Needs distinction from other fire-related trope: Kill It With Fire

Deadlock Clock: 7th Jun 2013 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [115]
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I'm referring to this post. Granted he didn't actually say Kill It with Fire should be The Only Way, my mistake there, but he did say:
Burning the corpse should fall under Fire Purifies if it's true, and Purifying Fire Placebo if it's not.
thus assigning the definition you propose for Kill It with Fire to something else. I extrapolated form this the implication that Kill It with Fire should be The Only Way, by process of elimination.

Also note that the proposed definition of Purifying Flame / Fire Purifies has changed since the post you linked (32), to what I wrote in my previous post. Do people disagree with this?
Seeking for Light
[up] But the fire having cleansing properties (burning the something prevents it respawning/being resurrected) is distinct from characters choosing to use fire because it's perceived as (however true or false the perception is) a super-effective way to make things really dead. And burning a corpse would, by definition, fall outside the proposed new definition for Kill It with Fire, as the proposed definition is about killing things, and a corpse is already dead.

And I'm pretty sure the "revised" definition of Fire Purifies is more or less what he had in mind the whole time, judging from his later comments.

Also, I'm going to PM him to see if he will come in and clarify what his thoughts are, as us discussing what he meant is just a tad bit ridiculous when he's still around.

edited 14th Jul '12 5:35:19 PM by Nocturna

Okay, he was saying that using fire to make sure something stays dead should fall under Fire Purifies, and you want Kill It with Fire to only be about making sure something is dead. Fair enough. On a side note though, I think that the former deserves to be covered somewhere; whether under one of the tropes we're already discussing, or yet another new one. (Again, Burn The Body maybe?)

As to the "revised" definition of Fire Purifies, I meant this:
It's not always used for killing I believe. I've seen a few works where the fire magically purifies evil or something without destroying people.
Fire Purifies should include examples where fire is destructive, but not require it. It just has to be something that "cleanses" evil or magic.
Again, I was previously assuming this was not in dispute, and am now asking whether you or anyone else disagrees with it.

Assuming this new definition is not in dispute, I would say that this, and fire being the only way to kill, say, a troll, are different enough that they should not be the same trope.

Put it this way; just because something can only be killed by fire, doesn't mean that's because fire is [sometimes] associated with purification. It could be, so the tropes can overlap, but it could also just be a more generic Achilles' Heel, no symbolism necessary.

edited 14th Jul '12 7:07:55 PM by HyperZ

79 Deboss15th Jul 2012 07:07:54 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
I'm not somebody who feels that all examples fall under one example or the other.

Put it this way; just because something can only be killed by fire, doesn't mean that's because fire is [sometimes] associated with purification. It could be, so the tropes can overlap, but it could also just be a more generic Achilles Heel, no symbolism necessary.

This is true. Sometimes fire is a critters kryptonite, sometimes it's magic that wipes out evil and will leave the pure of heart untouched. While these commonly overlap, they can be divided fairly cleanly along the line of possession, a Purifying Flame can kill anything that posses an innocent person, but it can still leave a burn scar. Or if the work is darker/older it can kill the person but save their soul from damnation or something.

I would like to note that I consider Purifying Flame to be different from Fire Purifies. Purifying Flame is a better synonym for Holy Fire (ie: it has power because it's magical in some way) as opposed to Fire Purifies (a general statement about fire in general).

As a general note, you don't have to divide things along lines I see and think are relevant. I tend to try and draw lines in a specific way based on traits I think are relevant to the trope(s) in question, if you think my dividing line is pointless, or there should be more, feel free to add them.
Thumbs up to Purifying Flame being a better name for Holy Fire.

Where do you think "fire is the only way to kill it" should go? Fire Purifies, or somewhere else?

edited 15th Jul '12 8:51:50 AM by HyperZ

81 Deboss16th Jul 2012 01:01:41 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Dunno. My main issue with putting Purifying Flame and Holy Fire on the same pages is that it puts stuff like generic magic fire in with things like the "burning bush" which was a fire that was holy. Hopefully, that sort of problem won't pick up.

Idea: perhaps what we need is a Scorched Earth Mentality type of trope for the one about thoroughness? I think the term brings the connotations of a "burn it, burn the dirt it died on, and then burn it down to the mantlet to make sure it is dead and stays that way". It's essentially a form of No Kill Like Over Kill.

edited 16th Jul '12 8:27:44 AM by Deboss

Seeking for Light
[up] Is that the same thing as this proposed definition for Kill It with Fire, or is it something else. And if it is the same and we use a different name for it, what are we going to put in for Kill It with Fire?

Sound good? Disagree?

And if it is the same and we use a different name for it, what are we going to put in for Kill It with Fire?
That can be The Only Way, seeing as we still need a place for that, and seeing as that's what Kill It with Fire was originally supposed to mean.

Scorched Earth Mentality, then, can be "burn it to make sure it is dead," and Burn The Body can be "burn it to make sure it stays dead." Or, should both of those be one trope? Or should the latter be lumped with Fire Purifies? Also, I feel like the former could use a better name than that, personally.

edited 16th Jul '12 12:13:23 PM by HyperZ

Seeking for Light
[up] "The only way" falls under Weak to Fire. Unless we get a ton of examples of "fire is the only way to kill something", I don't see a need for a separate subtrope.

Also, the original trope definition was "people generally use fire against supernatural beings", not "fire is the only way to kill something".

Your definition of Purifying Flamesnote  seems to be suggesting a new trope: Magical fire has properties that normal fire doesn't. I'm running with this idea below; let me know if that's not what you were thinking of.
What I have:

Existing Tropes

Proposed Tropes:

  • Kill It with Fire: "When in doubt, set it on fire." Or, in other words, killing something with flames, regardless of the special properties or lack thereof of said flames, to make sure it is dead and stays dead. Proposed alternate title: Scorched Earth Mentality.
    • Possible internal subtrope, possible separate trope: Burning something after it's dead to make sure it stays dead.
  • Fire Purifies: All forms of fire burns evil. This can take the form of removing evil from a possessed person, removing evil powers from a creature, or easily killing evil creatures.
    • Internal subtrope: Placebo Flames: People think fire has purifying properties, and use it accordingly, but in reality fire is just normal.
  • Magic Fire Is Special:note  Magical fire has properties which normal fire doesn't.
    • Internal subtropes: Magic fire is better at killing things. Magic fire can burn without fuel. Magic fire is more difficult to extinguish. Etc.
  • Weak to Fire: A creature has a significant weakness to damage by fire.
    • Probable internal subtrope, although could be made its own trope if there's sufficient examples: A creature can only be killed with fire.
  • Holy Flames: (Some) fire has religious significance. Doesn't matter what the holy fire is used for.
  • Burnless Flames: Real fire which, for some reason, isn't hot.

edited 16th Jul '12 12:44:26 PM by Nocturna

85 Deboss17th Jul 2012 05:36:55 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Do we have a Magic Fire supertrope for these yet? By definition, when fire has properties that aren't normal, it would be a magic fire, we're just creating a list of common subtropes for the most part.

Holy Fire is the opposite of Hellfire in my mind, it's just that rather than being black or dark, it tends to be bright white or whitish blue. And powered by a god or something. Usually has a high chance of being a Purifying Flame in addition to any other property. The point is it's a Magic Fire because a deity or other holy critter says so. The kind that's just holy but not magical would fall somewhere else.

Purifying Flame is a type of Magic Fire that has the property of removing evil/magic/whatever from what it burns. This usually manifests as something that will only burn evil/magic/whatever and leave other things unharmed. However, it can still be used to cleanse things destructively.

Fire Purifies is good to go with the above as far as I'm concerned. Working Placebo Flames into it is probably a good idea, since it's just the characters believing that a particular batch of fire is magical in nature. My main concern is with confusion with Purifying Flame, perhaps switching this to Fire Is Magical?

Magic Fire Is Special seems redundant. If it's magical, it's already special. I'd prefer to just drop whatever examples don't fit somewhere else in Magic Fire.

Weak to Fire is gtg.

Burnless Flames I'm not so sure on, isn't that just Cold Fire?

Hm, perhaps we need a Symbolic Flame or Sacred Flame for the kind where it has religious/cultural significance but isn't magical in any way, ie: the Olympic flame or some church that uses fire for symbolic purposes? Unless somebody thinks of some examples, I don't think we need this one just yet.
FWIW I think the 'net use of the phrase "kill it with fire" is a metaphor that relies upon the notion of destruction with extreme prejudice with historical roots. IMO this is the reasoning behind the old form of execution (burning at the stake); the heretics in particular may not have been so "magically" dangerous as the witches, but they were so hated that they must be painfully and thoroughly killed and their bodies destroyed so that no trace of them remains. I think I may have linked a reference to this sort of execution in fiction to the KIWF page on this understanding. Perhaps you may wish to include this in the KIWF description?
Seeking for Light
[up][up] I honestly don't see the difference between those definitions of Fire Purifies and Purifying Flame, aside from one being "all fire is magic and burns evil" and the other being "magic fire burns evil". I think they're one trope.

