Created By: Nocturna on August 29, 2012 Last Edited By: lu127 on October 30, 2013
Troped

Cold Flames

Fire which doesn't actually burn things.

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Trope
Per the Cold Flames TRS thread, this trope will be launched to Cold Flames, with the current trope transplanted.

Description/definition refinement suggestions are welcome and encouraged.

Indicies: This Index Is On Fire


Fire is hot—except for those occasions when it's not. Sometimes, one of the special properties of magical or illusory fire is that it doesn't burn things, although, oddly enough, it may still require fuel. Sometimes, the non-burning property only applies to certain classes of objects, such as fire which doesn't burn people but will burn anything else, or fire which only burns living organisms.

Sometimes, the flames will actually be cold (in varying intensities), and not just not hot.

See also Convection Schmonvection, for when fires supposedly are hot, but don't quite behave like it.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comics 
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Inverted in a Bullpen Bits strip. The rest of the Fantastic Four decide that Johnny has to leave the group, because since he's always in his "flame on" mode he keeps burning up all the furniture.
    • One Jack 'O Lantern (who later became Hobgoblin), a recurring Spider-Man villain, has flames all over his helmet, yet doesn't get burned due to the fire being a variant called "stage fire," which is used in theatrical productions to simulate flame. He also has an air-supply within the helmet — separate from the fire's air supply — that helps keep the helmet cool.

    Literature 
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox, Damon Kronski, leader of the Extinctionists, has a pit lined with flamethrowers which he uses to stage the execution of endangered species for the amusement of his supporters. Unbeknownst to him, another character (who wants the endangered animals saved for selfish reasons) fitted a trapdoor in the base of the pit and replaced the flamethrowers with hologram generators.
  • In the Coldfire Trilogy, the Anti-Villain developed his own version of fire magic that burns cold rather than hot. As an undead, it's the only way he can safely wield fire.
  • In Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising, Hawkin summons nine large magical freezing cold flames that represent the power of the Dark and the spells of the Deep Cold.
  • In the novel Dream Park, the South Seas Treasure Game scenario includes a form of "reverse fire", that un-burns ashes and causes frostbite on contact, as a plot device.
  • An entire novel in The Galactic Consul series by Yevgeny Filenko is set on a planet whose native culture discovered a form of low-temperature plasma that doesn't burn if handled right (but is deadly otherwise) and adapted it into a weapon. The scientists are as baffled by its physics by the end of the novel as they are at the start.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Hermione puts some non-burning magical fire in a jar to keep the trio warm in winter. Later she uses it to trick Snape into thinking his robes have caught fire and scoops it back into the jar when she's done. (In the film, the latter is changed to the regular kind of fire.)
  • The Saga of Hervor and Heidrek: When Hervor is looking for her father's gravemound in a haunted burial ground at night, there are ghostly "grave-fires" burning on the barrows. As it turns out, Hervor can go right through these fires without getting burned.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In the Book of Exodus, an angel of the Lord speaks to Moses from a bush that burns but is not consumed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Module I4 Oasis of the White Palm. In the Temple of Set the PCs can find a brazier filled with violet flames. The flames don't give off heat and don't burn wood. However, if they touch living flesh, they burn it, causing serious damage.
    • The Continual Flame spell creates a permanent fire that doesn't burn or use oxygen and is used to make Everlasting Torches.
    • In the Mystara D&D setting and the CD&D game, the halfling Masters' racial artifact is blackflame: a dark-colored, frigid "fire" that burns inflammable substances and radiates shadow rather than light.

    Video Games 
  • In Call of Duty multiplayer maps, fire is often present in small amounts (think burning wreckage) but entirely cosmetic. A player can stand next to or even in it and suffer no damage.
  • In Spyro: Year of the Dragon, in one level, Spyro's fire breath will become cold and can freeze enemies.


