Created By: Bisected8 on February 22, 2013 Last Edited By: Bisected8 on August 12, 2016

Fiery Stoic

A person with fire related powers is calm and collected instead of hot headed.

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Fire is energetic, so making people with fire related powers passionate is almost an effective form of shorthand as giving them red hair or clothes. On the other hand, there's this trope.

Giving fire users (or Mad Bombers and Grenadiers) a more stoic or calm personality contrasts nicely with their abilities. It's often justified In-Universe by explaining that they need to be calm and composed to control their chosen element. While it might seem like a complete inversion of the "usual" personality type associated with fire users, they also have a less restrained or outright sadistic personality (which might be their "true self" or might even be closer to a Super-Powered Evil Side) which slips through sometimes (in which case, expect plenty of "burning out of control" metaphors). Despite being at odds to more passionate portrayals of fire users, this can still be considered a Personality Power; the calm personality can represent the hearth and hospitality or industry which fire is symbolically associated with (and a darker, hidden personality can represent the threat fire can still pose).

Compare Genius Bruiser (for another character archetype which contrasts with their usual portrayal) and An Ice Person (who this personality is normally associated with). Contrast Mad Bomber and Pyromaniac.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Literature
  • Gandalf bore Narya, the Red Ring of Fire, which may have accounted for his skill with fireworks and flames generally (e.g. the wargs outside Moria). He's an archetypical wizard with all the calmness and wisdom that entails (although he does get angry occasionally; "Bilbo Baggins! Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks").

Video Games
  • Yukiko in Persona 4 fits this trope to a t (her main offensive element is fire and she's the demure daughter of the local innkeeper), right down to occasionally showing flashes of a much more brutal personality (most notable after scoring a critical hit). She's contrasted with Chie who similarly inverts the personality associated with An Ice Person.
  • Blaze The Cat from the Sonic the Hedgehog series not only has fiery powers, but is also a cold, aloof loner who keeps her emotions boiled up. Introverted or not, it's not a good idea to make her angry.

Western Animation
  • The Fire Nation Nobles in Avatar: The Last Airbender tend towards this. Iroh is laid back and calm, his nephew Zuko tries to be this but tends to let his temper get the better of him and his sister Azula is an evil version of this trope (right down to the sadistic side that appears in her Villainous Breakdown).
Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • February 22, 2013
    lexicon
    Your examples could use some work. If we only hear how the character doesn't fit ("The anime makes her a more straightforward "hot tempered" fire user.") then it's still a Zero Context Example. The last one is okay but the first two are bad.
  • February 22, 2013
    Bisected8
    Whoops, I've fleshed them out a bit.
  • February 22, 2013
    Anbalsilfer
    The fire-based example seems a bit too specific to be a trope in and of itself. However, it is a valid example of the exact opposite of Personality Powers. The inversion of this trope may be commonplace enough to be a trope in itself.
  • February 22, 2013
    Hodor
  • February 22, 2013
    313Bluestreak
    Blaze The Cat from the Sonic The Hedgehog series not only has fiery powers, but is also a cold aloof loner and often keeps her emotions boiled up, although she does stop being such a loner thanks to Sonic and his friends. Even if she still introverted, it's not a good idea to make her enraged.
  • February 22, 2013
    Oof
    Does this deserve its own trope? It strikes me as too specific. Ah, I see Anbalsilfer agrees.
  • February 22, 2013
    PaulJohnson
    Gandalf bore Narya, the Red Ring of Fire, which may have accounted for his skill with fireworks and flames generally (e.g. the wargs outside Moria).

    But I don't think this deserves a trope.
  • February 22, 2013
    MissKitten
    I don't think this is tropeworthy. Too close to Chairs
  • February 22, 2013
    Bisected8
    I don't think this is chairs. Chairs is when something has no meaning (no matter how often it happens). The deliberate contrast with fire and the user's personality is, in my opinion at least, relevant to narrative. As is the corollary that they tend to have a hidden dark side.

