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Ice Palace

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The cold better not bother you if you live here.
The Castle of Bones loomed over her now. It certainly deserved the capital letters, up this close... The pillars at the entrance were hundreds of feet high. Each of the steps leading up was taller than a man. They were the grey-green of old ice. Ice. Not bone. There were faintly familiar shapes to the pillars, possibly a suggestion of femur or skull, but it was made of ice.

At cold enough temperatures, ice can be a suitable building material, but why stop at a simple igloo? Enter the ice palace, if you can stand the cold.

The ice palace tends to be a castle-sized and shaped piece of an ice world. It may belong to a larger ice world, or it may be relatively self-contained...

It's a huge, foreboding building that seems as if it was once inhabited by normal people. However, it has now frozen over, and any people who currently live there are definitely not normal.

If it's a level in a Video Game, it's a type of Slippy-Slidey Ice World. Ice palaces tend to turn up in the mid-to-late story or videogame because of their nature. Expect any boss who lives there to be An Ice Person. Snowlems might also be found living here. Also expect icicles (possibly crashing down at the worst time), the occasional floor that's too slippery to walk on, and —if it's a videogame — Block Puzzles and various Malevolent Architecture.

A brick-and-mortar dungeon that's entirely underground counts as an Ice Palace if it is otherwise cold enough. But an ice palace has to be more, um, palatial than an icy cave.

May even be ruled by a Winter Royal Lady, or a literal Ice Queen, or Santa Claus.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Superman's Fortress of Solitude is, at least in modern comics, an Ice Palace. This largely comes from the Donner films, however; see the example under Films. It is true that the Fortress was located in the arctic since the Silver Age, but it wasn't depicted as being made from ice until the films.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Princess Snowina's palace and throne is constructed of ice.
  • Rychlé šípy: In one Čermák-drawn story, Rychlé šípy find a mysterious and detailed ice building during a winter hike. It turns out to be the project of a local school class and their cool PE teacher.
  • One story of ''Cattivik (taking place during a snowstorm so strong it conveniently keeps the reader from seeing anything besides the balloons) has the titular protagonist running into the work of a russian artist: a full-sized replica of the Winter Palace attacked by the soviets, complete with any possible, maniacal detail. When the artist guides him inside to show the place and tells him that it's a priceless artwork, Cattivik decides to steal the whole thing one piece at a time... starting with the single piece holding the entire structure up, causing everything to crumble on him.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls: Platinum's Bankai manifests as a massive island of ice with an ice palace (including throne room and nursery room) in the center, which allows her to control the area and launch whatever attack she desires from within. Its presence alone causes localized ice age.

    Films — Animated 
  • Fire & Ice: Queen Juliana and her son Nekron live in an icy palace named Icepeak that resembles a human skull. Since Nekron is An Ice Person, he likely fashioned it that way with his powers, similar to the way he can expand his icy empire southward.
  • Naturally, Queen Elsa in Frozen (2013) builds an enormous, beautiful Ice Palace during the course of her song "Let It Go". It ends up reflecting her emotions — growing more frightening the more scared she becomes, with icicles spiking out everywhere and changing to darker colours. It returns to normal after Marshmallow makes it his home. By the end of the movie, she's made the castle in Arendelle into a second ice palace, coating a good portion of the castle's roofing in ice, adding a giant snowflake to the tallest spire, and creating snowflake-shaped ice sculptures in the courtyard fountains. While merely an exterior change, it symbolizes Elsa being more at peace with herself, combining the home she made for herself to be free in though it meant she’d have to be alone, and the home she always had and was filled with love for her, though she could not let it in, and had to shut away who she really was.
  • The opening of The Super Mario Bros. Movie shows penguins who live in a large castle made of ice. It's decimated by Bowser, who arrives on his ship to steal the Power Star that is contained in it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The depiction of Superman's Fortress of Solitude as an Ice Palace really comes from the Richard Donner-directed Superman films starring Christopher Reeve. Since then, that idea has migrated into the comics and into certain television portrayals as well.
  • In a rare non-fantasy and non-Sci-Fi example, Gustav Graves in Die Another Day has an ice palace in the middle of Iceland. Bond soon trashes the place.
  • Batman Returns: The Arctic World hideout isn't a literal Ice Palace, being a former zoo exhibit. However, it is very, very cold (thanks in part to a massive air-conditioning apparatus), features a cathedral-like skylight, and is ruled by the Penguin as if he were a king (he even sits on a throne).

