Lightning-Fire Juxtaposition
Fire and Lightning used as a Motif for Foils and rivalries


(permanent link) added: 2013-11-14 11:54:10 sponsor: MorningStar1337 (last reply: 2013-12-06 17:58:04)

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Fire. An elemental force by nature and Longtime rival to Water (and by extension Ice) However recently some writers replaced water and Electricity has been poised to rival the burning element. Therefore two partners, rivals, or Foils would have one of them become associated with flame, and the other lightning.

This might be because the two forces are similar yet different, Fire and Electricity, are both forms and sources of energy, Both are destructive in a uncontrolled state. both are forms of light. Both are symbols of life-lightning of giving life. live saving fire. Both are symbols of power. Both have been used as symbols of divine anger. Both have been used to represent technological advancements. Lighting is direct but short, fire takes its time. Lightning makes fire, and fire used right can generate electricity. Both are part of an elemental trinity. As a result, this is used to underscore the Not So Different of Foil aspect, in fact people at ancient times thought that Lightning was celestial Fire.

Another use of this trope is to symbolize ideals and truths, Using them as foils instead of characters. Fire is used to symbolize man's beginnings (Prometheus brought fire to man, and with it intelligence), home, truth, purification and strong feelings. Lightning symbolizes loss of ignorance (The Tower was struck by a bolt of lightning), divine punishment, destiny, epiphany and Man as he is now. Both can also symbolize creativity, divine powers, destruction, and energy.

A Sister Trope to Fire/Water Juxtaposition. If combined with the latter that might be Fire, Ice, Lightning. Compare Elemental Rivalry.


Examples

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     Anime and Manga 
  • In InuYasha, one Monster of the Week is a pair of twins with intertwined bodies who are always fighting for the control of the body. One of them uses a sword that sparks lightning, and the other uses a conch that breathes fire.
  • In Soul Eater, the students are grouped into teams consisting of three meisters and their weapons which tend to form Freudian Trios. One minor group consists of Kim Diehl & Jacqueline Dupre as the id (fire), Ox Ford & Harvar D. as the superego (lightening) and Kilik & Pot of Fire and Pot of Thunder as the ego (one of the pots is fire based, the other is lightening based). Kilik is also an example on his own, since using two elements symbolises that he's really good at synchronizing with weapons ( at one point he's able to wield four partners at once, when most meisters can only manage one).
  • In the Lyrical Nanoha series, there is a special ability called Mana Conversion Affinity, which allows a mage to spontaneously convert her mana into electric or thermal energy at will (though a single person can only do one of these). In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Fate, who has lightning-type MCA, is repeatedly pitted against Signum, the leader of the season's "villains" who has flame-type MCA. Although their enmity doesn't last the season itself, their friendly rivalry continues far beyond that.
  • In Fairy Tail: aside from Gajeel and Wendy, Laxus is one of the many Foils to Natsu. In his case, he acts as a superior, calm (unless he snaps) foil to Natsu (not unlike Gajeel, but he's more Not So Different since he's stubborn as iron). In fact, the three share A LOT of characteristics among them (like Blood Knight for all three, Leeroy Jenkins tendencies for Natsu and Gajeel). Gajeel is often stuck as inferior to both, since Iron conducts both electricity and heat...

     Film 
  • In Lincoln, there is a scene where Lincoln is arguing with his wife on the morality of going to war. There is lighting flashing through the dark window on Lincoln's side, while there is fire burning in a fire place next to the wife. Lincoln is arguing going to war to stop slavery and stop an insurrection. Meanwhile, his wife is arguing that the lives of young soldiers and consequently their families are at stake. It seems that the use of lightning and fire shows that both are serious arguments-but both have different connotations. Lincoln's lightning might represent both the "divine" justice needed to be done and Lincoln's strong ideological stance. His wife's stance is depicted as a fire-place, usually a symbol of home, and fire as a symbol of truth, indicating there would be a high cost to pay for the war. Also, male vs female.(Justice Ideals vs Justice truths?)

