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Evil Is Burning Hot

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Dormammu will have you burn to cinder in chaotic flame.

"Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire..."
Robert Frost, "Fire and Ice"

Fire is destructive, chaotic, and painful to touch. It has destroyed buildings, killed millions of people, scarred others, and depending on who you ask, may torture you even after death. Because of all the destruction and blood lost to it, it will often be associated with evil. Whether it's orange, red, blue, or green, it's always going to be evil. The fire doesn't even have to be your ordinary campfire, it could be the unholy fires of Fire and Brimstone Hell itself or a similarly evil variant.

This trope has many uses. Fire could be used to create the atmosphere for the Big Bad's throne room or arena. A Volcano Lair or even a big fiery place with lots of volcanoes could be the domain of the evil emperor. The villain may have control over fire, appear Wreathed in Flames, or even be (literally) hot blooded themselves. But, nonetheless, fire will be associated with evil.

Supertrope to Infernal Background and Evil Living Flames. Can occasionally overlap with Light Is Not Good since fire also produces light, and also with Fanatical Fire. Contrast with Evil Is Deathly Cold and Holy Burns Evil. For a different kind of "hot", see Evil Is Sexy, but they can overlap.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fana from Black Clover is a violent and unstable mage with great hatred for the Clover Kingdom, and a powerful user of Flame Magic who has the power of the Fire Spirit Salamander.
  • Dragon Ball GT: Nuova Shenron controls fire, and generates heat so intense he's a Walking Wasteland. That being said, he's the most noble of the Shadow Dragons and an Anti-Villain.
  • One Piece:
    • To some degree, even Ace. While he's generally a likable person, he is still a reckless, dine-n'-dashing criminal nonetheless who is (wrongly) considered to be evil via his bloodline in-universe and holds a bounty of 550,000,000. Oh, and of course, he is made of fire.
    • Taken further by the villain Akainu, who's made of frigging magma.
  • From Fairy Tail, the villain Zancrow from Grimoire Hearts, who is a fire Godslayer and an amoral jackass who burns alive his own companions.
  • From Great Mazinger, The Emperor of Darkness is a living pyre of flames.
  • Digimon Tamers:
    • Zhuqiaomon is a phoenix and serves as an antagonist, as he loathes humans and is the one responsible for sending the Devas to the human world.
    • The D-Reaper’s red mass gives off tremendous heat. It’s final plan to devastate the human world is to link the substance of all of its mass around the globe and increase its temperature high enough to sterilize the planet of all life.
  • The Titans from Attack on Titan have a low-key variant of this, being noted to possess an abnormally high body temperature. In particular, the Colossal Titan constantly emits clouds of steam from its body and is able to release pressurized blasts as a defensive mechanism, as well as igniting his own body to injure anyone that gets close.
  • William from Moriarty the Patriot sets everything on fire. Serious pyromaniac tendencies, even though it appears to be mostly used because fire is incredibly good at destroying evidence of his crimes. But his final plan even culminates in setting all of London on fire. He's also generally associated with fire as motif.


