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The Wall Around the World

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"I don't want to die inside these walls without knowing what's out there!"
Eren Yeager, Attack on Titan

All around where you grew up is a barrier. No one knows what lies on the other side. Or if they do, they're not telling. It could be Here There Be Dragons, or your ancient enemies, or it could be that you and everyone you know is Sealed Good in a Can. (Or evil, who knows?) Passage through will be difficult if not impossible, for what good is a barrier if anyone can walk on through?

The wall can surround a single village, a town, a continent, a world, or even an entire galaxy. Or it could seemingly surround nothing, and simply mark a barrier between one world and the next.

Note that, despite the name, the barrier does not have to be a literal wall.

If the barrier surrounds a community, it is an isolated Small, Secluded World or City in a Bottle or possibly a Domed Hometown. Contrast with The Great Wall, which bisects the world, dividing it into two separate parts, and The Outside World, what lies outside the walls. When the wall is so big people start living on it, you have yourself a Dyson Sphere.

See also: Border Patrol


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A variety occurs in Angel Beats!. There's no literal wall, but the world around the high school complex just disappears into a thick fog once you travel beyond the hills.
  • In Attack on Titan, the remnants of humanity live inside an area protected by three absolutely massive ring walls. All the lands outside are claimed by man-eating giants that have hunted humanity to near extinction. The plot of the series is kicked off when the walls begin to fail... There's also a kind of layered example in how each wall has a quartet of towns situated just outside of it (surrounded by an extended semicircle), serving partially as a waystation in the major gates of the walls, but mostly as a cost reducing factor by baiting the Titans into easily monitored concentrations just outside the towns (the walls there being thinner than the rest). Although there are government incentives to settle such towns, it's offset by needing to live with the constant visual reminder of their enclosure. At least before the first one falls.
  • In Back Arrow, the entire continent of Lingalind is surrounded by a wall so massive, you can't see its top — it just blends into the sky. It's revered as God by the inhabitants, and they believe that beyond it, there's nothing but void. It's made quite explicit that saying otherwise is heresy and could get you killed. This belief is challenged by the title character, who insistently claims to have come from beyond the wall.
  • Meta-example: The universe in which Glass Fleet takes place is described as a "closed space". The exact details are unclear, but one thing is made clear: it's shrinking as more and more of it crosses the event horizon of the Black Cross: a massive black hole.
  • The wall around the town in Haibane Renmei. (We never do find out what lies beyond, though considering that the walls are death...)
  • Henkyou no Roukishi Bard Loen: The known world is surrounded by a giant wall called Han Dessa Rou. The Tersia lands of Pakura District have a section without the wall, which is the entrance to an unexplored forest where the monsterous Kijiel come from.
  • In the one-shot manga Island, by Komi Naoshi, the town the main characters live in is surrounded by a huge wall, much like a well. When the islanders turn 14, they are shown the truth- outside their island is nothing but a vast sea. The islanders believe that all the land in the world sunk and thus all other countries were drowned, making it useless to go outside the island. It turns out that only the island sank, probably because of land subsidence and earthquakes.
  • The wall in Princess Tutu is both literal and metaphorical, keeping reality from intervening in the narrative-controlled Gold Crown Town. Most people don't even realize it exists, since the story prevents them from wanting to leave. (This doesn't stop people from suddenly appearing inside the town gates, but it's ambiguous whether they're capable of leaving.)
  • Tokyo Jupiter in RahXephon, encasing Tokyo (and looking like Jupiter).
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has the human villages deep underground. The planet's surface is overrun with monsters, and humanity has hidden away for so long that most of the people in Kamina's village question whether the surface actually exists.
  • In Yuki Yuna is a Hero, the setting is the island of Shikoku, which survives as its own country after a deadly virus struck the world hundreds of years ago; they were rescued by the Shinju-sama, which is now worshiped as a god. There's a wall around the country; if one goes beyond it, they discover a hellish landscape filled with Vertexes, which is what actually destroyed the rest of humanity.

