Created By: Theokal3 on August 5, 2013 Last Edited By: Theokal3 on August 31, 2013
Troped

Fiery Salamander

Reptiles and reptilian-like creatures like salamanders are portrayed as being associated with fire

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Trope

In fiction, it's not uncommon to see reptiles being associated with fire. After all, Dragons are often portrayed as reptilian, and it's common knowledge that they breath fire. Plus, Dinosaurs have often been associated with vulcanos and lava, and, being cold-blooded, reptiles are more confortable with warm climates, especially lizards, who like to rest under the sun.

The trope is named after the Salamander, a mythological animal despicted as a fire-breathing lizard or a wingless dragon. Nowaday, the name is given to a real animal who actually isn't a real reptile, but a small amphibian with a lizard-like shape. However, Alchemists would often attribute them mystical proprerties, such as the ability to survive fire, or even extinguish it by the mere coldness or their blood. As a result, the legendary counterpart of the salamander stayed in the memory, and has been raised to the rank of Elemental Embodiment of Fire. The exact reason for all these stories and the length of times through which they survived is often theorized to be due to a behavior of Real Life Salamanders. Being amphibians, they seek lair in humid locals, like stacks of wood kept outdoors. People would then use that wood to make fires, which would wake the Salamanders and cause them to flee for their lives, leaving people convinced the creatures had been "birthed" by the flames through abiogenesis. As wood remained a primary source of heating for humans till the industrial revolutions, such events, though rare, would keep reoccurring, ensuring that the myths of the fiery Salamander would live on.

Since Reptiles Are Abhorrent, expect a frequent assocation to Demons, Hell Fire and Fire and Brimstone Hell. Exceptions do exist, however: a dragon or dinosaur-themed protagonist can sometimes be associated with fire as a way to reinforce his hot-blooded temper and bravery rather than his evil nature. Those exceptions seem to be especially popular in japanese culture, where the connection of reptiles and dragons with evil isn't as strong as it is in occident.

Note: Fiery Salamander is not to be confused with real life Salamanders which are actually amphibians that live in and around water. Also, this trope applies to reptiles and reptile-like beings as a whole, not just Salamanders.

Can be considered a Super Trope to Our Dragons Are Different and a subtrope of Alchemic Elementals. Arguably related to Dinosaurs Are Dragons.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comic Book
  • The 1970s Super Friends tie-in comic book featured a team of four elemental superheroes; the fire-powered member was called Salamander, and got his powers because he was possessed by a mythological salamander.

Literature
  • Some salamanders show up in Harry Potter, enjoying the roaring blaze they're in.
  • On the Discworld, Salamanders are creatures that absorb sunlight and store it in a special organ, then release it in a bright burst to scare predators. They've thus been adopted for use as flashbulbs in photography.
  • In The Obsidian Trilogy, these and other elemental creatures sometimes make brief appearances when casting spells with High Magick. The High Mages teach that they're illusory, but an exiled High Mage discovers they're real, and can be negotiated with.
  • Some books in the Redwall series feature the Mountain of Fire Lizards named Salamandastron.

Mythology and Religion
  • Satan sometimes is portrayed as a Snake or a Dragon. Since Fire often is associated with Hell...
  • The Seraphim, of all people. Some abrahamic despictions of the Angels distinctly despict them as dragon/serpent-like (their name is a corruption of "sarap", "fiery", more often than not connected with the word "nahash", "serpent") and associated with Fire.

Tabletop Games
  • Warhammer 40K: Salamanders feature heavily in the mythology of the Salamanders Chapter of Space Marines, which has a big fire/forging image. They are large lizards, some of which can breathe fire, and aspiring recruits must defeat themin combat.
  • Older versions of Dungeons & Dragons have several exemples:
    • the salamander is a lizard-like humanoid from the Elemental Plane of Fire that prefers to live in temperatures of 500 degrees or more.
    • The Fire Lizard is a large (30 feet long) lizard that is immune to fire and can breathe out a large (15 feet long) puff of fire from its mouth.
    • Fire Newts are reptilian humanoids (similar to Lizard Men) that can breathe fire up to five feet away.
    • Role Aids supplement Monsters of Myth and Legend III. The Egyptian deity Apophis could take the form of either a giant snake with a human head or a huge crocodile. Twenty times per day he could breath out a 120 degree wide 75 foot long cone of fire that did 10-60 Hit Points of damage.
    • Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia Egyptian mythos.
      • The deity Apep has the form of a giant snake. Once every two minutes he could breathe out a 100 foot long by 40 foot wide cone of flame that does 6-60 Hit Points of damage.
      • The Flame Snake appeared to be a small harmless grass snake, but five times per day it could breathe out a burst of fire 30 feet long that inflicted 15 Hit Points of damage.
  • Shadowrun has Salamanders, magical beings who look like a ball of fire with flames dancing around it. No one is sure what their motivations are or if they even are sapient, but rumor has it that some humans can seal a pact with them.
  • Magic: The Gathering has a couple of creature cards that share the type of salamander, like Scalding Salamander, Pyric Salamander and Flowstone Salamander. They all belong to the red color type most strongly connected to fire and have rather similar offensive abilities. There are also other fiery lizard type creatures, like Lava Runner and Bellows Lizard.