    As for Anbalsilfer's point; while I've seen inversions of Personality Powers, I don't think this is actually an inversion (a direct inversion would mean they're only unemotional; I think there are as many examples that appeared independently as there are that were intended as inversions of the "typical" personality), just another archetype that happens to overlap with direct inversions of the usual Playing With Fire personality.
  • February 22, 2013
    Oof
    If they aren't inversions of Personality Powers, then they're just playing with Personality Powers.

    It's too specific and insignificant to be a trope on its own.
  • February 22, 2013
    Bisected8
    I'm not actually sure what you mean by that, given that Playing With A Trope is a list of tropes which include Inverted Trope. Which Playing With Wiki trope are you saying this is in relation to Personality Powers?

    Either way, being a Playing With A Trope version of an existing trope doesn't automatically exclude something from being a trope unto itself....
  • February 22, 2013
    Oof
    Yeah, sorry, it's late here. I mean that your trope submission just sounds like a subversion. Playing With A Trope's definition of subversion: "A trope is set up to occur, but then the audience's expectations are thwarted in some way." Your trope subverts Personality Powers.
  • February 22, 2013
    Bisected8
    Nope, a subversion would be if the character in question appeared to have a personality which fit PP but didn't have powers that matched it.

    A character who fits this trope wouldn't have to be introduced in such a way (not to mention, as the description points out, it can be a straight fire related Personality Power, as it fits existing traits that can be associated with fire).

    My second point still stands anyway though; being a subversion (or used as a subversion or any other Playing With Wiki trope) of a documented trope doesn't mean it isn't a trope.
  • February 22, 2013
    Oof
    It sounds like you're going to try to push this through no matter what others say about it ... Oh well.
  • February 22, 2013
    Bisected8
    ...erm, all I did was refute your points.

    There's no point in pushing through a trope that gets cutlisted immediately. If it doesn't turn out to be a trope, this wouldn't be the first YKTTW of mine I've discarded.
  • February 22, 2013
    lexicon
    I think in order for this to be trope worthy it should be expanded to all powers, not just fire. Personality Powers in fact says, "As a result, it is almost as common for superheroes to have the exact opposite personality that one would expect."

    What Bisected8 says is true. A concept and it's opposite can both be a trope. For example, All Women Are Prudes and All Women Are Lustful.
  • February 22, 2013
    Oof
    Lexicon, a trope serves a story function. If its function isn't all that different than its inverse, then there's no point in having a separate trope. Subverting Personality Powers still gives us a code to the characters' personalities, it's just a slightly different code.

    All Women Are Prudes and All Women Are Lustful are vastly different tropes that affect the story in vastly different ways, so they deserve to be separate tropes.

    I maintain that this doesn't deserve to be its own trope. Adding the examples provided here as subversive examples in Personality Powers isn't a bad idea, however.

    Anyway, that's the last you'll hear from me on this.
  • February 22, 2013
    Hodor
    ^ I think you are correct. Despite my adding an example (which come to think of it may be on Personality Powers already), this probably isn't tropeworthy, especially because there could be lots of other inversions of Personality Powers and this fire one is just one iteration.
  • February 22, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Don't think this is Tropeworthy either. But I have one example, anyway.

    • The goddess of fireplace Hestia in Classical Mythology, symbolizing the domestic warmth aspect of fire. Despite her Odd Job God status, she is Zeus' eldest sister, and was one of the Twelve Olympians. However, instead of killing/raping mortals like her siblings, she prefers peace and stays a virgin. She even gave up her seat in Twelve Olympians to Dionysus to prevent conflict.
  • February 22, 2013
    lexicon
    I'm getting mixed messages. You don't think it's tropeworthy but you give us an example. Oh well. I think it's a very interesting example. Generally a person with fire powers is angry and Hot Blooded but you're suggesting a fire character who has the warmth aspect of fire. The element aspect is still there but in a different way.
  • February 23, 2013
    Ironeye
    This seems to be "fire mages that don't match Personality Powers". Three restrictions might be interesting:
    • Hestia-like examples, where Personality Powers hits a different aspect that is normally expected.
    • Jeong Jeong-like examples, where fire-users are unusually calm and controlled compared to others because of how dangerous their powers are compared to other ways of fighting/magic.
    • Inversion of Personality Powers as a theme (i.e. applied across the board, either to all fire-users or to all elements, instead of just to one character), to comment on stereotyping.

