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Cinder Fall

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vale_cinder_2.png
"I want to be strong. I want to be feared.
I want to be powerful."
Click here to see her post-Volume 6 appearance (SPOILERS) 

Voiced By: Jessica Nigri [EN], Yuko Kaida [JP]

Debut: Ruby Rose

"It's nothing personal, dear. You're just not worthy of such power. But I am."

An ambitious and enigmatic woman with power over fire, Cinder Fall is the leader of an equally mysterious group closely associated with crime lord Roman Torchwick. She and her teammates, Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai, infiltrate Beacon Academy in Volume 2, posing as transfer students from Mistral's Haven Academy while subtly preparing the terrain for a war between the kingdoms, the results of which are coming to fruition by Volume 3.

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Cinder typically fights with a pair of swords called Midnight that combine into a compound bow created with dust infused clothing. After the injuries she sustained from Ruby Rose at the climax of Volume 3, she has since abandoned using Midnight in favor of using a variety of blades constructed from glass containing fire at their cores. Her Semblance is Scorching Caress, which allows her to superheat and manipulate the shape of objects, such as turning sand into glass.


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    A — F 
  • Achilles' Heel: Cinder's greatest physical asset is simultaneously her greatest weakness. Her ability to steal the power of the Maidens comes from the Grimm essence that Salem implanted into her. As such, Cinder shares the same weakness all Grimm have to the power of the Silver Eyes. It is for this reason that series protagonist Ruby Rose is her most personal adversary; Ruby's first use of this power destroys Cinder's eye and arm.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Her ambition for power has made her try and kill the Fall Maiden to take her powers for her own, and indirectly caused mass chaos and some other deaths. She sums up her ambition during a flashback and the Battle of Haven makes it clear that she thinks she's entitled to all four of the Maiden powers when she tries to steal Spring's:
    Cinder: I want to be strong. I want to be feared. I want to be powerful.
  • Assimilation Backfire: Cinder is only able to become the Fall Maiden by murdering the current Fall Maiden, Amber, and using a special type of parasite Grimm, which absorbs the power and transfers it to her. As a result, she gains enormous power at the cost of becoming extremely vulnerable to Ruby's Silver Eye power, which exists to destroy Grimm. Brief exposure to it during the Battle of Beacon cripples her for an entire volume, where she has to relearn how to speak and is forced to wear a mask to hide the scarring on the left side of her face. During the battle of Haven, it's revealed that her left arm was destroyed by Ruby and replaced with a Grimm arm. Although she can use it as she would any other arm, and it allows her to absorb Maiden power from other Maidens, the Grimm do not have Aura. It is therefore completely unprotected by her aura, and can easily be severed (though it regenerates quickly). It also makes the left side of her body much more vulnerable to future uses of Ruby's power.
  • Bad Boss: Downplayed. While she treats her subordinates with respect and doesn't spend their lives needlessly, she expects their total obedience and loyalty and will not tolerate failure or disobedience, telling them to "don't think, obey". In Vol 3 Chapter 7, she's heard slapping a disagreeable Emerald and telling her to "know her place". Becomes worse after she loses to Raven and teams up with Neo, treating the other woman with barely disguised disdain at best. When Neo steals the Relic of Knowledge for her, Cinder neither thanks her nor acknowledges her effort; instead, she steals the credit when handing it over to Salem and describes Neo as an "asset". Salem comments that Cinder likes "collecting assets", implying that Emerald, Mercury and Neo are just assets to Cinder, worth only as much as the usefulness they can provide. Sure enough, she invokes You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on Neo by the end of Volume 8 in order to try and kill Ruby, and on Watts as well just for having insulted her.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Cinder has displayed the ability to fight competently without weapons, such as when she infiltrated Vale's CCT and when she ambushed Amber. However, when she returns to Little Miss to collect the information she's requested, she's forced into a bar brawl. She abstains from using her Maiden powers in public and is thus limited to unarmed combat. The skill that had been previously hinted at is shown in full against her more specialised opponent and shows a full range of abilities that encompass punches, kicks, acrobatics and claw swipes from her Grimm arm.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Can deflect shots fired from Crescent Rose with just her palm, due to using half of the Fall Maiden's power she stole. Once she took all of it, she can even catch Pyrrha's Milo and deflect a thrown Akouo barehanded.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Her outfit in "Round One" is a sarashi and an open fur vest.
  • Barrier Warrior: Every attack she uses is done through Dust, which takes Aura to manipulate. She can block high-caliber sniper rifle shots with her bare hand. While Lie Ren blocked a King Taijitu's fangs in a similar manner, he visibly struggled to do so, while Cinder does so without even flinching. Later episodes imply that the blocking and Dust manipulation powers were results of the Fall Maiden's powers she stole, rather than Aura, but how exactly the Maiden powers and Aura interact is unclear as of yet.
  • The Beastmaster: In flashbacks, she summons a Beetle Grimm from a special glove on her right hand to steal Amber's Maiden powers. The act leaves a tattoo on her back. During the Volume 3 battle for Beacon, Cinder openly communes with the Grimm Dragon that joins the fight against Vale, softly comforting the creature when it becomes agitated. When she experiences more trouble than she expected against the powerful Pyrrha, the Dragon responds to her predicament and charges to her defense. It's the sight of the charging Dragon that distracts Pyrrha and allows Cinder to gain the upper hand.
  • Beware the Superman: The Maidens have a key role in the fight against Salem. Cinder, however, couldn't care less about that and stole the Fall Maiden's power both to satisfy her own hunger for it and to aid Salem's plans.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Cinder's weapon consists of a pair of curved blades that can be combined together by their hilts to form a bow. Flashbacks in "Fall" show she originally used a metal version of this weapon, but has since taken to manifesting it via Dust since acquiring half of the Fall Maiden's powers.
  • Big "WHAT?!": In the Volume 3 finale, Cinder cries out "What?!" in angry disbelief when white power bursts out of Ruby's eyes and engulfs the entire area, freezing the Grimm Dragon in the process and badly wounding her.
  • Black Swords Are Better: After absorbing half of the Fall Maiden's power she takes to using black glass versions of the swords she used to wield.
  • BFS: Summons a large, fiery one around three times her height in her fight against Raven. It's subverted though since it ends up breaking after a single Blade Lock.
  • Body Horror: From Volume 4 onward, she's been maimed by Ruby, and we see the full extent of her injuries in towards the end of Volume 5; her left arm has been replaced with that of a Grimm, and a significant portion of the left side of her face is a scarred ruin. In Volume 7, the Grimm arm has spread all the way up her shoulder joint and appears to be exposing muscle.
  • Bow and Sword in Accord: Her weapons are a pair of swords that can combine to form a bow. She used to have a metallic version of the pair, after absorbing half of the Fall Maiden's power, she can instantly create these swords using Dust.
  • Blunt "Yes": Her response to Pyrrha's last words, asking her if she believes in destiny.
  • Break the Haughty: Cinder is introduced as a calm, collected and cunning individual who enjoys flaunting her power over others. This image is shaken after a series of setbacks beginning with being permanently maimed by the power of Ruby's silver eyes. She becomes consumed with the desire for both revenge against Ruby and lust for the more Maiden power, leading to a hasty deal with Raven Branwen against Watts' advice, thinking she can handle all her enemies being in one place and ruining Salem's plans. After atoning, she repeats her mistake against the Winter Maiden. It takes a blistering tirade from Watts over her entitled attitude and refusal to learn from her failures to finally knock her down a peg.
  • Breath Weapon: A part of Cinder's Maiden powers allows her to breathe fire. At the end of Volume 7, Cinder is so outraged by her failure to obtain the Winter Maiden's powers that she screams while breathing fire. At the conclusion of her duel with Weiss in Volume 8, she tries killing Weiss with a stream of fire only for Penny to thwart her.
  • Broken Faceplate: Downplayed. During the fight at Haven Academy, Cinder is briefly stunned by Ruby's short-lived use of the Silver Eyes power, and Jaune gets a strike in. Cinder manages to move her head just in time to avoid a killing blow, and the edge of Jaune's sword cuts a tiny chip out of the black ceramic covering of her ruined eye. Raven ends up breaking the mask altogether when she touches Cinder's face with her lightning-infused palm, pushing Cinder off the Vault's ledge.
  • The Bully: A smug, sadistic bully who enjoys flaunting her power and superiority over those she feels are inferior or weak, she desires to be feared and hates being made to feel helpless. After being permanently maimed by Ruby, she develops an obsessive hatred for her. When fighting Jaune, she toys with him until he almost succeeds in injuring her, whereupon she flies into a rage and fatally injures Weiss in a replay of Pyrrha's death just to spite him. Made a Slave as a child by a cruel hotelier and her daughters, she was abused and tortured until she snapped, killing them all. Now she's following in her abusive stepmother's footsteps, treating others as she was once treated.
  • Burn Scars, Burning Powers: Her Semblance is the power to superheat anything she touches, which she usually uses to transform sand or Dust into obsidian weapons. After becoming the Fall Maiden, she heavily favours the fire element. However, to steal the Maiden powers, she fused herself to a Grimm, which is vulnerable to the power of Ruby's silver eyes; once Ruby's powers activate at the end of Volume 3, Cinder is left with burns on the left side of her body. She hides her burned face and eye with a half-mask and her hair, and replaces her lost arm with a Grimm arm.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Cinder's arrival in Haven Academy draws an emotional reaction from Jaune, whose partner Pyrrha died at her hands. His impassioned speech to Cinder falls flat because her ambition and sadism have claimed so many victims that she takes a while to remember why this guy in particular has it out for her. During the subsequent battle, Cinder admits that she's starting to remember Jaune; she calls him a dense idiot who doesn't know when he's out of his league.