    Fairy Tales 

  • Lone Wolf: In the third game book, The Caverns of Kalte, the ice-fortress of Ikaya is, well, an ice-fortress. The fortress of the Deathlord of Ixia is located in an arctic or subarctic region, but it isn't quite an Ice Palace.

  • Discworld:
    • Hogfather: The Castle of Bones, home of the titular character, is not made of bones but of ancient ice, with occasional hints that it was once sculpted to look like bone. In the absence of its owner, it quickly collapses.
    • Wintersmith: Once the titular character has become capable of understanding why it would, it creates an ice palace for it and the Summer Lady to live in.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The White Witch's palace in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is made out of ice and black magic.
  • Dragonlance: In Dragons of the Highlord Skies, and in the corresponding Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules, one group of the Heroes of the Lance must retrieve one of the Dragon Orbs from Icewall Castle.
  • The Dresden Files features Arctis Tor, a large ice castle belonging to Mab, the queen of winter. She even has a nice courtyard where she keeps enemies frozen solid.
  • Der Eiskristall features an ice palace. Even the furniture is made of ice and snow.
  • The Ice Palace contains Exactly What It Says on the Tin, complete with a young girl who gets trapped there and never returns.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Enchantresses and Wizards found in northern climes usually build their palaces out of ice.
  • Wings of Fire: The IceWings have an ice palace where everyone in the top ranks of their Fantastic Caste System live. It was enchanted by an animus dragon thousands of years ago to never melt.


