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Castles are the place of dreams, being in plain sight but impossible for common folk to actually reach. But this trope is about castles that aren't just symbolically out of reach -- they're also physically out of reach, suspended in midair.

A Castle in the Sky represents a place to strive to reach, and are often the goal of a a major quest. As such, it's a subtrope of Bright Castle, but, you know, flying.

The inversion of a Ominous Floating Castle, A Castle in the Sky may appear on a Floating Continent.

Examples of Castle in the Sky include:


Anime and Manga

  • The Trope Namer is from Laputa: Castle in the Sky, which was inspired by Gulliver's Travels.
  • Salem (a.k.a. Tiphares) in Gunnm/Battle Angel Alita is a shining, modern city floating above a filthy, crapsack Scrapyard; the place that the denizens of the Scrapyard can never quite reach. Hell, the security system even shoots down birds that dare to fly below it. Definitely not played straight: to those who know the secret of Salem, it might even be worse up there. All of the adult inhabitants have, unknowingly, had their brains replaced with a chip.
  • The castle in Revolutionary Girl Utena, suspended upside-down above the dueling arena, is said to be where Dios' spirit dwells. But depending on whose interpretation you accept, it's hard to tell if it's a physical castle, an illusory castle, or just a symbolic castle.
  • In UQ Holder, the space elevator at the capital is symbolically a Castle in the Sky.

Fairy Tales

Literature

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 Rhyme: ...no matter how beautiful it seems, it's still nothing but a prison.

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Theatre

  • In the 1980 musical adaption of Les Miserables, Cossette sings a song called "Castle on a Cloud" as a child. It represents her daydreaming of a place where she's loved and free from her abusive life with the Thernadiers.

Video Games

  • The castle of Queen Zeal in Chrono Trigger tops the Floating Continent of Zeal, a peaceful and enlightened land (or so it seems). A time of true enlightenment, unless you're stuck on the Earthbound Island below. Extra credit for also having an Ominous Floating Castle, the Black Omen.
  • One of the levels in Scribblenauts Unlimited was Storybook Keep, a castle on a cloud inhabited by fairy tale characters.
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