Grand buildings – Buildings which genuinely take your breath away with either the sheer immensity of it, or just at how lavishly it is decorated. We’ll be checking both into the same list here, where the more epic the setting feels, the better it’ll do on our list. So, let’s get right to it in this week’s Top 10 list.
And hey, before you go, please do go and check out the vote at the end of the article. Today marks the four year anniversary of our Top 10’s. Thank you to everyone who has been with us every step of the way.
10) End Of The Line Club – Tron
Though we don’t see much of the outside of the club, the End of Line is pretty grandiose both inside and out. Vibrant against the dark of the Grid, the lights are turned up high, the drinks flow constantly, and Daft Punk play every night! All of this is overseen by the equally spectacular Castor (Michael Sheen), whose glowing cane and ever joyous demeanour make a party atmosphere by themselves.
Positioned at the top of the tallest tower that overlooks the city, the party floor has the greatest view a program could ask for. A shuttle-car brings guests from the floor to the top, meaning that security should be a flawlessly managed thing. Sadly, Clu’s security forces are better prepared for renegade club owners, and the End of Line club is now… ended.
9) The Tower of Isengard – Lord of the Rings
They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard, they said. But what they didn’t count on is the fact that one of these powerful wizard-folk were going to turn on them. But I digress, Isengard is a bit of a dump when you really look at it on the outside. It’s just a bloody great big iron fortress, of which the name implies. It became the home of the almost hermit-like Saruman, a wise and powerful wizard. Who, y’know, betrays them all.
Anyway, ignoring the betrayal, the reason we chose the Tower of Isengard is the sheer immensity of it. Unlike the rest of the area, it’s just this massive spire which sits dead centre in the fortress. Don’t get me wrong, it plays an important part and is one hell of an image, but what doesn’t sit right with me is the lack of being able to see the insides. The film makes a great case for it; the book paints an impressive image… But we just don’t know what’s going on inside.
That summit however is rather incredible.
8) Cair Paravel – Narnia
The Kings and Queens of Narnia rule from within Cair Paravel, a massive, incredible castle in the realm of Narnia. Through them wardrobes you go, as you step into Narnia, where the castle houses the four thrones. Indeed, this castle is central to the story of Narnia in many ways, even if we’re not necessarily going to see everything about it, which is why we can’t rank this one much higher than this spot.
However, don’t let the placing on this list fool you. Cair Paravel is an incredible castle, home to many a people. Depending on where abouts you are, it’s just a castle or it’s a castle surrounded by a whole city. Naturally, a city isn’t a building, so throughout we’ve focused on the castle… Which is truly a shame, as hey, spoilers, that castle ain’t staying up forever. All in all, it represents power and position, which is always a surefire way for something to be brought down!
7) The Combine Citadel Tower – Half Life 2
The ominous scar that marrs the skyline of City 17, and for thousands of miles around, the Citadel is an icon of oppression. Literally scraping the sky, the tower reaches up high enough to define the clouds around its apex, and at its base it trails cables, a constant vampiric feed of information used to monitor, control, and subdue.
The monolith is so vast it requires a train to efficiently travel through. The space is filled by an enormous military force, a portal to alien destinations, and the leviathan “Advisors” that have come to enslave humanity. It’s hard to put a human face on a force that grim, and Wallace Breen is not the face any of us would have chosen.
6) The Dark Tower – Stephen King
If I were to tell you that The Dark Tower is basically about a gunslinger who’s taking over a tower, by, y’know, shooting stuff to get to said tower… It all sounds rather daft. But, that’s actually kind of what The Dark Tower is in a nutshell – And the imagery the book sets is amazing. Standing before the massive tower, one lone gunslinger is out for vengeance, from a disturbed childhood. It’s riveting reading and viewing.
Whether or not you’re a fan of Stephen King novels, you cannot deny the immensity of the tower. It’s arguably one of the taller constructs on our list. It’s hard to place what the tower is exactly, except for a nightmarish place which must be entered to be destroyed. Technically, it’s effectively a hub for many worlds… But we’ll let you read or watch it for yourself. We follow our protagonist through his perilous journey into the tower. However, you’d be better off not following Roland into the Dark Tower, as you’d be better off knowing it’s dark secrets.
5) Hyrule Castle – Legend of Zelda
Arguably the most classic example of a video game building on this list, Hyrule Castle has seen many iterations throughout the ages. It doesn’t matter what version you’ve seen, it’s always one of the grandest dungeons in any Legend of Zelda title. As of the time of writing, Hyrule Castle has been in 11 Legend of Zelda titles, which definitely makes it one of the most prolific entries on this list.
