Girl in the Tower
Shrek: Go over there and see if you can find any stairs.
Donkey: Stairs? I thought we was lookin' for the Princess.
Shrek: The Princess will be at the top of the stairs in the highest room in the tallest tower.
Donkey: Well, what makes you think she'll be there?
Shrek: I read it in a book once.
The standard place to imprison distressed damsels and overthrown princes: A tower. Preferably the tallest tower, in the biggest castle, on the highest hill, in the most dangerous land in the whole wide world. After all, It's All Upstairs From Here.
May be attached to an Evil Tower of Ominousness or The Alcatraz, although some are freestanding. A Bedsheet Ladder is an invaluable tool in such cases. Possibly inspired by the Tower of London; originally a royal residence, the Tower later became a prison that was often used to house royal prisoners.
- Clarisse in The Castleof Cagliostro.
- Fai/Yuui and his twin brother in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle.
- Alice of Pandora Hearts was this to a tee when she was alive. Jack was her first friend after he discovered her in her lonely prison of a tower.
- Before her was her mother, Lacie.
- A male example: Len from the manga adaptation of Mothy's "Aku no Meshitsukai" is locked in a tower from birth when it's revealed that he possesses the birthmark that the fortune teller prophesied would lead the country into ruin. His twin sister Rin eventually finds him there and starts visiting him.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- This Spanish comic based on The Fairly OddParents has Tootie in this role.
- Subverted in one Conan the Barbarian story where the princess in question is just a preserved corpse automated to wave once in a while, to lure potential challengers (who have to give up a deposit and sign an indemnity form first.)
Fairy Tales[edit | hide]
- "Rapunzel" is a famous case of this, although she nixed the bedsheet in favour of nature's ladder.
- "The Tinderbox" is another fairy tale with a damsel in distress who must be rescued by the handsome hero.
- In "The Grateful Beasts", the princess gets locked in the tower for complaining about her father's Impossible Tasks. Which means she isn't there when the hero summons all the wolves in the land—and it turns out they are hungry.
- Sleeping Beauty is sometimes told with the spinning wheel that dooms her to eternal sleep being at the top of the tallest tower of the castle she inhabits.
- Mixed with the Evil Tower of Ominousness and clearly inspired by Rapunzel, princess Fiona in Shrek is this.
- Sleeping Beauty (at least in the Disney version) slumbers in an artistically tall tower.
- In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Lancelot goes to rescue a damsel in distress from The Tall Tower. Hilarity Ensues.
- Tangled, Disney's take on "Rapunzel".
Literature[edit | hide]
- The original Man in the Iron Mask was said to have been held in a tower in the Bastille.
- The overthrown king Peter's imprisonment in the tower called "The Needle", in Stephen King's novel The Eyes of the Dragon.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Donella Hornwood got locked in a tower by Ramsay Snow. Sansa Stark was also held in one in Maegor's Holdfast after her father and members of his household were killed. Neither of them were rescued during their stays in their respective towers, though Lady Donella's fate is considerably worse.
- The fourth book of the series has a chapter called "The Princess in the Tower" about Princess Arianne of Dorne after she has tried and failed to crown Myrcella Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and start a war with the Lannisters.
- In the Conan the Barbarian story "The Hour of the Dragon," the Countess Albiona (a supporter of King Conan) is imprisoned in the Iron Tower of Tarantia because she refused to become the consort of a tyrannical puppet king. Conan infiltrates the tower through a hidden door, kills her jailors, and rescues her.
- Also, in The People of the Black Circle the Devi Yasmina is captured and imprisoned in a tower atop Mount Yimsha. This time, Conan infiltrates the tower with the help of an enchanted girdle that protects him from the magic of the evil wizards within.
- Done to Bellina in The Elenium. Subverted in that she is a cannibalistic Eldritch Abomination worshipper who needs to be locked away for the good of the surrounding villages.
- The abducted Princess Eilonwy is found in a tower of her ancestral home, Caer Colur, in the third book of the Chronicles of Prydain.
- In The Silmarillion, Luthien is put in a treehouse high enough to be considered a tower. She escaped.
