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Endless Winter

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The cold never bothered me anyway...
"Thousands of years ago there came a night that lasted a generation. Kings froze to death in their castles, same as the shepherds in their huts, and women smothered their babies rather than see them starve, and wept and felt their tears freeze on their cheeks."
Old Nan, Game of Thrones

An artificial winter that is intended to last forever, or at least a very long time.

Winter is usually considered the least desirable season: the short days and cold weather can be deadly to humans and animals alike, and no food can be grown. Because of this, causing a winter that never ends is a common goal for a villain.

Of course, not only villains have this in their bag of tricks. Sometimes a character or object causes this just by existing. Such a character is not necessarily a villain, but will often be an antagonist nonetheless. Expect to see a member of The Fair Folk or another creature with Blue-and-Orange Morality in this role.

In more realistic works, this might be caused by enough material in the atmosphere blocking off the light of the Sun, such as that from nuclear or volcanic fallout or the result of a large enough meteor striking the Earth. In Speculative Fiction, it's more likely to be the work of aliens or a wizard.

Places that have naturally long winters, like ice planets, are not examples. Can be caused by an Empathic Environment or a Fisher King.

A Sub-Trope of Weather Dissonance and Sister Trope to The Night That Never Ends and Spring Is Late. Not to be confused with Frozen in Time. Characters may suffer from a Winter of Starvation. For truly apocalyptic cases of this, see Glacial Apocalypse.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The world of Aposimz is set on the surface of a former asteroid colony where it's always snowing. If not for a couple of heating satellites, it would be completely uninhabitable.
  • Doraemon: Great Adventure in the Antarctic Kachi Kochi, an Arctic-themed adventure in the series, introduces a powerful Winter Elemental named Blizarga who can inflict endless winters on entire planets.
  • The Earth in Fire Punch is going through a Glacial Apocalypse and it only gets colder. Most blame the Ice Witch for it.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden: Defied. The glacial era that is about to engulf and destroy the country of Hokkan comes from a prophecy, rather than anyone's evil plans. After learning about this, Takiko decides to use one of the wishes she can ask from Genbu the God save the realm; when Genbu is summoned she specifically makes the wish to "bring spring back", which ultimately averts the upcoming ice age via a World-Healing Wave.
  • Queen Millennia: Becuase of its long orbit, La-Metal is in a state of a permanent Ice Age except for a short window every 1000 years when it's close to the Solar System.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: The "Ice Continent" exists in a state of perpetual cold because of the presence of the True Dragon Velzard, whose passive aura keeps it frozen over at -120 degrees Celsius. This suits her partner True Demon Lord Guy Crimson just fine, as this ensures nothing but the strongest beings can hope to survive within his territory, nearly all of which belong to the demon armies under his command.
  • Wolf's Rain: Implied, though it's not known how it came to that, besides that the world is After the End and, from what we can guess, the Nobles had something to do with it. However, unlike some examples, the winter seems to be a regional thing, as some areas aren't plunged in winter.

    Comic Books 
  • The Extremist Vector: The nuclear fallout from the detonations which destroyed civilization and all mammal life but rats on Blue Jay's homeworld trapped the unsurvivable remains of the planet in cold toxic darkness.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Mighty Thor: The "Cask of Winters"/"Cask of Ancient Winters" is used to create this effect by several enemies of Asgard, especially Malekith the Accursed. Probably inspired by the Fimbulvetr.
    • X-Men: In an arc on Astonishing X-Men, Iceman is corrupted by the Apocalypse Seed and allowed his powers to go out of control. At one point Thor goes into a trance as Iceman's powers grow, muttering the word "Fimbulvetr".
  • The DCU:
    • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Princess Snowina has to keep her abode an endless winter, and approves the theft of a weather device that threatens to end their winter, as she and her people would melt and die if it got too warm.
    • Final Night had an endless winter caused by the Sun-Eater.
    • In Justice League Endless Winter, the Frost King plunges the world into one.
  • Winter World: The world is plunged into an endless winter, though the reasons why are unknown.