     Mythology and Religion 
  • The Myth of Promethues states that he brought fire to man giving them intelligence. This led the thunderbolt associated Zeus to chain him to a rock to be tortured for eternally.

     Live-Action TV 
  • On Charmed's last season, The Halliwells fight with Billie and Christy, using lightning based powers against their fire based powers.

     Video Games 
  • Adell, the Hot-Blooded Red-Headed Hero of Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories and his Unknown Rival, the self-proclaimed Dark Hero Axel. Adell's attacks are fire elemental and some of Axel's attacks include Lightning (and he has blond hair and purple Big Ol' Eyebrows shaped like lightning bolts)
  • Pokémon has two pairs like this. The Electabuzz and Magmar evolutionary lines, who are respectably Thunder and Fire type, and Zekrom and Reshiram, two Olympus Mons who represent the two elements as power sources. Zekrom represents Ideals using a lighting/electric tech robotic theme while Reshiram represents truth through an organic fire combustion theme. This in Ideals vs truth is based on ying-yang taoistic themes. With ice, neutral, apathetic, undead? Kyurem it become Fire, Ice, Lightning.
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga: Mario and Luigi get Fire and Lightning abilities respectively. This might be due to their personalities. Mario, a hero, is brave and consistent, though his Fire powers existed before this game as the Fire Flower powerup. But Mario is also aggressive and impulsive, showing a little hotheadedness. Luigi, who is slightly lazy and cowardly, (You could say that he's gone in a flash) but is also more expressive in his emotions and funny (he might have a spark of life in him). When Luigi does act, he can make all the difference, and he is as brave as his brother during events with strong enemies. Hence, the partnership between the two.
    • In Super Paper Mario, Luigi's dark side call himself the Green Thunder.
    • While they lack their powers in Partners in Time, the final boss has a notable attack that uses the fire and lightning imagery as a tell. Using fire to launch a projectile means it's going to hit Mario, and using lightning to launch one means it's going to hit Luigi.
  • Dwarves in Heroes of Might and Magic V generally feel a great affinity towards fire, borne from their connection with the dragon-god Arkath, but there are some exceptions; the rune-mage Svea is regarded as an oddity because she developed a talent for lightning magic while acting as an ambassador to the Silver Cities, and the Thanes can use either fire or lightning to enhance their combat abilities (Flame Thanes can generate shockwaves and burn their enemies, while Thunder Thanes use Chain Lightning to attack multiple foes at once).
  • In Guilty Gear, Sol Badguy uses Fuuenken (aka Fireseal) and his foil/rival, Ky Kiske, uses Fuuraiken (aka Thunderseal).
  • In The King of Fighters, before the start of the series Kyo and Benimaru were rivals, but nowadays have become great friends. They're based of a Japanese saying: "Lightning strikes ground and creates fire" (with their friend, Goro Daimon, as the "ground").
  • Fire and thunder are very prominent visual themes in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The protagonist of that game, Raiden is named for one of Japan's gods of thunder and the fight against Armstrong takes place near the burning ruins of one of the Metal Gears.

     Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, and somewhat in the sequel series The Legend of Korra, lightning-bending is a form and result of fire-bending that applied the techniques of it's elemental opposite water. Zuko and Azula fit the Foil aspect of this trope best, as Lightning generation requires an absence of emotion and peace of mind, which reflects pretty nicely Azula's cold an calculative nature, whereas Zuko used (at least at first) rage as a source of power for his firebending.
  • The characters Jay and Kai of Ninjago are lightning and fire respectively. Kai is rash and impulsive like fire, Jay is... erratic and spontaneous like lightning(in contrast to the usual for this trope) and They often act as foils.


NOTE: The only examples I can think off the top of my head are Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories (Adell and Axel) and Pokémon Black and White (Reahiram and Zekrom, and to a lesser extent, the Magmar and Electabuzz lines) So I'm not sire if its common enough to be a trope. Also I need help with the description.
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