    Jaune: What is wrong with you? How can you be so broken inside? To take so many lives, and then come back here and rub it in our faces like it's something to be proud of...all with that damn smile on your face! I'm gonna make you pay for what you did! Do you hear me?! Well? Say something!
    Cinder: Who are you again?
  • Can't Take Criticism: Fitting her ego and narcissism, Cinder utterly despises being criticized for anything. In Volume 4, she's visibly annoyed at Salem's other subordinates mocking her injuries at Ruby's hands. When on the receiving end of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for her motives and failures by Watts in Volume 8, Cinder nearly throws him off a building before just breaking down in tears, before murdering him a few episodes later.
  • The Chain of Harm: Cinder grew up being abused by a stepmother and is now abused by Salem. Although Emerald regards Cinder as the closest thing to a mother-figure she's ever had, Cinder abusively treats her like a tool at best and trash at worst. Her abuse of Emerald is very similar to the way she was abused by her own mother-figures.
  • The Chessmaster: Cinder is carrying out Salem's long-running plan, which endangers Remnant. Her mission is to obtain the Fall Maiden's powers and bring down Beacon. She predicts most of the cast's moves and adapts with great flexibility when something occurs that hasn't been accounted for. She recruits Mercury and Emerald, saps half the Fall Maiden's powers, recruits Torchwick and the White Fang, then commands Dust robberies and infiltrates Beacon. From there, she takes control of almost every defense available through the CCT Tower, including the Vytal Tournament match-ups and Penny. At the end of Volume 3, she succeeds in her mission, although she is badly injured in the process. Four volumes later, she deliberately presses Ironwood's Trauma Button by leaving a glass chess piece in his office; attempting to secure the Winter Maiden's powers inadvertantly leads him to reveal her secret location to Cinder.
  • Choice of Two Weapons: While the rest of the cast uses a single weapon and their Semblance to base their fighting style around, Cinder uses different weapons, powers and styles. She used a pair of twin swords called Midnight that could transform into a bow, and paired it with her Semblance before gaining the power of the Fall Maiden. Afterwards she uses the powers to create close range weapons for melee combat or a bow for long range, while supplementing them with elemental magic or vice versa.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Cinder is only willing to work with someone for as long as they benefit her. She's even willing to sabotage Salem's plans in pursuit of power, which leads to her being ostracised after the villains failure at Haven is caused by her desire to get Ruby killed and obtain the Spring Maiden's power. In Volume 8, she traps Watts in a burning Central Command, drops Neo to her death in Ambrosius' Central Location, and lies to Salem about Ruby's apparent death, using the Lamp's last question and that her use of the Staff was about killing Watts.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: After Cinder is maimed by Ruby, she uses clothing and bandages to hide the fact her left arm is now Grimm, something hinted at by the terrible scarring on the left side of her face that her eye patch only partially covers. The one time a person spotted the Grimm arm, they collapsed in horror. Originally, Cinder favoured wearing an asymmetrical dress with a sleeve so long it hid even her hand. During the Atlas Arc, she draped a cape over the left side of her body to disguise the arm. Volume 8 reveals that her preference for wearing chokers and high collars hides torture scarring on her neck.
  • Combat Stilettos: All of her outfits include heels, even when roof-hopping and fighting off the soldiers that try to stop her from infiltrating the communications tower in "Dance Dance Infiltration".
  • Corrupted Character Copy: She's based on Cinderella, but abuse turned her villainous, and her "fairy godmother" (Salem) empowers that evil. Cinder shares Cinderella's background of abusive slavery within a wicked step-family, and a "Prince Charming" who tries to rescue her. The caveat is that her "Prince Charming's" intervention requires her to endure years of abuse while he trains her to obtain a legal escape only when she's old enough. She eventually snaps, murdering her family and then her "Prince Charming" for trying to arrest her.
  • Dark Action Girl: One of the most powerful fighters in the series, she's reserved with a touch of cruelty. She helped defeat the Fall Maiden and stole half of her powers, and as result she was able to duel Glynda in a magical battle, infiltrated the CCT and defeated a room full of armed soldiers single-handedly and held off Ruby using her Dust-crafted dual blades/bow. By the end of "Heroes and Monsters", Cinder has gained all of the Fall Maiden's powers after shooting Amber in the chest with her bow.
  • Deer in the Headlights: Cinder's reaction to seeing Ruby again is to reflexively brandish fireballs and stare. This gives Ruby the time she needs to concentrate and activate her Silver Eyes.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Cinder enacts all of her plans with a smug attitude of expecting everything that's thrown at her, or easily adapting to the few curveballs thrown her way. However, when Ruby unleashes a previously unknown ability at the end of Volume 3, Cinder's composure vanishes with a shocked shriek of "What!?". The Volume 4 premiere reveals that Ruby's powers have left her badly scarred, rendered near mute, and utterly humbled.
    • At the end of "Vault of the Spring Maiden", Cinder double-crosses Raven and Vernal at the entrance to the Relic's chamber. Freezing Raven, she impales Vernal with her Grimm arm. Hoping to absorb the Spring Maiden's powers, she's shocked to discover there's no power just as Raven breaks free of the ice. Vernal was a decoy — the real Spring Maiden is Raven.
    • Cinder expected that the elderly and senile Winter Maiden would be the least of the obstacles to gaining the powers. To Cinder's complete surprise she proves to be the greatest as Cinder is forced to flee when she creates a storm of ice.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Cinder's Semblance lets her superheat objects and manipulate their shape, with a preference for rock and glass, especially obsidian. During her fight with Amber in Volume 3, she turned molten dirt into obsidian projectiles and hurled them at Amber telekinetically. In other scenes, she shapes glass into swords, a spear, and a knife. Most of the time these glass objects are molten in some manner, with Cinder heating and melting and then reshaping them into a new weapon; she is also shown breaking solid glass apart and reshaping it, such as when she shatters an arrow mid-flight to avoid Pyrrha's shield and reforges it with no loss of momentum. Her weapon is a pair of obsidian swords that can be combined to create a bow and arrows, but Ruby reports to Professors Ozpin and Glynda and General Ironwood that she doesn't think that forming and fighting with the weapons was Cinder's Semblance.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In "The More The Merrier", Jaune lashes out at Cinder with his sword and just barely scrapes the mask over the damaged portion of Cinder's face. She pins him to the ground with her foot while she rants about his audacity in thinking he could fight her. When she realizes he values his friends' lives above his own, she creates a javelin that looks similar to Pyrrha's and impales Weiss.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Everything Cinder says and does is executed with casual grace, whether she's making small talk with Ruby while disguised as a student or beating the crap out of CCT guards. Even when she's crippled Pyrrha and is preparing to kill her, her tone of voice remains calm and slightly smug. The first time Cinder loses her cool is when the power of Ruby's silver eyes activate during the battle of Beacon, catching Cinder completely off-guard. When Ruby's silver eyes briefly de-power her during the battle of Haven, Jaune takes advantage of that to strike for her face; shocked, she barely manages to dodge in time for his sword to do more than knick her face mask. She reacts with utter fury, pinning him to the ground and grinding his chest under foot while she rants angrily. And when Cinder attempts to drain the magic of the Spring Maiden from Vernal, she's so shocked to discover she can't do it, that the fact she can't find the power sends her into the sort of panic usually associated with addicts being denied the substance they're addicted to.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After five years of having to put up with her adoptive "family's" constant abuse, she finally reached her breaking point and killed them in cold blood, saving the cruel Madame for last.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Cinder takes control of the computers of the CCT, Ironwood's army and Vytal tournament, which allows her to broadcast anything she wants, regardless of any security. When Pyrrha accidentally tears apart Penny, Cinder takes over the air waves to send a global message, condemning Ozpin and Ironwood, all four academies, the Atlas army and to claim the four kingdoms are at the brink of war. Even though Oobleck tries to cut the feed, the broadcast team can't do it.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Cinder's desires to become strong, feared and powerful and she works for Salem because it gives her the opportunity to steal Maiden powers. She executes Salem's plan for the destruction of Beacon Academy with great cunning, patience and adaptability, and obtains the Fall Maiden's full power. While recovering from injuries inflicted by Ruby, she becomes increasingly intolerant of Salem's measured approach to pursuing her goals and is warned by Salem to wait for further power. Once unleashed to lead the infiltration of Haven Academy, Cinder's leadership becomes increasingly unstable. She watches the Spring Maiden's demonstration of power with an expression of undisguised lust; when Raven concludes that Cinder is egomaniacal, Watts agrees. Cinder sacrifices caution for the chance to confront Ruby and attempts to steal the Spring Maiden's power for herself, revealing that she's replaced her left arm with a Grimm arm that allows her to steal Maiden powers. As a result of her growing lust for power, she ruins Salem's plan; Haven Academy is rescued, the villains are forced to flee, and Cinder is cast into a pit by the Spring Maiden. Later in Atlas, Cinder shows some of the cunning that enabled her to become the next Fall Maiden but continues to fail at crucial moments; both times she tries to claim the Winter Maiden's power, she's beaten back, but she refuses to understand her mistakes. Watts eventually berates Cinder for thinking that she can claim whatever she wants because she has raw power and a tragic past.
  • Dual Wielding: When she infiltrates the CCT, she fights the guards and Ruby by creating a pair of combine-able swords made from Dust. In a flashback to before she gained half of Amber's powers, she used fighting a metallic, more conventional version of the swords. In Volume 5, she doesn't use her left arm since it's entirely covered in a long sleeve, at least until revealing it to be her trump card in absorbing the Maidens' powers, after which she begins dual-wielding again in her fight against Raven.