    Fan Works 
  • Everything Turns to Gold: The start of one sets in soon after the beginning of the fic. After the death of the Ender Dragon, Xornoth has become powerful enough to summon a massive snowstorm, blotting out the sun and causing heavy snowfall even in the desert kingdoms of Mezalea and Pixandria.
  • Frozen:
    • All That Glitters (Othellia) kicks off when the royal family of Corona, where Anna is staying, gets a message from a neighboring kingdom that they're suffering from another magical blizzard has appeared in the middle of June and that it's spreading fast. Anna spends the first part of the story searching for answers on where it came from and how to stop it. While she succeeds, the story makes it clear that the storm, which hit several southern kingdoms, had serious consequences, including interfering with food production and killing people.
    • In Fireside Tale, Hans murders Elsa and the winter doesn't end with her death. He just murders the only person who could undo the magic, making the winter truly endless.
    • In Kingdom of Isolation, Anna doesn't survive her Heroic Sacrifice, and in her grief, Elsa loses her grip on reality and keeps Arendelle in permanent winter. It ends when she's killed, though.
  • Gensokyo 20XX: This starts at the end of the third and lasts for five years in the fourth story, which takes place after a nuclear war due to the fallout entering the atmosphere. This also leads to Snow Means Death, as Sakuya dies as the winter begins and the characters start worrying when they notice snowflakes falling at the end of 20XXIII.
  • In Grogar Screams Upon A Winters Night, this is revealed to be the Big Bad, Grogar's ultimate goal; he intends to gradually freeze the world, one town or city at a time, until the whole world is a frozen wasteland, so he can rule over it.
  • Queens of Mewni: In her haste to create an endless summer to grow crops to pay off Mewni's massive debt, Celestia misread the spell and ended up creating this instead, which would end up defining her reign (hence her title, the Queen of Winter) and put Mewni on the verge of extinction. The worst part is, Word of God said had she ever gotten over the guilt she felt about casting the spell, it would have dispelled sooner. Since she never could, it took the royal wand passing to her daughter Meteora for the winter to disperse.
  • The Frozen Heart's Star by Cheyenne89 Pictures: In that fanfiction, Dream Land had suffered through this after their hero Kirby had gotten a frozen heart, and it stayed that way from Chapters 5 to 16, and it's most noticeable in the later chapters, mostly in Chapter 14: Cheyenne's Plan. And as shown in this artwork based on the opening of Chapter 12, Planet Popstar too was completely frozen over, so badly in fact, that in the next two chapters (the latter being previously mentioned), it was even renamed to "Planet Icestar", since it was conquered by the freeze-to-death-with-eye-contact Big Bad.
  • The Palaververse: The First Stitch references the events told in the source work's "Hearth's Warming Eve" and the terrible and uncontrollable winter in the setting's distant past, caused by evil spirits known as Windigoes.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman & Robin: Mr. Freeze's plot is to freeze Gotham City using a massive version of his freeze ray. He even namedrops the trope.
  • The Colony (2013): In the future, the Earth has been plunged into such a winter for decades as a result of weather-controlling machines meant to reverse Climate Change working a little too well before they shut down. As a result, the planet's surface is a frozen wasteland covered in a neverending global snowstorm, and the only things which grow now are livestock and crops with artificial sunlight in the remaining humans' shelters (and even these are implied to be failing).
    "One day... it started to snow. And it never stopped."
  • The Day After Tomorrow: This happens as a result of the warm ocean currents shutting down, ironically due to initial manmade Global Warming melting the original polar ice sheets no less.
  • Deadly Harvest: A catastrophic Climate Change has plunged the world into one of these, resulting in mass starvation as crops fail and food supplies diminish.
  • Groundhog Day: Phil gets stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, and it's always February 2. According to Word of God, the loop was intended to last for 10,000 years.
  • Legend (1985): There are two unicorns that provide Light. When one is slain, winter ensues. If the second is killed, the winter will be made permanent.
  • Mirror Mirror (2012) has winter fall over the land when the evil queen starts to rule. It ends when she is defeated.
  • Snowpiercer: The world is made into an arctic barren landscape by accident. In an attempt to reverse a warming climate, the governments of the world released chemical CW-7 into the skies to cool the atmosphere. Working all too well, the attempt sends temperatures crashing, enveloping the planet in ice and killing nearly everyone on Earth.