    Myths & Religion 
  • Ryujin, the Shinto dragon god of the sea, has four halls in his palace that correspond to the seasons. The hall of Winter is like this, and is beautiful, but—since they also refer to the seasons of human life—no mortal who enters it can return.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has the Ice Palace, located in a half-frozen lake in the Dark World. The slippery ice floor makes traction more difficult.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has the Snowhead Temple. Inside the temple are large chunks of ice that can only be defrosted with Fire Arrows (technically with Hot Spring Water as well, but it's impractical to try to use them as they cool over time, losing their effect).
    • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, specifically Oracle of Seasons, have the Sword and Shield Dungeon, a Hailfire Peaks Palace with a chilling ice floor shaped like a shield, and a scorching lava floor shaped like a sword. These floors reflect respectively the color-coded aspects of defense and attack.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: The Temple of Droplets is a small, igloo-like iceberg with an underground cold dungeon built within (Link needs to shrink in order to enter), and is plentiful in ice. The boss is a frozen octorok.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has Snowpeak Ruins, located at the end of the Snow Province. It's not made of ice (except during the boss fight), but instead is a ruined manor that has frozen over. This one is actually inhabited, by two friendly Yeti—the ice is a non-issue and the monsters just household pests to them.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass has the Temple of Ice. It is where the Azurine, one of the Pure Metals needed to forge the Phantom Sword, lies. In addition to slippery floors, it has several pits that can only be avoided with the help of the Grappling Hook.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks has the Snow Temple, which not only has slippery ice but also dense snowy terrain, where the White Wolfos are better at moving through than Link. Large bells are hit with the Boomerang to open doors.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has the Ice Ruins, located in the eastern side of Lorule's Death Mountain, where Turtle Rock was in A Link to the Past (and is now where the Ice Palace was in the 1992 game, namely in the lake). The Fire Rod is required to melt the large ice blocks that obstruct Link's progress.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 2: The last level of World 4 has not one, but two tall towers full of ice. The first has to be climbed upward while avoiding the incoming Flurries, while the latter is accessed for the descent and requires some Cranium Ride due to the abundance of Spikes of Doom. There's a third building shortly afterwards, but its only content is the entrance to the world's boss (Fryguy).
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 has the second Ice Land mini-fortress (in contrast, the other two are warm on the inside). It is made of giant ice blocks, and the resulting frozen floor makes dodging the Thwomps a difficult task.
    • Super Mario 64: The game has the igloo in Snowman's Land. It's Bigger on the Inside, and its contents vary depending on the game's version: In the original, it has a maze made of ice walls that can be passed through with the Vanish Cap (the Star is encased within an ice cube that hangs on the ceiling, thus necessitating that powerup for its collection). The DS version removes the maze elements and instead makes it a series of icy platforms above frigid water, and adds Red Coins that add a second Star to the igloo when all of them are gathered. The location of the first Star has been changed to being placed under a wire floor, but this still necessitates the Vanish ability - and since that move is exclusive to Luigi, only he can get it. In both versions, a Bob-omb Buddy is present, and talking to him will enable the use of a cannon outside.
    • Paper Mario 64: The Crystal Palace in Chapter 7. It is located atop Shiver Mountain, and it's there where the then-following boss (the Crystal King) is faced. Goombario repeatedly complains about how cold it is in his Tattles.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Diddy Kong Racing features the Icicle Pyramid. It's not evil by nature, but it is used as a battle arena rather than a racetrack.
    • In Donkey Kong 64, there's a small ice castle within Crystal Caves. The front entrance leads to a tile swap minigame, while the upper entrance leads to a sliding race.
    • In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Lord Fredrik installs one within the core of the volcano located in Donkey Kong Island, and it's from there that he's governing the island after he and the Snowmads take over. When the Kongs arrive, Fredrik makes a large leap to challenge them in battle, but due to his weight and the impact of his jump the ice floor of the throne room breaks, taking them to the red hot bottom where the boss fight starts for real.
  • Peppermint Palace in Kirby & the Amazing Mirror.
  • In the grim Northern parts on Sunless Sea's Zee lies the gigantic and ominous Frostfound, a giant ice castle encrusted in ice with a complex set of spires circling around it. An Eldritch Location in its purest form, it was created by a Judgement and is therefore rife with Correspondence sigils, and its insides are even worse. Entering it is an affront to the Gods of the Zee and will rob you of all your stories and self.
  • The Frozen Palace from Brave Fencer Musashi.
  • The palace from Enchanted Arms where you fight the hot Ice Queen Demonic Golem and yes, that name is correct.
  • Found in the city of Svargrond in Tibia, available for rent as a guild hall.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy:
    • In Metroid Prime, Phendrana Drifts houses a Chozo chapel, which includes a Chozo statue that, upon Samus using the Plasma Beam, unveils a passageway leading to one of the Chozo Artifacts.
    • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Samus ventures into Bryyo's hidden ice area and finds a frozen temple housing a tall monument shaped like a Chozo, where the Screw Attack can be found.
  • King's Quest V features one, where you have to convince the Ice Queen to help you in your quest.
  • Permafrost in both EverQuest and EverQuest II. Also parts of The Tower of Frozen Shade.
  • Half the settings of Battlefield 2142 are located in a Europe that is steadily being overtaken by massive glaciers. The other half are the African settings that all the survivors are trying to occupy.
  • In Secret of Mana, the Ice Palace deep inside the Ice Country, a frozen castle filled with icy monsters. Strangely enough, the Mana Seed of Fire can be found here, after being smuggled into the palace by the Frost Gigas, also known as Santa Claus. Yes, Santa Claus. And later, in the prequel Children of Mana, a snowed in castle appears.
  • Jitsu Squad has the stage in Frosthaw Fortress, an ice palace filled with animated snowmen, wolves, and a fearsome white tiger-man named Frost as a boss.
  • Pokémon:
    • Snowpoint Temple in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. It's a postgame-only area filled with puzzles based around sliding on the frozen floor. At the bottom of the temple, you can find a Regigigas waiting to battle you, as long as you have the other 3 Regis in your party.
    • Almia Castle in Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia.
  • Played straight in one level of Light Crusader — except the boss turns out to be a fire-breathing dragon.
  • Glacia in Skies of Arcadia is an entire city made of ice, found clinging to the underside of a Floating Continent resembling Antarctica and originally founded by the (now-missing) Purple Moon Civilization.
  • St. Hermelin High School is transformed into a crystalline fortress of ice and snow in the Snow Queen Quest in Persona.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Arena, the Fortress of Ice was a fortress of ice near Winterhold created by the great Archmage Shalidor, and one of the main quest dungeons in the Skyrim portion. It would see references in later games, although when next Skyrim was visited it was absent without an explanation.
    • Castle Karstaag in Morrowind expansion Bloodmoon.
  • The Winter Palace in the Faerie Lea world in Dragon Quest V. Once the winter curse is broken upon returning, the palace melts and becomes a T'n'T board.
  • World of Warcraft has the Icecrown Citadel, the throne of the Lich King. A fortress constructed from metal containing the blood of an Old God, built atop and within a titanic glacier. Not a nice place to visit.
  • The fifth boss of Purple resides in such castle.
  • Tundaria Tower and the Mars Lighthouse in Golden Sun, the latter being a Fire/Lava based dungeon after you defrost it, technically making it a Hail Fire Peaks level.
  • The sixth dungeon, Wawku Shrine, in Ōkami. It's from here where the evil beings (under the command of owl monsters Lechku and Nechku) want to reduce the temperature of all of Kamui to absolute zero, and has several mechanical setpieces that remain functional despite the low temperatures.
  • In Baten Kaitos, we have Kaffaljidhma in the land of the witches, Wazn. However, unlike other examples, it holds no evil.
  • Shantae (2002): The Twinkle Palace, which sits at the top of Mount Pointy and holds the Twinkle Stone. It contains frozen Elite Mooks you must free and defeat to get past certain rooms and has large areas that are absolutely filled with Spikes of Doom.
  • Magical Pop'n: Stage 4 is an ice palace, with many conventional Slippy-Slidey Ice World features and a Snowlem boss.
  • Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure has the Frozen Temple, a collection of levels set in what looks like a massive Gothic mansion/cathedral built almost entirely with ice. It's quite a sight to behold, actually
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery has the Ice Queen's Domain.
  • The Ice Sanctuary in Digimon World is, as the name implies, a cathedral constructed of ice. It can only be accessed if your Digimon partner is a Vaccine-type, and, at first glace, there doesn't seem to be anything of note within, save for a sculpture of Angemon. However, delving deeper into it reveals that it more resembles a frozen motherboard than anything.
  • Gift: Walls in many rooms in Iceland are either made of ice or covered with thick snow.
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest has the three dungeons of the Aquaria realm: the Wintry Cave, a cavern with walls made of ice that you have to traverse using Phoebe's Cat Claw; the Falls Basin, the base of a frozen waterfall that contains fewer enemies but more Block Puzzles; and the Ice Pyramid, where the Crystal of Water resides. Once the Ice Golem is defeated and the crystal is restored, the land thaws out, rendering the Falls Basin inaccessible for the rest of the game.