Hyrule Castle will always hold a place in gamers hearts; With a multitude of enemies having taken it over, the princess having been kidnapped and much more, Hyrule Castle has a checkered past. Here’s hoping one day Hyrule Castle will be a much more stable and secure place for a king and queen to rule from, but whilst we’ve got Legend of Zelda titles, you can bet that some serious adventuring is going to take place within the walls.
Tidy stone, royal carpets, throne rooms – This castle’s got the lot. It’s even got a dungeon underneath it, to keep the villains locked up.
4) The Disney Castle
Ahh, the iconic edifice that opens every Disney film, the many turreted, completely impractical castle over a river. I’m not saying it’s completely indefensible, but it’s not difficult to get passed that outer wall, and the compound beyond appears to be chaotic, without safe points of retreat and consolidation. Now, the original Neuschwanstein Castle, that’s got some holding power, check out that long runway, leaving invaders open to bombardment and forcing them to bottleneck for easy rep- y’know what, never mind.
The Disney Castle is iconic, a centrepiece to the visual spectacular that is every Disneyland, and the very image we have come to know from the House of Mouse. Despite the Mickey Mouse logo, we perhaps know the castle better now as a culture, since it rose to visual dominance in the days of Sleeping Beauty.
3) Tyrell Corporation – Bladerunner
From a vision of wonder, the the very epitome of domination. The great squat pyramid of Tyrell – producers of the Replicant androids – aglow with lights, but no less dark for the near-divine image it portrays. To refer to the compound as a pyramid is no mistake, creators of “life” after a fashion, Tyrell have created for themselves the image of a kind of god-king, and their temple dominates the horizon.
The floating obelisk-like outer buildings create an almost ethereal power about the thing, as though it defies physics. The interior is as temple-like as the outside, bedecked in fabric hangings, modelled to capture the image of the pope’s bedroom, or the inside of a grand cathedral. Make no mistake, this is dystopia concentrated, all hail the corporation, Tyrell is god to the people.
2) Stark Tower – Marvel
More accurately, Avengers Tower now, Stark Tower suffered some auspiciously cosmetic damage during the Chitauri invasion of New York, losing the S, T, R and K, somehow keeping hold of the stylised “A”. The landing pad sets it apart from every other tower in the Manhattan skyline, veering out from the side of the upper floors to really underline the fact that there are no helicopters putting down there, just a suit.
The lounge that overlooks the landing pad is spacious enough to host a party, a well stocked bar overlooks a seating and party space large enough to swing a god. Just below is a fully automated repair and maintenance facility for the Iron Man Suits and the Iron Legion, along with a variety of workshops and labs further and further down, including spaces specifically made to accommodate the other Avengers. The tower is impressive inside and out, and while it would serve no purpose, I still feel that New York itself would be improved for the addition of a fake one.
Not like Disney couldn’t do it for the giggles…
1) Hogwarts – Harry Potter
If you didn’t think Hogwarts was getting our first place spot, you’d have been sorely mistaken. Hogwarts is indeed our first pick – Although this wasn’t the only building in the Harry Potter universe that we considered. Indeed, we considered Ollivander’s Wand Shop, for the immensity of his collection of wands. We considered Gringotts, as the wealth of gold and the fact there’s a massive roller coaster to get to your vault. We considered Hog’s Head Inn, but that wasn’t that grand.
Indeed, Hogwarts was a fitting first place on this list. Without it, we’d have not seen so many exciting stories. We’ve gone to dark places that most wizards wouldn’t dream of seeing. We’ve been to all sorts of different wonderfully terrifying places within the walls of the school. The fact this massive, magical school is surrounded by forests filled with wildlife, vast luscious grounds, a Quidditch pitch and more is just the beginning.
Once you penetrate the fortress itself, there are staircases that move around. Grand, incredible paintings which are literally alive. A huge dining hall, where all announcements are made… Trust us, there was no better pick than the immensity of Hogwarts.
Indeed, being grand is an important matter… Although the term grand is indeed incredibly subjective. Are we on about pure size? What about randomisation?! Indeed, we’ve got two more plausible entries which we couldn’t quite fit on our list, but we certainly had to give them a bit of a nod!
Knightmare Castle – Knightmare
This was a fun pick to put in here – The Knightmare Castle doesn’t really have much of a name, other than the TV shows namesake, but honestly there have been so many great stories told in here. If you’ve never seen Knightmare, watch an episode of it above. This was a much beloved show which runs live events now-a-days and that’s about it. A pity, as honestly so many kids would love to see Knightmare on TV.
