the duology, he meets several other "customs officers", whose places of residence feature doors to different worlds.
  • In Chronicles of the Kencyrath, within The Master's house, there are portals to all of the worlds that the Kencyrath had to abandon in their flight.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Key in The Lost Room can turn any door with a tumble lock into this, which is why Karl Kreutzfeld made sure all the doors in his home were of the sliding variety (he forgets about the door in his son's fake castle and another one covered by drywall). Technically, though, each door opened by the Key leads to the titular room, at which point the holder of the Key can open the room's rood to whatever location he can envision.
  • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode, "All Our Yesterdays" has the Atavachron, a machine that creates a portal door/wall to a time in that planet's past.
  • Pictured is the Iconian doorway from Star Trek: The Next Generation. It has no apparent limitation to range, and at times opened to the Enterprise-D and the Romulan ship also in orbit. Another appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine under control of a rogue Jem'Hadar faction.
    • In the original Trek there was one of these called the Guardian of Forever. Goes pretty much anywhere and anywhen, has a mind of its own. Despite the similarities, no canon connection exists between it and the Iconian gateways (In fact, it claims to be 'its own beginning and end,' and is billions of years old. The Iconian ones aren't quite that badass.)

    Other Sites 

  • Varkon features a stone gate through which Varkon can be seen. Playing well on the main table allows players to attack Varkon on the other side.
  • The "transphazers" of TX-Sector, which are used to teleport pinballs across the playfield.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Planescape has Sigil, the City of Doors, which is pretty much made of this trope, though all "bounded spaces" can be portals, so not all the portals in Sigil are actual doors.
  • The Lords of Gossamer and Shadow RPG is even more focused on this trope than Sigil. All the Doors in the game are actual doors, connected to an endless staircase called the Grand Stair.

    Video Games 
  • Disgaea's dimensional gates warps the user to the selected location.
  • In Spyro the Dragon, archways are how Spyro gets from a homeworld to one of its levels. Spyro exits through them after reaching an exit platform.
  • Kingdom Hearts has lots of them. Most notably the door to the heart of all worlds. It's a game in which the main character wields a gigantic key. Doors tend to be prominent.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess features accessing The Temple of Time through a door with a black-and-white entry. This is extremely out-of-place, because the only other time the black-and-white happens in the series is in The Wind Waker when initially traveling to Hyrule.
  • Star Ocean Till The End Of Time features the main hero Fayt Leingod's high level move, Dimension Door. This attack not only allows the player to teleport behind the enemy and strike, but holding the attack button can damage and potentially stun opponents.
  • The room doors in Silent Hill 2's nightmare hotel.
  • Portal and Portal 2 give you a gun that makes these. Pretty much the whole premise of the games.
    • Portal 2 maps can also include "world portals", which work just like the portals you use but are placed within the map and can be any size. These were used in the game to create a Bigger on the Inside scenario.
  • Antichamber has various variations of this, usually entire hallways that connect in strange ways.
  • Persona 3 FES during "The Answer" there is a door in the dorm which opens to what ever they truly need/desire at that time. so for most of the game it opens to the mall because they needed supplies but later in the game they use it to travel to the moment when the Silent Protagonist makes his Heroic Sacrifice so that they can understand it and hopefully come to terms with it.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo has this as a main component of a The Three Trials, Another Dimension, Bizarrchitecture maze, the key is finding the right doors to escape from it.
  • Scribblenauts has a portal as an object you can create. You can't go in it, although seconds after you create it, it will disintegrate and release a random monster.
  • Mystery Of Mortlake Mansion has several small Portal Doors hidden all over the real-world mansion, each requiring a specifically-coloured crystal to unlock. Once unlocked, a colour/sequence/shape-matching puzzle must be completed in order to open a Swirly Energy Thingy leading to the "shadowy" version of the room in which the door is found.
  • The Dark Portal in the Warcraft franchise which is used to connect Azeroth to Draenor.


    Western Animation