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Cold Flames

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Come in and warm yourself by this roaring ice cube...

"Now it's just you, me, and fire so cold it burns."
Ultimate Big Chill, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien

Fire is hot—except for those occasions when it's not. Sometimes, one of the special properties of magical or illusory fire is that it doesn't burn things, although, oddly enough, it may still require fuel. Sometimes, the non-burning property only applies to certain classes of objects, such as fire which doesn't burn people but will burn anything else, or fire which only burns living organisms. Typically the fire in question will be pale blue to indicate that it's cold rather than hot (although blue fire in real life is hotter than normal orange/yellow fire.)

Sometimes, the flames will actually be cold (in varying intensities), and not just not hot (scientifically a flame that's cold wouldn't be flame, but rather a cryogenic vapor that's luminescent, causing it to look like flame).

See also Convection Schmonvection, for when fires supposedly are hot, but don't quite behave like it. This can be a property of Sacred Flames, at least when it comes to dealing with the faithful, though they can just be cool to begin with. Compare Faux Flame, which looks and might even act like fire, but isn't.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ayashimon: The Big Bad Doppo Akari is a powerful hitorima Ayashimon who produces flames that instead of burning the victim, they absorb their heat and freeze them.
  • One variety of mushi featured in Mushishi feeds off human body heat by appearing to its victims as an open flame. If a person huddles close to it for warmth, it saps their heat from them until they freeze to death. Interestingly, these mushi - called "kagebi," meaning "shadow fire" - can also be used to boil water and cook food, which if then ingested cause internal frostbite.
  • In One Piece, Word of God states that Marco's blue phoenix flames do not burn or produce heat like normal flames, instead they are what allow him to heal.
  • When a magic scroll is used in Overlord, it bursts into heatless flames.

  • One Jack O'Lantern (who later became Hobgoblin), a recurring Spider-Man villain, has flames all over his helmet, yet doesn't get burned due to the fire being a variant called "stage fire," which is used in theatrical productions to simulate flame. He also has an air-supply within the helmet — separate from the fire's air supply — that helps keep the helmet cool.

    Film — Animated 
  • The seventh The Land Before Time sequel is subtitled "The Stone of Cold Fire", referring to a comet seen crashing by Littlefoot. A few characters believe it to be a legendary "Stone of Cold Fire" that would grant their finders special powers. When found, it just turns out to be a mere rock, though, as much as meteorites can be called mere.
  • Secret Magic Control Agency: In the pastry shop that Gretel and Hansel investigate, Hansel begins to feel chilly and sits in front of the fire to warm up. He quickly realizes that the fire isn't producing any heat, and is the same as the cold fire he uses for his stage magic.

