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The Lonely Door

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"I found a door. An old oak door, standing unsupported by any other structure. I didn't know if it was an exit from the Dog Park or an entrance to something much worse, but... I went through it. Now I am in some old house..."

This is the extreme conclusion of Bigger on the Inside. Rather than being an item with interior dimensions fitting for the shape but larger, there is nothing but a lonely door to be seen on the outside. Of course, this door or portal does lead somewhere, somehow.

When a character opens the door and crosses it, they end up in a room, or even an entire place, that should have been seen from the outside. Sometimes, there is a building there, but it's invisible and the door is the only thing you can see. More often, it is a Portal Door leading to some other dimension or magical realm. In the latter case, expect the character to examine the door by walking all the way around it. (But don't expect the camera to show the door from behind, especially while it's open)


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon:
    • One of Doraemon's recurring tools is the "Anywhere Door", which is a free-standing door that can bring you to any location you tell it, as long as you made sure you've worded your request carefully.
    • Doraemon: Nobita and the Tin Labyrinth has the briefcase containing the Portal Door that leads to Burinkin, which manifests as a similar door in the middle of a beach.
  • In Restaurant to Another World, the restaurant Nekoya's door appears in random places in various locations across the land, waiting to be discovered. Those who do discover the door usually build homes or shrines around it as the door itself disappears after the entering customer leaves through it and only reappears every seven days.

  • The Lonely Door is a very common subject of surrealistic artworks, often used in photography (you can find examples here and there and a lot of others there). Often, the door is left closed, and the artist expect the viewer to know that they are very likely to go somewhere else than behind the door if they open it…

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City: In "Through Open Doors (Part One)", Telseth of Kvurri arrives in Astro City through a fifty-foot-tall door floating above the Gaines River.
  • In Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars! there is a door like this on the Righteous Indignation: it leads to Willy's dimension.
  • In the Donald Duck story Donald Duck's fantastic invention, by Michel Piédoue and Claude Marin, strange aliens are hiding in a lab that can only be entered through a large stone door standing in the middle of a very small island (too small, actually, for the lab to be actually located there). Donald Lampshades this by saying once he is in the laboratory after having been through the door that "he'd have sworn that there was nothing behind the door". This is never explained, though: it is just a small example of these aliens's weirdness among a bunch of other details.
  • In Supergirl story arc Bizarrogirl, super-villain Dollmaker abducts a child using a door which appears and disappears on a brick wall.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 
  • In Disney's take on Alice in Wonderland, when Alice is about to wake up from her dream, she comes across the door she previously met in the Rabbit's Hole. As the entire Wonderland realm has faded away, all that's left is the door floating in space. When Alice looks through the keyhole, she sees that the real world is on the other side, but it's obvious that there is nothing behind the door, not even a wall.
  • The doors used by monsters to enter kids' bedrooms in the Monsters, Inc. movies. These doors are each twinned with a specific location in the human world, but they need to be hooked up to special mechanisms to "work" as Portal Doors, otherwise they're just mundane pieces of wood. There is also a door used to banish people to the Himalayas in the first film.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 1408: Near the end, a random door appears in the middle of the room. When Enslin opens it, it just shows a black void.
  • El Mariachi: Robert Rodriguez discovered a door standing without any walls around it while filming the movie (all that was left of a demolished building), so used it for a dream sequence.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: Nancy and the teenagers are ready to confront Freddy Krueger when a floating door appears in front of them. There's nothing behind it, but the door itself is a portal to Freddy's hell-like lair.

  • The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica: The adventure in The Indigo Dragon starts when John, Jack and their friend Hugo discover one while walking in the woods near Oxford, and then Hugo goes through and disappears when the connection ends.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle: the doorway to the stable exists standing by itself in Aslan's Country. Unusually for this trope, the door is freestanding in the "inside" world, rather than the "outside" one (where it's a part of the aforementioned stable).
  • In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, there's a time machine that manifests itself by creating a doorway on the nearest convenient wall — or, when we first see it, on a bare rockface. At one point, the characters go back in time to visit the dodo before humans discovered it and made it extinct, and there are no walls, so it's just a door standing by itself in the middle of the forest.
  • In The Drawing of the Three, Book II of The Dark Tower, Roland the Gunslinger finds a series of three doors on a beach along the Western Seain Mid-World. Each one leads into the body of someone living in New York City at different time periods. Each are free standing, and invisible when viewed from behind. More such doors are found as the series continues, though they just lead to Earth, without having to possess anyone.
  • Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series novel The Dark Is Rising. When Will Stanton first comes into his full power as an Old One, he finds a pair of large carved wooden doors standing by themselves on a hillside. Going through the doors takes him to a meeting with two other Old Ones.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Downplayed in season 4 of Stranger Things: an entrance to a desert bunker is just a door that opens to a narrow stairwell that goes straight down underground. This means that it is not a literal example of the trope, but most shots of the door (including its introductory shot) are directly forward-facing, so the doorway and door itself are the only things visible, creating the illusion of the trope.
  • In the third season of Once Upon a Time, Prince Charming and Snow White need to visit Glinda the Good Witch, to learn how to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West. She has been exiled to a dark forest, where they find a door like this that leads to her prison. In a variation, the other side of the door is also free-standing, just in a beautiful winter forest, and while anyone can go through it, Only the Pure of Heart will reach Glinda; anyone else just comes out the other side still in the dark forest. A few other doors exist like this in the series as well, such as the portal doors in Jefferson (the Mad Hatter)'s hat, which are free-standing in the locations they reach rather than inside the hat, and those summoned by the Sorcerer's Apprentice.