Community Feedback Replies: 55
  • August 29, 2012
    MrRuano
    • One Jack 'O Lantern (who later became Hobgoblin), a recurring Spider Man villain, has flames all over his helmet, yet doesn't get burned due to the fire being a variant called "stage fire", which is used in theatrical productions to simulate flame. He also has an air-supply within the helmet -separate from the fire's air supply- that helps keep the helmet cool.
  • August 29, 2012
    Xolroc
    Perhaps a better title would be something along the lines of "Neverburning flame." Burnless fire is just a little too bland!
  • August 30, 2012
    Koveras
    • An entire novel in the The Galactic Consul series by Yevgeny Filenko is set on a planet whose native culture discovered a form of low-temperature plasma that doesn't burn if handled right (but is deadly otherwise) and adapted it into a weapon. The scientists are as baffled by its physics by the end of the novel as they are at the start.
  • August 30, 2012
    polarbear2217
  • August 30, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^^^ I'm hoping to transplant it to Cold Flames. See the TRS thread for that name, linked at the top of the draft.
  • August 30, 2012
    Shnakepup
    Would this also be for examples of when fire is shown, burning, but it appears harmless? Like in certain videogames, you can walk right through/over it and not take any damage, or in shows/films where fire is present but no one seems bothered by the heat. In other words, purely cosmetic fire?
  • August 30, 2012
    Astaroth
    Would this qualify?

    In Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox, Damon Kronski, leader of the Extinctionists, has a pit lined with flamethrowers which he uses to stage the execution of endangered species for the amusement of his supporters. Unbeknownst to him, another character (who wants the endangered animals saved for selfish reasons) fitted a trapdoor in the base of the pit and replaced the flamethrowers with hologram generators.
  • August 30, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^^ Yes to the first question and example; the latter example would be more likely to fall under Hollywood Fire (i.e. it's hot but not as hot as it would be in real life).

    ^ Yes, that would qualify, although it would also overlap with illusory fire (current definition of Cold Flames).
  • September 3, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons module I4 Oasis of the White Palm. In the Temple of Set the PCs can find a brazier filled with violet flames. The flames don't give off heat and don't burn wood. However, if they touch living flesh they burn it, causing serious damage.
  • September 3, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ Dn D also has the Continual Flame spell which creates a permanent fire that doesn't burn of use oxygen, used to make Everlasting torches
  • September 4, 2012
    TBeholder
    please, please kill this title with fire. =)
  • September 5, 2012
    Shnakepup
    • In Call Of Duty multiplayer maps, fire is often present in small amounts (think burning wreckage) but entirely cosmetic. A player can stand next to or even in it and suffer no damage.

    Also, you might want to mention Convection Schmonvection as a related trope in the description.
  • September 19, 2012
    Khantalas
    I suggest "Heatless Flame" if the title will be changed.
  • September 19, 2012
    Shnakepup
  • September 19, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Inverted in a Marvel Comics "Bullpen Bits" strip. The rest of the Fantastic Four decide that Johnny has to leave the group, because since he's always in his "flame on" mode he keeps burning up all the furniture.
  • October 22, 2012
    ArcadesSabboth
    I support Neverburning Flame as a better name.
  • October 22, 2012
    Athanais
    • The drow (or dark elves) within the Forgotten Realms universe possess an innate ability to conjure harmless faerie fire on a person or object. The phantom flames provide some dim illumination, but more often than not are used to startle/scare/mess with the victim of the spell, who takes a terrified moment to realize that they're not actually burning.
  • October 23, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^^ As I've mentioned earlier, I'm hoping that this will be transplanted to Cold Flames. Or, if people think one of the other names are better, that Cold Flames will be retired.
  • October 23, 2012
    Duncan
    • In the movie Krull, part of the wedding ceremony is to take magical fire from water and pass it to your betrothed's hand although later together they use the fire to kill the Big Bad. There are also fire mules, who have fire that shoot from their feet while galloping. Colwyn also sticks his hand into some lava to pull out the glaive, and isn't burned, but that's mainly because he's the Chosen One, not due to the fire itself.
  • October 31, 2012
    dvorak
    oops, that didn't fit at all...
  • October 31, 2012
    Omeganian
    The Marvelous Land Of Oz has it as an illusion meant to stop the protagonists.
  • October 31, 2012
    Nocturna
    ^ Illusions are Cold Flames (although I'm hoping to get TRS approval for a rename).
  • October 31, 2012
    Irrisia
    In Ao No Exorcist, Rin can summon blue demonic flame; he learns how to control his flames so he chooses what they will and won't burn. This comes in handy for destroying the Impure King, a giant fungus/decay demon, and all its spores, without harming any of the humans those spores have rooted in.
  • October 31, 2012
    StarSword
    Given the presence of the burning bush in Exodus, add Older Than Feudalism to the indices.
  • November 1, 2012
    AgProv
    Music: the Blue Oyster Cult's Astronomy is about this concept:-

    "Hellish glare and inference,
    The other one's a duplicate,
    The queenly flux, eternal light;
    Or the light that never warms -
    Yes the light that never, never warms;
    Or the light that never
    Never warms;
    Never warms;
    Never warms...
  • January 7, 2013
    DRCEQ
    In Street Fighter IV, Dhalsim reveals that his Yoga Flame was granted to him by a god, and that you only get burned because Your Mind Makes It Real. If you know what it is, then it won't burn you.
  • May 25, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Bump. Can we get hats and examples here?
  • May 25, 2013
    DracMonster
    The Fires That Dont Burn Anything.