Video Games
  • Charmander and his evolutions from Pokémon are clearly reptiles, based on the mythological Salamander for the first two states and a dragon for the final state.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Gerudo Mountain is filled with fire-resistant, fire-breathing lizards called Dodongo.
  • In War Craft III, Salamanders are gigantic, fire-breathing, stegosaur-like lizards that live underground.
  • Golden Sun: The first game's salamanders are small, dragonlike lizards. The sequel adds the Avimander boss and the Palette Swap enemies Macetail and Bombmander, which are bigger, stockier, and have a morningstar-like tail.
  • In the old game Empire of the Overmind, it was possible to summon a small fiery salamander to provide light with the command "Call Pyro".
  • Fallout 3 has Fire Geckos, giant Geckos that breathe fire.
  • Dungeon Keeper 2 has Salamanders who can breath fire and walk over lava without taking damage.
  • In the Castlevania games, a flaming salamander is a boss in a few games, and in Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, it's the fire elemental card in the "DSS" system.
  • In AdventureQuest, the salamander is a fire-breathing creature the size of a horse.
  • The Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy calling themselves "Salamandra" in The Witcher is led by a mage specializing in fire magic, and many of their other mages specialize in fiery magic, too, probably giving the organization its name.
  • In the NES game The Battle of Olympus, the player gains protection from enemies' fireballs by collecting salamander skins and paying a weaponsmith to wrap his wooden shield in them.

Web Comics
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, when Antimony helps a boy in Good Hope Hospital pass on, the fire that killed him and his family is represented by a salamander until Antimony realises what happened.

Western Animation

Real Life
  • French king Francis I had salamanders as his personal emblem. The creature was portrayed as a wingless dragon breathing fire.

Community Feedback Replies: 70
  • August 5, 2013
    Stratadrake
    We could use a better title if only to make clear this isn't a reptilian version of You Sexy Beast. Fiery Lizard?
  • August 5, 2013
    Theokal3
    That could work. I also thought about things like Flaming Lizard, but that sounds better.
  • August 5, 2013
    Koveras
    This may have to do with salamanders and their reputed ability to withstand fire. Paracelsus even listed salamanders as pure fire elementals.
  • August 5, 2013
    Theokal3
    True. I'll add this to the list.
  • August 5, 2013
    Buraindo
    I'd like to see some elaboration about the salamander, since I think that's the source of this trope.

    Example: videogames: In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Gerudo Mountain is filled with fire-resistant, fire-breathing lizards.
  • August 5, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    We already got quite a lot of examples of fiery salamanders in Alchemic Elementals, you know.

    EDIT: @Theokal3 below. We got some information of our own on the page I linked above (it's under Myths and Folklore).
  • August 5, 2013
    Theokal3
    I'd love to elaborate this point, but I have so far failed to find a reliable source of detailed informations about the Salamander. Any piece of information is welcome.
  • August 5, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
  • August 5, 2013
    Theokal3
    Paradisesnake: I have visited the page and use the piece of informations in it; thank you.

    Dragonquestz: Thanks, I have already added this to the page.
  • August 5, 2013
    Ryusui
    Might I suggest Flaming Salamander, considering the traditional elemental association?
  • August 5, 2013
    Theokal3
    I thought about it or Fiery Salamander, but since Salamanders aren't really reptiles, I am hesitating. Maybe I should modify the the laconic description to specify both reptiles and salamanders are subjects to this trope ?
  • August 5, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I looked up the etymology of the word, and from here and here, it seems the word used to be about a fire breathing lizard, not the amphibian we know now.
  • August 5, 2013
    Theokal3
    that might be a problem... should we rewrite the page according to this ?
  • August 5, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Just to note that "salamander" was originally about a reptile, so still counts as this.
  • August 5, 2013
    Theokal3
    Okay, I did what I could. Hope it's good.
  • August 5, 2013
    Chabal2
    The Twilight Princess Death Mountain lizards are called Dodongos.