  • In Lindsey Stirling's music video for "Take Flight", a single door with lightbulbs hanging in front of it is seen at the end of Lindsey's journey. The door leads back to Lindsey's own house.

  • The Magnus Archives: An empty door standing on its own is typically the work of The Spiral.
  • Unwell Podcast: A door in the basement of Fenwood Boarding House occasionally appears. It's not on any of the blueprints.
  • In Welcome to Night Vale, several old oak doors appear in the desert, standing with no support. Knocking can sometimes be heard coming from them. John Peters - you know, the farmer? - chained one of them closed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons adventure Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. On each level of Lolth's Web in the Abyss, there are four doors that stand by themselves at the edge of the Web. Each door leads to a room on another layer of the Abyss. One room on each level is guarded by demons: if the Player Characters can defeat them, they will be transported to the next higher level.

    Video Games 
  • In Deltarune, the Dark World fast-travel system initially manifests as unusable doorframes that can't be seen through. Once the final doorframe is reached, all of them turn into doors with rainbow flames emanating from underneath, and any of the doors is able to travel to any other.
  • Kingdom Hearts has lots of them. Most notably the door to the heart of all worlds. It's a game in which the main character wields a gigantic key. Doors tend to be prominent, but usually created in mid-air.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has The Inexplicable Door which leads to The 8-Bit Realm, parodying the trend in videogames of the 8-bit era to connect levels or areas with a door which is not attached to any building.
  • King's Quest:
    • In King's Quest II, there are three locked doors in the middle of nowhere, one right behind the other. Once you unlock all three, you can walk through to another world.
    • King's Quest VII has the Faux Shop, which is just a false store front (the type that gets used in movies); the only way to enter is to take a grain of salt before walking through the door.
  • Submachine 7: The Core: One of the two Portal Networks consists of freestanding stone doorframes. You can tell they're active when the interior glows blue. Of particular note is the doorway that leads to the Winter Garden (the main area) in the first place, since you can indeed "go around" it. It's in the center of the screen, and angled to make it clear it's in your path. Clicking it (if active) takes you to the other side of the door, but clicking the edge of the screen takes you to the next screen of the area you're in.

    Web Animation 
  • Songs of War: In episode ten, the obsidian portal frame on the peak of Mount Velgrin opens into the Past (from the present day). From the past, only darkness can be seen.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time episode "What Was Missing", the Door Lord is capable of creating isolated Portal Doors like this, as well as in two-dimensional surfaces.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "Porky in Wackyland", the Do-Do draws a door in mid-air, then enters it by lifting it up like drapes and going under it. Porky tries to force the door open, even though he could easily go around. Do-Do then peeks from a window floating in mid-air and Porky goes through it. And then we see the door from the other side as an elevator, which then rises up into the sky. Yes, this is a strange cartoon.
    • "Operation: Rabbit" starts with Wile E. Coyote placing a portable door outside of Bugs Bunny's burrow just so he'll have a door to knock at.
    • In a similar manner to “Operation Rabbit”: In “To Hare is Human”, Wile E. Coyote places a portable window just in front of the combination lock on Bugs Bunny’s burrow so he can have a window to sneak through.
  • A one-off gag from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, in which the door is slammed to end a conversation even though there's no wall around it.
  • In the Wander over Yonder episode "The Void", Wander and Sylvia encounter a doorknob floating in space. When Wander turns it, it opens a door into the White Void Room alluded to in the title. At the end of the episode, they encounter a large floating window.
  • The Owl House plays with the trope. Not only does it work the reverse of usual—the main character Luz goes through a normal door in an abandoned house before emerging from a free-standing one in the Demon Realm—but the door can actually be folded up into a suitcase and moved to be reopened elsewhere. Although after she destroys it, it gets rebuilt later as an immovable one in Belos's lair.


Video Example(s):


William's Door

Sarah Gold having decipher her grandfathers' notes managed to stumble across Williams' Door leading into Nekoya: a Western-Themed Restaurant that only pops up every seven days on a Saturday.

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Example of:

Main / TheLonelyDoor

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