    (Yes, I'm joking. But I so wish...)

    Anyway, have a hat.
  • June 28, 2013
    Nocturna
    Okay, the TRS decided that this trope will be put in the Cold Flames spot, and the trope currently there moved to Faux Flame. If we can get this moving, that would be good.
  • June 29, 2013
    StarSword
    Did some namespace cleanup.
  • June 29, 2013
    McKathlin
    Please correct the burning bush reference to Book Of Exodus, as it first appears in Exodus 3:2. I'd also recommend adding more context, something like this:

    Mythology and Religion
    • In the Book Of Exodus, an angel of the Lord speaks to Moses from a bush that burns but is not consumed.
  • June 29, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    Real Life: there really is such a thing as cold plasma.
  • June 29, 2013
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series. In The Dark is Rising, Hawkin summoned nine large magical freezing cold flames that burned with a blue light. They represented the power of the Dark and the spells of the Deep Cold.
  • July 22, 2013
    Aspie
  • July 22, 2013
    DAN004
  • July 23, 2013
    eowynjedi
    • In Harry Potter And The Sorcerors Stone, Hermione puts some non-burning magical fire in a jar to keep the trio warm in winter. Later she uses it to trick Snape into thinking his robes have caught fire and scoops it back into the jar when she's done. (In the film, the latter is changed to the regular kind of fire.)
  • July 23, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
  • July 24, 2013
    Nocturna
    ^ I made a redirect, because it really should have had one. Though I'll use "Philsopher's" in the example.

    Also, I'll be launching this tomorrow.
  • July 24, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ It seems you made an incorrect redirect, since according to the page it's "Sorcerer's Stone", not "Sorcerors Stone".
  • July 24, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^And it already had the ...Sorcerers Stone redirect.
  • July 24, 2013
    Nocturna
    ^ Not namespaced. Although I will admit that it's my bad on not noticing the spelling error.
  • July 24, 2013
    darthwedgius
    In the cartoon version of The Tick, a scientist invents (IIRC) "low-temperature fire." The Tick asks, "What's the point, man?"
  • October 12, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Bumping this. It has 5 hats, but can we please get more examples?
  • October 12, 2013
    DAN004
    What about I'm pulling one? :P
  • October 19, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Still needs more examples.
  • October 19, 2013
    DAN004
    You haven't added my Spyro example. :/
  • October 19, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Added that and another example.
  • October 19, 2013
    Antigone3
    It looks to me like the Elemental Masters example can be pulled from the former Cold Flames to this one — Jonathan creates unburning flames in and around the box Ninette is in as part of a disappearance illusion.
  • October 19, 2013
    SharleeD
    Would "reverse fire" that un-burns ashes and causes harm because it's incredibly cold be this trope, or is that already a different one?
  • October 20, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ It's this trope.
  • October 20, 2013
    AP
    • The original Ghost Rider could project flames that felt cold. These were mystical flames that attacked targets' souls, rather than the typical burning variety.
  • October 20, 2013
    SharleeD
    • In the novel Dream Park, the South Seas Treasure Game scenario includes a form of "reverse fire", that un-burns ashes and causes frostbite on contact, as a plot device.

    • In the Mystara D&D setting and the CD&D game, the halfling Masters' racial artifact is blackflame: a dark-colored, frigid "fire" that burns inflammable substances and radiates shadow rather than light.
  • October 20, 2013
    LordGro
    Literature
    • The Saga Of Hervor And Heidrek: When Hervor is looking for her father's gravemound in a haunted burial ground at night, there are ghostly "grave-fires" burning on the barrows. As it turns out, Hervor can go right through these fires without getting burned.
  • October 21, 2013
    Fighteer
    I don't have time to write up the example, but any mention of this trope without the Coldfire Trilogy is fail.
  • October 30, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    I'll launch this today if there are no objections - a TRS topic is waiting, there are five hats and enough examples.
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