    Comic Books 
  • In Age of X, there's a massive barrier keeping the bad guys out. Kitty phases through it once and finds out there's nothing beyond it. It turns out that the world isn't real, but made by a Reality Warper who is only good enough at this point to make a world that's only so big.
  • The DCU: The Source Wall is a metaphysical wall that surrounds all mortal reality, named after The Source, the DCU's equivalent of God or the Godhead and introduced in New Gods. The Source Wall separates the extant universe from the DCU equivalent of Heaven. Only those godlike beings who can reach the border of reality itself ever encounter it, and its appearance as a wall is indicated to be metaphorical rather than literal. That said, there are powerful cosmic beings embedded in the wall. As to the powerful cosmic beings embedded in it: if you try to breach it and fail, you wind up eternally trapped but alive. There are some powerful creatures who couldn't make it through. By now, the wall is so covered with those trapped by it that it looks like a wall made entirely of screaming faces as far as the eye can see. In the New 52, the Source Wall surrounds the entire multiverse and is a literal wall instead of a metaphorical wall. In this case, we have no idea how the geometry works.
  • Used in the Doctor Who Magazine comics, most notably in "Oblivion".
  • In Fables, a queen was punished for her infidelity to her wizard-king husband by being transformed into a tortoise and having the archipelago on which she was born shrunk and put into a teacup she must constantly balance on her back. We briefly see the inhabitants of the archipelago, who have various myths and semi-scientific theories relating to the colossal white wall (the rim of the cup) surrounding their world. Several of their stories have elements of truth to them, though by and large the people simply accept the wall as a fact of life, and it barely features in their lives beyond having a rite-of-passage where a boy must touch it to become a man.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The Hulk occasionally visits the Keystone Quadrant in his old comic-book series. Basically a solar system (possibly more than one) which was somehow 'walled off' from the rest of the universe, it can only be entered and exited through various types of teleportation. It's basically a Sugar Bowl without the sugar, populated by funny talking animals and hilariously incompetent Keystone Kops... and caught up in a long war between a Mad Scientist tortoise and his cybernetically-enhanced Black Bunny Brigade (not to mention a small army of robotic Monster Clowns and the heroic Animal Resistance, led by a fast-talking raccoon space-captain.
  • Legends of the Dead Earth:
    • In Batman Annual #20, New Gotham is surrounded by a dome. The City Controllers tell the populace that it is for their own protection as the air outside New Gotham is poisonous. However, this is not true. The dome was constructed for the sole purpose of keeping the people inside the city.
    • In The Power of Shazam! Annual #1, the city on Binderaan where CeCe Beck lives is located inside of a dome.
    • In Aquaman Annual #2, the first storyteller believes that Atlantis was a domed city on the surface of Old Earth.
  • Secret Wars (2015): After Dr. Doom cobbles together Battleworld from the remaining fragments of the multiverse, he sets up a wall made out of Ben Grimm to keep out uncontrollable monsters like the Marvel Zombies, Ultron, and Annihilus.
  • W.I.T.C.H.: The Veil serves to keep a powerful evil, identified with Phobos, on the world of Metamoor and keep the universe safe from him, with most people being able to get through the various portals but Phobos being apparently unable to. The Veil becomes unnecessary and is torn down once Phobos is captured and locked in the Tower of Mists.

    Fan Works 
  • Beyond the Wall: A giant stone wall surrounds the village, keeping the villagers inside and forest monsters outside. The punishment for trying to go beyond the wall is immediate execution.

    Film — Animation 
  • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: To keep her daughter from endangering herself in the sea, Ariel has an enormous wall built around the palace to separate them from it. However, by 12, Melody has learned a way through it: a loose bar on one of the gratings allows her to squeeze through.
  • Over the Hedge: The animals wake up in the spring to discover a huge hedge is now running through the middle of their forest, but the main plot of the film involves them finding a new housing community on the other side, and begin to use the humans that live there to their advantage to get their food.
  • NIMONA (2023): The kingdom, which mostly consists of a Citadel City and some wilderness, is completely surrounded by a massive wall that no one has crossed in centuries, to the point that no one really seems to know what's out there anymore.
  • The Secret of Kells: Abbot Cellach is obsessed with building a wall that will protect his monastery from Viking invasions. It doesn't work. He is very strict with forbidding his charges from going outside, punishing young Brendan harshly when he disobeys.
  • Smallfoot: The Yeti are told by the Stonekeeper for generations that their entire world is a snowy island on a sea of clouds on the back of gigantic mountain mammoths. Beneath the sea of clouds is the Himalayan Mountains where people live. The Yeti long ago ran away from the humans ((or Smallfoot)) that called them monsters and agreed on a collective lie to never go down the mountain. The Stonekeeper is supposed to maintain order, protect the village, and maintain the generations of lies to keep the Yeti safe.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Æon Flux, the survivors of the "industrial virus" (biological apocalypse) have lived in the walled city of Brenga for generations. The outer perimeter of the wall is periodically sprayed with some sort of poison to keep the outside world at bay.
  • The desert that "surrounds" the Maitlands's house in Beetlejuice. Basically, any ghost who tries to go beyond his/her haunting grounds ends up there until they turn back.
  • In Dark City (1998), John Murdoch tries to reach Shell Beach; instead, he finds a wall at the edge of the city.
  • In The Last Starfighter, the entire civilized-good-guys portion of the galaxy is surrounded by an enormous force field called the Frontier. The evil Ko-Dan Armada lies outside the Frontier, but they've found a way to drill through it. (Cue Musical Sting.)
  • In Maleficent, the titular character creates a great wall of thorns to keep the humans out of the Moors. King Stephan builds a similar tangle of thorns made of iron in his castle.
  • In Sex Mission, the survivors of a Depopulation Bomb — only women (reproducing artificially) — live in a deep mine and are afraid to venture outside, because all their periscope shows is a grey wasteland. There is a literal wall around the periscope and the surface gate, with very convincing grey wasteland painted on it.
  • Stardust is a story about a wall that separates two worlds, one entrenched in magic and the other that is similar to our own.
  • A (probably apocryphal) story about Harlan Ellison's pitch for the first Star Trek film claims that Ellison met with Paramount executives and provided an outline for an epic story which ended with the crew of the Enterprise traveling to the edge of the universe, encountering a massive wall there, blasting a hole through it with their phasers, and seeing the eye of God staring back at them. Studio heads, however, were unimpressed, claiming that the premise wasn't "big enough", at which point Ellison stormed out of the meeting.
  • Star Wars has planetary shields, forcefields that surround a planet and protect it from Orbital Bombardment and unwanted landings. Films that feature it are:
    • A New Hope, with the easily missed shield protecting Alderaan. It's easily missed because the Death Star's superlaser is so incredibly powerful it batters through it in 1/10 seconds and then shatters the planet. It's implied one of the reasons the Death Star was built was just that: hit planets through their shields.
    • Return of the Jedi has the Forest Moon of Endor and the incomplete Death Star II protected by a shield. Destroying the generator through a commando raid is the first part of the Rebel plan to destroy the Death Star.
    • Rogue One has Scarif, location of an immense archive and protected by a shield with a single entry gate. The shield also prevents the titular commando from trasmitting the plans of the Death Star to the Rebel fleet when it attacks, at least until the Rebels ram a Star Destroyer in the gate and disturb the shield long enough to receive the transmission. The shield is later destroyed when the Death Star, in a vain and late attempt to keep Rogue One from completing its mission, fires the superlaser at the archive.
  • In The Thirteenth Floor, the world has no physical wall around it, but it does have an edge where the simulated nature is visible to the naked eye. People within the simulated world are just programmed to never think about going anywhere near that edge (of course, there are exceptions...)
  • The walls of Truman's enclosed world in The Truman Show.
  • The Village (2004): The forest containing the eponymous village is closed off from the outside world by a wall. Turns out there's a reason for that.