    Western Animation 
  • The Northern Water Tribe from Avatar: The Last Airbender is all over this, having an entire City of Canals sculpted from ice.
  • One of Dr. Drakken's lairs from an episode of Kim Possible.
    Kim: Chillin' new lair, Drakken!
    Drakken: Kim Possible?
    Shego: [mocking] "We'll build a frozen fortress, she'll never find us there!"
  • The Ice King's palace, in Adventure Time.
  • Although this trope is usually the territory of Winter Royal Ladies, Professor Coldheart is shown living in Coldheart Castle about half the time (the other half, in a mad scientist laboratory in whatever town he happens to be menacing that week).
  • King Winter from The Real Story of O Christmas Tree resides inside one.

    Real Life 
  • There exist hotels and castles/palaces made of ice! The first one opened in 1990 in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. Typically inhabited by paid guests, unless an Action Hero happens to be stopping by. An episode of Dinner: Impossible had Chef Robert cooking for one of these ice hotels, forcing him to do his cooking outside lest the heat from the ovens melt the building.
  • Then there's the St. Pete Times Forum, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, which used to be called the Ice Palace.
  • Not a palace, and never actually realized, but there have been plans to build various large and labyrinthine structures, most famously HMS Habakkuk out of a frozen mix of water and wood pulp called "pykrete." The MythBusters had fun with this stuff during their second Alaska special episode.
  • The Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse looked like one after waves of icy water covered it with frost.
  • The notoriously crazy former Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov had one constructed near the capital (keep in mind that Turkmenistan is a desert country—technically a cold desert, but there’s still not much water and even in winter the daily low temperatures are still usually above freezing).


Video Example(s):


The Snow Maiden

The Snow Maiden lives in an opulent ice palace where animals serve her, but she is terribly lonely and wants to live among humans.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / LonelyRichKid

Media sources: