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Gate Guardian

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Solicitors will be knocked out cold...unless it's Girl Scouts.

Gates are important, protecting entrances to regions, cities, strongholds, portals, treasure, etc. and thus must have a guardian to protect them. These guardians can be solitary or numerous, human or animal, normal or mystical, but will always serve as a tough impediment to any who try to cross the gate uninvited.

If one desires to pass through them, one might need to beat them up in a fight, either to incapacitate them or prove to them that he's strong enough to pass. Or one may need to answer their questions or quizzes the right way. Or one may just bribe them with the right amount/thing.

Supertrope to Angry Guard Dog, and not to be confused with Threshold Guardians, although a gate guardian can also be one of those. A gate guardian often invokes You Shall Not Pass! by nature of his job. Related to NPC Roadblock. Compare and contrast Locked Door and Kill Enemies to Open.



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     Anime and Manga 
  • In the Bleach manga, the Seireitei, the center of power within the Soul Society has four gatekeepers, one for each of its gates: Jidanbo (West), Higonyudo (South), Danzomaru (North), and Kaiwan (East). Jidanbo is a giant who is not a fantastic fighter, but his massive girth is necessary to open the gate, which only responds to physical force and resists spirit energy.
  • Digimon Data Squad: Of the Royal Knights, Cranniummon's duty is to guard the entrance to Yggdrasil's realm. You have to show that you can fend off against his shield and spear, so he would let you in. Which is difficult to do, considering how strong he is and that his shield is really, really tough. Only the Burst Mode can meet up his power.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders: Pet Shop is an intelligent falcon and Stand User whose Stand named Horus can summon icicles that serve as homing missiles and are extremely dangerous to anyone in direct contact to the ice. The bird kills anyone who comes near looking for DIO's mansion or attempts to enter it, regardless if they are human or animal. And he really enjoys killing, too. After Pet Shop is killed by Iggy, the gate to DIO's mansion is opened to let the Joestar group in where DIO's servants are waiting for them to take care of.
  • Oimo and Kashii from One Piece initially start off as this during the Enies Lobby Arc against the protagonists before making a Heel–Face Turn. They made a contract with the World Government to protect the gates of Enies Lobby for 100 years, so they can get their captains Broggy and Dorry free from prison. But after 50 years of successfully doing that, they are not only defeated, but they also learn that their contract was based on lies and that Broggy and Dorry were free the entire time.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Meikyuu brothers (known as the Paradox brothers in the 4kids release) protected the gates of the underground labyrinth of Duelist Kingdom, and appropriately, their ace monster is Gate Guardian, a monster that is allowed to attack every other monster within the labyrinth. The brothers not only use Duel Monsters to keep the trapped people within the labyrinth, but they also use lies and tricks to make them choose the wrong door.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: The entrances to the East Tower and West Tower of Academia, where Rin and Ruri are held captive, are guarded by Apollo and Diana, who both wear Ancient Greek-themed clothing as opposed to the uniforms Academia are known for and they both use Guardian decks with defensive strategies. Both of them are defeated in the same episode (since both of their duels happened simultaneously), thus their opponents have free reign to enter the respective tower. Unfortunately, the captives inside the towers are Brainwashed and Crazy and they do not hesitate to push their saviors out from the towers and let them fall to the ground.

     Comic Books 
  • Heimdall, from the Thor comics, is the guardian of gate to Asgard who prevents invaders from being able to come as they please and regulating who is allowed to leave Asgard.
  • Wonder Woman: Philippus is the Captain of the Guard of Doom's Doorway, a group which works to prevent the door being opened from either side but mostly cares about things trying to escape from the far side of it.

  • Blood Quantum: Lysol and James guard the main entrance to the post-apocalyptic compound and are rather unpleasant toward arriving refugees.
  • The Bravados: The film begins with Douglass riding into an isolated town through a canyon pass to watch the execution of Zachary and his gang. He's stopped by Pepe Martinez, one of Sheriff Sanchez's deputies. Pepe is stationed on the cliff with a rifle to stop and search anyone riding into town to reduce the chance of anyone breaking the outlaws out of jail before their execution.
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), Zuul (who looks like a large demonic dog) is the Gatekeeper of the dimensional portal that Gozer the Gozerian arrives through. Its counterpart, Vinz Clortho, The Keymaster, also looks like a giant demon dog. They hatch out of statues of their likenesses, proceed to possess humans then bring Gozer into the world before transforming back into demonic dogs who then guard the entrance for Gozer.
    • Ghostbusters: Afterlife: The final act reveals that Egon spent the ten years before his death using proton packs to force back hordes of evil spirits whenever they try to get through a dimensional gateway in Shandor's mine. Even after his death, he leaves behind several automated proton packs that continue to render the gateway impassable.
  • Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning: Cormac is positioned at the fort's gate with a rifle, examining anyone outside through the peephole before deciding if they should come in.
  • The Postman:
    • When the Postman arrives at Pineview there are two men (one armed) guarding the gate who he takes a lot of effort to bluff into believing he's an official representative of the restored United States.
    • At the town of Benning (where the Postman is already inside) the two men stationed at the gate refuse to let in the Holnsit militia when they arrive looking for the Postman, shooting arrows out them and yelling for the bandits to "Drop dead and go to hell." This causes the Holnists to attack the town in force.
  • Stake Land: The first town resisting the vampires has the sheriff and several other men with shotguns using a train for a barricade and frisking the main characters pretty thoroughly before letting them in.
  • Stardust: Like in the book, the town has a man guarding the portal to the fairy world, although he's alarmed to realize the danger of things getting in when he's always focused on keeping people out from his side.
  • Thor: As guardian of the Bifröst, Heimdall defends Asgard from all who would seek to attack it.
  • Zombieland: Double Tap: Arguably Played for Laughs with the unarmed, slightly annoying gatekeeper at the commune of Babylon who won't let any guns inside.
  • The NeverEnding Story has Sphinx Gate, a mountain pass guarded by a pair of sphinx statues that will incinerate any who try to pass through, unless that person " feels his own worth".

  • A Song of Ice and Fire has several gate guardians.
    • The Night's Watch guard the passages through the Wall, a 700 feet high and 300 miles long structure that separates the North from the the lands beyond the Wall. They fight off repeated assaults from Wildlings attempting to invade Westeros, but the true threat they guard against are the Others.
    • The Bloody Gate, the entrance into the Vale of Arryn, is guarded by a small garrison under the command of the Knight of the Bloody Gate, who traditionally asks "Who would pass the Bloody Gate?" to any who seeks passage through. At the start of the series, the position is held by Ser Brynden Tully, but he resigns the post to fight for his grand-nephew in the War of the Five Kings. He is replaced by Ser Donnel Waynwood, who is directed by Lady Lysa Arryn to prevent any outsiders from accessing the Vale while the war is going on.
    • Also in The Vale are the Gates of the Moon, which protects access to the Eyrie, the seat of House Arryn. The defender of the Gates of the Moon is given the title Keeper of the Gates of the Moon. Lord Nestor Royce holds the title at the start of the series, and in A Feast for Crows, the title and position are made hereditary to his line.
    • Access to the region of Dorne by land is restricted to two mountain passes: the Boneway and the Prince's Pass. The Boneway is defended by a castle at Yronwood, seat of House Yronwood, with the head of the house given the title Warden of the Stone Way (the colloquial name for the Boneway) and is tasked with defending the gate at the end of the pass. Their sigil (a black portcullis) and house words ("We Guard the Way") reflect this duty. The Prince's Pass is similarly defended by House Fowler from the castle of Skyreach, and they are given the title Warden of the Prince's Pass.
  • In The Lord of the Rings novel The Fellowship of the Ring, The Watcher in the Water was a water monster with Combat Tentacles that guarded the door into Moria.
  • In Stardust, the town of Wall appoints one of its citizens to watch the hole into Faerie to make sure none of the locals gets curious and wanders across.
  • The Dresden Files has the Gatekeeper, a wizard in charge of overseeing the Outer Gates which are under constant assault from Eldritch Abominations.
  • Moving Pictures, a pastiche of film history, has the golden man, an obvious Shout-Out to the Oscar, who is at first is taken by the characters to be some kind of dangerous god sealed away behind a gate. Then they realize that the text with this information should be read right to left, and he is in fact standing in front of the gate, i.e. as a guard against the Eldritch Abominations on the other side.
  • In Secret Agents Four, the protagonists make it to the top of a wall surrounding the bad guy's lair, only to discover a lion on the other side glowering up at them.
  • In the Starlight and Shadows trilogy, much of the plot of the second novel is driven by the struggle to control a magic portal. It connects two very strategically valuable locations, but is guarded by an extremely old and powerful banshee who does not permit any living creature to pass through.
  • The Faerie Queene: Alma's palace is guarded by a porter who spies upon every visitor from his tower day and night and rejects any who intend to speak foolishly or act criminally by striking his alarmbell. This is largely symbolic of the impossibility of getting into Heaven when tempted to evil.

     Live Action Television 
  • In the Angel episode "A Hole in the World" we meet Drogyn, the keeper of the Deeper Well, a prison for ancient dead demons. He guards the entrance to the Deeper Well, hidden in a tree in the Cotswolds.
  • Game of Thrones: The Bloody Gate of the Vale has a permanent garrison currently commanded by Ser Donnel Waynwood.

     Mythology and Religion 
  • Greek mythology has several gate guardians:
    • Cerberus is the guardian of Hades, preventing the dead from leaving as well as the living from entering the place.
    • Tartarus, the deep abyss of Hades, used to be guarded by a female dragon, Campe, before Zeus killed it to free the giants imprisoned there. Later the hundred-armed giants, Hecatonchires, became the new guardians. In Roman mythology, however, Tartarus was actually guarded by a hydra. Tisiphone of the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) was also said to keep guard on the top of a turret, slashing the prisoners with her whip.
  • In common Christian depictions Saint Michael (because he's the chief Heavenly Satan-stomper) or Saint Peter (because of Jesus giving him the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven) is the guardian of the gate of Heaven. He often looks in a book to see whether a soul has been good and can enter, or bad and has to go to Hell.
  • In Norse Mythology, Garm was a bloodstained watchdog that guarded the gates of Hel (the Norse land of the dead).

     Tabletop Game 
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, there's "Gatekeeper", a mechanical creature who seems to guard dimensional gateways. There's also "Gate Guardian", the Meikyuu Brothers' ace monster in the anime. Presumably it guards gates with its mighty power.


     Video Games 
  • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Cerberus is the guardian of the entrance of the Temen-ni-gru who prevents humans from getting in. Agni & Rudra guard a specific door inside Temen-ni-gru to prevent further progress of anyone who got past Cerberus.
  • In Dynasty Warriors, Dong Zhuo's officers Hua Xiong and Lu Bu are in command of guarding Sishui and Hulao Gates, respectively, when the allied forces attempt to remove Dong Zhuo from power. Defeating, or avoiding in the case of Lu Bu, these two officers is usually an objective in one of the early stages of each games campaign.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, the Underworld is guarded by a giant machine called... the Underworld Gatekeeper. Dark Pit defeats it by kicking it in the face.
  • Hong Meiling from Touhou guards the gate of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Fandom has flanderized her as spectacularly inept at her job, often depicting her as sleeping all day long and being punished for it by Sakuya. Canon actually states that she's fairly good at her job, except she's massively outclassed by Marisa, who nobody can keep out.
  • The Gatekeeper in the The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion expansion The Shivering Isles is a giant monster created by Relmyna Verenim out of the flesh of the dead to guard the exit from the Fringe out into the rest of the Shivering Isles. The player kills it to gain access to the rest of the realm, but is later tasked by Sheogorath to create a new Gatekeeper with Relmyna's help.
  • The unimaginatively named Gatekeeper C, B and A in Tower of the Sorcerer are always found in pairs, on either side of the gate they protect, and have a much higher defence stat than most monsters of their tier, so the player cannot take them on until his attack is strong enough.
  • In Thanatos on the ZX Spectrum, the last castle you approach is guarded by catlike creatures that can easily kill your dragon while it's on the ground — and you need to be on the ground to burn the gate down. You therefore have to kill the cats before attempting to burn the gate.
  • The Thresholder Heartless, pictured above, from Kingdom Hearts II is the result of a Possessor Heartless, well, possessing a carving on a door in Beast's Castle. You need to get through the door to rescue Cogsworth and the other Beauty and the Beast characters and in order to do that, you need to take this thing out.
  • BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger: Subverted with Hakumen, who serves as the game's penultimate boss, challenging anyone who happens to find their way to the gate of the Cauldron. He doesn't actually guard the gate, he's just waiting for the gate to open, so he can enter it himself. Anyone else he meets is just unlucky to cross paths with him.
  • Fate/Grand Order: In the Sixth Singularity: Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot, Gawain acts as the gatekeeper of the Holy City, along with several Enforcement Knights. The gate itself cannot be destroyed by attacks that mean harm, so only someone as benevolent as the Buddhist monk Xuangzang Sanzang is capable of opening the giant gate with her Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs. Gawain, who also becomes three times stronger under sunlight which he can summon all the time thanks to his Gift he's blessed with, is just the cherry on top.

     Visual Novels 
  • Cerberus in Astoria: Fate's Kiss, unsurprisingly, guards the gate to the Underworld. Or at least one of them. His brothers Nemean and Orthros also work as gate guardians.
  • In Fate/stay night, Caster summons Assassin and assigns him to guard the entrance to Ryudo Temple from anyone who doesn't have her permission to enter. He has no choice but to do so, because the nature of his summoning means he cannot leave the temple grounds.

     Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, the Order of the Scribble established guardians at each of the five magical gates that prevent the Snarl from reemerging and destroying reality.
    • Dorukan's Gate is protected by Dorukan himself, who placed powerful magic sigils on the gate to prevent evil aligned creatures from accessing it and built a huge dungeon to aid in its defense.
    • Girard's Gate is protected by Girad Draketooth and his family, who hid the pyramid where the gate is located with numerous illusions.
    • Kraagor's Gate is protected by numerous ultra-powerful and nasty monsters.
    • Lirian's Gate is guarded by Lirian and creatures of the forest.
    • Soon's Gate is protected by the Sapphire Guard, an order of paladins.

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • One episode of Samurai Jack has Jack discovering a working time portal, and a guardian who is sworn to not allow ANYONE to use it unless they are worthy. Jack's repeated pleas that he needs to use the time portal to defeat Aku is met with general apathy from the guardian. Jack finally decides to take the portal by force, and battles it out with the guardian. After a long fight, the guardian absolutely pummels Jack after giving him one last chance to give up (which Jack refuses), but before he can land the killing blow, the portal tells him to stand down, and the guardian sends the unconscious Jack off on the back of a dragon-like creature. The guardian looks into the portal and sees an older Jack leading an army against Aku. He says that Jack wasn't worthy of using the portal. Not yet...
  • When Leonardo goes to train with the Ancient One in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) he finds a narrow mountain pass blocked by two yeti who provoke him into a fight (in order to impart a Stealth Mentor lesson about not attacking an opponent in anger) before letting him through.