"Some say the world will end in fire,Fire is destructive, chaotic, and painful to touch. It has destroyed buildings, killed millions of people, and scarred others. Because of all the destruction and blood lost to it, it will often be associated with evil. Whether it's orange, red, blue, or green, it's always going to be evil. The fire doesn't even have to be your ordinary campfire, it could be the unholy fires of Fire and Brimstone Hell itself or a similarly evil variant. This trope has many uses. Fire could be used to create the atmosphere for the Big Bad's throne room or arena. A Volcano Lair or even a big fiery place with lots of volcanoes could be the domain of the evil emperor. The villain may have control over fire, appear Wreathed in Flames, or even be (literally) hot blooded themselves. But, nonetheless, fire will be associated with evil. Can occasionally overlap with Light Is Not Good since fire also produces light. Contrast with Evil Is Deathly Cold and Holy Burns Evil. For a different kind of "hot", see Evil Is Sexy.
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire..."
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire..."
— Robert Frost, "Fire and Ice"
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Anime and Manga
- Taken further by the villain Akainu from One Piece'', who's made of frigging magma.
- To some degree, even Ace. While he generally a likable person, he is still a reckless, dine-n'-dashing criminal nonetheless who is (wrongly) considered to be evil via his bloodline in-universe and holds a bounty of 550,000,000. Oh, and of course, he is made of fire.
- From Fairy Tail, the villain Zancrow from Grimoire Hearts, who is a fire Godslayer.
- From Great Mazinger, The Emperor of Darkness is a living pyre of flames.
- Suzaku from YuYu Hakusho
- Zhuqiaomon from Digimon Tamers is a phoenix and serves as an antagonist, as he loathes humans and is the one responsible for sending the Devas to the human world.
- The Titans from Attack on Titan have a low-key variant of this, being noted to possess an abnormally high body temperature. In particular, the Colossal Titan constantly emits clouds of steam from its body and is able to release pressurized blasts as a defensive mechanism, as well as igniting his own body to injure anyone that gets close.
- Pyro from X-Men, whose power is control over fire, is almost always a villain. Same goes for the movie version in X-2 and X-Men: The Last Stand.
- The Flash has Heat Wave, who occasionally teamed up with Captain Cold to encompass both villainous temperature extremes.
- Willy Pete from Empowered is the only one in the series with fire related powers...His body burns hotter than the sun, and he can fill a room with flames that incinerate everyone in it upon entering. He's also evil in its purest, most sadistic form.
Films — Animated
- Hades in Hercules has blue fire for hair (which takes on its usual reddish color when he's enraged), and he's the Big Bad and god of the underworld.
- Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty is often surrounded by eerie green flames. She even becomes a dragon at the end of the film.
- At the climax of The Lion King, fires caused by lightning set the stage for the battle against Scar. Scar also sings his Villain Song in a geothermically-active area with geysers, steaming vents, and lava.
- The villain Ommadon the Fire Wizard in The Flight of Dragons is the only evil of the four elemental wizards.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- The eye of Sauron is described as being rimmed in fire; his hand is burning hot as well, which is why his ring glows when it's on his finger.
- The Balrogs, which had the ability to shroud themselves in fire and were armed with fiery whips. The Balrog of Moria used a flaming sword.
- Saint Dane in The Pendragon Adventure.
- There's a powerful Dark Art spell in Harry Potter called "Fiendfyre", which creates a wicked mass of demon-shaped flames that can backfire in the hands of an inexperienced caster. However, it's also one of the only things capable of destroying horcruxes.
- In Michael Moorcock's The War Hound and the World's Pain, Lucifer took the form of a human being covered in flames.
- In Chronicles of the Emerged World, the Land of Fire is one of the first lands fallen under The Tyrant and is a very bad place to live in. Furthermore, both the evil twins Sameion and Dameion and the Black Dragons in general came from that land.
- In the Firebird Trilogy, the evil within Firebird's mind manifests as black flames.
- In The Realms Trilogy, Ashar is the god of fire, and his minion Taws is a creature that has great fire-related powers.