    Stoic Character + Fire Powers, on the other hand, isn't tropeable. Inevitably some characters with fire powers will be stoic--it's not important unless some greater meaning (such as one of the three listed above, all of which would be distinct tropes).
  • February 23, 2013
    Bisected8
    This isn't Stoic Characters + Fire Powers, though.

    It's Stoic Characters + Fire Powers = Contrast and tends to hide a hidden dark side.

    If a stoic character has fire powers but there's no contrast between their personality or hidden "fiery" personality, then it wouldn't be this trope. Which is also while I don't think it's a direct inversion.

    Anyway, since there seems to be a consensus that this is too narrow, what does everyone think about a fresh prototrope that covers alternative or inverted versions of the more common examples of Personality Powers (as per Ironeye's last point)? Or maybe expanding PP to include less common personalities....
  • February 23, 2013
    Oof
    ^ My worry would be that there'd be duplicate examples in Elemental Powers and whatever you'd call your trope, which will just further confuse the issue. Perhaps Elemental Powers should be submitted to the Trope Repair Shop and divided into two categories: or something to that effect.
  • February 23, 2013
    Bisected8
    I was thinking of something along the lines of Good Powers Bad People or Bad Powers Good People; where there's a deliberate contrast between the character's ability and their personality (I suppose those two would be subtropes to it). While it's an inversion of Personality Powers, it could stand on its own (since a deliberate contrast has a very different effect on the narrative to an "appropriate" personality for those powers, much in the same way Bad Powers Bad People has a different role in the story to the other two tropes) and just have the inversions from EP and PP transplanted.
  • February 23, 2013
    Oof
    ^ Right, that's what I meant, I just named them poorly. Don't know how we'll come up with a short phrase for these.
  • February 23, 2013
    Bisected8
  • February 23, 2013
    Oof
    ?
  • February 23, 2013
    Bisected8
    Well, I'm not sure if Elemental Powers or Personality Powers needs to be split in TRS (particularly given how clogged up it is at the moment).

    There doesn't need to be a separate trope/name for the subversion and the inversion; you can't have a trope which exists solely as a subverted version of another trope because it depends entirely on how it's portrayed (for example Friendly Sniper and Cold Sniper can be used to subvert one another, but would only be subversions if it looks like the sniper will be one but turns out to be the other).
  • February 23, 2013
    MokonaZero
    In Naruto Itachi, like most of the Uchiha clan members, uses fire style ninjutsu. While Sasuke can occasionally also count as The Stoic, Itachi is usually more controlled. Up until their final battle, that is.
  • February 23, 2013
    Ironeye
    Personality Powers seems way over-lumped to me. It needs at least a dozen subtropes to bring focus on various aspects. The Hestia-like examples connecting fire and warmth could go on a subtrope there.

    I think what we've got here, then, is are a few tropes:
    • Characters actively avoiding the mindset one would expect from Personality Powers because it doesn't make a good mix. (The pyro tries to avoid giving in too much to passion, the aeromancer fights impulsiveness, the wizard tries not to let the power to go his head and make him pompus, the ninja is boisterous, etc.) The character is aware of the stereotype and realizes just how bad it is to fall into it.
    • Inverting Personality Powers on one character to draw attention to and accentuate the personality traits from the inversion. e.g. There are several flighty people, but the flighty geomancer seems the flightiest of them all because that's not what we expect from geomancers.
    • Subverting Personality Powers on one character or one faction as An Aesop about stereotypes. The characters are aware of Personality Powers being in full force, and thus assume, say that wizards are all stuffy academics...until they meet a hands-on, free-spirited wizard to break them of their preconceptions.

