What makes a castle impregnable? Is it the walls? Its inhabitants? Other defenses? A combination of all of the above? All we can tell you is this — no one is pregnating these nine fictional castles any time soon.
1) The Eyrie, Game of Thrones
There are several badass castles in Game of Thrones, but the one you’re least likely to get into is the Eyrie, the stronghold of House Arryn and the Vale. It’s built around a tall peak that requires would-be invaders to climb several thousand feet up it in order to gain entrance, often in a single file — and get through three separate way-castles as well. Even if they managed to get through these, the soldiers up top could take their time dropping rocks on their would-be invaders until they gave up or died. The Eyrie has only been conquered once — by the Targaryens, who flew their dragons right into the main castle to demand its surrender. But since dragons basically took out every castle stronghold in Westeros, you can’t fault really the Eyrie for that.
2) Maleficent’s Castle, Sleeping Beauty
Situated in the Forbidden Mountains — which should probably be your first clue you shouldn’t bother invading it — Maleficent’s castle isn’t as tall as The Eyrie from Game of Thrones, but it is more precarious. It’s balanced on a thinning pillar or rock, meaning the only practical way for people to enter it is over the tiny, lengthy bridge out front. Assuming Maleficent lets you do that unaccosted, you’d still have to deal with her goblin minions. Admittedly, they’re not too bright, but then Maleficent herself is an immensely powerful sorceress who can turn into a gigantic dragon, so again, best to just stay home.
3) Castle Doom, Marvel Comics
Doctor Doom actually owns two castles. One is in upstate New York and has a moat with crocodiles in it, which is kind of hilarious. The other, more official castle is the appropriately named Castle Doom situated in Doomstadt, the capital of the country he rules, Latveria. It’s your pretty standard massive, Gothic, 16th-century castle; what makes it so difficult to attack is mainly Doom himself. He’s covered the castle with defenses both physical and magical, loaded it with sentient Doombots, missiles, and more. It takes massive teams of superheroes to get inside Doom castle, and half the time they get there they realize Doom allowed them in on purpose for his own mysterious reasons.
4) Howl’s Moving Castle
What? It’s moving. You try and attack a castle that’s running away at top speed on giant chicken legs. What Howl’s castle lacks in defenses it more than makes up for in mobility. Even if the castle decides to rest and stay still for a while, three of the castle’s four external doors cannot be accessed from the outside, meaning people trying to get in have to figure out the correct entrance… again, usually while the castle is running away.
5) Minas Tirith, Lord of the Rings
Half-city, half-giant castle, Minas Tirith is giant castle built into the side of the mountain. The Return of the King movie is basically one long documentary about how goddamn hard it is to conquer it. Minas Tirith has seven levels, each one surrounded by a massive wall, and each one situated 100 meters higher than the one before it, practically forcing invaders to conquer it seven distinct times. In the books, the lowest wall is built of black stone which was basically earthquake-proof. The only reason Sauron and his forces were able to even partially take control of Minas Tirith is because of the Witch-King’s sorcery, some well-placed explosives, sheer numbers, and Sauron’s willingness to let them all die in order to conquer it.
Given that a descendant of the Belmont clan is able to enter Dracula’s castle once every few years — or at least every time the castle shows up — you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s easy to infiltrate the vampire’s stronghold. But regardless of the Belmonts’ successes, you have to remember that Dracula has stocked every single room of his castle with multiple monsters, ranging from wolves to zombies to ghosts with giant swords to Medusa to the Grim Reaper. THE GRIM REAPER IS JUST CHILLING IN CASTLEVANIA, WAITING FOR SOME IDIOT TO OPEN THE DOOR TO HIS ROOM. That’s a heavily protected castle, my friends.
7) Bast Castle, Star Wars
Whenever Darth Vader needed a break from serving the Emperor and being evil, he’d head to Bast Castle on the planet Vjun. Besides hangers full of TIE Bombers, a huge squad of AT-Sts, and a garrison which included elite soldiers like Rocket Troopers, it was surrounded by ravines making a ground assault difficult, even if the ravines hadn’t been equipped with defenses on their own. It had its own shield generator, which protected it from extra-planetary attacks and, most notably, several lightsaber-proof doors. That alone makes it one of the most impenetrable structures on this list.
The titular castle of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast series is a bit strange; while it is comparatively easy to enter, it’s still almost unconquerable. That’s because the castle itself is enormous — it’s three full miles to get from the North wall to the South wall, so unless you have several hundred thousand troops, it’s practically impossible to take control of the entire place, let alone hold it. And it’s not like it’s particularly easy to get inside — the city-sized castle is surrounded by wastelands, marshes, quicksand, various bodies of water and plains of endless rock. It’s so inhospitable outside the castle that most of the people who live there never even bother looking outside. So even if you could somehow conquer Gormenghast... why would you want it?
9) Grayskull, Masters of the Universe
If you remember anything about the old He-Man cartoon, chances are you remember how the evil Skeletor spent all his time trying to get into Castle Grayskull to get hold of the incredibly vague powers it supposedly held. Thus, you might be wondering why it could be on the list. Well, that’s because even though an evil skull-faced sorcerer with countless resources devoted every waking minute of his day trying to break into Castle Grayskull, he only managed to achieve it maybe twice — out of several thousand times. This is even more impressive when you realize Castle Grayskull’s primary defenses consist almost entirely of a woman who can turn into a bird and a weightlifter with a great tan.