  • City of No End: Due to an ancient catastrophe leveling the eastern region of the City and leaving it exposed to the elements, the eastern Wastes suffer from constant cold. Leaking water from the shattered plumbing of the wrecked skyscrapers has caused massive glaciers to form, and most humans in this region have to live in the walls of massive steam vents.
  • Deptford Mice: In the final book of the trilogy, Jupiter returns in spectral form and smothers the entire world in winter as revenge for his death. It only ends when Audrey defeats him with a magical snowdrop flower that is a symbol of spring.
  • Dream Park: The Fimbulwinter game in The Barsoom Project takes place on an Earth where the sun is shrinking due to evil magic and humanity is faced with a planet-wide winter.
  • The Dresden Files: Whenever Mab, the Queen of Winter Fae, stays on the material plane for too long, the winter seems to drag on forever, with snow and cold winds remaining firmly in place well into the months of spring.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Fall of Gondolin, the Fell Winter summoned by Morgoth lasted five months, covered North Beleriand in snow and ice and nearly killed Tuor and Vonronwë before they reached Gondolin (which would have doomed Middle-Earth). It is said that people remembered that brutal winter for a long time.
  • The Fifth Season: The continent-shattering earthquake at the beginning of the book opens a volcanic rift continually pouring out enough ash to blot out the sun for thousands of years. But don't worry, the ensuing winter will end. Eventually.
  • In Heart of Dread, Earth is covered in ice and snow except for a mythical paradise called the Blue.
  • Helliconia, set on the planet of the same name, involves a world in a highly elliptical orbit around its sun. Its summers last decades, but its winter lasts for over a thousand years. It's so severe that it acts as a de facto Reset Button on the civilizations of the planet.
  • Lady Astronaut: Played with. In 1952, a huge meteorite hits the ocean off the east coast of the USA, destroying Washington D.C. and much of the eastern seaboard. This initially results in an impact winter for about five years or so, which is intense enough to dissolve the Soviet Union. However, because the meteorite hit water, it introduced a huge amount of water vapor into the atmosphere. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas, and we quickly learn that the ensuing runaway greenhouse effect will render Earth uninhabitable after about fifty or so years.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The White Witch casts a spell on Narnia so that it is always winter but never Christmas. The spell is broken by Aslan's return.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen: The Jaghut were fond of bringing about ice ages. The Elder God Mael calls ice "the Jaghut answer to everything". When the Imass, whom some Jaghut Tyrants had enslaved, declared war on their masters and put themselves to the task of hunting down and killing every last Jaghut, the Jaghut called down an ice age so that the Imass — who were hunters and gatherers — would starve. The continent of Lether still sports geographically unusual glaciers and ice wastes as a result of Gothos freezing the place at the request of Mael, effectively blocking the way for the dead to pass on and making the creation of undead easy-peasy on Lether.
  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: The Storm King makes the entire continent increasingly frosty as his power grows, during what should be summer.
  • In A Pail of Air, a short story by Fritz Leiber, the Earth is ripped away from the Sun by a passing black hole. As a result of losing the heat of the Sun, the Earth has gotten so cold that the atmosphere has frozen.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The world's seasons are unnaturally long (Word of God is that their length is caused by magic), and as such winters can last for years on end.
    • It's not uncommon for a child to have been born and raised knowing only the darkness of winter in their early years. There are oral traditions of an infamously brutal winter, the Long Night, that lasted for generations. Legend says it was caused by the demons known only as the Others and should they return to invade Westeros, they will cause a winter that never ends. In the later books of the series, the summer that has lasted for the entire series up until that point draws to an end in favor of what promises to be a particularly long and brutal winter — the frigid blizzards that begin to hit the North in A Dance with Dragons, which last for days on end and effectively force the ongoing war to a standstill through the sheer amount of snow and brutal weather they bring, are referred to by the locals as being "only Autumn's kiss". This is implied to be at least related to the Others, who have been reemerging and marching south over the course of the series after millennia of inactivity.
    • The northernmost region of Westeros is dubbed "the Land of Always Winter", which presumably is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This is also implied to be the region where the Others come from.
  • In Spinning Silver, the winters in Lithvas have gradually been getting longer and worse until the Staryk King finally succeeds in keeping spring from happening entirely by having Miryem transmute his fairy silver into gold, which traps the heat and light from the mortal world. She's pretty pissed when she realizes the reason for that task. However, he's doing it to keep his realm safe from the demon Chernobog, who happens to be residing in Lithvas' current tsar. Once this is illuminated, Miryem works with the King to defeat him. The Staryk realm is also in a permanent winter; normal springtime temperatures are deadly to them.
  • Tales of the Magic Land: In The Yellow Fog, the eponymous fog, created by the evil witch Arachna, obscures the sun over the Magical Land to such an extent that the whole land plunges into winter, which will never end.
  • The Wheel of Time: Inverted. The Dark One uses his influence to make it eternal summer in order to burn out the world and kill the plants with heat. To counter this, the main characters seek and eventually find an object that controls the weather and use it to start winter. In order to balance things, they have to make the winter much harsher and longer than usual. Winter comes earlier, lasts longer, and grows more bitterly cold each year, as an effect of the ever-loosening prison of the Dark One. Famine becomes a major problem in the series. This is played straight in the first installment in the series, where it's not the dead of winter, but spring/the growing season doesn't truly come until Rand defeats The Dark One in psychic combat and lessens his influence on the world.
  • Wintersmith: The titular Wintersmith, Anthropomorphic Personification of winter, creates an unnaturally long winter after Tiffany accidentally draws his attention by interfering with a ceremonial Morris dance, forcing her to try to balance nature again. In contrast, his counterpart the Summer Lady would have created an endless summer if drawn the same way, reducing the world to a parched wasteland.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: Winters can last for years and there are oral traditions of a winter that lasted a generation the last time the White Walkers invaded and attempted to cause a winter that never ends (which is also brought up in the prophecy of "The Song of Ice and Fire" in House of the Dragon). Word of God is that the unnatural seasons are caused by magic, though whether it is the Walkers' magic or something else remains ambiguous.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Forodwaith ("Northern Waste") is characterized as a region of unnatural immense cold due to Morgoth's evilness.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "The Refuge", Raymond Dalton is told that an organism discovered by a deep-sea drilling rig polymerized the world's water, which resulted in it having a much higher freezing temperature. However, it turns out that this is merely the setting of a virtual reality environment.
  • Snowpiercer: Like in the film, attempts to reverse global warming went horribly right, leaving the world suffering from permanent -100 degree temperatures. Season 2, however, reveals that the process is finally starting to become undone, with the season finale showing that several spots around the world are now warm enough to be habitable again.
  • Torchwood: In "Small Worlds", The Fair Folk threatened this if they didn't get the child they wanted.
    Jasmine: If they want to they can make great storms, wild seas, turn the world to ice. Kill every living thing.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): Zig-Zagged in "The Midnight Sun". Most of the story is focused on the Earth getting hotter and hotter because it is moving closer and closer to the sun, with the ever-increasing and unbearable heat slowly killing off Earthly life and humanity with it. But it turns out it's All Just a Dream — in reality, the Earth is getting colder and colder because it's moving away from the sun, and will eventually become an uninhabitable ball of ice. From the protagonist's POV, this is a Happy Ending.