  • There aren't any literal walls in The Books of Ember, but there might as well be — the only light comes from the city, as does all of the food and other necessities, making it impossible to leave. Nobody in the city knows what might exist outside of it, if there's anything there at all. It turns out that the entire city is actually underground. The original builders included instructions for leaving the city to be used after a certain amount of time had passed, but they were lost and forgotten before they could be used, leaving the citizens trapped in a city with dwindling food and power supplies, and no way of knowing that escape was necessary or possible.
  • The Cinder Spires has the Mesosphere, a thick layer of mist that covers the surface of the world, and is inhabited by some very large, very hungry things, and the titular Spires themselves; Two miles wide, tall enough to reach above the Mesosphere, and each populated by a nation of people who are, more often than not, overcome by agoraphobia if they ever actually go outside.
  • A global glacier surrounds the only habitable continent on all of Darkover, literally called The Wall Around the World by the inhabitants.
  • In The Dosadi Experiment, the whole planet is encased inside the "God Wall" barrier as a part of said experiment. Not that it's completely impassable, but for most people inside, it is.
  • The Ear, the Eye and the Arm: In 2194 Zimbabwe, a large preserve has been set aside where a select few live in the Good Old Ways of pre-colonial Africa. It's large enough to hold at least a couple villages with their livestock and agriculture, and surrounded by an enormous wall to block out the sights and sounds of the modern world, mirrored on the inside to give the impression of going on forever. The residents call the wall "the edge of the word" and aren't even curious what's on the other side, knowing it only as Mwari's country.
  • Several stories in The Elric Saga show that the world is surrounded by a World of Chaos that is inhospitable to human life. One major guardian of the walls is the lawful good sorceress Myshella.
  • In Ted Chiang's "Exhalation", the narrator mentions how he has "journeyed all the way to the edge of the world, and seen the solid chromium wall that extends from the ground up into the infinite sky."
  • The prologue to the Forbidden Borders series by Michael Gear tells how Sufficiently Advanced Aliens tried to teach humans "reasonable" non-violent behaviour since they considered extermination unethical. They trapped a score of human colonies inside "gravitic bottles", which humans dubbed Forbidden Borders, and dropped an asteroid on Earth. First they tried to guide humans via a telepathic supercomputer. They managed to slow technological progress and make them forget Earth, but humans contacting the computer ended up forming a cult and keeping its knowledge to themselves. When the aliens tried to force the cult to share their knowledge, the cult just abandoned the computer. As of the series' start, the aliens were expecting humans to exterminate themselves in the upcoming war of attrition.
  • The "spiritual barrier" around the village in From the New World. The humans inside the barrier are told never to cross it because the outside world is full of horrific monsters. They are taught this so that their subconscious telekinesis will only create said monsters outside the barrier. The barrier keeps bad things out and imprisons the characters, by necessity.
  • Gone has the impenetrable FAYZ Wall which surrounds the area where the story takes place.
  • In Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, the End of the World sections take place in a town which has a wall around it, and once you come to the town you can't go outside the wall.
  • In Damon Knight's Hell's Pavement, people in Connecticut (200 years in the future) know nothing of the people in New York, who know nothing of the people in Ohio, and so on. They believe people in the other places are literally monstrous and inhuman. (There are walls between zones.) This happened because supermarket chains used brilliant new brainwashing techniques to make people totally loyal to their brands, and the adherents of different brands formed different zones.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy:
    • The planet Krikkit in Life, the Universe and Everything was surrounded by a thick dust cloud such that they never saw outside their world. This was done by the remnants of the supercomputer Hactar, making the Krikkiters into an Omnicidal Maniac race once they saw the universe. He did this so they would use the universe-destroying bomb he had invented, thus fulfilling a duty he welshed on long ago and getting rid of his long-standing guilt.
    • In So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Wonko the Sane builds an inside-out house he calls "the Asylum" to fence in the rest of the world (he, naturally, lives "outside the Asylum", which is inside the house). He'd decided the entire world had gone insane when he came upon a pack of toothpicks with instructions.
  • A Hole in the Fence: When Grisón manages to crawl into the Forbidden Zone beyond his hometown, Courquetaines, he discovers a several-meter-high fence stretching out as far the eye can see, and beyond the wall a huge city. When Grisón and Prune manage to break through the fence, they ask their mother because their city is walled up. Surprised, she reveals that it is the region around Courquetaines and other villages which was fenced off by their inhabitants, who wanted to make a live off the land instead of inhabiting over-populated and over-polluted cities.
  • Incarceron, being a giant prison, is surrounded by massive steel walls.
  • The great Agatean Wall in Interesting Times in more to keep everyone inside, rather than other people out. According to the leaders, there is nothing but ghost and vampire filled wasteland outside it.
  • The Land Of Elyon, a children's series by Patrick Carman, has walls surrounding the inhabited cities and the roads that link them. The main character finds a way out of the walls, despite the fear of many of the other characters about what is beyond the walls.
  • Land of Oz: If you only follow the first book, Oz would seem rather like this. The endless deadly desert surrounds Oz on all sides, isolating it rather nicely. Too bad later books place other magical kingdoms on the other side of a desert that seems rather more like a moat. Eventually, all the magic-users in Oz gather their power to put up a wall of invisibility, thus more permanently sealing off Oz.
  • In The Legends of Ethshar, the world of Ethshar is a Flat World, being the end-cap of a cylinder. The edge of the end-cap is marked by a "noxious yellow gas".
  • The wall (or "Barrier") in Lee Arthur Chane's Magebane was created long ago by mages as a defense against a commoner uprising. It's assumed that it will last for another two hundred years. This is a bit of an overestimate.
  • Oathbringer: Shows up as a myth of people living in a land of shadows surrounded by a wall to keep the monsters out, only for one girl to climb the wall and bring back light, and in the process she discovers the wall is to keep the monsters in. This appears to be a mythologized account of Shinovar, the first human settlement on Roshar, and how humans eventually conquered the world. The walls are the mountains surrounding Shinovar that act as a windbreak for Highstorms, and the light is Stormlight, glowing Mana that can only be obtained by leaving a gemstone out in a Highstorm.
  • In Old Kingdom, a huge, ancient and magic-infused wall separates the mundane, magic-free Ancelstierre (which resembles early 20th-century England) to the South from the Medieval Stasis land of the Old Kingdom to the North. Passage across the wall from the Ancelstierre side is tightly regulated, with military checkpoints and watchtowers, though they're also watching for threats, particularly undead ones, coming from the Old Kingdom.
  • Natives of the planet Lookout in Jack McDevitt's "Omega" live on an isthmus (narrow strip between continents — like Panama), with basically-impassable terrain on both ends. They believe they're on an island amidst an infinity of ocean.
