Cold Flames YKTTW Discussion

Cold Flames
Fire which doesn't actually burn things.
(permanent link) added: 2012-08-29 21:22:08 sponsor: Nocturna edited by: lu127 (last reply: 2013-10-30 04:44:00)

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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.


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  • 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.

  • 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.

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