  • Entitled Bitch: Everything Cinder does is built on entitlement; she pursues the powers of the Maidens relentlessly, and openly states that she's the only one worthy of them. Volume 8 reveals this is a product of a horrifically abusive childhood, and she feels she's entitled to power and justified in taking whatever she wants because of her past suffering. Dr. Watts angrily tells Cinder the world doesn't owe her a thing and if she wants power, she needs to actually earn it.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Cinder claims to Penny that she serves no one, and that Penny would be much the same if she wasn't a programmed robot. This disregards the fact that Penny consciously chose to side with Ruby and her allies against Atlas. With Cinder having been there because she defied Salem's orders to stay on their ship, the scene makes it seem as though she can't comprehend not using the Maidens' power to do whatever you want, and projects this belief onto Penny.
  • Evil Feels Good: After stealing half of the Full Maiden power, Cinder describes the feeling as "an emptiness that burns like hunger", and confesses she likes it.
  • Evil Gloating: Whenever Cinder feels she's in control of a situation, she enjoys gloating at her targets. She takes her time when killing Pyrrha, gloating that she'll use the Fall Maiden powers in ways Pyrrha could never imagine; this gives Ruby enough time to arrive just in time to see what happens, triggering the awakening of a power Cinder is extremely vulnerable to. When Raven is upset that her bandits let Cinder's group into the camp, Cinder gloats that it's because they know better than attack a Maiden. When she attacked Vernal, she begins by smugly tearing down Raven's reputation for cunning and intelligence. When she confronts the Winter Maiden in Volume 7, she arrogantly declares that Fria has had her time in the sun and, when Fria tries to remember who she was waiting for, Cinder smugly says 'me'. This gives Fria enough time to register the Grimm arm reaching for her and retaliate, buying herself just enough time for help to arrive so that she can pass on the power to someone else. During her battle with Team RWBY in Volume 8, she begins to gloat about how she was able to distrupt their plans using the Lamp of Knowledge, however this serves as a distraction to allow Neo a chance to kill Ruby. The attempt is thwarted, however, by Yang pushing Ruby out of the way, resulting in Yang falling into the abyss.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: When Amber uses the powers of the Fall Maiden, she displays the ability to create tornadoes and bursts of fire. She can freeze leaves into flechettes and levitate. However, when Cinder absorbs the powers of the Fall Maiden, she only uses the levitation power and the fire ability. Prior to obtaining the power, she utilized her Semblance to superheat up things like glass from melted sand, so fire is what she has an affinity for.
  • Evil Is Petty: Going hand-in-hand with her egomania. Cinder's driven to uplift herself while bringing everyone else down. If someone she perceives as beneath her gets the better of her, she will pay them back in the worst way possible, even if doing so is either pointless or detrimental to the long-term plan. She agrees to a deal with Raven to kill Qrow in exchange for her services because it will also allow her to get back at Ruby for maiming her, blowing off Watts's argument that doing so could jeopardize Salem's plans, and when Jaune damages her eyepatch, she flies into an Unstoppable Rage, rants at him for his audacity in thinking he could fight her, and when he says that the others' lives are more valuable than his own, she impales Weiss with a flaming javelin reminiscent of Pyrrha's just to spite and hurt him.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Cinder starts off as a beautiful young woman who wants to be strong, powerful and feared. To obtain great power, she uses a parasite Grimm to steal the Fall Maiden's power, which leaves a supernatural tattoo on her back. Although becoming the Fall Maiden gives her enormous magical abilities, it also makes her vulnerable to Ruby's innate magical ability. During the Battle of Beacon, Cinder is badly injured by Ruby's power. She spends all of Volume 4 recovering from her injuries, which leave her scarred on the left side of her body. She initially wears a mask to hide the ruined half of her face and replaces her destroyed left arm with a full Grimm arm, which she initially hides underneath a long sleeve. When she returns to form, she is dangerously unstable, obsessed with seeking revenge against Ruby and is so overcome with lust for further power that she ruins Salem's plan to obtain the Relic of Knowledge by trying to use her new Grimm arm to steal the Spring Maiden's power for herself. Raven even tells Cinder she turned herself into a monster for power.
  • Eyepatch of Power: After losing her left eye to Ruby, Cinder wears a simple black patch over it. However, her hair falling across that side of her face makes it hard to see most of the time.
  • Eye Scream: Cinder's left eye is destroyed by Ruby's Silver Eye powers at the end of Volume 3, and she's given a nasty scar across the left-side of her face in its place.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: When she fights Ruby in Episode 1, her face is completely shadowed except for one burning eye. Due to this, when she and Ruby meet face-to-face, she's wearing different clothing so Ruby doesn't recognize her.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Outwardly, Cinder is a beautiful young woman and she has no trouble blending in with the students when the four Academies gather at Beacon for the Vytal Festival. While she and her subordinates play the part of Haven students who befriend the protagonists in classes and help to protect the Kingdom of Vale from the Grimm, she is in reality the one who assaulted the Fall Maiden and spends the school year secretly infiltrating security networks so she can rig the Vytal Festival tournament fights to ensure maximum chaos when her assault on Vale begins in earnest. Sadistic, cruel, and power-hungry, Cinder revels in the destruction of Beacon and the terror and death she inflicts upon the citizens of Vale. When she murders Pyrrha for trying to protect Beacon from her, she accidentally triggers a previously unknown magical ability linked to Ruby's silver eyes that subverts this trope when it leaves her permanently scarred on the left side of her body; from Volume 4, she wears a mask to cover the damage to her face and wears a long sleeve to hide her left arm, which is later revealed to have been replaced by a Grimm arm.
  • Fanservice Pack: Inverted. For the first three volumes, she was a standard Ms. Fanservice and tended to have many shots and outfits that would exploit that. Her main outfit was a curve-hugging minidress with black Modesty Shorts underneath during many upskirt shots in Volume Three. In Volume Four, her outfit became much more conservative. It was still a dress that hugged her curves and showed off her figure, but it was longer and she covered up her left arm entirely. And with her disfigurement, her left eye was covered as well to hide her scars. Volume Five revealed that her left arm was cut off as well and she now has an extendable Grimm arm with scarring where the arm meets the stump. Volume Six takes this further when she has to find a disguise. The outfit she wears is rather baggy and doesn't show off much of her figure. It even covers more than her previous outfit did. The trope is played straight with her new outfit in the Volume Six finale. She goes to a sleeveless look with thigh highs. Though, this is still mitigated by the fact that her Grimm arm now consumes more of her body and the muscles can be seen underneath it.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: From Volume 4 onwards, she's taken to wearing a dress that exposes her right arm and leg while her left arm and leg are completely covered. Given the loss of her left eye and scarring on the left side of her face, it's possible that Ruby's power damaged more of her left side.
  • Fatal Flaw: Her egomania, with a side order of sadism, an insatiable hunger for power, and a severe case of pettiness, have all led to her losing badly several times. Cinder's driven to uplift herself while bringing everyone else down, even if she has to pause to waste time gloating instead of completing the plan without incident. If someone she perceives as beneath her gets the better of her, she will pay them back in the worst way possible, even if doing so is either pointless or detrimental to the long-term plan. If she thinks there's a way to fulfill Salem's mission and get what she wants she'll go for it, no matter how risky it is. Her cruel, arrogant lust for power gets the better of her when it costs her both the Spring and Winter Maiden powers at the end of the fifth and seventh volumes, respectively. Watts calls her out on this as a part of the reason she's failed so miserably in her plans and how it's only made her a hindrance to their faction, which leads her to wise up and (temporarily) put aside her ego to retrieve the Relics Salem needs over taking the Maiden powers from Winter in the Volume 8 finale.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Cinder is very charismatic and capable of putting on a polite front as a means of getting what she wants. However, it is all a facade to hide her true sinister nature. When negotiating with Adam and the White Fang, she acts polite and respectful towards him and begrudgingly forces herself to bow in respect when he refuses her offer. However, once she obtains half of the Fall Maiden's power, she returns and slaughters his men to force him to join her. When overlooking the chaos in Vale, she revels in the carnage and tells Mercury to record it. As her sanity decays throughout Volume 5, Cinder's polite facade becomes less sincere as more of her sadistic side shines through, seen in her negotiations with Raven where her politeness is undercut by her thinly-veiled death threats towards her and her tribe.
  • Flaming Sword: During her fight with Ozpin, she is shown to be able to ignite her swords with fire. She does it again in "The More The Merrier" when she decides to get serious during her fight with Jaune.
  • Flight: Cinder has the ability to fly up the Beacon Tower's lift shaft and hovers every so often during her final battle of Volume 3. It's an ability she gains only after obtaining the full power of the Fall Maiden. In flashbacks, Amber is also shown to be able to hover when using the Fall Maiden power.
  • Foil: To Raven. Raven is completely loyal to her bandit tribe and carries the secret fear that she cannot overcome her ultimate enemy. Cinder only cares about herself and treats people like pawns. Their Volume 5 confrontations reveal that Cinder is an egomaniac who openly revels in her Maiden power and wants to be known and feared; Raven wants to be a hit-and-run criminal who avoids the limelight and wants to distract people's attention from her no matter how powerful she becomes. Cinder is willing to immerse herself in Ozpin and Salem's war to become more powerful whereas Raven seeks to become more powerful so that she can avoid Ozpin and Salem's war. When they fight, they each accuse the other of having become a monster in their pursuit of power.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Volume 8 reveals that Cinder was shaped into the person she is by a horrific Dark and Troubled Past. As a child, she was frequently abused by the other children as well as her Wicked Stepmother to the point where she eventually murdered her and her stepsisters; as a result, Cinder has become a cruel sociopath who arrogantly believes she's entitled to power and justified in taking whatever she wants. Watts eventually tells Cinder just because she's suffered in the past doesn't mean the world owes her anything, and if she wants to obtain the power she seeks, she needs to actually earn it.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Cinder isn't exactly popular among Salem's forces. Tyrian and Watts both enjoy mocking her failure at Beacon, Hazel treats her with indifference, Neo can barely stand Cinder and is reduced to rolling her eyes behind Cinder's back, while Mercury openly hates her and thinks she's "a pain." Emerald is the only person who likes her, and it's pointed out that Emerald is a victim of abuse and gaslighting at Cinder's hands to make her feel this way. Even Salem finds it hard to tolerate Cinder at times, admitting that while she knows Cinder survived the Battle of Haven, she won't let Cinder rejoin their ranks unless she can prove herself. When Cinder rejoins her ranks and offers to go after Penny for the Winter Maiden powers, Salem declines her offer, reminding Cinder that, while she's more valuable than a pawn, she's still not a player. When Cinder defies Salem's orders to go after Penny again, failing once more. Upon her return, Mercury reveals that he has been promoted to join Salem's inner circle and tells Cinder that he no longer works for her.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Flashbacks reveal that Cinder, the current Fall Maiden and one of Salem's most dangerous agents, did not come from very prominent beginnings. She was originally just an abused orphan turned slave who got Huntsman training from a kind stranger, then was pushed too far and killed her stepfamily before going on the run.
