Main Soft Water Discussion

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04:53:53 PM Nov 23rd 2013
Does this trope cover instances where water is conveniently available to save someone from a fall (not necessarily a super high one, just one that probably would be fatal or gruesome if it were onto land) as well, or is that a new trope that deserves a YKTTW entry?
02:01:04 PM Nov 17th 2013
I cut the example for Literature.The Lord Of The Rings, because the trope is not in the book, and the example relies on Wild Mass Guessing. Tolkien's notes (from The Treason Of Isengard) never say that Gandalf fell into the water: they suggest that Gandalf killed the Balrog first, then sought a way out of Moria by wading into the gulf. (In LotR itself, Gandalf is still dueling the Balrog when they both exit Moria.)

Here is a copy:

  • Unlike the movie version of The Lord of the Rings, it's uncertain in the book whether Gandalf and the Balrog fell into Soft Water, or the fall was simply a shorter distance than it looked. While Gandalf and the Balrog aren't ordinary humans, the story elsewhere made clear that both Gandalf and Balrogs could be killed by falling — earlier, for example Gandalf had been imprisoned on top of Orthanc solely by the 500' drop, while in The Hobbit Gandalf almost jumped from the top of a fir-tree, and Tolkien said "that would have been the end of him." Likewise, in The Silmarillion a Balrog fell to its death. In crafting the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien wrote in his notes that since Gandalf had to survive the fall, then "The gulf was not deep (only a kind of moat and was full of silent water)"; however this may or may not have been used, since in the story Gandalf later says "little had I guessed the abyss that was spanned by Durin's bridge." Gimli said that no plummet had ever found the bottom; however stone plummets sink into water, and so the water could have been miles deep, but only 100 feet below the surface. While Gandalf said "long time I fell," seven seconds can seem a long time while falling. Likewise, Gandalf also said "his (the balrog's) fire was all about me, I was burned;" however again, Gandalf wasn't burned too badly to fight (and kill) the balrog after chasing it for days through tunnels and up miles of stairs, so its fire couldn't have been "all about him" for more than a few seconds.
    • The danger for Gandalf in The Hobbit was more due to the spears and weapons of the goblins than the fall, and he would have used more of his natural power fighting the balrog allowing him to survive the fall in moria, he also stepped into famirirs pyre to lift him out in the book, showing he has a resistance to fire, allowing him the battle the Balrog for some time while falling.
    • Although it's worth remembering that Gandalf's fire resistance is likely because he's the wielder of Narya, the Ring of Fire.
    • Actually, my take from the book was that Gandalf died. He was just brought back to life by the good forces as Gandalf the White in order to continue the fight against evil. And, of course, Gandalf is a semi-human wizard as well.

11:08:37 PM Apr 17th 2013
* Played straight in Black Cat'', where Train jumps from a skyscraper into a lake below, but first shoots the water to break the water and make it appropriately soft.
  • MythBusters busted that one, too. The recoil does slow you down a bit, but not nearly enough.''

The recoil of a gun will not stop your fall, sure; But what does that have to do with breaking the water with a bullet to make it soft?
02:42:07 AM Dec 19th 2011
This comment: "In real life, jumping out of a jet a full speed (>600 mph) will kill you just from the air-impact." seems to be a little ridiculous.

I am not aware of any way a human could die from air drag short of burning up in atmospheric re-entry, which would only occur at speeds far greater than the 600 mph cited here. There is also proof that humans can survive speeds of 600+ mph in free-fall: "Capt. Kittinger fell for 4 minutes, 36 seconds. He experienced temperatures as low as minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum speed of 614 miles per hour." http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=562
10:15:52 PM Sep 9th 2011
Could a Hydrokinetic invert this by beginning to gradually increase the amount of water vapor in the air, so their decent is still slowed, but they don't go straight to 800 times air's density? Would that help?
01:41:52 AM Apr 16th 2010
Anybody can confim whether the line below wouldn't contain an inversion?

" MythBusters demonstrated that no supersonic bullet can penetrate more than 14 inches of water. Subsonic pistol rounds do better, penetrating a few feet. "

I mean, it would stand to reason that "supersonic" bullets — i.e. faster than sound — would penetrate water further than "subsonic" bullets (slower than sound).
04:18:46 AM Apr 17th 2010
Well, I'll be correcting it — until someone can explain how the initial statement could be correct.
06:41:33 PM May 27th 2010
The original is correct, supersonic rounds disintigrate on impact because water doesn't get out of the way fast enough, their high energy is spent destroying the round. Subsonic bullets remain intact and continue until their velocity is bled off.
02:37:41 PM Sep 1st 2010
I should have guessed there was something counterintuitive like that. Thanks.