    Comic Books 
  • Pyro from X-Men, whose power is control over fire, is almost always a villain. Same goes for the movie version in X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand.
  • The Flash has Heat Wave, who occasionally teamed up with Captain Cold to encompass both villainous temperature extremes.
  • Supergirl villain Nightflame is a sorceress that has control over fire. In Demon Spawn she burns down streets and whole buildings as she looks for Supergirl.
  • Willy Pete from Empowered is the only one in the series with fire related powers...His body burns hotter than the sun, and he can fill a room with flames that incinerate everyone in it upon entering. He's also evil in its purest, most sadistic form.
  • The Mighty Thor: Surtur, one of Thor's longtime foes, is a massive giant made of fire who lives to destroy the world, having burned down entire galaxies in the past.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): It doesn't show up much when Ares manifests his own body other than his glowing fiery eyes, but when he possesses people they tend to start smoking before being burned up from the inside out leaving nothing but flickering fire, ash, and some skeletal remains.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): The giant demonic entity D'grth, whom Stalker traded his soul to ages ago, has glowing eyes and a jagged glowing mouth and flame and smoke curling from his body.
    • In her original incarnation, Zara was a former slave girl turned cult leader who used pyrotechnics to fake pyrokinesis. Modern depictions of the character give her the genuine ability to create and control fire.
  • Dormammu, the classic foe of Doctor Strange provides the trope image, being a creature with a head of fire.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • The Lion King:
      • Scar sings his Villain Song in a geothermically-active area with geysers, steaming vents, and lava.
      • At the climax, fires caused by lightning set the stage for the battle against Scar.
    • Fantasia:
      • In the final segment, the Obviously Evil Chernobog covers himself in fire.
      • Fantasia 2000 has the Firebird, representing the natural chaos and destruction of a volcano.
    • Hercules: Hades has blue fire for hair (which takes on its usual reddish color when he's enraged), and he's the Big Bad and god of the underworld.
    • Sleeping Beauty: Maleficent is often surrounded by eerie green flames. She becomes a fire-breathing dragon at the end of the film.
    • Moana: Te Kā, the demon who defeated Maui and tries to kill anyone who approaches the island of Te Fiti, is a giant lava monster. She's not really evil, though, just stuck in a blind rage.
  • The Flight of Dragons: Ommadon the Fire Wizard is the only evil member of the four elemental wizards.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, the antagonist Sunset Shimmer's sun motif serves to parallel Twilight's star theme. She also gains Flaming Hair and fire magic in her demon form.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Shaw Brothers wuxia, The Spirit of the Sword, features a power struggle between five clans, modelled after the five elements, but the only clan which is fully evil is the Spirited Fire Clan, whose leader, the Fire Demon God, is a black magic practitioner who delights in killing his victims via his fire-breathing snake-headed staff.

  • In The Divine Comedy, a good deal of Hell is burning hot (though some of it is icy cold). Heretics in the 6th circle are punished with flaming tombs, the violent against others in the first part of the 7th circle are immersed in boiling blood, blasphemers, usurers, and sodomites are in the last part of the 7th circle, desert with fire raining down from the sky, simoniacs (8th circle, 3rd Bolgia) are stuck upside-down in holes with flames burning at their feet, corrupt politicians are immersed in boiling pitch, and evil counselors (8th circle, 8th Bolgia) are trapped within individual tongues of flame. Inferno does avert associating Satan with fire, as he's trapped in the lowest level of hell (for traitors)- a frozen lake.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • The eye of Sauron is described as being rimmed in fire; his hand is burning hot as well, which is why his ring glows when it's on his finger.
      • During the Siege of Barad-dûr, Sauron slew Gil-galad (and possibly Elendil) with the heat of his hands as they wrestled. His being burning hot makes sense, given that he was a Maia of fire before he fell.
    • The Balrogs, which have the ability to shroud themselves in fire and are armed with fiery whips. The Balrog of Moria uses a flaming sword.
  • There's a powerful Dark Art spell in Harry Potter called "Fiendfyre", which creates a wicked mass of demon-shaped flames that can backfire in the hands of an inexperienced caster. However, it's also one of the only things capable of destroying horcruxes.
  • A Necklace of Fallen Stars: Stafgrym uses a fire based spell to bind Kippen. The spell is one of the more destructive in existence.
  • In Michael Moorcock's The War Hound and the World's Pain, Lucifer took the form of a human being covered in flames.
  • In Chronicles of the Emerged World, the Land of Fire is one of the first lands fallen under The Tyrant and is a very bad place to live in. Furthermore, both the evil twins Sameion and Dameion and the Black Dragons in general came from that land.
  • In the Firebird Trilogy, the evil within Firebird's mind manifests as black flames.
  • In The Realms Trilogy, Ashar is the god of fire, and his minion Taws is a creature that has great fire-related powers.
  • In the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan senses Anakin in the Force "burning like a fusion torch," just before their lightsaber duel. Throughout the book, Anakin has thought of his rage as a blast furnace in his heart, and during the climactic duel, Darth Vader lets it out.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Those who are opposed to the religion of R'hllor consider the titular god as this, as he craves for sacrifices by immolation. To Red Priests like Melisandre, though, the sacrifices are necessary to prevent The Great Other from enveloping the world in darkness.
    • Valyria after the Doom is an inhospitable wasteland said to be inhabited by fiery demons and other malevolent things. The seas surrounding it are boiling hot, and the sky is red all the time. Nobody who ventured there came back unharmed, with most flat out never returning. The one person who did return, Aerea Targaryen, suffered a fatal fever that no maesters could heal; when she was submerged inside water, hot slimy things burst out from her skin but died upon impact with cold water.
  • Underworlds: The fire monsters of the Babylonian mythology, which Loki plans on using to burn down the human world.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Charmed (1998): With all the demons, ghosts, sorcerers, evil priestesses, alchemists, elves, trolls, banshees, and general baddies inhabiting the world (and underworld), it's expected for at least a few to be able to manipulate fire. Demons are often shown throwing streams or balls of fire at the sisters. Some demons can even teleport by turning into fire or flames. In one particular arc, Phoebe basically has an unborn devil brewing in her stomach and she temporarily gains the ability to throw blue fire. Also, in the eighth season, Christy, an agent of the Big Bads, had the ability of pyrokinesis, the ability to create fire.
  • In Encantadia, there are four kingdoms that have each been given an elemental gemstone to guard. The kingdom of Hathoria guards the Gemstone of Fire and its inhabitants, who have fire-based elemental powers, become the antagonists of the show when they threaten to take the other elemental gemstones for themselves and subsequentially start a war between the kingdoms over it.
  • Stargate SG-1 references how flames are typically associated with demonic influence in human mythology and suggests it's due to the influence of the Ancients keeping the Ori — who use fire as a symbol the same way Christianity uses crosses — at bay.
  • In one episode of The Outer Limits (1995), "Mind Over Matter", a group of scientists enter the mind of a patient who has bad memories of his dad trying to make him kill his girlfriend. The dad is surrounded by flames, along with everything else, while screaming at him.
  • Twin Peaks had it as Arc Words: "Fire, walk with me".

