open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Attack on Titan has the last known human city hiding behind three nested circular walls. Both the fact that it works as a prison and that it won't keep out the Titans forever are acknowledged by the story, although various characters are in denial of both. The outermost wall is breached in the first chapter.
- The Gate Wall in Darker Than Black used to ward off the negative effects of the Hell's Gate.
- In Infinite Crisis, the Green Lantern Corps erect a 7-mile thick wall to hold back Super-boy Prime. It fails.
- One issue of Exiles had the group land in a world where Curt Conners/The Lizard injected his regeneration formula into several people (starting with his wife), thus creating a whole race of lizard people... who reproduced like lizards, as in groups of eggs. The U.S. government decided to simply let the Lizards have the entire state of California, building a giant wall all along the coast, that was watched over by heavily-armed guards.
- The Rise of Darth Vulcan: In chapter 39, we see that a fifteen foot high steel chain-link fence has been built around the Everfree, with runes protecting it against rust, wear and tear, and chewing, as well as being magically electrified, with lookout towers and armored guards patrolling the perimeter, and an alarm system that will set off if anything flies over, digs under or tries to squeeze through the fence. Twilight admits that it is more to give Equestria a last minute warning than to keep Vulcan and his horde in.
- One of the main features of Skull Island in King Kong (1933) and King Kong (2005) is a wall built by the human inhabitants to keep Kong and the dinosaurs out of their village. Pity they included such a huge gate...
- In Doomsday, an unknown killer virus has infected Scotland, turning people into savage animals and killing the host. The UK government cannot quarantine the virus because they have neither cure nor vaccine, and they decide to build a 60-foot containment wall over the border with Scotland, isolating it from the rest of Britain. It used to be manned, but nowadays is guarded by motion-tracking turrets, with the only maintenance required being people to maintain the turrets and reload them. Surprisingly enough, unlike most of the examples on this page, it actually works... though it doesn't stop the plague from getting into England.
- In Pacific Rim, mankind begins building walls as a last-ditch effort to keep the Kaiju out. It's clear from the outset that it won't work, but what makes it even more infuriating is that after it's easily broken through by a Kaiju, the world's governments are still adamant that the wall will work. Unsurprisingly their single-minded determination to keep the Wall as the main plan causes riots in many cities.
- In The Last Starfighter, the Star League created The Frontier, a force field barrier generated by a pattern of fixed devices. It was designed to keep out the Ko-Dan Armada, the starfleet of the Ko-Dan Empire.
- In The Great Wall, China's most expensive film to date, Matt Damon aids the ancient Chinese when monsters attack the title Wonder of the World.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Westeros has a massive (as in 800 foot-high) Wall built of ice blocks in the far north, stretching from the continent's east coast to the west. The Wall was built to keep out the Others, "demons made of ice", and is manned by the Night's Watch. The books explore the logistics of the idea:
- While it's (supposedly) pretty efficient at its first purpose (since the hordes of zombies it's supposed to repel can't climb), the Seven Kingdoms end up relying too much on it, which is why the Night's Watch has slowly degraded into an Army of Thieves and Whores.
- Due to the sheer size of the thing, the Watch is thinned out and unable to stop the wildlings, who try to climb it or dig through it. Well, they can, but only when they catch them.
- The Wall is punctuated with "forts" (more like barracks) sheltering the Watch and defending the Wall's gates. However, most of them were closed and their gates plugged, because of the Watch's depleting ranks.
- They are also unable to prevent the forest from spreading and reaching the Wall, concealing the ground in front of it, except in front of their forts, by regularly sending axemen to cut the trees.
- Since the top is pretty high, in a land of never-ending winter, they have to cover it with gravel on a daily basis to prevent it from becoming an ice rink.
- In Codex Alera, a giant wall protects the Realm from the Icemen. By the end of the series, it protects the Icemen from the Realm. Same end result, but a different perspective from the people involved.
- The one located in the town of Wall in Neil Gaiman's Stardust.
- There's one of these in Garth Nix's Old Kingdom books, separating the nonmagical land of Ancelstierre from the Old Kingdom, where there's necromancy and other magic. It's actually an artefact containing one of the five Cosmic Keystones that keeps the Charter together and is designed to keep anything nasty inside the Old Kingdom where people know how to deal with it. It's only moderately successful, hence the massive trench and bunker network on the Ancelstierran side.
- Chattergy's Wall from Haroun and the Sea of Stories separates the perpetual daylight of Gup from the benighted land of Chup.
- In Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, Centurion Parnesius is Reassigned to Antarctica on Hadrian's Wall.
- Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine Wall loom large in Rosemary Sutcliff's stories of Roman Britain, notably The Eagle of the Ninth, The Mark of the Horse Lord, Frontier Wolf, and The Capricorn Bracelet, whose protagonists either have to build them, garrison them, cross them, or get Chased by Angry Natives back to them.
- In Discworld, the Agatean Empire has a Great Wall, supposedly to keep out the invisible vampire ghosts but actually to keep the Agateans in. The Wall stretches to the Rim Ocean, and then continues on the Empire's islands, even though that doesn't really block anything, since it's the idea of the Wall that's important.
- The Union at Expedition Z has a Westerly Wall at its Western border made of scrap metal and wood stretching for 1,300 miles that blocks off intruders and (formerly) zombies.
- In The Rogue King there are two walls that hem in the continent's desert, which is designed to keep out the natives.
- Wise Phuul has Yyti's Wall between the Viiminian Empire and the Skeevereet Principality.
Live Action TV
- Legend of the Five Rings has the Kaiu Wall, also known as the Carpenter Wall or the Kaiu Miracle, between the Shadowlands and Rokugan, where the Crab Clan spend their lives protecting the rest of the Empire from the demonic forces. It is a point of both pride and annoyance for the Crabs that no other clan knows of how hard their duty is.
- Warhammer: The first Dragon Emperor of Cathay had a massive wall built along its northern border to protect it from the Chaos Wastes, called the Great Bastion. It extends hundreds of miles in length and its great size requires a garrison of tens of thousands to man it.
- In Civilization IV, the Great Wall improvement prevents barbarians from landing on the entire continent it is built on. In Civilization V, it doesn't stop enemies from entering your territory, but it does slow them down.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: Dagoth Ur's lair on Red Mountain is surrounded by the Ghost Fence (not a solid wall, but a row of pylons connected by force fields), built by the Tribunal Gods to contain Dagoth Ur and the Blight he created. However, since Blighted Cliff Racers can simply fly over it and Dagoth Ur can summon ash storms that carry the Blight on the winds, it is not particularly effective at containing the disease (but moderately effective at preventing his most rabid servants from running riot across Vvardenfell). A few comments indicate it used to be more effective at containing things, as it started out as a dome, but with dwindling divine powers the fence gradually had to be reduced until it reached the state shown in-game. Though the cavern system connecting the old stronghold of Kogoruhn, outside the Ghostfence, to Red Mountain may have existed even then, allowing Dagoth's more lucid minions to get in and out at will.
- In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, the Endless Wall protects the China-equivalent, though by the time you get to explore it it's swarming with monsters.
- In Grandia, there's a gargantuan mile-high wall that bifurcates an entire continent.
- Guild Wars had a Great Wall in Ascalon, which kept the charr in the northern lands. Its penetration is what started the initial game's plot. Many parts of it still stand come the sequel.
- World of Warcraft has:
- The Serpent's Spine, a very exact copy of The Great Wall of China cutting a large western sector off the rest of Pandaria - erected by the Mogu emperors to keep out the periodic Mantid swarms.
- The Greymane Wall. While it protected the kingdom of Gilneas from the plague of undeath, it also trapped them when the worgen curse hit.
- In Resistance 2, the United States began construction of the Liberty Defense Perimeter in 1951 after the Chimera attack New York City. A year later, it's encompassed most of the central states.
- In All Hail King Julien, an Anti-Julien organization manages to get Julien to build a wall around the kingdom to keep out all the foreign animals Julien had invited. They successfully manipulate the lemurs' tendency to not plan things ahead and get the wall built without any doors, and also trapping most of the foreigners inside, necessitating a catapult to throw them out of the kingdom that can then be turned on Julien.
- In the Avatar universe, Ba-Sing-Se, "the Impenetrable City" capital and largest, most populated city of the Earth Kingdom, and in the entire world, has a massive outer wall, and many inner walls used to divide the people of different social classes. The Fire Nation during their Hundred Year War tried numerous times to penetrate it. One siege of note took six-hundred days just to break through the Outer Wall and the second one involved a giant drill. The only reason the city eventually falls is due to an inside job.