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  • Glass Weapon: Cinder's weapons are a pair of blades made from obsidian glass that can be combined to create a bow that fires either regular or explosive-tipped arrows.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Her eyes glow yellow when using her fire powers, and gain flaming streaks when enhancing that fire power with the Fall Maiden powers.
  • Good Prosthetic, Evil Prosthetic: Protagonists with replacement limbs, such as Yang, tend to have Atlesian prosthetics that function like the real limb and incorporate their fighting styles and personal colours. Like Yang, Cinder loses an arm in the Battle of Beacon. However, Cinder's replacement is a Grimm arm that allows her to steal Maiden powers. She has to hide it from public view and it appears to be slowly taking over her body.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: During the battle of Haven, her mask is shattered, revealing the extent of the damage Ruby did to her at the end of the Battle of Beacon. From the right side of her nose across to her left ear, her face is a scarred ruin, her left eye sealed shut as a result of the extent of the damage. In Volume 8, it's revealed that she has a scar on her neck from wearing a Shock Collar as a child. It's a neat thin line that is easily hidden by high collars and chokers, reflecting that she was an innocent torture-victim when she received it.
  • Gunship Rescue: She arrives in a gunship to bail Roman out in Episode 1 of Volume 1.
  • Guttural Growler: After becoming heavily scarred and losing an eye from being maimed by Ruby's silver-eyes, Cinder begins to adopt this tone. Though she mostly speaks normally, when becoming agitated or enraged her voice gains a rough edge to it. It's a reflection of Cinder's gradual Sanity Slippage since the aforementioned maiming, as pre-scarring she spoke in a soft, faux-soothing tone while her plans generally went in her favor.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Cinder goes from calm to extremely angry with minimal provocation whenever there's a situation that is beyond her control. In Volume 5, when Jaune nicks her mask, Cinder angrily rants at him for daring to think that someone as weak as him could stand a chance against her and it takes visible effort for her to calm down. In the Volume 7 finale "The Enemy of Trust", when Winter severs Cinder's Grimm arm, Cinder seriously wounds her with several swords. Volume 8 reveals that, even as a child, she was always angry; losing her temper when being tormented one day is what leads to her unlocking her Semblance.
  • Healing Factor: Although her Aura cannot protect or heal her Grimm arm, the limb is capable of regenerating itself after extensive damage. In her battle against Penny and Winter, Winter manages to cut Cinder's arm off entirely. After the arm disintegrates, Cinder howls in pain as a new arm grows out from her stump.
  • The Heavy: Cinder is the villain with the most focus in the plot of RWBY. In the Beacon arc of the series she is Roman Torchwick's mysterious benefactor who eventually becomes the driving force of the villainous plot after his imprisonment. Even after Cinder is revealed to be subservient to Salem, the true Big Bad of the series, Cinder is the villain who clashes with Team RWBY and their allies the most, due to her desire to find the Maiden's powers and to get revenge for almost dying to Ruby's Silver Eyes, and the enmity between her and them becomes more and more personal over time.
  • Her Own Worst Enemy: While very powerful and dangerous, Cinder has a very severe self-destructive streak and is repeatedly defeated by her own selfishness and entitled attitude. When pushed to his Rage-Breaking Point, Watts throws her litany of failures into her face, summing up all of her character flaws as the reason why she has utterly failed to achieve any of her goals.
  • Hero Killer: Whenever Cinder fights at her best, good people end up dead. She carries out Salem's plan to destroy Beacon and relishes in all of the casualties that result; on a more personal level, Cinder shoots Amber dead to steal the powers of the Fall Maiden for herself right before successfully killing Pyrrha Nikos after a fierce duel. Right before Atlas falls, Cinder inflicts a mortal wound on Winter Maiden Penny Polendina, forcing the robot-turned-real-girl to ask Jaune for a mercy kill to make sure Cinder doesn't steal her powers as well.
  • High-Class Gloves: To complement the Cinderella imagery, Cinder wears shoulder-length gloves on two separate outfits: a black pair in "Dance Dance Infiltration" as part of her Spy Catsuit, and a purple one in Volumes 4 and 5.
  • High-Heel Power: Cinder is first introduced engaging in an extremely powerful magic-style battle with Glynda Goodwitch while her upper body and delicate dress remain in shadow and the camera focusses entirely on her legs and the glass-like tinkling of her high heels and ankle-bracelet. As The Heavy, Cinder is one of the most powerfully feminine characters in the show, wielding exceptional power, despite her delicate, feminine appearance, and being the only subordinate of the Big Bad who has subordinates of her own. Her heels emphasise her commanding presence and domineering personality, but also hint at a troubled past. Inspired by Cinderella, her shoes are made of obsidian glass and flashbacks reveal that she learned the power and presence of a well-heeled power walk from the abusive stepmother who raised her.
  • Horror Hunger: In the flashback, Cinder attempts to use a strange piece of summoning technology, in the form of a white glove, to give herself more power. Cinder is only able to partially complete the process and, when on the phone to a mysterious contact, she describes the feeling she's been left with as an "emptiness that burns like hunger". She then adds that she likes the feeling. The glove summons a Beetle Grimm that absorbs Amber's Fall Maiden power. Qrow interrupts the process before it can complete, resulting in Cinder only achieving half-Maiden status and Amber being trapped in a coma.
  • Human Popsicle: Freezes Raven solid so that she can freely attack Vernal, although she manages to break out. When Raven defeats her, she sends Cinder flying into the Haven vault's chasm and freezes Cinder's falling body in the same way just for good measure. Cinder later awakens drowning in an underground lake surrounded by melting ice. When she gets out of water, daylight is seen through the crack in a wall, indicating she spent at least several hours frozen, as the battle of Maidens happened at night. Her "Wanted!" Poster implies it might be closer to a month.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Authority. Cinder is very authoritarian and direct when interacting with her subordinates Emerald and Mercury. She expects her instructions to be followed to the letter and does not tolerate any disobedience, telling them to "don't think, obey". She is also secretive, keeping Roman on a strict need-to-know basis. When Emerald disagrees with Cinder recruiting Mercury to the team, Cinder slaps her in response, telling her to know her place. Later, when ambushing Amber, Cinder tells them to execute the attack exactly as planned. Cinder later reprimands both Emerald and Mercury for murdering Tukson as it could've blown their cover.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Cinder says in "Beginning of the End" that she wants to be strong, feared, and powerful. Though she is subordinate to Salem, her own goal is acquiring more power for herself. Cinder knew little else besides abuse in her childhood, only finding escape through a sympathetic Huntsman that taught her how to fight in the hopes she could one day enroll at an academy. Instead, Cinder used her training to kill her stepmother, stepsisters and the Huntsman. Years later, she's become the Fall Maiden, but the prospect of more power entices her to attack Spring and Winter as well. This obsession is deconstructed as her repeated failures to do so also disrupt Salem's plans, costing her Salem's faith and leaving her with few resources. Cinder is furious with Watts for designing his virus to make Penny destroy herself after opening the Atlas Vault (because Cinder can't steal the Winter Maiden's powers then), but Watts shoots back that he doesn't work for Cinder or cares about what she wants. He also points out that even if Cinder wants to be special, she still has to earn it.
  • I Just Want to Be You!: Cinder models her mannerisms, strategies, and clothing to some extent on Salem, and a lot of her early lines are later revealed to be quotes directly from her. As shown by her flashback episode, she's been doing this for a long time, as she modeled her hair and weapons after Rhodes, the Huntsman who trained her, and gained her glass motif from the hotel she was abused in and her distinctive high heels from the woman who bought her. It's kept ambiguous how conscious Cinder is of this, but it's clear that she patterns herself on the powerful people in her life.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Cinder is introduced as calm, confident, and mysterious villainess who successfully orchestrates the Fall of Beacon and becomes the Fall Maiden. However, as the series progresses, Cinder suffers a series of setbacks that slowly erode her mask of confidence, revealing that her arrogant persona is a façade that hides an insecure girl with a crippling inferiority complex. As a child, Cinder was adopted and Made a Slave by a wealthy Atlesian elite, who would force her to work, routinely tortured her with a shock collar, and barely fed her, eventually leading her to snap and murder her; the experience twisted Cinder into a cruel sociopath who believes she's entitled to whatever she wants. Watts eventually deconstructs her motivations, stating that for all her power and arrogance, she has completely failed to achieve any of her goals, and reduces her to tears.
  • Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist: Ruby and Cinder. Ruby is compassionate, inspirational and protective, but socially awkward, lacks unarmed combat skills, and initially struggles with team-work and leadership. Born with magical ability, she wants normality and only opposes Cinder out of duty. Cinder is sadistic, egotistical, and destroys others for personal gain, but is self-destructive, versatile, and skilled at manipulation. She stole magical power, wants to be special, and seeks revenge on Ruby for hurting her.
