Top 5 Castles in Fiction

Raglan Castle

Raglan Castle

I’ve always wanted to live in a castle. It might be a by-product of reading too many books set in castles during my formative years, but I’ve always thought they were a more fitting setting for adventures. Especially if they have secret passageways. On the last bank holiday weekend, my boyfriend and I visited Raglan castle which got me thinking about my top 5 favourite castles in literature:

1) Godsend Castle- Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle

“I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic – two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud. I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it. The house itself was built in the time of Charles II, but it was damaged by Cromwell. The whole of our east wall was part of the castle; there are two round towers in it. The gatehouse is intact and a stretch of the old walls at their full height joins it to the house. And Belmotte Tower, all that remains of an even older castle, still stands on its mound close by. But I won’t attempt to describe our peculiar home fully until I can see more time ahead of me than I do now.”

2) Castle Dracula- Bram Stoker’s Dracula

“I became conscious of the fact that the driver was in the act of pulling up the horses in the courtyard of a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light,and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the sky. I must have been asleep, for certainly if I had been fully awake I must have noticed the approach of such a remarkable place. In the gloom the courtyard looked of considerable size, and as several dark ways led from it under great round arches, it perhaps seemed bigger than it really is. I have not yet been able to see it by daylight.”

3) Hogwarts Castle- JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series

“He missed Hogwarts so much it was like having a constant stomachache. He missed the castle, with its secret passageways and ghosts, his classes, … the mail arriving by owl, eating banquets in the Great Hall, sleeping in his four-poster bed in the tower dormitory, visiting the gamekeeper, Hagrid, in his cabin next to the Forbidden Forest in the grounds, and especially, Quidditch, the most popular sport in the wizarding world”

4) Cair Paravel- C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia

“The castle of Cair Paravel on its little hill towered up above them; before them were the sands, with rocks and little pools of salt water, and seaweed, and the smell of the sea and long miles of bluish-green waves breaking for ever and ever on the beach. And oh, the cry of the seagulls! Have you ever heard it? Can you remember?”

5) Prince Humperdinck’s Castle- William Goldman’s The Princess Bride

Admittedly, not an obvious choice, but how many castles do you know that have a Zoo of Death filled with the most deadly animals on the planet? “The other thing about the Zoo was that it was underground. The Prince picked the spot himself, in the quietest, remotest corner of the castle grounds. And he decreed there were to be five levels, all with the proper needs for his individual enemies. On the first level, he put enemies of speed: wild dogs, cheetahs, hummingbirds. On the second level belonged the enemies of strength: anacondas and rhinos and crocodiles of over twenty feet. The third level was for poisoners: spitting cobras, jumping spiders, death bats galore. The fourth level was the kingdom of the most dangerous, the enemies of fear: the shrieking tarantula (the only spider capable of sound), the blood eagle (the only bird that thrived on human flesh), plus, in its own black pool, the sucking squid. Even the albino shivered during feeding time on the fourth level.”


2 thoughts on “Top 5 Castles in Fiction

  1. Rosie

    I’m fairly sure I’ve raved about Gormenghast on here previously so that makes me a little embarrassed to drag it back up (I have read more than one series of books in my life, I promise!) — but Gormenghast has THE BEST CASTLE.

    1. Siobhan Post author

      I have the Gomenghast book at home, I so need to dig it out the next time I’m there. Okay, that can go in at number 6 🙂


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