- In many Chinese Empires, and some of the smaller nation-states and kingdoms, series of observation posts in militarized zones (such as the 'Great Walls') helped keep marauding tribes from the Steppes from raiding too deeply or extensively into one's lands when used to inform a fast response by cavalry to intercept them. This was only enough to keep them at bay in peacetime, however, and the Steppe Tribes knew this — they usually waited until the Chinese nations bordering them were at war with one another before they tried anything too raid-y. The big exception to this rule would be The Empire of the Song in the 11th century, which lost its capital to a lightning campaign by a semi-nomadic Steppe nation (the Jurchen), which had subjugated most of the tribes in modern Mongolia and Manchuria while they'd been the Song's ally. This was only possible because of the suddenness of the betrayal, which caught the army largely de-mobilised and with the Wall's garrisons being at their peacetime strengths at best. The ultimate result was that the entire north of the Empire, with a third of its people (and thus a similar share of its wealth) was lost to the Jurchens. After this, the ('Southern') Empire of the Song waged a hundred-year war to defend its remaining subjects. The Wall was not used again until the Empire of the Ming managed to conquer all the former Song Empire's lands from south-to-north three centuries later.
- The city walls of Xi'an (also historically known as Chang'an) certainly warrant the name as well, as did most large cities' fortifications from Imperial China. In Xi'an's case, the walls are nearly fifty feet thick in some places and forty feet high. Into the late 19th century, the British, armed with industrial period artillery and high explosive shells considered the walls of Beijing nearly indestructible. Nowadays, people drive small cars and ride their bicycles along the walls of Xi'an, amidst heavy foot traffic.
- The Berlin Wall, which both literally subdivided the city of Berlin, and became a symbol of the proverbial Iron Curtain dividing the communist and capitalist worlds.
- The controversial "security wall" in the Occupied Territories, built to prevent Palestinians from gaining access to areas appropriated by Israeli settlers.
- Shorter security walls were built by the British military authorities in northern Ireland along the dividing lines between Protestant and Catholic Irish to prevent ethnic hostility.
- Hadrian's Wall and the other limes walls of Ancient Rome, built for keeping Celtic and Germanic tribes at bay. In a subversion, George Macdonald Fraser believes that their real purpose was not to keep raiders from getting out but from getting back. It may not be much trouble for a reasonably strong war party to get through but they have to take all their stolen cattle, and of course if they abandon them there is not much point in going on a raid in the first place.
- Hadrian's Wall was eventually outflanked when the Scots realized all they needed to do was to sail round both ends in large boats. This allowed them to land raiding parties and get the loot home again.
- The US-Mexico fence. Said "fence" can be anything from wooden posts a few feet apart on the coasts, metal walls (popular in areas with towns right on the border), to the occasional motion sensor and border guard.
- In Australia, the Dingo fence protects southeast Australia from dingoes.
- The Maginot Line, built slightly behind the Franco-German border by the French in the 1930s to economize on manpower in the event of a Franco-German war (that part of the front line could be extremely lightly defended, and the men saved could be deployed elsewhere), encourage Germany to invade Belgium in the event of such a war, encourage Belgium to remain allied with France because of the risk of being invaded by Germany, and encourage Germany to face French forces on the plains of Belgium or (if the Germans held back) western Germany where France's massive superiority in troops and artillery and tanks would be the most telling (the hills and forest of the Franco-German border and southern Belgium being sub-optimal for making this advantage count. Or so they thought up until the end of May 1940.).
- The Great Wall of Gorgan protected the various Persian empires from invaders from the north by closing the gap between the mountains and the Caspian Sea, and was the second-longest defensive wall in recorder history after the Great Wall of China. Made doubly impressive by being built entirely of brick.
- Saudi Arabia is currently building a wall along its border with Iraq to keep out ISIS militants.
- Danavirki, built by the Danes in the 8th century and expanded and reinforced multiple times to keep armies from the south from entering Danmark. You heard me right. The vikings built a wall to keep the other people out!
- In 2014 the new government of Ukraine started building a fence along Russian border. Propaganda described it as a new Chinese wall to protect civilized Europe from dirty Finno-Ugric barbarians. The plans were made for high-tech electrified fences, moats, cameras, drones, landmines... As of summer of 2015 a number of shoddy chain-link fences have been erected around major checkpoints and tens of millions of dollars misteriously disappeared. Meanwhile neighbours of Ukraine — Belarus, Poland, Hungary, Russia — are planning or have already built their own fences to curb contraband.
- In The Napoleonic Wars, the Lines of Torres Vedras were a series of linked forts, steepened hills, flooded valleys and British garrisons stretching all across Estremadura to protect Lisbon. At £100,000 it was an absolute steal and a Russian naval squadron at Lisbon "kindly donated" all their cannons to arm it, while a semaphore system introduced by the Royal Navy allowed a message to be relayed from the HQ to any point on the line in a matter of 4 minutes. Everything of use north of the Lines was carted south behind them and all the rivers and wells were poisoned to deny their use to the French. They were constructed in absolute secrecy and not even the British government were aware of their existence. They were used successfully to repel a number of attempts by Marshal André Masséna to capture Lisbon.