  • The Kovenant's debut album In Times Before The Light focuses on a combination of this trope and The Night That Never Ends. The phrase "Forever winter, Forever night" appears in a few songs, and the song "Through the Eyes of the Raven" appears to be about beckoning 'King Winter' to bring about an endless winter.

    Music Videos 
  • Erasure: The music video for "Always" features a Kabuki-style demon who was intent on creating an eternal winter. Andy Bell portrays the nature god who defeats him.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Classical Mythology, this was Demeter's response when her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades. Demeter wandered the earth in a state of rage and grief, and the entire world was as barren and cold as her heart. The situation got bad enough that the other Olympians eventually forced Hades to release Persephone. However, Persephone had already eaten a few pomegranate seeds in the underworld. As a result, she could never leave it forever. During the time Persephone and her mother are reunited, the earth would be prosperous and bountiful. During the time they are forced apart, the earth would be barren again. And that is why the different seasons exist. An alternative interpretation of the original myths, however, averts this, with Demeter causing an endless summer instead. In the Mediterranean climate of Greece, summer is the most barren season, being dry and hot. Some academics say that only when the myths percolated to more temperate climates did this myth convert to Demeter causing endless winter.
  • In Norse Mythology, the Fimbulvetr or Fimbulwinter is an especially harsh winter that lasts either three times as long as usual or three full yearsnote  and signifies the beginning of Ragnarok.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Dreaming: The "Endless Winter" is more metaphysical in nature, tied to a fae view of the seasons of Ages, and the upcoming 6th Age is looking really really bad. Namely, the changelings view the current world, run through with disbelief, cynicism, and disappointment, as the "Autumn" world, where dreams are dying but the spark of imagination remains. Winter is a theoretical time where dreams and hope and imagination are all but dead.
  • Deadlands: Canada has an endless winter approaching from the North, thanks to angry manitou demons. The resident Mad Scientist Dr. Hellstromme has built a wall to stop that along the Canadian Pacific Railroad.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The epic spell ice age does Exactly What It Says on the Tin and lasts until it's dispelled.
    • Frostburn, a sourcebook detailing adventuring in the Grim Up North, describes the fimbulwinter spell, which forces an area of several miles into unnatural winter conditions. The major iceheart magic item, in addition to granting ice-based magic powers to its wielder, automatically casts fimbulwinter once per day, and if left alone can plunge even tropical regions into endless winter.
      Thus, the mere presence of a major iceheart generates a 15-mile-radius zone of eternal winter; the majority of frostfell regions that appear in temperate or tropical climates are the result of the introduction of a major iceheart into the region.
    • The supplement Dungeon Master's Guide 2 has the Killing Frost of Ghulurak, which is meant to end the world by freezing it in an eternal ice age.
    • Father Llymic, one of the Elder Evils, aims to do this alongside The Night That Never Ends. Should he be released from his prison, the Sun will start rising later and later and setting earlier and earlier every day until it will cease appearing at all. This will come with a corresponding drop in temperature as the Sun's warmth vanishes, plunging the planet into an ever-worsening ice age. Should Father Llymic not be stopped, the world will become a lifeless ball of ice that will never know light or warmth again.
    • The adventure module Icewind Dale Rime Of The Frostmaiden has the eponymous location, an arctic tundra within Northwest Faerûn, suffering from this thanks to Auril, the malevolent goddess of winter. Ever since moving to Icewind Dale to live amongst mortals, she had resorted to freezing everything and everyone in the region for her own pleasure. The curse can only be lifted if the adventurers manage to slay Auril or her roc companion which she uses to fly above and cast her nightly spell.
    • Ravenloft:
      • While all the islands of the Darklord Meredoth's Domain of Nebligtode are unreasonably cold considering that they're at the southern end of the Nocturnal Sea, the one where he makes his lair, Todstein, is so cold as to be considered uninhabitable, just as Meredoth likes it.
