Created By: NoirGrimoir on February 7, 2011 Last Edited By: NoirGrimoir on March 9, 2011
Troped

Climactic Volcano Backdrop

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Well, it sure LOOKS like something I'm supposed to care about is happening...

The climax is supposed to be the coolest part of the whole story. And since Everything's Cooler With Lava, it's a good bet that there is going to be a volcano involved. What better way to portray the tortured, desperate emotions of the characters then to juxtapose them with scenery that could have come straight out of a Fire and Brimstone Hell?

May be some overlap with Battle Amongst the Flames, Lethal Lava Land and Everything's Cooler With Lava. Related to Incendiary Exponent and Chekhov's Volcano.

Indexes: Weather and Environment, This Index Is On Fire, Stock Visual Metaphors


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • At the climax of the second season of Dragon Ball Z when Goku is fighting Freezia and the planet Namek is collapsing, lava geysers go off behind them.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurenn Lagann. The battle of the Dai-Gunten of Gurren Lagann fame took place with a background of erupting Volcanes. Also, from the movie Lagann-Hen, they manage to somehow, through sheer-hot-bloodedness, summon a galaxy-sized volcano InSpace

Film

Video Games
  • In the sidescrolling Mario games, Bowser's castles almost always featured lava.
  • In the fire temple in Ocarina of Time you fight on top of a pillar jutting out over a huge lava pit and Ganon's castle is floating above a huge lava pit.
    • Ocarina of Time the "fire temple" earlier in the game takes place in an active volcano, has a lot of lava, and involves various enemies that use fire as a weapon. However it's not the climax of the game, it's the second of 5 "temple" type dungeons you're supposed to traverse before the final stage of the game. In the climax of the game it appears to be averted when you climb the stairs to fight Ganondorf, who uses electric attacks to fight you; however, after you "defeat" him, he uses his "last breath" to make the castle collapse, and some of the rooms Link goes through in the escape end up partially on fire during the collapse... also, after the collapse it turns out that you have to fight Ganondorf again, in a different form called "Ganon" and when you do, the "island in the sky" you're fighting on is walled by fire in all directions, playing the trope straight.
  • The final missions of Guild Wars Prophecies take place in a volcanic area.
  • The final battle with Wesker in Resident Evil 5 is in an active volcano.

Western Animation
  • A lot of season 3 took place in the Fire Nation and there were at least two active-volcano episodes. "The Boiling Rock" and "The Eclipse" each had volcanic elements. And "The Fortuneteller" from season 1 had a volcano erupt in the Earth Kingdom.

Tabletop RPG
  • Champions adventure "Nova" in Adventurers Club magazine #4. The adventure takes place in a crater in a volcanically active part of Iceland. At some point during the final conflict a nearby volcano may erupt, covering the area in lava.
Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • February 7, 2011
    LostLenore
    In the sidescrolling Mario games, Bowser's castles almost always featured lava.
  • February 7, 2011
    jate88
    In the fire temple in Ocarina Of Time you fight on top of a pillar jutting out over a huge lava pit and Ganon's castle is floating above a huge lava pit.
  • February 7, 2011
    epicparadox
    When Scar and Simba are battling in The Lion King, Pride Rock is smokey and glowing for... no reason really.
  • February 7, 2011
    Pickly
    • The final missions of Guild Wars Prophecies take place in a volcanic area.
  • February 7, 2011
    jate88
    ^^Because of a lightning bolt if I remember correctly.
  • February 8, 2011
    Theram
  • February 8, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Everything Is Cooler With Lava? was that one launched or not?
  • February 8, 2011
    DannyVElAcme
    One of the stages in Super Street Fighter IV is a rock platform INSIDE a South Pacific volcano. And many of the fighters fight barefoot. Yeah.
  • February 8, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    ^Does this take place during a key point in the story? This trope is specifically about Climaxes.
  • February 8, 2011
    azraelfinalstar
    The final battle with Wesker in Resident Evil 5 is in an active volcano.
  • February 8, 2011
    SithkingZero
    The battle of the Dai-Gunten of Gurren Lagann fame took place with a background of erupting Volcanes. Also, from the movie Lagann-Hen, they manage to somehow, through sheer-hot-bloodedness, summon a galaxy-sized volcano InSpace.
  • February 9, 2011
    Arivne
    ^^^^^ @Mozgwsloiku: Yes, as Everything's Cooler With Lava.
  • February 9, 2011
    SweetMadness
    Chekhovs Volcano is related.
  • February 9, 2011
    neoYTPism
    It's because the lightning ignited the brush under the cliff @ epicparadox
  • February 10, 2011
    neoYTPism
    That said it's more of a "fiery backdrop" example than volcano backdrop. I'd say either expand the trope to fiery backdrops in general, or remove the Lion King example as it doesn't involve a volcano.
  • February 10, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
    Arvine: So is it distinct enough to split?
  • February 10, 2011
    neoYTPism
    I'd say it'd be distinct enough if it were generalized into "fiery backdrop" instead of "volcanic."
  • February 10, 2011
    cocoastrut
    "Roiling Backdrop"?
  • February 11, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
  • February 11, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    They both have to do with fire, but this is about climaxes and that is about is about throwing it in randomly to make something exiting happen or further the plot. And this is just scenery porn.

