We have all been there before when we read a bit of fiction. We imagine what it would be like to live in a different time or place, or even a mansion or castle our favorite characters call home. Some would perhaps prefer the comforts of a hobbit hole, while some would like the grandeur of a mansion like Downton Abbey.
But whatever you choose, it’s more than the appearance of the windows, the decor of their rooms, or even the seamless gutters installed in their excellent roofing systems. The place itself has a personality and mood that reflects you. Here are some fictional mansions that have occupied readers’ imaginations for decades.
When Daphne du Maurier wrote the first sentence to her 1938 masterpiece Rebecca, little did she know she was channeling what millions of readers would feel when they read her book. Manderley is the fictional estate of Maxim de Winter, a brooding widower who marries the book’s unnamed protagonist.
The book is full of descriptions of the manor’s various rooms, all indicating the wealth and impeccable taste of its owner. Those who are familiar with the story know the tragedy that lies under all the beauty of the estate. But even so, Du Maurier’s words leave readers mesmerized and mystified, and they always find themselves in Manderley once more, if only in their dreams.
Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula lives in his ancestral castle atop the mountains. Of course, most people wouldn’t want to live in Castle Dracula, the home of one of literature’s most feared characters. But for the brave few who are willing to imagine themselves exploring its maze of rooms and hallways high up in the mountains of Transylvania, it is the definitive house of horrors. Coffins, crypts, and cloaked characters are all around, and in every adaptation, Castle Dracula never disappoints.
The fictional home of billionaire Bruce Wayne, the manor is also a cover for Wayne’s alter ego: Batman. The manor has been drawn and depicted in all forms of media, from comic books to film, but there is one thing that has remained constant: Wayne Manor sits outside the city limits of Gotham City. Apart but not separate, as it hides a cavern system that provides Batman access to the city. The manor mirrors the duality of the main protagonist: a man who masquerades himself as cultured and civilized but hides an aspect that believes in vigilante justice.
A Place You Can Call Home
Mansions proliferate popular culture, and all of them have a distinct hold on our imagination. Whether we want to experience the serenity of the Last Homely House in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or see the bleakness of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, fictional mansions force us to explore places in our minds where we might not be willing to enter. They make us think and help us define what makes a place more than a house, and what we need to make it a home.