      • The Domain of Vorostokov, part of the Frozen Reaches cluster, is stuck in a perpetual snowy winter, making its Darklord, the Loup du Noir Gregor Zolnik, desperate to feed his people; unfortunately for him, the endless winter and his Darklord curse means that there's only one type of meat he can easily hunt for...
      • Inverted with Markovia; despite being the same northerly latitude as Lamordia, the coldest Domain of the Core, the Domain has an incongruously tropical island clime.
  • One of the options for GURPS After the End's "choose your own apocalypse" setup, whether from nuclear winter, a supervolcanic ash eruption, planetary climate change, or something else.
  • Kings of War: A demon named Winter once covered the world in ice for 100 years, 'til all the surviving races rallied together and drove her out. However, the aftereffects of all the excess ice melting created a massive flood which split the largest human faction, causing them to be broken into several smaller factions.
  • Magic: The Gathering: On Kaldheim, this is used to enforce the curse on the Kannah clan. When Kannah try to venture past the Adelgard, they are followed by bitter winter conditions and constant snowfall that never abate, which quickly make travel impossible and force them to head back into the woods. The site where they believe they were first cursed, the Cursed Tree at the Aldergard's edge, is covered in snow throughout the year.
    • Early in the game's history, the Ice Age block covered... well, an ice age that affected the continent of Terisiare for a few millennia following the cataclysmic end of the Brothers' War between Urza and Mishra.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Irrisen (Fantasy Counterpart Culture of fairy-tale Russia) has had this problem since Baba Yaga conquered it. While the reason why she conquered it is canonically established note , her reasons for freezing it over permanently seem to be For the Evulz. The winter witches insist on keeping it that way, which is why the primary underground freedom fighting group call themselves "The Heralds of Summer's Return".
      • The unnatural winter is noted to have had devastating effects on both local society and environments — since there is no growing season anymore, most plants have been forcefully dormant since Irrisen's founding and no large-scale cultivation is possible, making Irrisen extremely dependent on food and lumber imports and on the winteryew tree, a magical plant introduced by Baba Yaga during the conquest which is capable of growing edible seeds and bark year-round. It's openly stated that the winteryews are the only reason Irrisen wildlife didn't die out en masse.
      • The eleventh adventure path, Reign of Winter, fittingly enough involves the current Queen of Irrisen attempting to spread her kingdom's Endless Winter across the entire planet.
    • Triaxus, the seventh planet of the setting's solar system, has an orbit that requires 317 Golarion years to make one circuit. Consequently, its seasons last for generations, and both the wildlife and the natives ryphorian people have had to adapt to the periodic onset of intense, century-long winters that make farming impossible, choke the seas with ice, and force many creatures into dormancy. This is naturally balanced by the fact that the summers are just as long. Notably, the onset of summer, while welcome, isn't any less dangerous than the winter itself — the sudden rush of meltwater as a century's worth of snowfall melts over a few years causes floods, drastic rises in sea level and powerful storms, problems compounded by the emergence of hordes of dormant predators roused from hibernation. These seasonal extremes also impact the power of the dragon warlords of Triaxus' Drakelands; while the red, green, and blue dragons, creatures of fire, vegetation, and warm climes, are dominant over the warm season, the ice-breathing and normally barbaric white dragons rise to power over the long winters.
  • Rifts: Both Canada and Russia suffered winters that lasted decades after the Coming of the Rifts, adding cold and starvation to the forces that wiped them clean of civilization.
  • Warhammer: One of the realms of the Enchanted Forest of Athel Loren, Atylwyth the Winterheart, is locked in an eternal winter, despite being in the fantasy equivalent of southern France and being surrounded on all sides by temperate areas that experience regular seasons. As a result, the forest spirits that live there are far more sluggish than those elsewhere in the forest and often dormant or asleep, forcing the elves to take a greater role in the realm’s defense than elsewhere in the forest.