    • Berserk: the elemental fire spirits on Isidro's blade are shaped like salamanders.
    • Warcraft III: Salamanders are gigantic, fire-breathing, stegosaur-like lizards that live underground.
    • Golden Sun: The first game's salamanders are small, dragonlike lizards. The sequel adds the Avimander boss and the Palette Swap enemies Macetail and Bombmander, which are bigger, stockier, and have a morningstar-like tail.
    • Warhammer 40 K: Salamanders feature heavily in the mythology of the Salamanders Chapter of Space Marines, which has a big fire/forging image. They are large lizards, some of which can breathe fire, and aspiring recruits must defeat themin combat.
    • Some salamanders show up in Harry Potter, enjoying the roaring blaze they're in.
    • The French king Francis I had salamanders as his personal emblem.
  • August 5, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ To add on that Berserk example, the fire spirits are not only shaped like salamanders, but they are actually called salamanders in-universe. Also, the name of Isidro's weapon is Salamander Dagger.
  • August 5, 2013
    lakingsif
    You know Salamanders were real reptiles that are now extinct? They were pretty large small crocodile-snake hybrid lizards.
  • August 5, 2013
    Theokal3
    I added those to the exemples. Thanks a lot for taking part in completing this page.
  • August 5, 2013
    Theokal3
    lakingsif: I never heard of this. Do you have reliable sources ?
  • August 5, 2013
    lakingsif
    I dunno, google it? There was just a bit of a disagreement further up the comments. Yeah, sorry they were amphibians, not reptiles. Just type 'salamanders' into google.
  • August 5, 2013
    acrobox
    They are amphibians and still exist.

    mythologcical fiery salamanders have existed in folklore and fiction probably stemming back to a real salamanders tendency to be caught running out of burning logs and firewood.
  • August 6, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • In older versions of Dungeons And Dragons the salamander is a lizard-like humanoid from the Elemental Plane of Fire that prefers to live in temperatures of 500 degrees or more.

    Video Games
    • In the old game Empire of the Overmind it was possible to summon a small fiery salamander to provide light with the command "Call Pyro".
  • August 6, 2013
    oztrickster
    Should probably link to Alchemic Elementals as that talks about Salamanders in the myth section.
  • August 6, 2013
    AgentLetrush
    Web Comics
    • In Gunnerkrigg Court, when Antimony helps a boy in Good Hope Hospital pass on, the fire that killed him and his family is represented by a salamander until Antimony realises what happened.
  • August 6, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Would Honor Harrington count here? Her nickname *is* 'The Salamander' after all.
  • August 6, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Did you even see the laconic? You shouldn't reply based on the name alone (no, I'm not denying I ever did something that dumb).
  • August 7, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Anime And Manga
  • August 7, 2013
    Generality
    • On the Discworld, Salamanders are creatures that absorb sunlight and store it in a special organ, then release it in a bright burst to scare predators. They've thus been adopted for use as flashbulbs in photography.
  • August 7, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Italicized and Name Spaced the examples plus did some formatting.

    EDIT: By the way, the Digimon example needs context.
  • August 7, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Fallout 3 has Fire Geckos, giant Geckos that breathe fire.

    Dungeon Keeper 2 has Salamanders who can breath fire and walk over lava without taking damage.
  • August 8, 2013
    Theokal3
    Thanks; I added those exemples and add context for Agumon.
  • August 8, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Tabletop Games

    Shadowrun has Salamanders, magical beings who look like a ball of fire with flames dancing around it. No one is sure what their motivations are or if they even are sapient, but rumor has it that some humans can seal a pact with them.
  • August 8, 2013
    Synchronicity
  • August 8, 2013
    Elbruno
    Moved Pokemon to the video game section. The video games were first after all, not the anime.
  • August 15, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    Any good pictures for the trope?
  • August 15, 2013
    m8e
    Maybe one of these?
  • August 15, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Don't see any with fire. I'll look up a few.
  • August 15, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    Trying to find a picture of Charmander from Pokemon breathing fire. No such luck yet.

  • August 15, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Tabletop Games
  • August 15, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I think the last two could make a good page image, if we can find larger versions.
  • August 15, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Something like this?
  • August 15, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Hell yeah. Anyone else think so?
  • August 15, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Love it.

    Literature:
    • In The Obsidian Trilogy these and other elemental creatures sometimes make brief appearances when casting spells with High Magick. The High Mages teach that they're illusory, but an exiled High Mage discovers they're real, and can be negotiated with.

    Video Games:
  • August 15, 2013
    TalonisWolf
    The Eragon Cycle-one of the main charecters is Saphira, a blue dragon. There are more examples, but I can't remember their names...give me a minute

    -Galbotorix,the evil immortal tyrant,has a black dragon named Shruikan

    -Brom is a former dragon rider, his dragon is Saphira's namesake

    -Murtagh has a red dragon named Thorn

    -Oromis has a gold dragon named Glaedr

    ...more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Inheritance_Cycle_characters
  • August 15, 2013
    Dacilriel
    Some books in the Redwall series feature the Mountain of Fire Lizards named Salamandastron.
  • August 15, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Wait...is this trope about Salamanders or reptiles in general? Many examples are "this thing is called Salamander and is associated with fire" rather than "this thing is reptilian and associated with fire".