  • The city in Ian McDonald's Out on Blue Six is surrounded by a giant Wall, and the protagonists explore to see what's on the other side, which turns out to be nothing but toxic waste.
  • A large portion of the plot of Pathfinder (2010) revolves around one of these. It's revealed decently early on that there are actually 19 "worlds" with Walls.
  • Perry Rhodan uses this on a number of occasions (including a 'wall' around the entire Milky Way Galaxy that the protagonists had to deal with after losing a few hundred years in an unexpected stasis field while outside, once). There's also a more literal example in Wardall, a tide-locked planet with a wall running around its entire circumference following the terminator. The planet's former natives apparently lived inside said wall rather than on either side of it, not surprising considering the conditions there; by the time the issue set on the world opens, though, its only inhabitants are the surviving crew members of a crashed pirate vessel and their descendants.
  • Prisoners of Power: Planet Saraksh has an atmosphere with very high refraction, which leads its inhabitants to believe that they live not on the outer surface of the globe, but on the inner one. They can see the surface around them curving upward, as far as dense low clouds allow them to see. The idea that they live on an outer surface ("mas-saraksh", "inside-out world") is well known, damned by all religions, commonly used as an expletive, but gives surprisingly accurate results for plotting trajectories of ICBMs. Only the insane believe in existence of other worlds, and a crash-landed alien is considered a mutant.
  • The Reynard Cycle: Deconstructed by the Muraille, a series of fortresses connected by a wall meant to serve as the eastern border of Arcasia. Unfortunately, the finished product was Awesome, but Impractical: It could never be fully manned, and has been breached so many times that the whole thing has been abandoned.
  • The wall separating Experiment House property from Narnia in The Silver Chair.
  • In The Singer of All Songs, the order of priestesses known as the Daughters of Taris live surrounded by a giant wall of ice. They are the only people who can use ice magic, so they control who can come in and out.
  • In the first and second volumes of Slayers, the world Lina can explore (and put craters into) was restricted by a magical barrier that went down after the Big Bad powering it was killed.
  • In Sword of Truth, there is an (almost impenetrable) great barrier around a region called "The Midlands", which is the central geography of the story. That barrier is re-used in Naked Empire of the same series, to close off a group of people from the rest of the world.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: The spherical Walls of the World, which are only specifically described in The History of Middle-earth, although their existence is implied in The Silmarillion. The walls separate the world from the empty void of the Outer Dark, and are only pierced by a single Door of Night, created by the Valar to thrust Morgoth out until The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Ted Chiang's "Tower of Babylon" is a speculative fiction short story where it's more of a ceiling or floor. The vault of heaven is a literal stone roof to the universe, and the Babylonians have built a tower to talk to God, who they believe resides above it. One of them makes it, only to emerge from a cavern deep in the Earth, back where he started — the world loops back on itself.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms: The city of Houryou, in the Kingdom of En, has many layers of walls, but in this case, is because of the constant population growth, as more people migrate to En from other kingdoms, the city constantly needs to expand more to accommodate them, and since the walls are needed to protect them from the monsters, they have to constantly be build with the expanding city.
  • Marlen Haushofer's "The Wall" is about a woman one day waking up in a mountain valley with the whole valley suddenly surrounded by an invisible, impenetrable wall. With all life outside the wall apparently dead, the book deals with her trying to survive inside the valley. Wondering if she is the last human alive, she speculates about the origin of the wall, which in the end is never revealed. She often thinks about trying to leave the valley, but can't bring herself to risk it. What happens to her in the end is left open to the reader.
  • The Trope Namer is Theodore R. Cogswell's short story "The Wall Around the World", in which the titular wall separates the magic-dominated half of the world from the science-dominated one.
  • Arthur C. Clarke's short story "The Wall of Darkness" is about a planet with a wall that divides it in half. The protagonist spends many years (and most of his wealth) building a staircase to climb the wall to see what's on the other side. Turns out there is no other side, and the planet is essentially a 3D Möbius strip. The wall was created in the distant past to prevent people from trying to go to the other side, which tends to drive people mad.
  • We: The Green Wall separates the civilization of the One State from the forests around it, which in turn separate them from the rest of the world. There are few and conflicting clues as to what actually may exist beyond the forest.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 4400: In "The Gospel According to Collier", Jordan Collier saw a city surrounded by a wall 1,000 feet high during his visit to the future. In "Terrible Swift Sword", he reveals that it is the last city on Earth.
  • Black Mirror: The episode "Hang the DJ" has the main characters living in a world that they know to be walled off, referred to as The System. The climax involves them attempting to escape The System by climbing over the wall.
  • Doctor Who: In the story "Inferno", the Doctor pushes through a barrier in time and ends up in a Mirror Universe.
  • Game of Thrones: Characters refer to the Wall as "the edge of the world."
  • Heroes: Sylar is imprisoned in a section of abandoned Manhattan with a wall around it. Since this is a psychic prison imposed on him by a telepath, there is actually NO "outside".
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "A New Life", Daniel and his wife Beth discover that there is a forcefield surrounding the forest in which the religious community is located. Daniel later learns that they have left Earth and that the forest is in fact an artificial environment aboard a spaceship.
  • The Prisoner (1967): The mysterious Village is surrounded by unclimbable mountains to the north, and the sea to the south. On several occasions, the eponymous Prisoner attempts to escape by boat, but he always ends up getting caught.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • The episode "The Masterpiece Society" depicts a pre-Federation human colony based on genetic engineering that placed itself on an otherwise barren and inhospitable planet surrounded by a dome intended not only for environmental protection but to isolate their supposedly perfect society from any influences that might contaminate their precise management. It's made apparent that the march of technology in the interim has overtaken them; when the colony's chief administrator warns that the dome may prevent assistance by the Enterprise, the ship's transporters prove trivially capable of penetrating it. This proves an issue when the same affords a ready means of escape for some colonists.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "To Serve Man", the Kanamits provide every country on Earth with the technology to project a forcefield around their borders, ending the possibility of any nation attacking another.
  • Utopia Falls: New Babyl is (supposedly) the last inhabited city on Earth, with a shield protecting its residents from the danger of the ruined outside world that surrounds it completely. It's in fact keeping people inside however.
  • The X-Files: In the episode "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat", an alien declares that his people have decided to wall off Earth's solar system to prevent further contact with humans (with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech parodying Donald Trump's remarks about securing the US-Mexico border).

