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Bright Castle

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Looks pretty nice when not cursed.

"Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle."
Narrator, Disney's Beauty and the Beast

A classic trope within Fairy Tales, the Bright Castle is a beautiful structure usually owned by a monarch, magician or powerful creature. It is picturesque, but sometimes cursed or with a dark secret. It can also be the home of the protagonist, who often must either leave the sanctuary, or save it from imminent doom. Expect to see lots of towers and turrets reaching for the sky, and fluttering banners, with not as much thought given to making it defensible. Odds are very good that it will be modeled on the real-life German castle of Neuschwanstein, which was itself built to be the epitome of a "fairy tale" castle.

The Bright Castle may also contain the priceless MacGuffin, or valuable Deus ex Machina that the heroes need. It can also represent an ordeal or trap that they must overcome to better both themselves and their cause. May also be a Big Fancy Castle. Often a feature of the Shining City.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk: For Griffith, an ambitious commoner who dreams of winning his own kingdom, a beautiful castle on a hill is the emblem of the great heights he is trying to reach. Compared to other castles shown which are very military in design, the castle Griffith envisions looks more like something out of a fairytale with its vertically-oriented design and picturesque towers. In the Eclipse, the God Hand show him the castle shining in the distance beyond his reach, and call attention to the contrast between the purity of his dream and the mountain of dead bodies he's walked over in order to get closer to his goal.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Bright Castle was a (field) spellcard that affected light-based monsters.
    • The anime also provides a more typical example in the form of the castle of Simlow, home of Princess Adina.
  • The castle from Revolutionary Girl Utena. As revealed late in the series, it's nothing more than an illusion projected from Akio's planetarium.
  • The Kanejou family from B Gata H Kei lives in one. Played for Laughs, naturally.
  • Nurse Angel Ririka SOS depicts the home of its alien sovereign princess Spirit Advisor as an idyllic land of green fields and fairytale castles. Until the villains show up and corrupt it, that is.

    Films — Animated 
  • The castle on the Disney logo, which is, based on Cinderella's castle, which in turn is based on the late 19th century Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. Almost ALL of the Disney Princess films feature this to some extent.
    • Snow White's Prince whisked her off to one at the end of the film.
    • As mentioned above, Cinderella's prince lives in one, which Cinderella fantasizes about and eventually goes to the famous ball there.
    • Sleeping Beauty lives within one; it is surrounded by a Hedge of Thorns.
    • The Prince in Beauty and the Beast lives in this trope until the Enchantress appears and puts a curse on it. While it is still quite beautiful in many respects, there are signs of what happened there in the decor — beast face-shaped doorknockers, gargoyles, etc.
    • The Little Mermaid has two: Triton's palace in Atlantica, and Eric's castle by the sea.
    • Aladdin has the Sultan's palace
    • Pride Rock from The Lion King. Though not necessarily a castle in the human sense, it's a beautiful and imposing natural structure.
    • Mount Olympus from Hercules. Unique in that it's completely inaccessible to mortals unless special requirements are met.
    • The Imperial Palace from Mulan. Distinct in that this is the only palace that the movie's matching princess does not live in/has lived in/moved into.
    • Kuzco's palace from The Emperor's New Groove.
    • Nedakh Palace from Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
    • Tangled has the royal castle of the Kingdom of the Sun.
    • Enchanted, being an Affectionate Parody of Disney Princess films, of course has the castle of Prince Edward. Parodied in New York with the billboard castle.
    • Frozen: Aside from the existing castle of Arendelle she and Anna grew up in, Elsa actually builds one from scratch using her ice powers in Frozen. At the end of the film, Elsa gives the Arendelle castle roofs a coat of ice as part of a makeover.
    • Inverted slightly in Wish. The castle is painted as a bright castle ruled by a caring king. By all extents and purposes, the castle is bright, but the king inside is completely corrupted.
  • Far Far Away Castle from the Shrek sequels. The first film, being something of a Take That! at Disney's Real Life corporate practices as opposed to their fairytale image, features Lord Farquaad's brightly lit and impressively large castle, which comes across as monolithic (rather than ornate) and kind of creepy (rather than cheerful).

  • The castle in A Brother's Price is this. Lots of windows, which would be expensive but doable in a culture with technology roughly equivalent to the early 1800s. It is also very nice and bright inside and offers a spectacular view of the city it overlooks from the cliff.
  • Cair Paravel from The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Minas Ithil and Minas Arnor from The Lord of the Rings.
  • The Ivory Tower from The Neverending Story.
  • The Palace on Bright Water in Tales from Netheredge.
  • The castle in Genua from Witches Abroad, which falls very definitely under Light Is Not Good.
  • Caemlyn Palace in The Wheel of Time.
  • Most of the castles in grim 'n' gritty A Song of Ice and Fire are fairly utilitarian in aesthetic (if very grand in scale), which makes the Eyrie in the Vale stand out. Located at the top of a skyscraping mountain and near a misty waterfall, it's made of white stone and takes the form of seven tall, slim towers. Its fairytale appearance befits the detachment from both the war and reality of its ruler Lysa Arryn and her spoiled son Robert (they almost literally live in an ivory tower), as well as Sansa's running theme of learning the hard way that life is not a fairytale.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Seen in the first episode of Once Upon a Time (and occasional flashbacks since then). Snow White and Prince Charming were married in it, although oddly, we're never told whose castle it was.
  • Camelot from Merlin, which is actually the real-life castle of Pierrefonds in France.

    Video Games 

    Web Videos 
  • Empires SMP Season 2: The reconstructed GlimmerGrove Castle is constructed out of a light and bright colour palette of whites, pinks, and purples. It's zig-zagged due to part of the Castle standing on the corrupted/cursed lands, causing the Castle to be split down the middle.
  • Pirates SMP: Ros spends most of her time on the series building an extravagant purple and white castle, which stands out as a landmark of the Faction Isles as construction on it is completed. It also ends up poorly defended when "Captain Blondbeard" stages his attack on Water's wedding at the castle, easily firing cannonball after cannonball at the guests when his plan to assassinate the bride on her wedding day falls through.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Cinderella Castle (or Sleeping Beauty Castle or the Enchanted Storybook Castle, depending on which park you're in), the centerpiece of the "Magic Kingdom" Disney Theme Parks. The one in Paris boasts "Le Ch√Ęteau de la Belle au Bois Dormant", another castle which bears a somewhat closer resemblance to the castle in Sleeping Beauty. Hong Kong used to have a slightly smaller version of Anaheim's castle until it got reworked and built up into the Castle of Magical Dreams.
  • Neuschwanstein Castle, the Trope Maker.
  • The Fairy Castle dollhouse at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry is a miniature example.
  • Most historical castles had layers of white wash back when they were actually functional. Because the castle was the home of a noble lord or king, they often stood as symbols of their power, and as such they would be painted or whitewashed in order to be highly visible. In addition, the interiors of many castles would be very bright, usually with layers of limestone rendering and bright white plaster, both to protect the stonework and also to reflect the light from interior illumination sources such as candles and fireplaces.