    Video Games 
  • The surface of the world has been plunged into endless winter centuries ago in Arx Fatalis. Life and civilization only manage to continue in magically maintained systems of underground caverns. The game takes place in one of these and you never see the surface yourself. It is mentioned there are several such places, with specialized messengers risking the surface to traverse between them. The end of the game reveals that the winter is due to a cloud of dust and asteroids blocking the sun, implying it will in due time drift past and life can return to the surface.
  • Battle Realms: In the expansion Winter Wolf, the Lotus Clan plans to use the Wolf Clans wolf totem to bring a never-ending winter to freeze the other Clans.
  • Cities: Skylines: The Snowfall DLC has Winter Theme maps that periodically snow in your city of choice, requiring you to build snow dumps to get rid of accumulated snow on your roads unless you turn off the Dynamic Weather option. Other than that, it has no ill effects whatsoever for your city's zoned agricultural industry should you build one as the weather effects are purely cosmetic.
  • Civilization IV: The Fall from Heaven: Age of Ice scenario takes place during the setting's Age of Ice, characterized by a bitter winter lasting for generations after Mulcarn, the god of winter, rose to power, marking the end of the previous Age of Magic. The long winter results in the powerful civilizations of the Age of Magic collapsing. Few are able to survive the snowy wasteland. It's not until a hero named Kylorin united a tribe of people called Amurites and teaches them magic that they succeed in forging a new civilization and defeating the winter god. This starts the Age of Rebirth, and the main mod takes place during this time, with some of the old civilizations coming back and resuming old grudges. One of the conflicts (between the two groups of elves) is a direct result of this trope. During the Age of Magic, the Ljosalfar ruled in spring and summer, while the Svartalfar ruled in fall and winter. When Mulcarn engaged this trope, the Svartalfar refused to cede control at the appointed time, resulting in a civil war.
  • Dawn of War: Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising states that before the Warp Storms claimed the planet Aurelia, it was a major commerce hub and home to a monastery to the Blood Ravens. When it finally returned to real-space after millennia in the Warp, it has since turned into a wintry wasteland thanks to the ruinous powers in the Warp.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze: This is how the Snowmad Tribe conquers Donkey Kong's island, which was a warm tropical island in all previous Donkey Kong Country games. Lord Fredrik turns it into a cold tundra (with the help of his magical Viking horn capable of releasing dragon-shaped ice projectiles) so his people can live there. The aim of the Kongs is to return to their homeland and confront Fredrik to claim it back and find a way to restore its former warm state.
  • Dragon Quest V: The Winter Queen tricks Dwight into taking the Herald of Spring to the Winter Palace, causing an endless winter.
  • Dungeon Munchies: Once you reach the Surface, you find the entire zone suffers this as a result of the sentient sun abandoning the solar system in search of other sentient stars.
  • The Elder Scrolls: The northernmost continent of Nirn is Atmora. In ancient times, it was home to the Atmorans, a race of men with Barbarian Tribe and proto-Horny Vikings traits. Thousands of years prior to when the games in the main series take place, Atmora experienced the "Frost Fall", a mysterious gradual cooling which quickly rendered it uninhabitable to intelligent life. Most of the Atmorans migrated south to northern Tamriel, settling in modern-day Skyrim and interbreeding with Tamriel's native Nedic humans to create the modern Nords (and possibly all races of Men save the Redguards, though sources greatly conflict and are heavily biased). Reports from the 2nd and 3rd Eras indicate that Atmora is now completely frozen over, with no sign of intelligent life.
  • In Endless Legend this is the inevitable fate of the planet Auriga as the game progresses, with each winter being harder and longer. The endgoal of every faction is to find some way to survive the impending winter as the planet dies, such as leaving the planet altogether, hibernating until the planet recovers, or reversing the cycle.
  • In Evil Genius 2, this is the endgoal of DLC character Polar, who as an Ice-themed supervillain wants to create a new ice age with the use of her Doomsday Device Z.E.R.O.
  • Fahrenheit takes place against the backdrop of an unnaturally long and harsh winter, which is eventually revealed to be supernatural. Even though the villains didn't cause it, one of them chooses not to stop it in the ending where he wins, destroying humanity.
  • Fate/Grand Order: The premise of the first "Cosmos in the Lostbelt" storyline is that history changed so that an asteroid hit the Earth 450 years ago, triggering an Ice Age. Russia, having the people hardiest against cold, ends up taking over what is left of the world as brutal tyrants. The heroes manage to get history back on course.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy XIV: The region of Coerthas was plunged into an endless winter after the Calamity occurred. Due to the fall of Dalamud, Erozea's aether became totally screwed up. Corethas was once a lush green environment, but the Calamity turned into a winter wasteland that has only snow and ice. The people living in the region managed to adapt, but it also hinders their ability to effectively fight off the dragons.
    • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest: One of the problems is the freezing of Aquaria, caused by the dimming of the Water Crystal. Benjamin and Phoebe have to restore its light to get rid of all the snow and ice.
  • Forever Home: The Judgment Faction bombards the planet with explosive Cosmite rocks, causing the atmosphere to be filled with dust. This makes it impossible to restore the destroyed surface's vegetation, spelling the eventual doom of all life on the planet.
  • Frostpunk: A series of massive volcanic eruptions and also maybe a meteor knocking Earth out of its normal orbit caused the global temperature to drop precipitously. Minus 20 Celsius is the warmest temperature you'll see, and it's going to get colder. A lot colder. And the city must survive. Good luck, Captain.
  • Frozen State is set in a world that's going through a man-made ice age that was created to deal with human-alien hybrids.
  • Hades: It's stated (and shown, should you reach it) that the surface is currently locked in a long winter. Conversations Zagreus can have with Hades on the surface, especially should Zagreus be in contact with Demeter, imply that Demeter has locked the surface in an eternal winter awaiting Persephone's return from the Underworld and is unaware that the latter has disappeared wholesale.
  • Heroine's Quest: Fornsigtuna is in the middle of an overly long winter, and many are worried it may be the Filmbulwinter — and if the heroine doesn't intervene, it will be.
  • Honkai: Star Rail: The planet of Jarilo-VI was plunged into an ice age via a perpetual snow storm known as the "Eternal Freeze" about 700 years in the past that has rendered the planet nearly-inhospitable save for the city of Belobog. The Eternal Freeze was caused by the leader of the planet attempting to make a deal with a Stellaron to rid the planet of alien invaders. By the end of the Jarilo-VI storyline the Stellaron is sealed away, meaning that the snow storm is officially over though the planet is still ecologically devastated and will take centuries at least before it can fully recover.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us: Killer Frost's classic ending ends up with her freezing the entire northern hemisphere and ruling it as the Winter Queen.
  • Kittens Game: One of the first available Challenge Runs is "Winter Has Come", which replaces the normal seasonal cycle with four winters, making it much harder to produce enough catnip to feed your kittens.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The demon Goht is causing an endless winter to plague the mountain range the Gorons live in.
  • Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy: Froenborg, due to its geographical location (Tyrol, Austria). It's a town shrouded in snow with a frozen lake and very low temperatures, and it's noted to be in this state during the whole year.
  • Super Solvers: In Treasure Math Storm!, the Master of Mischief uses a weather control machine to cover Treasure Mountain in a blizzard to make the elves' lives difficult or something.
  • Total War: Warhammer III; the kidnapping and attempted murder of Ursun, the Bear God of Kislev, has trapped Kislev in an increasingly harsh and dark winter from which there seems no relief. The entire nation is on the brink of the Despair Event Horizon until the Advisor reveals Ursun is alive, sending Kislev into a desperate Race Against the Clock to rally their armies and rescue him before the Forces of Chaos get to him first and finish the job.
  • In ''Touhou Youyoumu ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom', Yuyuko steals spring to feed a giant monstrous cherry tree in the ghost world, causing perpetual winter in the land of Gensoukyo.
  • Wasteland 3 takes place in the frozen wastes of Colorado, plunged into a state of perpetual nuclear winter, and where the cold and snow are as great an enemy as any mutant or monster. The treacherous weather has not stopped humanity from clinging to existence. In fact, in the face of adversity, one man, Saul Buchanan, managed to unify the state and impose some semblance of civilization.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt features the White Frost, a possibly-alive force of nature that has turned countless worlds into frozen, lifeless husks. The Wild Hunt's world is currently undergoing such an apocalypse, and them fleeing it is the driving force behind the plot of the game.
  • Wizard101: In the side world of Grizzleheim, the Coven's evil plan is to bring about the Everwinter.
  • In Wynncraft, the Nesaak Forest and the Ice Canyon are permanently snow-laden, all year round. This was the work of Theorick Twain, who froze the formerly-temperate region to protect it from the corruption that had already seized his mind.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: The giant Titan of Tantal has its life energy drawn, making him too weak to maintain a high body temperature. This causes the vast land on its back and all its citizens to be stuck in an eternal winter.
  • X-Men Legends: Magneto makes asteroids surround the Earth, limiting light and heat from the sun. He publicly makes demands and says that if they're not met, "the chill you feel now will become the endless winter of your discontent."