    Myths & Religion 
  • Burning hot hellfire is usually associated with evil things in Abrahamic religions, understandable, given that most of the faiths were born in a blisteringly-hot desert area (i.e. the Middle East), it only makes sense for the population to condemn heat but welcome cold. Contrast this with the areas near the North Pole: Northern Europe, Siberia, and Northern Canada, whose indigenous people usually associate hell with deathly cold things.
    • Judaism, at least in its early stages, is an aversion, as the underworld, Sheol, is instead thought of as a grim and depressing place, but not hot (kind of like the Greek Hades or the Norse Hel).
    • The Four Gospels constantly describe Hell as "the furnace of fire" or "unquenchable fire" to emphasize how painful the separation from God will be. This imagery is used more dramatically in the Apocalypse, where very evil-doer is thrown by Christ into an eternal "lake of fire" to burn alongside the Devil and his ilk. Because of these Biblical images, the West began to associate fire with evil and now Satan and Hell are usually represented in pop culture as being associated with fire. The Divine Comedy is a notable aversion of this, since Satan is trapped in the coldest part of hell.
    • In Islam, the jinn (genies) are beings made of fire. While they are not inherently evil (they are like humans in that they can choose to be good or bad), one of them, Iblis/Satan, is undoubtedly bad. Also, Hell has flames that burn so hot they're pitch black.
  • Loki from Norse Mythology was thought to be the God of Fire, though it turned out to be a linguistic confusion (and probably a conflation with Satan). His name actually seems to come from "lopt", which means "air". There is a separate god, or rather, jotunn, of fire called Logi, but he is more of a Punch-Clock Villain. Norse mythology has an entire class of fire jotnar who live in Muspellheim, the realm of fire. They are morally questionable, as with other jotnar, though specific characterization is difficult because they don't appear much, except in Ragnarok, where their leader, Surtr, notably became the figure ultimately responsible for annihilating the entire universe by setting it on fire.
  • In Japanese Mythology, the god of fire, Kagutsuchi, is not so much evil as being thoroughly misunderstood, but his birth was what killed his mother, the matriarch god Izanami, making her the first god to be sent into the Underworld. His father, the patriarch god Izanagi, meanwhile, immediately killed him. These days, the opinion is mostly split whether to consider him as the ultimate Satan figure, or pity him.
  • Inverted in Zoroastrianism, where fire is associated with Ahura Mazdha, and thus good.
  • Also inverted with the Seraphim (the highest order of angels) who's name means "burning ones", and are usually depicted as four headed dragon like creatures.