Dreaming aside, the castle was incredible. Sometimes it had people playing NPCs whose whole purpose was to kill the heroic kids; other times it had NPCs willing to get the kids out of harm’s way. Sometimes, people would get poisoned – And every time, the protagonist would be blinded by the magnificence of the castle; so much so, they would always say…
“… Where am I?!”
Unseen University – Discworld
Ankh Morpork’s campus for practitioners of the arcane is a wondrous place of learning. From the glass dome of the High Energy Magic Building and its strange atmosphere of thaumatological radiation, to the soaring, crooked Tower of Art, UU is a wonder of the mystic art of architecture and containing large amount of wizard.
Rivalled across the disc only by Buggerup Uni in Fourecks with its many-heighted tower, the university is a defining feature of the AM skyline on those days when it can be seen through the dust, smog, and general effluence of the Ankh. You could buy it in paper-craft at one point, pretty sure I missed my chance though.
So, we’ve got something to admit to all of you. Today marks the four year anniversary of our first Top 10 article, Top 10 Bears. It’s old, it’s outdated and so, so many of our classics are. But, we loved every one of them so much. To celebrate, we’re picking up three of our classic Top 10’s for a redo as we think there are many new entries we could consider – So, go ahead, select one for us to do a redeux on. Will they be better, or will they be basically the same as before?
That’s it for another Top 10 list – But as ever, we’re not quite finished yet. We’re going to pass the conversation onto you now. What did you make of our list today? Did we get the right buildings, or did we forget about any truly grand buildings? Did we get the order right? Could anything have toppled Hogwarts? Leave your comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, on behalf of Timlah and Joel: Thanks again to everyone who has been with us every step of the way.
Sometimes I travel a fair distance to attend things that might be of interest to our community; but this weekend I’m attending an event right on my doorstep here in Bristol. Yes, it’s time for Bristol Comic Con which takes place this Sunday 8th April and GeekOut Media will be attending to document the occasion.
I feel like I’m going blind looking down this list! All I can see are floating clothes! Something isn’t right here. Oh wait, I know, this must be our Top 10 Invisible characters. Before we see what cannot be seen, we must tell you that a character doesn’t need to be able to control their invisibility to be considered; however it must be a skill or ability they have, or something that’s just natural to them. As ever then, here’s this week’s unseeable Top 10!
As we approach ever closer to Christmas Day, with it only being 16 days away now, our Top 10’s have become more Christmas themed once more. This week, as chosen by you, our fantastic audience, has been probably our hardest list in a very long time to compile. We had to come up with a definition of Badly Decorated… But here’s what we think.
With it coming up to Christmas, we settled on Badly Decorated as one of our choices, but we didn’t really think what that meant. At Christmas, we cover our houses in tinsel, fairy lights and so much more, but it’s not exactly a flattering look. It’s just a “Christmas-sy” look. As such, to us, badly decorated means that for the time we see the place, it has to either have unfitting objects, bad decorations or an abundance of just poor design.
Got it? Sweet! On to this week’s list! (more…)
If you’re reading this on the day of publishing, you should already be on your way to GeekOut Shrewsbury, you can read this tomorrow or something just get to Monty’s Tower! If you’re reading this from Friday onwards, or if you are for whatever reason incapable of getting to GeekOut in Shrewsbury, then you have a lot to look forward to next year.
Note that all the details listed here are subject to minor changes, mostly additions, this is just a trailer after all, the finished product is still in the editing suite. So here I write in the past on the matter of the future, for you to read in the present. Moving swiftly on with the terrible march of time!
January 25th GeekOut Resolutions
We’ll ring in the new year with some pledges to change our ways for the geekier! No, there’ll be no demands to give up your vices or pledges to shed the Christmas-kilos, but why not finally commit to reading that book series you’ve always had your eye on, or digging into that unplayed collection of games in your Steam list? There’s that event you’ve been planning to attend, the cosplay that’s been sat on your to-do list for far too long, and all those films people have been telling you are essential viewing!
It’s time to resolve! In the mean time expect a Geeky Pub Quiz, we’ll be holding them every odd numbered month, gotta change things up from time to time.
February 22nd Sweet Lovecraft
As couples unite under strange stars, dancing to forbidden tunes, so too do the lovelorn yearn for the love that dare not speak its name, for fear of what horrors that name may invoke. Take up the felt-tip pens and assorted craft supplies, and sacrificially pour out your heart into creepy, eldritch, and alien Valentines cards (tentacles not required, but not discouraged).
Brush up on some Lovecraftian horror in February, you may wish to cite the verses found in the Necronomicon to profess your agonised screaming… or whatever emotions you may be feeling at the time.