Also, your definition of Magic Fire is precisely what I was thinking of for Magic Fire Is Special. I chose the longer name mostly because Magic Fire as a name by itself my give rise to people using for any time fire is created magically, whether or not it has properties different from run-of-the-mill fire. (Although, thinking on it, I'm not sure that there really are any cases of that, so it may be a non-issue.)

Re Burnless Flames: Yes, it's cold fire. But Cold Flames (which may be what you're thinking of) is specifically about things which appear to be fire, and act like fire, but are not actually fire. (Illusions, ice storms shaped like flames, and the like fall under it.) The proposed trope is for when real fire doesn't burn. (Floo fire from Harry Potter would fall under this, for example.)
88 Deboss17th Jul 2012 11:40:17 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
That sort of is one of the problems with the difference between Fire Purifies and Purifying Flames. It's why I suggested a All Fire Is Magical or equivalent trope so we can just list both and list all the magical properties fire has as being constant and that a fire you start with a lighter has all of them. It's most commonly invoked in the sense of Kill It Dead and Purifying Flames.

Cold Flames aren't about flames that don't burn things? Perhaps that needs a rename to Illusory Flames or something.
Seeking for Light
I'm afraid I don't really understand what you're trying to get at in the first paragraph. How exactly would an index/supertrope with the different magical properties of fire help make the distinction between those two tropes? Or were you trying to say something else?

Also, I agree about Cold Flames. It probably could use a rename (or transplant), as it's really non-indicative. I'm off to do a quick wick check.

EDIT: And the wick check (15 wicks, ~25%) showed that Cold Flames is almost as all over the place as Kill It with Fire was. Plus there were quite a lot of Zero Context Examples (or almost so), which made it a little hard to tell what was what. But it seems that the most common usage was for "supernatural being which appears made out of flames" (no mention of whether or not the flames burned)—this use is not entirely divorced from the description—followed by just "illusory flames" (no mention of whether the flames burned), with those which were definitely "illusory flames which burned" and "flames (illusory or otherwise) which didn't burn" coming in about even at the end. I think we probably need another TRS thread. Or can we just deal with it here?

My thoughts for dealing with that would be that we need three tropes: supernatural beings which appear made out of flames (will-o-the-wisps, certain types of ghosts, etc.); illusory flames (which generally burn people/things); and cold fire: flames (either real or illusory) which don't burn people/things. The latter should probably get the name Cold Flames with the other two transplanted to different titles.note 

edited 17th Jul '12 2:18:06 PM by Nocturna

90 Deboss17th Jul 2012 02:42:17 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Fire Purifies is essentially a more specific form of All Fire Is Magic, where the magic in question is Purifying Flame, so I was muttering that we could just go with All Fire Is Magic as it's broader than I was initially thinking (for instance, if a verses primary deity is a fire god, then it would make sense for an overlap of Holy Flame and All Fire Is Magic).

Essentially, I'm dropping the specific Fire Purifies (any and all fire can be used to purify things) for a more general trope (any and all fire has some magic property).

Well, the first of the three Cold Flames sounds like Made Of Fire or something (I think we've actually got that trope somewhere, I'd checked Wreathed in Flames).
Seeking for Light
[up] Ah. You're right. I think that would fall under Elemental Embodiment.
92 Deboss19th Jul 2012 04:00:17 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Yeah, that one most likely.
Seeking for Light
Okay, I've finally gotten all the YKTTWs done. They still need examples, but I'll get around to sorting through the examples on the page eventually, unless someone else does it.

Here they are:

And as a reminder, the proposed definition/description for Kill It with Fire is on Sandbox.Kill It With Fire.
How does the poorly-named Hollywood Fire fit into all this?

Hollywood Fire is a fire where the flames produce little dangerous smoke and the heroes manage to escape it without harming themselves.
Seeking for Light
[up] I don't think it's directly related, as it's not supposed to be magical fire, nor is it related to using fire to kill things/keep things dead.
Dragon Writer
Bump. YKTTW's are ... well, I haven't been keeping up with them. But, like I say occasionally in the YKTTW, it's too bad we don't have a name like When In Doubt Set It On Fire.
Seeking for Light
[up] Most of the YKTTWs have been languishing, but that's partly my fault because I've had very limited time to sort examples, so I haven't been particularly diligent about bumping them.