    I was considering changing it to do with fire in general in the backdrop. Climactic Blazing Backdrop? For the time being it will be fiery backdrop. Let's keep thinking though.
  • February 11, 2011
    neoYTPism
    If this has been generalized to fiery backdrops, I'd suggest that Ocarina Of Time has a Double Subversion of this. The "fire temple" earlier in the game takes place in an active volcano, has a lot of lava, and involves various enemies that use fire as a weapon. However it's not the climax of the game, it's the second of 5 "temple" type dungeons you're supposed to traverse before the final stage of the game.

    The climax of the game involves climbing the stairs to fight Ganondorf, who uses electric attacks to fight you; however, after you "defeat" him, he uses his "last breath" to make the castle collapse, and some of the rooms Link goes through in the escape end up partially on fire during the collapse... also, after the collapse it turns out that you have to fight Ganondorf again, in a different form called "Ganon" and when you do, the "island in the sky" you're fighting on is walled by fire in all directions.
  • February 11, 2011
    troacctid
    ^ That's not a Double Subversion. The first one is just Lethal Lava Land.
  • February 11, 2011
    azraelfinalstar
    Don't forget Resident Evil 5.
  • February 11, 2011
    neoYTPism
    It's a Double Subversion in that the Lethal Lava Land isn't used for the climax, but it turns out that the final boss involves the fighting area being surrounded by fire. @ troacctid
  • February 11, 2011
    Speedball
    EDIT: Wrong, forget this
  • February 12, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    I'm pretty sure this is Battle Amongst The Flames.
  • February 12, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Similar, but this is mostly about climaxes. And also includes volcanoes and lava and foundry-type backgrounds. And there doesn't have to be a battle, there just usually is, since it's hard ot find burning stuff in genres where the climax wouldn't be a battle. Hm, Do We Need This? Maybe it should be restricted to volcanoes again.
  • February 13, 2011
    neoYTPism
    On second thought, perhaps narrowing it back down to volcanic backdrops might be a better idea after all...
  • February 14, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Champions adventure "Nova" in Adventurers Club magazine #4. The adventure takes place in a crater in a volcanically active part of Iceland. At some point during the final conflict a nearby volcano may erupt, covering the area in lava.
  • February 14, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    The climax of Avatar season 2 happened in the Earth Kingdom. A lot of season 3 took place in the Fire Nation and there were at least two active-volcano episodes. "The Boiling Rock" and "The Eclipse" each had volcanic elements. And "The Fortuneteller" from season 1 had a volcano erupt in the Earth Kingdom.
  • February 15, 2011
    troacctid
    @ neoYTPism, "Fire level not being used for the climax" is Not A Subversion, it's an aversion.
  • February 15, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ... but I was saying "Double Subversion" to refer to the zig-zagging nature of it... the first "final" boss gives the impression that it was averted, but the actual final boss plays it straight.
  • February 15, 2011
    GymQuirk
    Nit-Pick for The Lord Of The Rings example: Sammath Naur (The Cracks of Doom) isn't at the summit, but has an entrance about halfway up the mountain. Why lava doesn't pour out of the place (as the rest of the volcano is clearly active) is presumably due to Sauron's influence.
  • February 15, 2011
    troacctid
    ^^ You Keep Using That Word...a subversion requires that the trope is set up to occur and then does not occur. For this trope to be subverted, it might, for example, have a battle take place over an active volcano, and have the volcano not erupt. But if there's a final battle taking place and there's no fire, it's Not A Subversion because there's no reason to expect there to be fire, which means it's also not a Double Subversion because a Subversion is a prerequisite to a Double Subversion.
  • February 15, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I can see troacctid's point there. I don't know if there's enough set up to expect there to be lava and then not have any and then have some. I suppose it's more of an averted and then played straight trope, rather than a double subversion. It's still Playing With Tropes, though.
  • March 4, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Bumped, so are we keeping this or not?
  • March 7, 2011
    troacctid
    I think it's tropable, if that's what you mean.
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