  • The second act of Razia's Shadow starts after the world was split into the light and dark.
  • Pink Floyd's The Wall, which isolates the protagonist from... the world in general, but especially his fans.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible: There is a reference to the sky being a firmament, a literal wall around the entire world. This is slightly different than the usual application of this trope, as there is nothing outside of the area enclosed by the firmament, which exists to hold back the waters that are the source of rain. Although the Book of Isaiah does describe Yahweh as having His throne on top of the firmament.
  • A pre-Islamic Turkic myth has the Turkic people fleeing into a valley surrounded by mountains of iron to survive an onslaught. Their point of entry collapses, effectively sealing them from their enemies and letting them stay there for generations. When they decide to leave, they do so by melting the iron mountain.
  • The Qur'an: There's a story of Dhul-Qarnayn (Arabic for "The Two-Horned"note ), who may or may not be the same as one of several historical figures (among whom are Alexander the Great and Cyrus the Great), being asked to protect a people from their enemy, the Ya'juj and the Ma'juj (Arabic names of Gog and Magog, but as peoples instead of individuals). He does so by building an exceedingly tall wall entirely made of iron, with a massive iron gate that's difficult to open. There's also a 'wall' (more metaphorical than literal) between this world and the realm of the dead, that absolutely no one can pass. The wall is the reason why there are few (if any) ghost stories in the Islamic world.