- In the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan senses Anakin in the Force "burning like a fusion torch," just before their lightsaber duel. Throughout the book, Anakin has thought of his rage as a blast furnace in his heart, and during the climactic duel, Darth Vader lets it out.
- Charmed: With all the demons, ghosts, sorcerors, evil priestesses, alchemists, elves, trolls, banshees, and general baddies inhabiting the world (and underworld), it's expected for at least a few to be able to manipulate fire. Demons are often shown throwing streams or balls of fire at the sisters. Some demons can even teleport by turning into fire or flames. In one particular arc, Phoebe basically has an unborn devil brewing in her stomach and she temporarily gains the ability to throw blue fire. Also, in the eighth season, Christy, an agent of the Big Bads, had the ability of pyrokinesis, the ability to create fire.
- Stargate SG-1 references how flames are typically associated with demonic influence in human mythology and suggests it's due to the influence of the Ancients keeping the Ori — who use fire as a symbol the same way Christianity uses crosses — at bay.
- In one episode of The Outer Limits (1995) Revival, "Mind Over Matter", a group of scientists enter the mind of a patient who has bad memories of his dad trying to make him kill his girlfriend. The dad is surrounded by flames, along with everything else, while screaming at him.
- Twin Peaks had it as Arc Words: "Fire, walk with me".
Mythology and Religion
- Burning hot hellfire is usually assocated with evil things in Abrahamic religions, understandable, given that most of the faiths were born in a blisteringly-hot desert area (i.e. the Middle East), it only makes sense for the population to condemn heat but welcome cold. Contrast this with the areas near the North Pole: Northern Europe, Siberia, and Northern Canada, whose indigenous people usually associate hell with deathly cold things.
- Judaism, at least in its early stages, is an aversion, as the underworld, Sheol, is instead thought of as a grim and depressing place, but not hot (kind of like the Greek Hades or the Norse Hel).
- Satan and Hell are usually represented in pop culture as being associated with fire. The Divine Comedy is a notable aversion of this, since Satan is trapped in the coldest part of hell. In The Bible, though, Satan is not really associated with fire and only ends up in fire because God throws him into the Lake of Fire at the end of the world. He is actually associated thoroughly with air and light, traditionally more "heavenly" elements, and in Revelation, he vomits water.
- In Islam, the jinn (genies) are beings made of fire. While they are not inherently evil (they are like humans in that they can choose to be good or bad), one of them, Iblis/Satan, is undoubtedly bad. Also, Hell has flames that burn so hot they're pitch black.
- Loki from the Norse Mythology was thought to be the God of Fire, though it turned out to be a linguistic confusion (and probably a conflation with Satan). His name actually seems to come from "lopt", which means "air". There is a separate god, or rather, jotunn, of fire called Logi, but he is more of a Punch Clock Villain.
- Norse mythology has an entire class of fire jotnar who live in Muspellheim, the realm of fire. They are morally questionable, as with other jotnar, though specific characterization is difficult because they don't appear much, except in Ragnarok, where their leader, Surtr, notably became the figure ultimately responsible for annihilating the entire universe by setting it on fire.
- In Japanese Mythology, the god of fire, Kagutsuchi, is not so much evil as being thoroughly misunderstood, but his birth was what killed his mother, the matriarch god Izanami, making her the first god to be sent into the Underworld. His father, the patriarch god Izanagi, meanwhile, immediately killed him. These days, the opinion is mostly split whether to consider him as the ultimate Satan figure, or pity him.
- The Magnus Archives has this as a recurring theme - in several episodes sinister and probably-magical goings-on are accompanied by a sharp and inexplicable increase in the ambient temperature.
- Dungeons & Dragons. The Chaotic Evil Balor demon can immolate (create flames around) itself. It was inspired by the balrog in The Lord of the Rings. And iconic Red dragons. Overall, though, it's more "Flaming Sword vs. Flaming Sword" and Kossuth himself isn't any more or less malevolent than other elemental lords.
- Al Qadim has Brotherhood of the True Flame, a society of evil fire elementalist wizards. They tend to fight for monopoly about as much as for superiority of their element, though.