March 29th March at the Movies
The unrelenting tide of cinema moves us to compose an entire quiz comprised of film and film related media and media that has itself been made into films. Red carpet pending, possible red welcome-mat stand in on hand, we’re on a budget here.
And on the subject of films…
April 26th DC vs Marvel
Fun isn’t something one considers when balancing the universe… but this does put a smile on my face.
The trailer says May, but in the UK it’ll be the day after April’s GeekOut Shrewsbury. Seems like a perfect day to pitch Marvel against DC, villains against villains, heroes against heroes, with the occasional 2000AD or Vision Comics cameo just to muddy the waters. We may or may not have to organise a GeekOut Cinema Trip while we’re on the job.
May 25th May The GeekOut Be With You
Star Wars and science fiction in general will be the focus of May’s quiz and overall event goings-on. If you can tell your Peacekeepers from your Stormtroopers, split your Jedi from your Rangers, and know which boxes to file Cylons and Borg then you’ll be off to a good start. You may also want to look up the meaning of the word Muadib.
June 28th Gamers Gauntlet
Time to run some tournaments. Victories in a variety of games – tabletop and video – will raise you through a bracket to compete for the disappointing prize which may or may not be a gauntlet. The games will be decided based on your votes throughout May and June, so keep an eye on GeekOut South-West for news and your chance to have some input on June’s Gamers Gauntlet.
July 26th Steam Punked
Gather ye round innovators and inventors, you’ll need to have your life’s work ready and on the table to be torn apart by the mustachio’d and judicious judging panel (it’s me). If times are hard, just slap some gears on something. Take your table lamp and show me your Situated Illuminatrix, show me no sofas but your Multicapacitated Respitor might turn heads. It’s the “Stick Some Gears On It” Inventors Fayre!
Class yourself up to the teeth in the latest in retro fashions, technolysed victoriana, top hats and chimney spouts, and sink your teeth into a the months quiz.
August 30th Tengen Toppa GeekOut Lagann
At the height of summer is the height of our untamed power! Kick off from underground and blast straight into the heavens with unrestrained might!
August’s anime themed GeekOut Meet will see us building prototype mechs to take us into the future and into victory, but in accordance with the space we’ll have to work with they shall be small and made predominantly of paper and cardboard.
September 27th Harry Potter and the Shrewsbury Geeks
Back to school, but if we must don uniforms lets at least keep it geeky. Septembers quiz shall be unapologetically strong on the Harry Potter themes, we’ll keep it mostly accessible but there’s no doubt that the Muggles will be disadvantaged. Dress wizardly or witchly for cheeky extra points, and expect September’s Disappointing Prize to be sourced from Labyrinth in Grope Lane.
October 25th Lycanthropic
Bang on full moon too, almost like we planned it that way…
Hallowe’en need not be a theme in it’s own right. It’s filled with potential, and subgenres and possibilities. Nor should we feel restricted to werewolves when the notion of humans becoming carnivorous monsters has been around longer than Anthony Hopkins. Competition and survivors TBD.
November 29th NaNoGeKo
Nearly finished NaNoWriMo?
They say everyone has a book inside them, well we’re not looking to extract the whole thing, just give it a peak at the outside world. Whether you’ve been taking part in National Novel Writing Month or are still in the planning stages, come prepared, or prepared to prepare to write the blurb for that book you’ve always wanted to put to paper. Expect a literary quiz, meaning no fewer than two competitions with prizes to boot! Arrive dressed in a dust jacket and your finest bookmark.
December 27th GiftWrapped GeekOut
Mimicking the annual habits of GeekOut Bristol, we shall be running a Super-Secret Santa, and this is important because we may very well be running the same this year on the 28th! This year we’ll impose a £5 spending limit, next year raising to £5.50 to account for inflation, but deducting fifty pence to account for economic disaster. The task is simple enough: buy a present for someone, you don’t know who. If you put a present in you can take a present out!
Running it in 2018 and in future years will pend the success of running it this year, much the same as GeekOut itself. So far you’ve made the effort that goes into running GeekOut all the more enjoyable. See you later on today, and again next month, and hopefully, all year after that. If you’re enjoying GeekOut then spread the love through Facebook and Meetup.
Next on the chopping block, a Top 10 that springs to mind when thinking of Hallowe’en. It was necks to impossible to pick from our examples, but we made some real headway and have ranked some examples that are truly head and shoulders above the rest and it’s heads, it’s severed, decapitated, removed from the body heads. You already knew that from the title, no need for the puns, after all if you read the title…
You’re already ahead of the punchline. (more…)