    I suggest excluding salamander out of the title, but keep the part in the description
  • August 15, 2013
    DAN004
    I suggest keeping the salamander instead. ^
  • August 16, 2013
    Theokal3
    This trope is about reptiles being associated with fire, but, since the mystical Salamander is the source of this trope and the most iconic exemple, it was used as the trope-namer.
  • August 16, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    I'm kinda afraid this trope would turn to "This thing is fiery and called salamander" without touching the reptillian part. Like the Shadowrun, Discworld, and Fairy Tail example.

    Because, seriously, salamander being associated with fire sounds like People Sit On Chair to me.
  • August 16, 2013
    Theokal3
    I don't know. Previously considered named included Reptiles Are Burning Hot and Fiery Lizard. I thought Salamander was a more appropriated figure...
  • August 24, 2013
    Theokal3
    I think the name still is fitting. The best solution would be to specify clearly in the definition that it's about reptiles as a whole rather than Salamander only.
  • August 24, 2013
    m8e
    ^and now somebody have to point out that salamanders aren't lizards... :P

    But you are right, whatever name this end up with the description have to make it clear that it covers anything lizard-like.
  • August 25, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Game
    • Older versions of Dungeons And Dragons.
      • <salamander example>
      • The Fire Lizard was a large (30 feet long) lizard that was immune to fire and could breathe out a large (15 feet long) puff of fire from its mouth.
      • Fire Newts were reptilian humanoids (similar to Lizard Men) that could breathe fire up to five feet away.
  • August 25, 2013
    Koveras
    • The Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy calling themselves "Salamandra" in The Witcher is led by a mage specializing in fire magic, and many of their other mages specialize in fiery magic, too, probably giving the organization its name.
  • August 25, 2013
    DAN004
    So is this about reptilians, or salamanders?
  • August 27, 2013
    Theokal3
    Reptilians. The Salamander referenced here is the mystical animal, who IS a reptiles (or at least looks like one)
  • August 27, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    I think it's best we keep the word "salamander" in the title. After all, it's the picture of the mythological creature many of these examples try to invoke. Just add a note to the description that this covers not only reptiles but also amphibians.
  • August 27, 2013
    m8e
    ^^^^Looks like it's both and neither. Our current knowledge about the difference between lizards/salamanders/Dinosaurs and Dragons isn't in play.
  • August 30, 2013
    Theokal3
    I updated the examples and put the two pictures that were suggested for this page. I leave to you guys the decision about which picture we should keep.
  • August 30, 2013
    dokatron
    I think the Fallout example is from New Vegas, not Fallout 3.
  • August 30, 2013
    Theokal3
    We would need confirmation for this. I am sadly not familiar with the game.
  • August 30, 2013
    OmarKarindu
    Comic Books
    • The 1970s Super Friends tie-in comic book featured a team of four elemental superheroes; the fire-powered member was called Salamander, and got his powers because he was possessed by a mythological salamander.

    Video Games
    • In the NES game The Battle Of Olympus, the player gains protection from enemies' fireballs by collecting salamander skins and paying a weaponsmith to wrap his wooden shield in them.

  • August 30, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Fixed a Red Link.
  • August 30, 2013
    Theokal3
    Good. The only thing that remains to do is to chose the picture to use, and I think it'll be ready to launch
  • August 30, 2013
    lakingsif
    The first image is better, as it's actually from a work.
  • August 30, 2013
    Theokal3
    Actually the second is as well; it's from Magic The Gathering.
  • August 30, 2013
    lakingsif
    ^oh, I still prefer the first one, though.
  • August 30, 2013
    Koveras
  • August 31, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Older versions of Dungeons And Dragons...
      • Role Aids supplement Monsters of Myth and Legend III. The Egyptian deity Apophis could take the form of either a giant snake with a human head or a huge crocodile. Twenty times per day he could breath out a 120 degree wide 75 foot long cone of fire that did 10-60 Hit Points of damage.
      • Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia Egyptian mythos.
        • The deity Apep has the form of a giant snake. Once every two minutes he could breathe out a 100 foot long by 40 foot wide cone of flame that does 6-60 Hit Points of damage.
        • The Flame Snake appeared to be a small harmless grass snake, but five times per day it could breathe out a burst of fire 30 feet long that inflicted 15 Hit Points of damage.

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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qw15r2wpza0hyp87h9mylg71&trope=FierySalamander