- Super Mario Bros.: Bowser's trademark ability is to breathe fire, and he's usually surrounded by flaming or flame-like objects like lava and stars in the main platformers.
- Team Magma from the Pokémon's third generation has an affinity for fire, but they're only evil in Ruby and Emerald. They are allies in Sapphire.
- Team Flare from the sixth generation have a fire motif.
- Used to dramatic effect in Sephiroth's iconic Unflinching Walk through fire in Final Fantasy VII.
- SoulCalibur II - the game's end boss, Inferno, is essentially Soul Edge come-to-life as a being of living fire. The arena itself is an open field of flames.
- Jinpachi Mishima of Tekken fame can spit fireballs which take up 3/4 your lifebar, plus in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, his whole body is surrounded by flames and lava. Oh, and he's also the final boss of Tekken 5 and the aforementioned Dark Resurrection. Ironically, he is probably one of the most just characters in the series, or at least, he is just compared to his family.
- Street Fighter Alpha - typically seen during Akuma's win pose where dark flames appear on his shoulders. This doubles as his taunt in subsequent games.
- Darkstalkers - Pyron is an evil being, said to be the physical embodiment of the sun. Like Inferno, he too is made of living flames.
- The overall villain of the Arson case desk in L.A. Noire is a former flamethrower who served under Cole in the Pacific during World War 2. He brought his weapon home with him. While it might seem inevitable that the villain of that part of the game would be so inclined, he was essentially The Dragon (made to burn down houses for profit), until the manipulations of his psychiatrist backfired and finally drove him into full on Axe Crazy territory, and he suddenly burst in, strangled the Doctor, and kidnapped the Love Interest.
- Areas controlled by the virus in NeonXSZ will have occasional areas of fire.
- The main enemy/Man Behind the Man of the Warcraft series is the Burning Legion. Also, many of its creatures are wreathed in flame; the Infernals spring to mind.
- Ganon uses flames as an attack in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
- In inFAMOUS 2, the evil end gives Cole fire powers.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Iblis is a fire being that is one of the two main villains of the game.
- Castlevania: Dracula has always been associated with fire, from his trademark three-fire balls to giant meteors.
- Utsuho Reiuji (aka Okuu), the Big Bad of Touhou's Subterranean Animism throws giant suns at you...IN HELL!
- Kid Icarus: Uprising: Hades gains flaming hair in the final battle, after being decapitated. In addition, Pyrrhon turns on the other gods to try to gain control of the Aurum, and may have been planning to do so the whole time.
- King Onyx from Odin Sphere may not be flat-out evil, but he's still a tremendous Jerkass and ends up burning down Ringford Forest and annihilating the fairies during Armageddon.
- Brand, the Burning Vengeance, in League of Legends is pretty much the fire counterpart to Lissandra, a wicked spirit that wants nothing but to end the world in fire. His skill pretty much revolve around burning his enemies to death.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, among the first things seen in the story are shots of Reshef and Pegasus surrounded by fire.
- El Goonish Shive with the "master of fire". Damien as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is bad enough, and then we have this dream. Not that it wasn't nasty enough as is, but as translated from Uryuomoco — "Death. It Is Time For The End Of Man. This Master of Fire Shall Inherit The Earth. My Very Presence Eats Away At Your Flesh".
- The Fire Nation in Avatar: The Last Airbender is the instigator of the war on the three other nations. It's gradually subverted in that some of them are actually decent people and actually allies of Aang and his friends, and Aang himself must master and understand firebending to restore balance.
- Father from Codename: Kids Next Door liberally uses his fire powers.
- The Fallen is one of the original 13 Transformers who turned on the others to serve Unicron. Due to the unholy energies empowering him, he's constantly on fire. Or rather, he was, since this aspect of his character has fallen (har-har) by the wayside.
- Beast Wars has the base of the Predicons on top of a lava flow, and Megatron's right-hand man is Pyro Maniac Inferno.
- In Adventure Time, this is supposedly a Racial Trait of Fire Elementals, according to the Fire King at least.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Twilights Kingdom Part 1, Tirek's magic has a fiery, and he uses Fireballs to fight the Celestia-Luna-Cadence-powered Twilight at the climax of Part 2.