    Inverting and subverting in general...is just inverting and subverting.
  • February 23, 2013
    Bisected8
    Of those I think the third of those would already be covered by Fantastic Racism and the second is probably covered by a more general "I'm the least Xiest Xer" trope.

    That leaves the first one as a potential separate trope. The problem is, I can't think of any examples where people with powers outright "fight" PP in that way...

    TBH, I don't quite see how "Personality Contradicts Abilities" couldn't be a trope on its own simply by virtue of a Doylist contrast between the character's personality and their powers or skills (thinking about it, it doesn't actually need to be a direct inversion of Personality Powers, just something that contrasts with the power or skill). As a supertrope to Good Powers Bad People and Bad Powers Good People (and any other similar tropes I can't think of).
  • February 23, 2013
    Ironeye
    You wrote the first one into the description, so I assumed you were at least considering it. Jeong Jeong is the one I know off the top of my head.

    Anyway, the problem with a general contrast is that it doesn't often mean anything. If an author isn't thinking about Personality Powers at all, there will inevitably be characters whose powers and personality contrast according to Personality Powers, just like there will eventually be pyromancers with brown, blond, and red hair. Doesn't mean at thing at all. To be tropeable, there either has to be a greater meaning pulled from the combination, or their has to be a pattern across groups of characters.

    For example, one of the pyromancers having red hair means nothing. If the only redheads on the main cast are pyromancers, or if there's a color match for hydromancers and geomancers too, then there's a trope. In this case, one fire-user having a stoic personality without any attention called to it means nothing. They break a pattern of Personality Powers? That means something (as a subversion of PP). All fire-users in a culture are this way? That means something. Everyone flips expectations? Means something (this time an inversion). A character lacking a seemingly required element? That's got meaning too.

    The problem with the trope that you're trying to define is that an intentional example is indistinguishable from a "darboard" example. It's like the (mercifully destroyed) Red-headed Hero trope proposal. Yes, maybe some authors tend towards using redheads as heroes. But so will authors that assign hair color independent of hero status. Without some form of greater context, there is no meaning.
  • February 23, 2013
    Bisected8
    Avatar was what I had in mind when I wrote that bit (and also Storm from X Men, from a scene in the animated series, although obviously that didn't apply to fire users...come to think of it, stoic characters reigning in their power be a subtrope of its own...).

    Anyway, I see what you mean. Would it be worth starting a fresh YKTTW to see if it can accumulate more examples (or re-editing this one)?
  • February 23, 2013
    Ironeye
    Probably better to start fresh in you're going with a newer definition that is simultaneously broader and more restrictive.
  • February 24, 2013
    Bisected8
    OK, I've started the new prototrope here and I'll discard this now....
  • August 10, 2016
    alnair20aug93
    bump
  • August 10, 2016
    DAN004
    I agree with the part about how any case of stoic fire users are automatically a subversion of Personality Powers regarding fire because the Personality Powers itself makes us automatically assume that using a certain power will lead someone to have a certain specific personality (or vice versa). In short, the automatic Doylist (Out Of Universe) association (or in this case, the subverting thereof) is the basis of thus trope.
  • August 11, 2016
    Bisected8
    ...I discarded this years ago. How's it back? O_o
  • August 11, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ I guess that alnair guy did it.
  • August 12, 2016
    Bisected8
    But it was discarded, how was it bumped?
  • August 12, 2016
    MagBas
    A trope about a subversion created before of the page of the straight trope?(In this case, characters with fire powers being passionate, a subtrope to Personality Powers)
  • August 12, 2016
    DAN004
    ^^ restoring a discarded ykttw is easier than you thought. ;)

    ^ perhaps... it's better if we make a more general trope about someone with powers and the opposite personality from the expected. Basically a broader form of this.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=av6xfvuosdinfhxkyxh4bibb&trope=DiscardedYKTTW