  • It's Personal: She appears to have formed an intense hatred for Ruby due to being defeated and crippled by her silver eye powers, and makes sure to add during Salem's meeting that something must be done about her. When training during the Volume 4 finale, she has Emerald summon an illusion of a defenseless Ruby on the floor begging for mercy, before she burns it with her Fall Maiden powers in a manner more concentrated than when she was testing her powers on some Grimm.
  • It's All About Me: When Salem isn't around, Cinder makes it very clear that she thinks she's the one calling the shots and that everyone has to go along with her lead whether they like it or not. During his fight with Team RNJR, Tyrian goes so far as to muse that Cinder's wildest dreams involve her being in Salem's place.
  • Javelin Thrower: During the battle of Haven, she summons a javelin to use on the battleground. The javelin she summons resembles Pyrrha's and she throws it at Weiss just to torment her opponent, Jaune, by forcing him to watch a replay of Pyrrha's death.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Whenever Cinder does something decent, it's all for her own selfish purposes. She recruited Emerald on the promise of never going hungry again solely to use her Semblance to carry out Salem's mission; despite Emerald's loyalty, Cinder treats her abusively, including hitting her if she's disobedient. At the end of Volume 8, Cinder apologizes to Neo for denying her a chance to gain revenge on Ruby and compliments Watts' hacking skills. This is a ruse to gain their cooperation; as soon as she's achieved her objectives and no longer needs them, Cinder personally throws Neo into the Void Between the Worlds and traps Watts in Atlas' Command Center to burn to death.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Once Adam threatens her with Wilt and Blush in order to get her to leave the White Fang alone, she decides to back out. However, she comes back when she's stolen Amber's power, and now that she's capable of annihilating the White Fang, Adam has no choice but to go with her.
  • Lack of Empathy: She has no compassion for anyone. If she even acknowledges people, they are merely "assets" pushing her plans further or obstacles that need to be crushed. She looks onto the carnage of Vale by the Grimm and calmly says it's "horrendous" as if it is something to be admired. Jaune even calls her out on it, demanding to know how she could be proud of all the suffering she's caused. The only acknowledgement she has for people's feelings is how she can use them to manipulate or hurt them. While Emerald believes otherwise, Mercury bluntly tells her that Cinder doesn't care about them and never will. When she reunites with Salem's faction in Volume 8, her only response to Emerald welcoming her back is to snap at her to be quiet.
  • Lady of Black Magic: She's ever so composed and elegant, and a powerful user of fire. In her first battle during the pilot episode, she engages in a magical duel with Glynda, where she transforms whatever Glynda throws at her into a range of things that either become dust and scatter or attempt to strike Glynda and Ruby. During the fight, she's on a careening plane with an open hatch, but aside from poised, carefully placed leg movements, she rarely loses her balance. Once she gains the full power of the Fall Maiden, she can float in the air, conjure fire in her hands, and disintegrate and reintegrate her own arrows so that they can unnaturally bend around solid objects that get in the way of the flight path.
  • Lady of War: Cinder maintains an air of calm and reserve, even in the heat of battle. When she infiltrates Beacon Tower, she initially employs stealth, then fights the guards in a spinning and whirling style that makes it appear as though she's dancing, even when it buys her the time to manifest glass-based and Dust-based weapons in the middle of fighting. When Ruby confronts her, she makes summoning forth a bow and arrows while engaging in leaping dodges look effortless.
  • Leitmotif: Her appearances tend to be accompanied by a chilling low string motif in contrast to Salem's piano motif. Said motif also gets fuller and longer if she's overwhelming her opponent or making major progress in her plans, always adding an equally low set of intense choral vocals when she engages in battle. It reaches a climax of sinister chanting when she kills Pyrrha, and is silenced when Ruby cripples her using her silver eyes. For the majority of volume 4, it's absent, only to make a return when she breaks out of her depression and burns an illusion of Ruby without hesitation. In Volume 5, the sinister chanting returns when she creates a copy of Pyrrha's javelin in a deliberate attempt to kill Weiss in a way that mimics Pyrrha's death, just to torment Jaune. An orchestral version of the tune plays when she falls to her assumed demise after her duel with Raven in "Downfall".
  • Loophole Abuse: Salem orders her subordinates to capture Ruby alive and bring her to Salem. Cinder, however, wants Ruby dead and thinks up a plan to try and achieve that without falling foul of Salem's wrath. When Neo turns up trying to avenge Roman's death by killing Cinder, Cinder tells her that the real culprit is Ruby and that they should team up to take her down together. Cinder admits that she's under orders not to kill Ruby but that Neo is not. As a result, once they find Ruby, Cinder will obtain the Relic for Salem while Neo is free to do what she likes to Ruby.
  • Lust: For power. Cinder wants to be strong, feared, and powerful by her own admission, and goes to such lengths as replacing her arm with that of a Grimm and murdering Amber to take the Fall Maiden power for herself. Even that isn't enough for her; she just wants more, and tries to take the Spring and Winter Maiden powers for herself as well, all while ranting that she's the only one worthy of them.
  • Made a Slave: Cinder desires power above all else, and hates being reminded that she serves Salem since she knows what it's like to be someone else's slave. As a child, she was "adopted" and forced to work in an upscale Atlesian hotel by its wealthy owner. Cinder was not only forced to do most of the physical labor, but also deprived of food, teased and tormented by her "step-sisters", and her legal guardian controlled her with a Shock Collar. Five years later, Cinder eventually killed her "family" and fled.
  • Mage Marksman: Skilled with archery along with her use of Dust. Her fight in CCT shows that she can conjure blades, bows, and exploding arrows from Dust, thanks to the Fall Maiden's powers.
  • Magic Knight: As the Fall Maiden, Cinder has access to incredible magical powers, creating streams of fire, turning shards of molten metal into ice or glass projectiles, and being able to completely immolate a corpse to ash with a single touch. She's no slouch in physical combat either, taking on some of the most proficient fighters in the series with melee combat while also being a skilled archer.
  • Marked Change: The flashback reveals how Cinder obtains the tattoo on her back that lies between her shoulder blades. She uses a strange piece of summoning technology, in the form of a white glove, to give herself more power. The glove was absorbed into her body after use, leaving behind a Power Tattoo. The glove contains a red symbol of an eye inside a circle which summons forth a Beetle Grimm that steals half of Amber's Maiden power and transfers it to Cinder. After use, the Beetle Grimm vanishes and the glove faded into Cinder's arm, leaving behind the tattoo.
  • Meaningful Rename: Her surname "Fall" is another name for "Autumn". The Fall Maiden's codename is Autumn, and Cinder steals the Fall Maiden's power in two stages to become the new Fall Maiden. Raven believes the surname is far too coincidental to be her real surname and suggests only an egomaniac would advertise herself in such a fashion. Watts implies that Raven's assessment is correct.
  • Minidress of Power: In the first three volumes, she has one of the shortest and most revealing dresses of any cast member, given the shortest part of the skirt has a slit up the side that reveal she's wearing either hotpants or a tight skirt underneath. Best seen in this rigging test of her character model
  • Ms. Fanservice: She is a voluptuous individual who is first introduced to the show with her upper body in shadow and her legs entirely exposed; this sets the stage for camera angles frequently showing off her legs and curves, including a butt shot in Dance Dance Infiltration. Most of her clothing is designed to show off her curves and legs; her mini-dress is designed to show off her hotpants, which are laced over her right hip; from Volume 4, she wears a body-hugging gown that hides the left side of the body but exposes the right side of her body, being held in place by two chains across her right thigh; her Volume 7 outfit is a black catsuit, cut off at the legs and accompanied by thigh-high boots.
  • Mugged for Disguise: When Cinder is down on her luck and has no other option available, she has no problem mugging the first woman she comes across to steal her clothes and change her appearance. Cinder escapes the Vault of the Spring Maiden by punching a hole through rock with her Grimm arm. Exhausted by her battle with Raven, she collapses on the ground where she is discovered by a passing woman, who stops to see if Cinder needs help. Cinder kills the woman and steals both her clothes and money. The clothes help hide her appearance from the Mistral authorities and the money helps her pay for an audience with Lil' Miss Malachite.
  • Multishot: Cinder can fire three arrows from her bow simultaneously. She uses this tactic against Ruby during her infiltration of Beacon Tower, Amber when she steals half of her power, and Penny when fighting over Amity Colosseum.
  • Mundane Utility: During the festival, Cinder joins her subordinates in the stands to watch the tournament. When she finds an unpopped kernel in Mercury's bucket of popcorn, she uses her Semblance to cook it directly in her hand.
  • Mysterious Past: Cinder's past remains a mystery throughout the series, with the first details not emerging until Volume 8's episode Midnight, which uses flashbacks to detail the circumstances that set her on the road to becoming a villainess and the moments that helped define the personality she now has. However, it does not explain how she met and was recruited by Salem.
  • Narcissist: Cinder admits that she wants to be "strong, feared, and powerful", implying a need for recognition by others. During her fight with Pyrrha, she attempts to de-legitimise Pyrrha's eligibility to receive the power to bolster her sense of superiority. When Ruby permanently injures her at the end of Volume 3, Cinder begins developing a vengeful obsession with her. While still recovering from her injuries, she is disgruntled and frustrated with having to suffer disrespect and insults from the rest of Salem's subordinates. When she first meets Raven, the latter concludes that Cinder has a "slight case of egomania" to have a name that is suspiciously fitting for a Fall Maiden. When she fights Jaune, she only stops toying with him when he manages to strike her mask, almost injuring her; she instantly flies into a rage, ranting about the audacity of someone as weak as him daring to think he could beat her. When she confronts the Spring Maiden at the Relic of Knowledge's vault, she outright claims that the only person worthy of possessing such power is herself. Her past shows why she desires power. She was abused and desperately wants to be strong to rise above her past and the world that hurt her. Not only does she want power, she wants to flaunt it to show that she's the one on top.
