Trope-a-Day: Bright Castle

Bright Castle: Oh, they’ve got lots of these. One of the quirks of having to lead by sheer force of arête rather than force is that it helps to build a bloody impressive seat to impress people with your leadership qualities from; as such, generations of castle architects have concentrated at least as much on awesome shininess as on defensibility – and once defensibility was something that you couldn’t expect out of a castle, switched happily to concentrating primarily on awesomeness.

The ultimate example of this (which also qualifies as a Big Fancy Castle) is Alphas I Amanyr’s Imperial Palace, which starts with a twelve-story five-sided marble Citadel as a centerpiece, then surrounds it with just over 900 other buildings1 scattered throughout its extensive walled grounds, and includes such features as the Long Hall, a public, multi-story hall (complete with cafés on promenade balconies) running a couple of miles from the main entrance to the main doors of the Citadel and giving entrance to all the other areas of the Palace, public and private, on the way. Part of the size, of course, is that it also houses the offices of state and staff attached to the Imperial Household – including the central office of the Chancelry of Coordination – representations from all the Ministries and the Service, the facilities for the Imperial Guard, and so forth, but there’s no denying that it positively reeks of power, wealth, beauty, awe, and suitability to be right at the center of things for arbitrarily large values of things. Which was exactly Alphas’s intent – “We are the sort of people who can build this room – and we’ve got a lot more rooms like this.” – and he hired the very best architects and what-would-later-be-called-memeticists to ensure that he got it.

(If pressed, his heirs might be prepared to admit that he may have gone a little overboard, but there’s no arguing with results. Besides, he’d already demonstrated genius in the fields of governance, military command, economics, philosophy, and technological applications – what more do you want?)

1. In the modern era. It wasn’t always quite so mini-city-sized, but expanding to that size was built right in to the original plans. Because ambition.