- In Gene Wolfe's Pandora by Holly Hollander, at the end, Holly decides on Staying with Friends. The friends look her over and conclude that since she's a teenaged girl, obviously she get the tower room.
- Clementina from Carrusel is kept locked away in her own home after her parents are hospitalized and she's in the care of her very overprotective aunts.
- The Legend of Dick and Dom episode "Princess Gladys" features the heroes rescuing the Princess though not her sister from the top of a tower in a castle guarded by the Evil Dancing Dolphins of Doom.
- Happens to Princess Jasmine in the play Sheik, Rattle and Roll, where she insists on finishing her song before allowing herself to be rescued..
Video Games[edit | hide]
- Princess Cassima of King's Quest VI Heir Today Gone Tomorrow spends most of the game in a tower. In fact, her musical motif is called "Girl in the Tower."
- Valanice of King's Quest II Romancing the Throne was also imprisoned in a tower; Graham takes it upon himself to rescue her, hoping for a Standard Hero Reward.
- Rosella was also locked in a tower in Lolotte's castle in King's Quest IV the Perils of Rosella. Good thing Edgar was more fond of her than he was of Lolotte.
- Raz must make his way up Thorney Tower in Psychonauts, to rescue the Girl in the Tower.
- Dragon Quest IV has Rose, hidden away in a tower because Humans Are the Real Monsters.
- ZUN, creator of Touhou, must be fond of this trope:
- Imperishable Night: In Eientei, Kaguya is safely hidden at the end of a long, long corridor that leads to outer space.
- Perfect Cherry Blossom: While it's more of an afterlife, the Hakugyokurou where Yuyuko resides is translated as "White Jade Tower". It's located high above the storm clouds.
- Embodiment of Scarlet Devil: Subverted, Flandre is hidden in the underground cellar.
- Professor Layton and the Curious Village has the Baron's daughter of the titular village living in a tower, and the heroes eventually rescue her at the game's ending. This is something of a twist on the trope, however, because she's not imprisoned up there - she can leave the tower whenever she pleases, and in fact is seen doing so (though the heroes don't know who she is at the time). She just can't leave the village.
- The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess has Link first meet the imprisoned Zelda in the tallest tower of Hyrule Castle, at which point he's informed that it's not just his home village that's in danger.
- In the PC game Love Chronicles: The Sword and the Rose, the Prince needs to get into the castle tower to rescue the Princess, who is being held prisoner by a hideous beast. But when he finally gets to the tower, he finds only the beast. The beast is actually the ensorcelled Princess.
Web Comics[edit | hide]
- In the current story arc of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, Princess Voluptua is under siege inside Viceroy's Spire—with the variation that she's not a prisoner, and it's her tower, but she's still inside it and needs help as it's being attacked.
- In Erstwhile, Maid Maleen is locked in a tower to enforce a Parental Marriage Veto.
- Xkcd features a girl who wants to be a lighthouse keeper. She reasons that she gets to be the girl in the tower, only she's the one saving people.
- The Sleeping Beauty in the Fractured Fairy Tales version, which is a direct parody of the Disney version. The Prince (who looks like Walt Disney) realizes he can make a fortune off tourists so he turns the castle into SleepingBeautyLand.
- The opening sequence of the Australian cartoon series Arthur And The Square Knights Of The Round Table has Arthur "rescuing" Guinevere from a tower in Camelot. It was a mere spoof, though, she was getting ready to have dinner with him.
- Quasimodo is a rare male example from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- Jenny from the pilot of My Life as a Teenage Robot is a variant of sorts. Jenny is kept in her room on the top floor, until the world needs saving. When Tuck claims to have seen a monster up there, Brad climbs up to see what it is.
- An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes features a girl named Ariane held in a tower by Lucius. Jimmy and Beezy spend the entire episode trying to rescue her. When they do, she transforms into a giant bug monster and levels Miseryville. As Lucius put it, "She was in there for a reason."
- The lady Melissa in the Looney Tunes classic The Scarlet Pumpernickel.
- An episode of Tales From the Crypt Keeper had a twisted take on this, where the person the Prince Charmless and his put-upon younger brother think is a traditional Sleeping Beauty is actually a vampire.