  • Necessary Drawback: As powerful and dangerous as Cinder's Grimm arm is, able to extend and steal Maiden power, its nature means Cinder's Aura can't protect it. After one of her swords is shattered by Raven, a bit of shrapnel stabs into her arm while the rest of her is unharmed.
  • Neck Lift: Even as a seventeen year old girl, Cinder was strong enough to lift an adult off the ground by their neck. After murdering her step sisters, Cinder held Madame by her neck despite Madame frantically using the shock collar against her. After saying her goodbye, Cinder squeezed down on her abuser's neck, killing her.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The students only have a month in which to prepare for Salem's attack on Haven Academy, but they are nowhere near the ability needed to take on forces as powerful as Salem's subordinates. Salem's failure to procure the Relic of Knowledge is therefore entirely because of Cinder's impatience and hunger for power. She eagerly accepts a deal with Raven to kill Qrow in exchange for her aid in the attack on Haven Academy because it gives her an opportunity for revenge on Ruby. This puts Team RWBY into a perfect position to interfere with the villains' attempt to obtain the Relic. When she, Raven, and Vernal are at the door to the Vault, Cinder doesn't wait for Vernal to open the Vault; instead, she impales Vernal in an attempt to steal the Spring Maiden powers for herself. She discovers too late that Vernal was only a decoy and that Raven was the true Spring Maiden all along. The end result: Raven defeats Cinder, casting her into the Vault's abyss and freezing her into ice, allowing Yang to secure the Relic and forcing Salem's remaining minions to flee empty-handed. Salem knows that she survived, but makes it clear to her other subordinates that she will not allow Cinder to return until she redeems herself for her failure.
  • Nothing Personal: In "Vault of the Spring Maiden", she declares that she has no personal grudge against Vernal - she just wants the power of the Spring Maiden for herself.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: In "Downfall", When Raven expresses disgust at how far Cinder's willing to go for power and calls her a monster, Cinder retorts "Look who's talking!" While it seems like little more than a Lame Comeback at the time, it's revealed in the very next episode that Raven killed the previous Spring Maiden and took her power for herself, just as Cinder killed Amber for the Fall Maiden power.
  • Not Quite Dead: At the climax of the fight between Cinder and Raven, Raven manages to kick Cinder over the cliff into the Vault of the Spring Maiden's chasm. After a moment's hesitation, Raven freezes Cinder's body to ice to make sure she really does die. What Raven doesn't know is that the chasm ends in water. Cinder regains consciousness as she's drowning underwater surrounded by the remnants of melting ice. She manages to claw her way back to the shoreline, but she is so exhausted from battle and almost drowning that she can barely stand; she doesn't even have the strength to summon any reliable magic.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse:
    • Adam initially refuses to work with her on the grounds that the White Fang members would be put in danger because of her, plus the White Fang does not work for a human cause like Cinder's. After absorbing the Fall Maiden's power, she slaughters the White Fang members in front of him and reiterates that her offer can either benefit him as well as her, or just her alone.
    • When she tries the same tactic on Raven, by threatening her tribe's continued existence, Raven is unimpressed. She offers her own deal as the price for her cooperation, having planned in advance for the day when Salem finally found her tribe. Cinder agrees to the plan, not realising just how extensive Raven's trick is.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • An expression of utter shock is the last one to register on her face, courtesy of being frozen solid whilst being kicked into the abyss below Haven's Vault.
    • In the Volume 7 finale, her expression upon seeing Ruby again is a look of abstract horror. Despite immediately summoning two fireballs to her hands, she can only stand and stare at her until one flash of Ruby's eyes makes her flee.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • During the Volume 3 finale, Ruby unleashes an ability neither she nor Cinder ever expected to exist. Cinder, who until that point had been carrying out the villainous plot with smug, self-assured pleasure, is shocked into panic as she unleashes an incredulous Big "WHAT?!". It's a game-changer for Cinder, revealing that the mythical powers she's been stealing have a crippling weakness to Ruby's inherited and equally mythical power. It leaves her permanently scarred down the left side of her body, forcing her to wear a mask that hides the left side of her face and resulting in her replacing her left arm with that of a Grimm. It takes her the whole of Volume 4 just to recover.
    • Cinder usually engages in battles with a smug, condescending attitude, often toying with her enemies. At the conclusion of her battle with Winter and Penny in "The Enemy of Trust", however, Cinder's smug attitude is instead replaced with a burning hatred towards the elite Atlesians and she pursues Fria's power as desperately as if she were physically starving for it. And as the fight progresses and it becomes less likely that she will claim the Winter Maiden's power, her anger and desperation grows. By the end of the episode, Cinder is reduced to screaming in impotent rage over her failure. Volume 8 reveals that this stems from her traumatic childhood where she was adopted and made into a slave by a wealthy Atlesian elite, who would force her to work and routinely tortured her with a shock collar.
      Cinder: You Atlas elites are all the same! You think hoarding power means you'll have it forever, but it just makes the rest of us hungrier! And I refuse to starve.
  • Parental Substitute: Emerald and Mercury argue over Emerald's reliance on Cinder. She believes Cinder cares about her because Cinder rescued her from poverty, trained her, and gives her things every so often. Mercury claims that Cinder doesn't care about either of them and that Emerald is in denial. When she says that she had no family until she met Cinder, Mercury sarcastically tells her that he's sorry she didn't have a mother who loved her. The argument strongly implies that Emerald looks up to Cinder as a mother-figure and that Mercury believes the feeling is not mutual.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Her hair covers her left eye. While this later also hides extensive facial scarring, it's always been associated with her villainy. She's sly and deceitful, and she has the look to match. Flashbacks to her childhood prior to her becoming a villain show that pulled her hair back from her face and mimicked the hairstyle of the Huntsman who was training her.
  • Playing with Fire: Cinder is a fire-themed character, whose Semblance allows her to super-heat particles into a range of objects, allowing her to transform dust particles into obsidian weapons, evoking volcanic symbolism. After gaining the Fall Maiden powers, Cinder heavily favours fire attacks, ranging from bursts of heat and force, enhancing her Semblance's ability to shape glass weaponry and projectiles, and using fireballs or full streams of fire in battle. Although she can use other elements, she rarely does. By Volume 8, she has learned how to combine wind and fire to produce super-heated, fire-coloured tornados.
  • Power Glows: The patterns on the collar and sleeves of her dress (and on her catsuit) light up bright yellow when using Aura. The first Remnant History episode states that some "old-school" Dust Users put Dust into their clothing. When Ruby and Glynda discuss it, Ironwood points out it's such a time-honoured tradition that it can't be used to identify the villain's identity, indicating that it may be an "old school" method, but it's still very commonly used.
  • The Power of Glass: Variation. Cinder Fall's Semblance allows her to superheat objects, which she mainly uses for turning earth into various glass-shaped weapons. This is in keeping with her Fairytale Motif of Cinderella, who is famously associated with glass slippers.
  • Power Parasite: Cinder absorbed the Fall Maiden's power from Amber by using some form of parasitic Grimm creature that appears from a portal conjured in her Tricked Out Glove. When she attempts to steal the Spring Maiden's power at the entrance to the chamber containing the Relic of Knowledge, she uses her left arm, which has been hidden since she was injured during the Battle of Beacon. The arm is now a Grimm arm which can extend out and, like the parasitic Grimm, can absorb a Maiden's power for Cinder's use.
  • Powerful, but Incompetent: Zigzagged. Although she possesses intelligence, a powerful Semblance and Maiden powers, Cinder is also petty, sadistic, vengeful, impatient, selfish, refuses to listen, insatiably lusts for power and is a Psychopathic Womanchild. After her narcissism sabotages easy victories, Salem shortens her leash and even poaches Mercury from her. She rethinks her behaviour after Watts calls her out in Volume 8.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Cinder berates Emerald and Mercury for killing Tukson without her orders, but not because she's against the murder, especially since she had ordered Torchwick to do so anyway. She's just pissed that Emerald and Mercury risked exposing themselves by killing someone when they need to keep their hands clean for the infiltration of Beacon and sabotaging the Vytal Festival. Come Volume 5, however, Cinder sacrifices all sense of pragmatism; she's so fixated on getting revenge on Ruby for maiming her that she'll do anything to do so, even if she has to violate Salem's orders to do it.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: One of Cinder's first murders in her youth was very personal, and she shared parting words before the killing blow. While holding Madame in a Neck Lift, she reminded her of the phrase she was always forced to recite, "Without you, I am nothing." And then thanked Madame by saying, "But because of you, I am everything!" before finally killing her.
  • Psychological Projection: She often justifies her villainy by accusing her enemies of doing things with the same motives she has, such as accusing Pyrrha of trying to take power that isn't rightfully hers (The fall Maiden) and accusing Winter of hoarding power for her own gain, thinking that by doing so it's hers forever, when Cinder herself is trying to hoard power by going after every Maiden she can, Salem's orders or not. She fails to see the irony that she's condemning herself by pointing out why her motives won't end well.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: Cinder can be scheming, charismatic and cunning. However, she feels so entitled to take power from others that if she fails or doesn't get her way, she descends into sadistic, bullying tantrums much like a spoiled, haughty teenager. As she becomes more arrogant and less pragmatic, her flaws cost her victories and ruin Salem's plans. Even after seeing that, she's still throwing tantrums and refusing to learn from her mistakes. In Volume 8, Watts angrily dissects her flaws and failures, reducing her to tears. She responds by stabbing him in the back at the first opportunity and leaving him to die in the wreckage of Atlas.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Whenever she feels she's on top of her enemies or has the upper hand, she will smile with smug glee at the pain and suffering that will ensue; when she witnesses the scale of suffering she's caused during the fall of Beacon, she smiles. As her sanity continues to degrade throughout Volume 5, her smiles become more frequent and more demented: Witnessing the Spring Maiden demonstrate her powers leaves Cinder leaning forward with a smile of longing and pure lust for power, giving her a deranged expression. When fighting Jaune during the battle of Haven, her smiles become almost wild as she torments him over Pyrrha's death and how badly Weiss is doing in her own fight against Vernal. When she fights Raven, their blades lock and Cinder's smiling face is almost unhinged as she starts to overpower Raven.