  • Friends at the Table's Sangfielle takes place in the titular Eldritch Location, a country-sized region in the middle of the continent that suddenly went weird after centuries of colonization. For fear of Sangfielle’s curse expanding, the nations of the world united to build the “ringed city” of Concentus around it as a physical and magical barrier. Anyone coming in or out of Sangfielle must pass through Concentus first. The final episode in the epilogue sees Concentus’s wards deliberately breached by one of the players, allowing Sangfielle’s strangeness to inundate the rest of the world.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Partially averted with the magical barriers that divide the setting of Anima: Beyond Fantasy in three smaller, spherical ones plus a bunch of much smaller territories that did not get included in them. Depending on someone's location, those barriers take different forms - from a large, perpetual tempest that allows circumnavigation of the (sub)world in the case of the human territories to terrain that repeats again and again in the case of some of those separated territories.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, as always:
    • The Misty Border in the Ravenloft setting cuts it off from the rest of the multiverse. You can check in, but you never check out. Darklords can do this at will (with a few thematically-appropriate exceptions) to isolate their own domains.
      • The town of Barovia has its own permanent version of its domain's closed border; only the Vistani know how to make a secret antidote that allows safe passage.
    • Spelljammer has a borderline case: crystal shells. Oh, it can have many thousands of portals... spread over the whole surface of a star system, that is. It's not easy to find one without knowing where it is, and they don't always stand still forever. Thus the proper magic is the best way to locate a portal or even open a temporary one — for those who have it.
  • Exalted: Faxai-on-the-Caul, the only Realm city on the Lunar-controlled island of the Caul, is surrounded by massive walls; not only are they a major reason the city hasn't fallen, they're also partially why the Realm wants to keep a presence there (as legends state they were made by a venerated figure). The lands beyond are largely unknown.
  • The Weirding Wall in Nobilis which encloses the whole universe.
  • The borders between the physical realm and the spirit worlds in the Old World of Darkness RPG line (the Gauntlet and the Shroud) qualify. Most humans have no idea that the spirit realms are real.
    • The Gauntlet still stands in the New World of Darkness, cutting off the Shadow from the material. There's also the Abyss, which severs the Supernal from the Fallen.
    • The NWOD is full of these, and generally for the better. The Gauntlet is the border between the real world and the spirit world. The Hedge is the border between the real world and Arcadia. It takes the form of a thick thorny bush that hurts the soul of anyone passing through it. There's also an unnamed wall that prevents interaction between the real world and Inferno.
  • The main continent of the world of Palladium Fantasy is surrounded by a vast wall of darkness that disintegrates (or maybe dimensionally teleports) anything that sails or swims into it. This being a Palladium game, this isn't mentioned at all in the corebook description of the world and only comes out in passing in a later supplement.
  • Paranoia is set in Alpha Complex, a domed city. The existence of "Outdoors Sector" is acknowledged, but information about it is limited, especially at low security clearances.