    Visual Novels 
  • Reigning Passions:
    • Ever since the breaking of the royal family, the lands outside the capital have been in an everlasting winter. For this reason, they are called the Winter Wilds.
    • Within the capital itself, the Winter Quarter is perpetually cold and snowy.

    Web Animation 
  • In Shrapnel, the Always Night half of the planet is very cold, with deadly blizzards being a common occurrence. When snow isn’t actively falling, the place is freezing cold.

  • In Knights of Buena Vista, part of the mechanics for "FantasiaLand" says that if there is enough magical ice in one spot, the surrounding area will be winter until the ice is melted (which of course requires more than just regular heat).
  • In Oglaf, winter lasts until the Snow Queen is... satiated.

    Web Original 
  • Serina: This is the eventual fate of the titular moon as tectonic activity slows down and eventually halts, weakening and then completely destroying Serina's magnetic field, freezing the moon and bombarding it with cosmic radiation until no life can survive. Currently, within the project, this is still yet to come, but there's not much time left before it starts.
  • In the world of Taerel Setting, The Shattering, started by the volcanic fallout of a super volcanic eruption, was a winter that lasted for over fifty years. It affected most, if not all of Taerel. Many people died of a lack of food in this time.

    Western Animation 
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In the TV special "Christmas Everyday!", one of the consequences of Timmy's every day is Christmas wish is that every day is a snow day. This made it extremely difficult for him to travel to the north pole to get Santa Claus' help in cancelling the wish.
  • Famous Studios: Suddenly It's Spring from 28 April 1944 features Raggedy Ann pleading with Old Man Winter to relent, so that the sun may shine upon her owner, who lies abed dying from lack of sunlight.
  • Loonatics Unleashed: The Ice Vikings that invade Acmetropolis are armed with "hammers of frost" and know to attack the power station to best plunge that world into a new Ice Age.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends: In "Baby, It's Cold Outside", King Charlatan uses a machine to amplify his power over cold and freeze the entire world. That way, all lesser creatures will die and the world will be a paradise for penguins such as himself.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
      • "Hearth's Warming Eve" revolves around the tale of a terrible and uncontrollable winter in the setting's distant past. Evil spirits known as Windigoes are the cause, attracted by the different species' distrust of and discontent toward each other. It causes famines so awful that the leaders of each tribe, with their respective assistants, migrate to a new land — but the Windigoes just follow them there, too. It's finally stopped when the bossy, hateful leaders become encased in ice, and their three assistants amicably make amends.
      • "The Crystalling" nearly has this happen when the Crystal Heart is destroyed, courtesy of the power of baby Princess Flurry Heart's crying, which causes the collapse of the magical protection that keeps the Crystal Empire livable and sheltered from the vicious weather of the Frozen North. As a result, frigid cold and vicious storms begin to pour into the Empire, threatening to freeze it over and forcing its citizens to abandon it to the ice and snow. Fortunately, this is averted when the protagonists manage to repair the Crystal Heart and reset the magical barrier.
  • Ninjago: The Big Bad of the second half of Season 11 is the Ice Emperor (Actually an amnestic Zane with the Scroll of Forbidden Spinjitzu), who long ago took control of the peaceful Never-Realm and trapped it in an endless winter.
  • Peter Pan & the Pirates: The Ice King Cyros unleashes this upon Neverland in retribution for Peter Pan constantly invading his home and stealing his gemstones.
  • Tangled: The Series: This is what sets up the problem for the special "Queen for a Day". Eons ago, a warlock named Zhan Tiri cast an endless blizzard on Corona which destroyed anything in its path, but a sorcerer, Lord Demanitus, built the Demanitus Device, which changed the direction of the blizzard and blew it out to sea, and imprisoned Zhan Tiri within. But the curse still lives on and will strike again once Corona is at its weakest, and will last until the whole kingdom is destroyed. Zhan Tiri eventually reveals in the final season that she herself was the blizzard.
  • The Unstoppable Yellow Yeti is set in the town of Winterton, a small village in the Arctic circle that, as its name indicates, is subject to winter all year round.

    Real Life 
  • The winter of 1881 in the Upper Midwest, particularly North and South Dakota (then U.S. territories) and portions of Minnesota. Widely considered the most severe winter in recorded United States history, several blizzards followed in rapid succession through the northern U.S., isolating many small settlements, blocking main railways, and causing hundreds of deaths due to the freezing cold and starvation... especially since the first blizzard struck in October 1880, before crops were harvested and fuel supplies were secured for what already was predicted to be a colder-, snowier-than-average winter. The winter was chronicled by Laura Ingalls Wilder in her book The Long Winter, and includes the story of then-future husband Almanzo Wilder and a friend who ventured out on the open prairie in search of a cache of wheat that no one was even sure existed to save their town from starvation; fortunately, the search was successful. No snowmelt took place until temperatures finally warmed above freezing in March 1881, and for those who survived it... it truly was an endless winter that no one would ever see again.
  • Anything beyond 75th latitudes North or South. Due to the inclination of the Earth's axis, the temperature never rises high enough to melt the ice and snow. Likewise, anything over 4,000 m of elevation. As temperature drops 5 deg C per each kilometre up, the high mountain tops have eternal winter as the temperature drops near or below zero deg C.
  • Nuclear winter was a big worry during the Cold War (a Non-Indicative Name for the global conflict involved). This makes the modern issue of Global Warming somewhat ironic.
  • Another possibility is volcanic winter, caused by the ash and sulfuric acid ejected by a sufficiently large eruption blocking out enough sunlight to cause extreme drops in temperature worldwide.
  • Finally, there is impact winter. This is caused by meteor impacts filling the atmosphere with massive amounts of dust, ash, and assorted debris, and has the potential to be much worse than nuclear or volcanic winter, especially since associated firestorms would continue to fill the atmosphere with soot, ash, and smoke after the impact proper. Impact winter following the K-T meteorite impact is thought to have been a major cause in the dieoff of the dinosaurs.
  • "Snowball Earth" is the term given to a period in Earth's geological history in which ice covered the planet from pole to pole for tens of millions of years. Interestingly, the period came immediately before the rise of complex, multicellular life.
  • The Huronian Glaciation, the first and longest ice age in Earth's history, lasted for three hundred million years.
  • The Ice ages and glaciations of the current ice age (an ice age is any age in which there is permanent ice on the planet). The most recent glaciation happened when humans were around. The most extreme ice age is snowball earth when there is no place on earth that doesn't have ice.
  • Somerset, Pennsylvania on June 10, 1913 dropped to 20 degrees (a state record low for June that still holds to this day) and unusually for such an intense cold spell, it brought precipitation with it in the form of snow. Three inches of dry, powdery snow fell in a month where even in Alaska, something like this would be big news. Photographs were taken of people sweeping snow off of their front porches with brooms and printed in the local newspaper. Such a late snow of this magnitude has not happened since anywhere in Pennsylvania.

Alternative Title(s): Eternal Winter