    R — Y 
  • Red Right Hand: The scars Cinder suffered along the left side of her body better reflect just how selfish and cruel Cinder is and, since becoming the Fall Maiden, she has become increasingly unstable, taking a sadistic delight in hurting others. The clothing style she uses to hide the left side of her body also hides the fact that her left arm has been replaced by a Grimm arm that can unnaturally extend at will. The arm possesses a similar ability to the Parasite Grimm she absorbed to enable her to steal Amber's power. Like the Grimm, she revels in the negative reactions of the people she torments.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Subverted. After the Battle of Beacon, Cinder becomes obsessed with killing Ruby for scarring her and so impatient with Salem's enjoyment of exploiting others instead of simply taking what she wants, that Salem is forced to directly address Cinder's lust for power in terms of getting what she needs before Cinder gets what she wants. When Cinder cuts an unnecessary deal with Raven to obtain access to the Spring Maiden, Watts lampshades this by accusing her of ruining Salem's plans just for revenge against Ruby. Watts' expectation of how the plan is ruined is subverted during the Battle of Haven when Cinder prioritizes stealing the Spring Maiden's power over killing Ruby; the villains fail and Cinder is exiled by Salem. Identifying a possible loophole in Salem's orders, Cinder recruits Neo to kill Ruby on her behalf in Atlas. However, Cinder again prioritizes stealing a Maiden's power over killing Ruby by using Salem's own argument on Neo: they will only go after Ruby once Cinder first gets what she needs. Thus, she orders Neo to ignore Ruby and steal the Relic of Knowledge while she goes after the Winter Maiden. Therefore, whenever the two obsessions clash, Cinder will usually prioritize her lust for power rather than following her want for revenge on Ruby.
  • Rubber Woman: Cinder's new Grimm-like arm can stretch just like the Nuckelavee's arms, which she uses to impale Vernal through the stomach before slowly walking up to her.
  • Sadist: Cinder takes pleasure in the pain of others; describing the Grimm slaughtering Vale citizens as "wonderful", she drawing out the pain of Amber's last conscious moments with needless theatrics that gave Amber the chance to see what was going to happen to her while stealing half of her Maiden powers. When she kills Pyrrha, she shoots her through the heart with an arrow that burns Pyrrha from the inside out — while Pyrrha is still alive. After Ruby disfigures her, her sadism becomes more pronounced as shown by burning illusions of a begging Ruby created by Emerald, and taunting Jaune over his failure to save Pyrrha and when he damages her mask, she impales Weiss with a flaming spear just to spite him. When her past abuse at the hands of the family that adopted her is revealed in Volume 8, many of the sadistic behaviours the step-mother and step-sisters displayed against Cinder are extremely similar to Cinder's own sadistic behaviour; the step-mother would torture Cinder with a Shock Collar just for pleasure and to reinforce how powerless Cinder was in a manner similar to how Cinder torments Jaune at Haven.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: For the first three volumes, Cinder is a calm and calculative manipulator who easily initiates Salem's plan to steal the Fall Maiden's power and destroy Beacon Academy; she also smoothly adapts, displaying smug pleasure instead of agitation or panic whenever unexpected situations occur. This all changes when she's maimed by Ruby's Silver Eyes. Beginning with Volume 4, Cinder is determined to get back at Ruby and her more negative traits — such as her anger, narcissism, and lust for power — become more pronounced. This causes her to adapt plans for personal gain at the cost of the plan's success. Her arrogance is partially what leads to the loss of the Relic of Knowledge. She seems to learn her lesson in Volume 6 during her exile from Salem's faction, regaining more of her strategist mindset when teaming up with Neo. She prioritizes what Salem wants and makes herself known in Volume 7 by triggering Ironwood's Trauma Button with a black queen chess piece, making him send Winter to get the Winter Maiden's power. However, her sadism and narcissism get the better of her when she decides to stop and gloat, giving Fria time to regain her senses and activate her powers.
  • Sanity Slippage: After being horribly scarred by Ruby's Silver Eyes, Cinder harbors an intense hatred for her and motivates herself to grow stronger by having Emerald conjure illusory copies of a begging Ruby for her to burn. In Volume 5, it is becoming clear that Cinder's desire for revenge against Ruby and her insatiable lust for power is starting to have a detrimental effect on her sanity as she has become increasingly unstable and more openly sadistic than before. Watts even begins to worry that her vindictive, unstable nature may jeopardize their plans for Haven. When fighting Jaune in "The More The Merrier", she constantly makes several insane facial expressions as she taunts him over his failure to save Pyrrha, relishing in his torment. And when Jaune manages to nick her mask, she flies into a homicidal rage, screaming at him for thinking he could actually beat her and it takes visible effort for her to calm down. In Volume 6, Salem makes it clear to her subordinates that they are to leave Cinder isolated so that she can work her way back into Salem's good graces; forced to work for herself, Cinder's sanity appears to stabilize and she begins thinking and strategizing again, using Little Miss Malachite's network to find out where Team RWBY is going and then convincing Neo to join forces with her to plot Ruby's downfall.
  • Sarashi: Her combat outfit during the Vytal tournament consists of an open fur jacket over cloth binding her chest. She also has cloth binding her lower abdomen underneath the navel, as well as wraps on her arms.
  • She's Back: After successfully destroying Beacon and obtaining the Fall Maiden's power, being maimed by Ruby's silver eyes leaves Cinder fixated on killing Ruby and obtaining more power. She repeatedly ruins her own goals and Salem's plans through increasingly desperate attempts to fulfill her obsession. After Watts deconstructs her behaviour in Volume 8, she rethinks her approach and returns to the tactics that succeeded in Vale. She obtains two Relics for Salem, indirectly kills Watts, gets Penny killed and is responsible for the loss of Team RWBY, Jaune and Neo to the Void. While she failed to obtain the Winter Maiden's powers, her victory eclipses even Beacon's success.
  • She's Got Legs: Cinder is introduced with her face hidden and the camera focussing mostly on her long, bare legs as well as her glass shoes. In her duelling with Glynda, Cinder's legs are the most prominent part of her body, which hints that her character inspiration is Cinderella. Throughout the second and third volumes, as well as the seventh and eighth volumes, her short dresses and catsuits ensure prominent focus on her legs whenever she is fighting, including camera shots through her legs towards her opponents, such as during her fight with Amber.
  • Signature Move: Cinder has the ability to create an eruption of flame that emanates from an eye-like symbol she creates on the ground underneath an opponent. First seen magically appearing under Ruby and Glynda in the pilot episode, a Volume 3 flashback reveals that she used to create it by firing arrows into the ground where she wanted it to form. Once she steals half the Fall Maiden's powers, she can create it magically without the need for arrows.
  • Sinister Scimitar: Flashbacks reveal that she was originally gifted a white scimitar to match the one used by her mentor, who was training her to become a Huntress. As a villainess, she uses obsidian versions of the same blades, dark reflections of the noble life Rhodes once tried to give her. Once she becomes a Maiden, she can magically create the blades whenever she wants, revelling in the creation of one to fight Jaune in the Volume 5 finale, and returning to the dual use she favoured in Vale when she rediscovers her dangerous, manipulative form during the Volume 8 finale.
  • The Sociopath: Cinder is remorseless in pursuit of her goals, murdering without hesitation, massacring a city with sadistic pleasure and smiling when ordering Mercury to record it. When diplomacy fails, she slaughters Faunus to obtain Adam's cooperation by force. She desires power, strength and to be feared by all, believing the best way to show her superiority is by dominating and hurting others; this includes seeking revenge against Ruby for maiming her and trying to kill Weiss just to spite Jaune for almost injuring her in battle. She has no compassion or emotional attachment for others, something Mercury has tried to warn the emotionally-invested Emerald about. Due to her abuse at the hands of the Madame and her daughters, as well as Rhodes doing what she saw as betrayal, she adopted the mindset that the only way to succeed is to only look out for yourself and treat people like objects for your benefit.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: In "Dance Dance Infiltration", when she spins around, her limbs illuminate orange, and she materializes a pair of swords made of Dust for battle. She later does the same when she whips out a bow with three arrows versus Ruby Rose. She summons a lot of swords against Raven, because her weapons were turning out to be very breakable in the fight.
  • Spy Cat Suit: She wears one in ''Dance Dance Infiltration" while breaking into the CCT tower.
  • Stealing the Credit: When Cinder presents the Relic of Knowledge to Salem, she claims the credit for taking it even though Neo was the one who single-handedly achieved it. She takes the credit right in front of Neo, whose muteness prevents her from objecting but who is visibly upset with Cinder's action.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Pulls this on Ruby in "Dance Dance Infiltration", disappearing from view during the brief period where Ruby turned around.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: She creates a magical glass bow out of nothing in "Dance Dance Infiltration". It's capable of firing 3 arrows at once, and can split into two curved swords. Prior to acquiring the Fall Maiden's powers, she used a normal metal version of the weapon.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Cinder naturally possesses golden eyes. However, after stealing just half of the Fall Maiden's legendary magical power, her eyes begin to glow like golden fire whenever she taps into the power. By the time she obtains the Fall Maiden's total power, her golden eyes glowing like fire are a sign that she's about to do something extremely evil with her magical ability. To emphasise this, the camera often zooms in on her eyes just before they start to glow. Although the Fall Maiden possesses the power to use all types of elemental magic, Cinder's glowing golden eyes are a hint that her affinity lies with the fire element. Unlike the previous Fall Maiden whose power she stole, Cinder will only use the full range of elemental magic when necessary, as she favours defaulting to fire magic above all else.