    Video Games 
  • The Amazing Frog? features the town of Swindon, which is surrounded on all sides by an enormous wall that's nearly impossible to pass over, unless you either jump high enough or find the secret hold in the wall.
  • A nationwide example happens in Azure Striker Gunvolt Series where Japan has isolated itself from the rest of the world with the Kamishiro Barrier, preventing anyone from entering or leaving the nation without permission (usually granted by Sumeragi). This is to prevent a potential invasion by foreign powers and to further monopolize Glaive technology. The Kamishiro Barrier was deactivated in 2 via sabotage from within which allowed Eden forces to launch an invasion but, after they are thwarted, it was reactivated by the time of 3 several decades later. Unable to rely on similar sabotage, ATEMS instead use specially-designed missiles which emit powerful forcefields to successfully pierce through the barrier and launch their own invasion with the special forces prepped on them.
  • There's no actual wall on Hillys in Beyond Good & Evil, but if the player strays too close to the edge of the map, a series of pillars will rise up out of the water and warn the player that they're leaving territorial waters. Trying to get past them will just lead to them shooting non-lethal lasers at the player's vehicle to turn it around.
  • City of Heroes has the War Walls, justified as barrier against alien invasion, but really there as a level separation.
  • Custom Robo (the Gamecube version) has the humans live inside a domed city that isolates them from the post-apocalyptic world. The outside world is kept secret except to a select few. But when you beat Rahu III, the final boss, it is revealed to everyone.
  • Palm Brinks in Dark Chronicle was sealed off from the rest of the world via a titanic wall, far too tall to scale. This was done by the Mayor, to protect the citizens from the incredible devastation taking place in the outside world — but now that the land is healing (and with the heroes having escaped via an underground sewer/aqueduct,) many of Palm Brink's inhabitants dream of exploring and building new cities.
  • Everything related to Dragon Age is set on a single continent named Thedas, and although the franchise's lore stretches back for several thousand years, almost nothing is known of the world around Thedas. The continent is walled in by massive mountain ranges to the west, impenetrable jungles to the north, frozen wastelands to the south and endless oceans to the east. Many have tried to explore these regions over the millennia, but scarcely anybody has ever returned, and those that did can't tell much because they didn't get far enough to uncover anything of note. As far as the average Thedosian is concernced, there's nothing beyond Thedas but rumors, legends and death.
  • Dragon Quest III: Unlike in the main world, the seas of Alefgard are shown to be bordered by black nothingness, where they actually end.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 3, Vault 101 was intended to never open its door. The line is, "No one ever enters, and no one ever leaves." Neither are true: your dad is from Rivet City, and you and he both leave.
    • Fallout 4 has an invisible border that surrounds the majority of the playable game world, and attempting to go beyond it gives a message "You cannot go that way." This border extends across the edges of the map in the Pip-Boy... except for The Glowing Sea region, which extends some ways past the visible map. Naturally, these map borders cannot be normally crossed, but a simple edit to the game's fallout4.ini file can permanently turn off these borders. In a subversion of this, if the DLC for Far Harbor or Nuka-World are installed, new terrain data is loaded into the Commonwealth's regular map cells, which extend beyond the normal barriers of the world. That is, even if the game's standard borders are active, you will be able to travel past the invisible barrier. However, if you travel to either the Far Harbor or Nuka-World areas (which load their own unique world maps), they will each have their own invisible barriers preventing extensive exploration... unless the aforementioned .ini file tweak is active.
  • Grandia:
    • In Grandia, an entire continent was divided by an enormous wall about a mile high. No one ever tried to explain why it exists, it may have something to do with Gaia killing almost everything in its path, as it's only encountered on that side of the wall until it got on an airship.
    • Grandia II had something similar, a huge nigh-uncrossable canyon, though its existence was explained: it was basically caused by God crashing into the earth.
  • The Hexen II manual states that the universe is surrounded by a crystal barrier, beyond which there is a darkness inhabited by demons. The Serpent Riders are merely the three who slipped through a tiny hole which was sealed almost immediately.
  • The Legend of Zelda uses the trope in varying degrees:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Hyrule is a valley bordered on all sides by impassable mountains and a thick forest on the Northwest. No one knows or even speculates on what's beyond.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening: Koholint Island is an island in a vast ocean. Its inhabitants have not attempted to build any sailing vessel more advanced than a rivergoing raft, and most express surprise and disbelief at the notion that there is a world outside their island. This is because the island and everyone and everything in it exist only in the dream of the Wind Fish.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: The Great Sea has no physical barrier to keep you from leaving the map. However, your boat tells you that it's dangerous to leave and turns you around.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has an impenetrable cloud cover that separates the residents of Skyloft from the surface. As far as the people of Skyloft are concerned, the "surface" is a mythical place, rumored to be filled with monsters.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild uses a mixture of A Link to the Past and The Wind Waker in terms of natural barriers. The north and and west portions of Hyrule are cut off by a massive gorge, the southwest has an expansive desert, and the south and east are nothing but the sea. The gorge is too wide to fully cross and too deep to go down safely, the desert kicks up an impassible sandstorm if you try to go any further (if you still try, the game will trigger the message "You can't go any farther"), and venturing beyond the sea just greets you with an invisible wall. Trying to climb cliffs near these barriers will have the game force Link to dislodge from the wall to prevent him from climbing. What makes it stranger is the world map does show more landmass beyond the desert and chasms, but no one in game ever mentions it.
  • Lusternia is comprised of the Basin of Life, which is entirely isolated from the rest of the world by mountains. Nobody can get out, but there have been cases where denizens have come in from/gone out to some place on the outside.
  • Motocross Madness surrounds its playable region with a high cliff, and players who manage to surmount this will be blown sky high by hidden landmines.
  • Exploring the Overworld Not to Scale in Phantasy Star III soon gets the party to a featureless grey wall that looks quite different from the plains and mountain ranges and does not seem to have any openings. The truth is revealed about 2/3 into the game, near the end of the second generation: The worlds are artificial, and actually part of a giant spaceship. The 'caves' you have been using so far to get from one world to the other are its maintenance tubes.
  • Skies of Arcadia: The western half of the planet is surrounded by a giant maelstrom with the Empire in the eye of the storm. Survivors claim there are weird monsters in there, and most sailors believe the population of said monsters is endless, but there's an Asian-themed empire on the other side.
  • Star Control 2 has slave shields — barriers around homeworlds of defeated races who don't want to fight on Ur-Quan side.
  • Stellaris DLC Apocalypse introduces Colossi, ships capable of causing an Earth-Shattering Kaboom, a Mind-Control Device targeting an entire planet, a Depopulation Bomb, or, for a Pacifistic empire, a Global Pacifier which encases the planet in a permanent, unbreakable force field that isolates it from the rest of the universe forever in an act of Cruel Mercy.
    • It's possible to discover shielded worlds set up by Fallen Empires, but unlike the new ones you and your contemporaries make these ones can be unshielded with a variety of outcomes like rescuing a Sole Survivor or unleashing a Sealed Evil in a Can. You even get an achievement for it labeled "Unboxing".
  • Gensokyo, the setting of the Touhou games, is walled off from the Outside World by the Great Hakurei Barrier to preserve Youkai, though people and objects occasionally slip through (particularly things the outside world has stopped believing in).
  • In Tales of Graces, the entire world of Ephinea is surrounded by the Aquasphere, an enormous bubble of water. The only thing that can been seen through the Aquasphere is Foselos, a ring of...actually, no one on Ephinea knows. Foselos keeps the Aquasphere stable, and the reason there is an Aquasphere in the first place is to keep the people of Ephinea from seeing Fodra. Notably, the trope is played with; while the Turtelz are somewhat curious as to what, exactly, Foselos is, only some people in the Amarcian Enclave seem to care about the Aquasphere, and it takes Pascal messing around with a computer from the old Amarcian Enclave to even find the 'name' of the Aquasphere.
  • The 2013 Tomb Raider reboot takes place in the Pacific on the lost island kingdom of Yamatai, an Eldritch Location surrounded by neverending storms that destroy any vessel that tries to approach or leave the place. No wonder the game's Arc Words are "no-one leaves". It's your job to help Lara find a way to defy these words, dissipate the storms and get the hell off the island.
  • The Underground from UNDERTALE is the home of the race of 'monsters'. After a war with humanity, humans forced them into the Underground and created a magical barrier preventing anyone leaving (although people can still fall in; for example, the protagonist, who becomes Trapped in Another World). It can be broken by seven human souls or passed but left unbroken by one who possesses both a human soul and a monster soul. Played for Drama: an Overpopulation Crisis in the restricted space of the Underground creates social problems in the monster society. Plus, they're living entirely off whatever humans dump into the Underground. That includes what they're eating.
  • Wall World takes place on a huge vertical wall stretching endlessly in all directions, the protagonist moves up and down the wall in a Spider Tank and mines caves in weaker areas of the wall, some cave systems can get pretty elaborate and at the end of the game the player makes his way to a huge horizontal gash in the wall large enough to have a forest in it.
  • In Wild AR Ms 4, your first indication that Ciel is not a typical RPG hamlet is when fighter craft shatter the barrier surrounding it that was disguised as sky. The outside world is quite a bit different.
  • The world of Xenoblade Chronicles 1 consists of two behemoths standing in an endless sea. If the characters reach the beaches at the bottom of the world and step into the sea, they lose HP rapidly until collapsing and winding up back on shore.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 2 the world consists of several behemoth titans in an endless cloud sea. If the group ventures too far into the Cloud Sea until the titans aren't in view anymore the party hits an invisible wall with one of the group remarking that they should turn around.
  • The land in Xenoblade Chronicles X is made up of five linked continents, each with unique ecosystems, surrounded by an endless ocean. The player is able to swim or sail out onto the ocean but as soon as the land is no longer in view, the game produces an invisible wall and throws up a message that you cannot continue on.
  • In Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim, the Canaan Archipelago is cut off from the outside world due to a Perpetual Storm generated by the eponymous Weather-Control Machine.