  • A Chorus of Dragons: Demons consume heat and produce cold, and thus when they create fire they do so in the form of cold blue flames.
  • Coldfire Trilogy: The Anti-Villain developed his own version of fire magic that burns cold rather than hot. As an undead, it's the only way he can safely wield fire.
  • Cthulhu Mythos: The minor Outer Gods Aphoom-Zhah and Tulzscha from are both Elemental Embodiments of this sort. The former is a gray flame that consumes heat rather than emitting it, whilst the latter is comprised of "sickly green" flames that "radiate the clamminess of death and corruption" and leave a "noxious, venomous verdigris" wherever they touch. Aphoom-Zhah literally freezes whatever it touches, though Tulzscha is implied to be more of a poison or radiation elemental.
  • The Dark is Rising: Hawkin summons nine large magical freezing cold flames that represent the power of the Dark and the spells of the Deep Cold.
  • Daughters of the Moon: The Atrox, an ancient force of evil, empowers its trusted followers to create an ice-cold fire through a magical ritual. It grants immortality to anyone who enters it at the Atrox's invitation, or a horrible death to anyone else.
  • Dream Park: The South Seas Treasure Game scenario includes a form of "reverse fire", that un-burns ashes and causes frostbite on contact, as a plot device.
  • The Galactic Consul: One novel is set on a planet whose native culture discovered a form of low-temperature plasma that doesn't burn if handled right (but is deadly otherwise) and adapted it into a weapon. The scientists are as baffled by its physics by the end of the novel as they are at the start.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone:
      • Hermione puts some non-burning magical fire in a jar to keep the trio warm in winter. Later she uses it to trick Snape into thinking his robes have caught fire and scoops it back into the jar when she's done. (In the film, the latter is changed to the regular kind of fire.)
      • During the trials to reach the Stone, Snape's challenge has the entrance and exit blocked off by magical fire. Only by drinking the correct potion will it be safe for one to pass through them.
    • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The textbook Harry reads reveals that the spell to negate flames is called the Flame Freezing Charm, and reduces their effects to a mild tickling sensation. During the era of witch burnings, witches and wizards would use this charm to survive their execution and subsequently fake their deaths. One witch, Wendelin the Weird, loved being "burned" and let herself be captured several times in various disguises.
  • The Nekropolis Archives: The city of Nekropolis is surrounded by Phlegethon, a river of green fire which is cold rather than hot and burns the spirit rather than the flesh.
  • The Saga of Hervor and Heidrek: When Hervor is looking for her father's gravemound in a haunted burial ground at night, there are ghostly "grave-fires" burning on the barrows. As it turns out, Hervor can go right through these fires without getting burned.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Flash (2014): Captain Cold's gun fires a blue flame that reaches absolute zero. Initially, Cisco designed the weapon in mind to counter the Flash's Super Speed in case he ever went rogue. It's too bad that a janitor stole the gun and it had to fall into Captain Cold's hands of all people.
  • Nepol in Galidor uses a literal version to stay cool; as An Ice Person, his temperature senses are inverted.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In the Book of Exodus, an angel of the Lord speaks to Moses from a bush that burns but is not consumed.
  • In Judaism, mainly Kabbalah, there are 4 types of flames that are differentiated by their capabilities:
    • Fire that consumes solids but does not vaporize water
    • Fire that does not consume solids but does vaporize water
    • Fire that consumes solids and that also consumes water
    • Fire that doesn't consume solids or vaporize water
  • Verse 21:70 in the The Qur'an says: "O Fire! Become cool and safe for Abraham!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • The magic system of Ars Magica can modify or remove core aspects of things, altering fires to produce light but no heat or vice versa.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Module I4 Oasis of the White Palm: In the Temple of Set, the PCs can find a brazier filled with violet flames. The flames don't give off heat and don't burn wood. However, if they touch living flesh, they burn it, causing serious damage.
    • The Continual Flame spell creates a permanent fire that doesn't burn or use oxygen and is used to make Everlasting Torches.
    • Rimefire eidolons burn with icy blue fire, which deals equal parts ice and fire damage and can be thrown at a distance.
    • Mystara: The halfling Masters' racial artifact is blackflame: a dark-colored, frigid "fire" that burns inflammable substances and radiates shadow rather than light.
    • Blackfire and its nastier cousin Blightfire are powerful Necromantic effects that feed on the life force of the target rather than any physical substance, and cannot be extinguished by ordinary means.
    • Drow can create faerie fire, harmless flames that illuminate targets. Its usefulness varies with the setting, but in general it helps make targets easier to hit.

    Video Games 
  • In Alchademy, Flayme, an alchemist whose body is made of fire, states that he can control his flames so that they don't burn everything they touch.
  • In Call of Duty multiplayer maps, fire is often present in small amounts (think burning wreckage) but entirely cosmetic. A player can stand next to or even in it and suffer no damage.
  • Subverted with the Frozen Flame in Chrono Cross. While there are many different in-universe ideas of what this thing is, most people simply think it's some kind of cold fire, or fire trapped in ice (That has special powers). It's actually a fragment of Lavos that survived its destruction after the events of the previous game.
  • Don't Starve: The Reign of Giants DLC includes the craftable Endothermic Fire to cool down in the summer.
  • Elden Ring has "ghostflame", a white/pale blue flame that deals Magic damage instead of Fire and inflicts the Frostbite status effect.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Max Payne 2: The Stylistic Suck episodes of the Captain Baseball Bat Boy TV show involve him dodging "shards of frozen fire" at one point.
  • Pokémon: There's a special Fire-Type attack called Will O' Wisp, which doesn't do any damage but it inflicts a burn upon its target.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon: In one level, Spyro's fire breath will become cold and can freeze enemies.
  • Terraria:
    • You can make Ice Torches, which can be used to craft lamps, campfires, and chandeliers.
    • Certain items and enemies inflict the Frostburn debuff, which reduces health overtime and cancels health regen.

  • In El Goonish Shive, the fire summons created during the "New and Old Flames" storyline are made of solid fire that doesn't burn and can even be grappled without harm.
  • In Unsounded, when a Magic Misfire explodes and leaves behind cold flames, it's a sign that the Background Magic Field of the Khert has overloaded and is messing with reality. Although they're physically harmless, it's very bad news, since it means the fire's energy is discharging into the Khert instead.

    Western Animation 
  • From Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Ultimate Big Chill can shoot out flames that turn into solid ice after burning for a few seconds.

    Real Life 

Alternative Title(s): Cold Fire