My instinct is that there is a fantasy trope of the hero/protagonist exploring a (seemingly) unending series of rooms. I feel like I have encountered this trope in multiple books, but the only one I can think of off the top of my head is GoT (Daenerys in the House of the Undying).

Is this a general trope, and does it have a name?


TV Tropes calls this Oh Look, More Rooms!

A subtrope of Bigger on the Inside. A place looks fairly normal from the outside, and possibly even when you get in, it's of a reasonable size. But there's this door in the back. Open it, and... there's a whole new section of the place, easily as big or bigger than everything you've seen so far! And look - there's a door in the back of that too, which leads to yet another new section - or worse, five doors...

Basically, it's when Bigger on the Inside keeps happening to the point of an Overly Long Gag. Related to Big Labyrinthine Building. Can be especially nightmarish in the Mobile Maze, where you can also know that the rooms weren't there before.

The examples listed on this page under Literature include the House of the Undying from A Song of Ice and Fire, and also the Temple of a Thousand Rooms from The Neverending Story, which was the example that sprung to my mind immediately from your explanation.

  • 5
    And of course the grandaddy of them all, Gormenghast.
    – Spencer
    Jul 5 at 16:06
  • 2
    My personal favorite variant of this is The Library Of Babel. Because that's a place I want to visit. (Getting an actual library card to check out books would be even better!)
    – davidbak
    Jul 5 at 19:00
  • A more recent version, not listed in that wiki page, is Susanna Clarke's wonderful Piranesi. Jul 5 at 19:21
  • 2
    @davidbak Using the website is cheaper and just as useless as a library card would be. Jul 5 at 20:19
  • 1
    @RossPresser - Wonderful website, thanks for the pointer! The "image search" is also fantastic and the algorithm behind both rather astonishing (as I had no idea there was a class of "reversible" pseudo-random number generators!) (Though I guess I should have ... it's kind of like arithmetic coding in a way ...)
    – davidbak
    Jul 6 at 1:58

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