  • Göteborg City in Gravity Break: Cataclysm is surrounded by walls and shields that protect against the gravity storms on the outside. Charon notes that while "walls and shields are common sense in this world", this particular city is not normal, and the rulers are using the walls to keep the citizens isolated and ignorant.
  • A massive mountain range in Leif & Thorn between Sønheim and Ceannis, keeping their magic systems separate. The Sønheim embassy in Ceannis has a big wall around it to replicate the effect.
  • In Sluggy Freelance the "Punyverse" turned out to be surrounded by a giant solid sphere, the inhabitants mostly didn't know that and thought it was an endless void inhabited by "void ghosts" that occasionally attacked (it was really wild shots reflecting off the sphere). Also their entire universe was artificial.
  • The area known as The States in White Noise is surrounded by a gigantic wall and poison gas filled moat. No one is allowed in or out except for bounty hunters, and residents hate and fear those who live beyond it.

    Web Original 
  • Our whole universe in Fine Structure is 'walled'. Nothing gets in or out. It's actually a prison designed to keep Oul inside.
  • SCP Foundation: Exaggerated with SCP-6218: a solid structure that encloses the entire universe. People who get too close to it start hallucinating, but what's more disturbing is that if one digs a few kilometers into it, it's organic. And it's alive. The scientists found that they were digging through the skin cells of some kind of absolutely colossal being. An intelligent being. Which claims that it encloses the universe to protect the life within it from something... outside.
  • The setting of The Amazing Digital Circus is the titular circus itself and surrounding grounds encompassed in a seemingly endless white space filled with vague shapes called the Void. Caine states that nobody goes out there and even he doesn't know what might be in it, although at once point he expresses distress over somebody stumbling out there because they'll "get totally spoiled".

    Western Animation 
  • Ba Sing Se, the Earth Kingdom capital in Avatar: The Last Airbender, is surrounded by two giant walls. People within the city are generally encouraged not to even think about the world outside the walls.
  • The Duckman episode Exile in Guyville had a wall being built down the middle of America, dividing the sexes with Women on the East and Men on the West.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: in "Love Struck", Timmy wishes for the world's population to be divided by gender, causing the Earth to be split up in a men's half and a woman's half, separated by a large wall circumnavigating the Earth at the poles.
  • In Futurama, the Planet Express crew visits the Edge of the Universe, which has a convenient viewing platform. They are able to look through binoculars at the Universe Next Door, (which is apparently cowboy-themed).
    Fry: Wow. So there's an infinite number of parallel universes?
    Professor Farnsworth: No, just the two.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) : The Mystic Wall separates the Light and Dark hemispheres of Eternia. For a time its utterly unbreachable and, as far as inhabitants on either side are concerned, a literal wall around their portion of the world. Right up until current events are kicked off in the series, when Skeletor breaks it down.
  • Phineas and Ferb: in "Escape from Phineas Tower", the titular tower traps Phineas and Ferb and their friends in a dome. To escape, they make the tower realize they have friends in multiple places, causing the tower to encase larger and larger areas into its dome, until eventually the dome ends up surrounding the entire Milky Way galaxy.
  • The Simpsons
    • The glass dome enclosing Springfield in The Movie.
    • And the wall made of garbage separating Springfield from New Springfield.
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Pinewood Derby", Earth and the Moon are sealed off by a cube-shaped force field after the humans fail the Space Cash Test.
    • In the episode Child Abduction is Not Funny, the paranoid parents in South Park had Mr. Lu Kim build a huge wall around the town to keep kidnappers out. It was ordered to be demolished again at the end of the episode after spending the entire episode protecting it from Mongol invaders.
    Mr. Lu Kim: Aw, you'd better not say what I think you're gonna say.
    Mayor McDaniels: Mr. Lu Kim, tear down this wall!
    Mr. Lu Kim: Oh, God! I hate this whole shitty!

Alternative Title(s): Wall Around The World, The Wall Between Worlds