And regarding When In Doubt Kill It With Fire, that's essentially the definition on Sandbox.Kill It With Fire. It's possible we could use Kill It with Fire for one of the other proposed tropes (probably Weak to Fire) and put Sandbox.Kill It With Fire under the name When In Doubt Kill It With Fire. Thoughts?

edited 17th Sep '12 9:30:51 AM by Nocturna

I mostly support Nocturna's definitions, but not entirely. I will look at the YKTT Ws and comment on them. This is how I think the tropes should shake out:

  • Burn It With Fire — (currently redirects to Kill It with Fire) Merge Sandbox.Kill It With Fire with Burn The Body. Kill with fire or burn the bodies, to make sure they're really dead, that they stay dead, that the Orks don't get their spores everywhere, that the Artifact of Doom is really destroyed, etc. While Weak to Fire and Holy Flames can be reasons to do this, There Is No Kill Like Overkill, being a Pyro Maniac, and said Ork spores are other reasons. The tendency to just generally use fire against the supernatural is another reason. I don't think "make sure it's really dead" and "make sure it stays dead" should be separate tropes, so the title should be Burn It, not Kill It. Burn The Body and When In Doubt Kill It With Fire could be redirects.
  • Weak to Fire — Either fire is super-effective, or fire is the only way to kill some monster, or characters in-universe think this is true. I don't think it'll be easy to sort out which is which, so they should be the same trope.
  • Fire Purifies — All fire in general cleanses stuff. This may be the reason to Burn It With Fire when "It" is zombies or demons. It may be the reason to shove your half-mortal babies in the fireplace to make them immortal (burn away their mortality). It may be the only way to cleanse a character tainted by Evil Goop of Doom.
  • Magical Fire — Magical fires do things that normal fire doesn't. It can be Holy Flames or Hellfire or Burnless Fire, or it doesn't need fuel, or is alive, whatever.
  • Holy Flames — A special fire that is holy. It may be the reason Vampires are Weak to Fire. It may be the weapon of the God Emperor of Mankind and the reason you think Orks are Weak to Fire. It may be the Eternal Flame on the altar of your Zoroastrian temple. It may be the special flames wielded by Fiery Angels of Fire. It may be the only fire that turns half-mortal babies into godlings instead of just killing them. It may be the Burnless Fire that does no harm to the pure of heart, but hurts everybody else. It may be the sacred Solar Flames that destroy dead bodies before they can become undead. It can, in short, be a reason for Weak to Fire or Burn It With Fire to appear, or it can be unrelated to them. It would not be a subtrope of Magical Fire — the fire can be a nonmagical religious symbol instead. Purifying Flame could be a redirect.
  • Burnless Fire — Fire that doesn't burn. Related to but different from Cold Flames.
  • Kill It with Fire — This is probably doomed to be a pothole magnet and meme. I don't think using it as a trope name is a good idea.

EDIT: Looked at the YKTT Ws.

edited 15th Oct '12 11:40:22 AM by ArcadesSabboth

Oppression anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere.
Seeking for Light
The thing about Kill It with Fire is, despite what you might expect, it's not being used in the memetic sense (see the wick check, earlier in this thread). Its use is all over the place, but that's mostly likely due to a "definition" which doesn't really define anything than the name itself; thus, I don't think we have a good reason to scrap the name.
I see what you mean. That is a good thing.

However, my other reason (albeit less pressing) for the suggestion was to merge the sandbox definition with Burn The Body since they're so similar. In that case it couldn't be "Kill It..." so I suggested Burn It With Fire, which doesn't specify whether "It" is already dead/undead yet.

If Kill It with Fire and Burn The Body remain distinct, which one is the supertrope to Burn the Undead? I think especially with the undead, that there is less distinction between "burn the body so it doesn't come back" and "burn the body so it stops coming back."

Do you think Purifying Fire should be a redirect to anything?

Also, what should be done with all those wicks that are "Some monster was killed with fire." Using your proposed scheme, would most of those be thrown out for not being a trope? Or do you think "People tend to destroy monsters with fire" is part of Sandbox.Kill It With Fire, or tropable on its own?

edited 15th Oct '12 9:48:05 PM by ArcadesSabboth

Oppression anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere.

Total posts: 115
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