Processes operating beneath glaciers can have a greater influence on flow dynamics than those operating within them. The variety and complexity of these processes, which involve interactions among ice, water, and geological solids, resist efforts to establish simple truths and can lead to surprising outcomes. Thermal conditions at the ice-bed interface (melting or nonmelting) and the mechanical properties of the glacier substrate (soft or hard) determine which processes can be activated. The warm-soft case supports the greatest variety of processes and is the most important for fast-flow dynamics and for the mobilization of subglacial sediment. Process interactions can lead to oscillations and spatio-temporal switching behavior in glaciers and ice sheets as well as to the generation of subglacial landforms.