  • Team Killer: At the end of Volume 8, Cinder creates a plan to obtain her goals and kill a few supposed allies while she's at it. When Neo is left hanging from a pathway in the Void, Cinder steals the Relic of Knowledge from her belt and knocks her into the depths of the Void; while this also takes out Ruby, who was dangling from Neo, the volume's stinger implies the fall isn't as lethal as Cinder thinks. She later uses the Relic of Creation to add more fire to the already burning Atlas; the scene cut to a trapped Watts implies that she used the Relic to try and kill him, too.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • With Watts. While they both work for Salem, it's painfully obvious that the two cannot stand each other as Watts goes out of his way to antagonize Cinder every chance he gets. Cinder, for her part, is implied to give back as much as she gets. This is confirmed later on when negotiating with Raven Branwen for her cooperation with the retrieval of the Relic of Knowledge; Watts tries to negotiate peacefully, but Cinder uses not-so-subtle threats when Raven snarks back at them. When Raven proposes a counteroffer (she helps them get the Relic in exchange for the death of her brother, Qrow, in addition to them leaving her and her tribe to live in peace), Watts immediately points out the illogicality of it, but Cinder is too enticed by the possibility of getting revenge on Ruby for the loss of her eye. When Watts catches onto this, he roughly grabs Cinder by the wrist and tells her that he won't take the blame if the heist fails because of her single-mindedness; Cinder merely burns his hand with her Maiden powers, and tells him go back to Salem and "tinker with his machines", effectively shunting him out of the operation. She finally gets her revenge on Watts by using the Relic of Creation to add more flames while he’s in the control room and leaving him to die when Altas falls.
    • Her relationship with Tyrian isn't a positive one, either; the serial killer happily teases Cinder's loss of her eye while they're in the same room and later on mocks her failure at Haven Academy. Cinder, in turn, is disgusted by his insanity when he gleefully butchers a Beowolf in front of her. When she hears Ironwood's broadcast explaining Watts and Callows' actions to drive Mantle into a panic, her first reaction is irritation that "those idiots" got to Atlas before she and Neo did.
  • Token Flyer: As the only member of Salem's subordinates with the ability to use magic, Cinder is the only villain who shares with Salem the ability to fly. She prefers doing so by using her fire magic to propel her with bursts of flame, but has once levitated with wind magic as well. This distinguishes both the Big Bad and the The Heavy from the rest of their group.
  • Traumatic Haircut: She spends Volumes 1-3 with long shoulder length hair that spills over her left shoulder. In Volume 4, she's recovering from terrible injuries gained as a result of her brief encounter with Ruby's power. Her hair is now cut short and her fringe covers her lost left eye, just barely revealing the extent of the scarring on her face underneath the patch and hair.
  • Tricked-Out Gloves: In the Volume 3, Chapter 7 flashback, Cinder uses a white glove emblazoned with Salem's emblem. The glove has a (possibly single-use) summoning power, which calls forth a Beetle Grimm from a portal. The Grimm has the ability to absorb Amber's power and transfer it into Cinder. Once the connection between the Beetle Grimm and Amber is severed, the Beetle Grimm is killed and the glove disintegrates, leaving behind the tattoo on her back that lies between her shoulder blades.
  • Troubled Abuser: Having been a victim of abuse herself, Cinder's tutelage of her subordinate Emerald is also abusive as her role-models for leadership and power are rooted in people abusing both power and the people who work for them. A lot of Cinder's mannerisms and instructions to Emerald mimic the mannerisms and instructions Salem inflicts upon her, such as telling Emerald to obey instead of think, something Salem also tells her. Her abusive adoptive mother is another one of her inspirations, as revealed in her backstory. Her mother used to shock her with a collar and tell her to "remember her place", while in the present, Cinder says the same to Emerald after hitting her.
  • The Unfettered: Cinder is driven primarily by her ruthless ambition and relentless lust for power. Cinder is determined to uplift herself at the expense of everyone else and will stop at nothing to achieve her goals. Whether it's unleashing the Grimm on the Kingdom of Vale or stealing the powers of the Fall Maiden from an innocent girl, Cinder shows no hesitation or remorse for her actions. When she loses her arm to Ruby's Silver Eyes ability, she is willing to accept a Grimm arm if it means she can steal Maiden powers with it. Raven calls her out on this, citing it as an example of Cinder being willing to sacrifice her humanity for the sake of power.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Expecting Cinder to show gratitude for anything is like expecting fire to be cold. Throughout Volumes 2 and 3, Emerald and Mercury follow her orders to the letter, with Mercury even risking serious injury, yet she never once thanks them, instead acting like it is to be expected from them. Cinder completely fails to obtain the Winter Maiden's power, but Neo successfully presents her with the stolen Relic of Knowledge. This immediately improves Cinder's mood, who contemptuously snatches the Relic from Neo and walks off with a smug smile and no hint of gratitude. Neo watches her go with an irritated expression on her face.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Cinder was not always the cruel and power-hungry maniac that she's become. As a child, she was bullied by the other orphans and then cruelly abused by her adoptive "family". Meeting Rhodes gave her hope for the future, and she tried to hold on until she was old enough to apply to the Huntsmen Academy. She lasted about five years, before being pushed to breaking point by her family and then by Rhodes for trying to arrest her for murdering her family. That ended her chance for becoming a Huntress and started her down the road of becoming a villainess.
  • Vague Age: The creative team stated that the Maiden boundary is approximately 30 years old, that she was fifteen when she murdered her stepfamily and mentor, and that she's older than the main cast of teenagers. It is unknown how many years ago the murders occurred, but she's young enough to obtain the Maiden powers and pass herself off as a student when she infiltrates the academies. Her actual age is therefore uncertain.
  • Villain Ball: Although powerful and intelligent, Cinder's impatience, sadism and pettiness often sabotages the villains' plans through constant gloating to victims, attempts to steal Maiden powers, and seeking revenge against her enemies. It leads to Ruby maiming her during a Traumatic Superpower Awakening when she delayed Pyrrha's death to gloat; it cost the villains the Relic of Knowledge when she sabotages Salem's plan just to go after the Spring Maiden and Ruby; and it costs her the Winter Maiden's power when her gloating allows the dying Fria to fend her off just long enough for help to arrive. In Volume 8, Watts lampshades this during a powerful "The Reason You Suck" Speech that reduces her to tears and forces her to re-evaluate her behaviour.
  • Villain Decay: Cinder spends the first three volumes as a cunning, manipulative, and effective threat... until she acquires the full power of the Fall Maiden and is maimed by Ruby's Silver Eyes. From Volume 4 onwards, she allows her sadism, pettiness, and hunger for power and revenge to run her actions, repeatedly ruining her own goals and Salem's plans in the process. It isn't until the climax of Volume 8, after Watts gives her a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech over her behavior and incompetence, that Cinder starts taking steps to rectify this.
  • Villain Has a Point: When Cinder learns that Raven is the real Spring Maiden, she remarks that the previous Maiden likely trusted Raven closely, which was most likely a mistake. It clearly strikes a nerve with Raven, and for good reason; in the very next episode, Yang deduces that Raven murdered the previous Spring Maiden and took her power for herself, which Raven does not deny.
  • Wizard Duel: In the first episode of the series, Cinder engages in a long-range duel with Glynda Goodwitch that is distinctly magical in appearance. Both women use Dust and their Semblances to create projectiles, bursts of elemental flame or ice, and outmaneuver each other with traps. Cinder wields her powers barehanded, while Glynda wields a riding crop like a wand to direct her attacks.
  • The Woman Behind the Man: For most of Volume 1, Roman Torchwick was seen as the prime antagonist. Then she shows up at the very end to prove that he's working for her. She herself is the subordinate of the true Big Bad, Salem — Ozpin's Arch-Enemy.
  • Would Harm a Senior: Cinder was completely willing to kill the elderly Fria for the Winter Maiden powers, at an age so advanced that the woman didn't even realize that Cinder was here to kill her at first. Cinder did not count on Fria remembering her duty and overwhelming her though.
  • Wrecked Weapon: A Volume 3 flashback reveals that Cinder used to own weapons of her own, until she deliberately burned them to ashes upon acquiring half of the Fall Maiden's power. It's a rare self-inflicted example to symbolize Cinder's tendency to sacrifice parts of herself for the sake of becoming stronger. From that point forward, she prefers to create weapons via Dust, her Semblance, and magic. The fragility of Cinder's Breakable Weapons highlights the emptiness behind her façade of power.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Cinder excels in taking advantage of any opportunity that comes her way. After the assassin she seeks is murdered, she hires the talented son that killed him; when Torchwick's Grimm invasion is prematurely triggered, she helps save the day to make Torchwick a Trojan Prisoner; when she accidentally discovers Penny's true nature, she exploits it to make the attack on Vale even easier. To locate the hidden Winter Maiden, she triggers Ironwood's PTSD by leaving a black queen chess piece in his office; and in the Volume 8 finale, she disrupts the heroes' evacuation long enough to obtain the Relics of Knowledge and Creation for Salem.
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: Cinder's taunts towards her opponents tend towards this, referring to Oscar as "your little friend" and Vernal as "girl", and mentioning "your little secret" to Raven. She'll even use it when it's not obviously applicable, such as calling Qrow "little bird", or the adult Neo as "girl".

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