Nobody knows who invented doors, but the oldest ones appear in Egyptian tomb paintings from 4,000 years ago, where they signified a passage to the afterlife.
In many of the world’s mythological stories, most beloved fairytales, and in popular culture, doors represent openings, journeys, transformations, opportunities, and sometimes, obstacles and mystery. As they’re steeped in cultural and symbolic importance, there’s no wonder why doors make popular plot devices.
Whether they transport a protagonist to an enchanting new world or shut to the face of a villain, the following five are the world’s most famous modern fictional doors, which left a mark on our societies’ collective subconscious.
1. The Wardrobe — The Chronicles of Narnia
“Open the door and enter a new world!”
First published in the 1950s in the UK, with countless stage and movie adaptations, The Chronicles of Narnia remains one of the most popular children’s stories.
As the characters in it travel to the mythical land of Narnia via a portal in their wardrobe, the series has inspired many generations of kids to keep checking their closets for surprises.
2. Floating Wooden Door — Titanic
As the Titanic sinks into the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean in this 1997 movie, which represented the real-world tragedy of 1912, a floating wooden door saves Rose’s life.
However, this famous scene triggered one of the most hotly-debated issues among the cinephiles during the 1990s: Could Jack also fit into that Titanic door? And if he could, would Rose and Jack have their happily ever after in America, or would the duo grow apart due to their differences?
3. 221B Baker Street — Sherlock Holmes
Arguably the world’s most famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, resided behind a black Georgian-style door at 221B Baker Street, in London.
While the street itself isn’t fictional, the door number is. However, this didn’t stop Sherlock Holmes fans from recreating it. Sherlock Home Museum is currently welcoming visitors at 221B Baker Street. Even though the original address of the museum would’ve been 239 Baker Street, the address was officially renamed to fit its treasured fictional universe.
4. Hodor’s Door — Game of Thrones
One of the most emotional scenes in recent popular culture history, Hodor’s door in Game of Thrones came to symbolize friendship, sacrifice, and loyalty — and moved countless fans to tears.
Unfortunately, this door had a critical safety issue: It wasn’t White Walker-proof.
As a result, for millions who held their breaths in this scene, the phrase “Hold the door” will never sound the same again.
5. The Hobbit Home Door — The Lord of the Rings
In the tremendously successful Lord of the Rings franchise, not all round items are destructive: Take the ring-shaped door of Bilbo Baggins’ home in Shire.
This famous fictional door is perfect for a plump and short hobbit to pass through, even if his tall Elven friends might struggle with it more. With a lively green paint job and a pewter door handle at its center, it evokes a feeling of coziness, charm, and warmth.
While it might have practical limitations in real life, the hobbit door and house inspired a new design aesthetic, with many fans installing ring-shaped doors in their countryside houses.