  • The Magnus Archives has this as a recurring theme — in several episodes sinister and probably-magical goings-on are accompanied by a sharp and inexplicable increase in the ambient temperature. This usually means the presence of the Desolation, sentient Primal Fear of pain, loss, and destruction, manifesting most often as destruction by fire. Its cultists, who worship it as as a god of fire (minus any of fire’s benevolent connotations), have their flesh replaced with molten-hot wax.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Chaotic Evil Balor demon can immolate (create flames around) itself. It was inspired by the balrog in The Lord of the Rings.
    • The Efreet, the fire-based genies, are Lawful Evil on the whole, dwelling in the despotic City of Brass. That said, the fire tends to take a backseat to the Jackass Genie part.
    • Of the archomentals (powerful evil elemental beings), the most consistently prominent is Imix, the Prince of Evil Fire Elementals.
    • Al Qadim has the Brotherhood of the True Flame, a society of evil fire elementalist wizards. They tend to fight for monopoly about as much as for superiority of their element, though.
  • Khorne in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 is associated with heat as a result of his status as a god of war and wrath. Several of his daemons are associated with things like burning swords or molten bronze.

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    Video Games 
  • Deathbringer, the final boss of Battle Fantasia, is a demonic suit of Animated Armor that is constantly Wreathed in Flames. He also shrugs off any and all damage where the player isn't also on fire.
  • Bug Fables: The Wasp King is a violent, foul-tempered madman who wields rare and deadly fire magic. He takes this up to eleven in the game's climax, where he turns on an enormous flame-spitting machine in Giant's Lair (actually a stove, as seen from bugs' perspective) that nearly wipes out a village full of friendly roaches.
  • Castlevania: Dracula has always been associated with fire, from his trademark three-fire balls to giant meteors.
  • Darkstalkers - Pyron is an evil being, said to be the physical embodiment of the sun. Like Inferno, he too is made of living flames.
  • Dragonfable - the Big Bad of Book 2, Wargoth, is a fiery warlord from another dimension intent on turning Lore into a burning wasteland, just like he did to the Atealans' homeworld. Turns out he's the magical half of Warlic.
  • Elden Ring: Multiple of the Outer Gods are associated with flame and fire, and harbor an antagonistic relationship with the tree-focused Greater Will. There's the Formless Mother, whose blood-red Hellfire is spilled with its own blood, and the Fell God of the ancient fire giants, who Queen Marika waged a war to wipe out. However, no other Outer God represents this more than the Frenzied Flame, a malevolent and madness-inducing deity that feeds off of despair and suffering, inspires outbreaks of insanity with its Lovecraftian Superpower, and seeks to wipe out all life in the world. And if you want, you can help it succeed, burning the Erdtree and destroying the world; if she's still alive, Melina will swear to hunt you down..
  • The main enemy/The Man Behind the Man of the Warcraft series is the Burning Legion. Also, many of its creatures are wreathed in flame; the Infernals spring to mind.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Used to dramatic effect in Sephiroth's iconic Unflinching Walk through fire in Final Fantasy VII.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has Ifrit, the primal god of the Amalj'aa beast tribe also known as the "Lord of the Inferno", whose command over flames is potentially ruinous.
  • In inFAMOUS 2, the evil end gives Cole fire powers.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising: Hades gains flaming hair in the final battle, after being decapitated. In addition, Pyrrhon turns on the other gods to try to gain control of the Aurum, and may have been planning to do so the whole time.
  • The overall villain of the Arson case desk in L.A. Noire is a former flamethrower who served under Cole in the Pacific during World War 2. He brought his weapon home with him. While it might seem inevitable that the villain of that part of the game would be so inclined, he was essentially The Dragon (made to burn down houses for profit), until the manipulations of his psychiatrist backfired and finally drove him into full on Ax-Crazy territory, and he suddenly burst in, strangled the Doctor, and kidnapped the Love Interest.
  • Brand, the Burning Vengeance, in League of Legends is pretty much the fire counterpart to Lissandra, a wicked spirit that wants nothing but to end the world in fire. His skill pretty much revolve around burning his enemies to death.
  • Ganon uses flames as an attack in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War has the balrog Tar-Goroth who rises from a pit of lava, burns wood simply by being near it and leaves flaming footprints wherever he walks.
  • Moshi Monsters: Played straight for the Fiery Castle, which used to be the villains' evil hideout (and, as the name suggests, is surrounded by fire and volcanoes) but inverted for the Super Moshi HQ which is located in a perpetually-erupting volcano, and averted for the Diavlos, a mostly-benevolent race of monsters with lava powers, and several Moshlings with fire-powers, including the Amazing Blazing Raisins and the Fiery Frazzledragons.
  • Areas controlled by the virus in NeonXSZ will have occasional areas of fire.
  • King Onyx from Odin Sphere may not be flat-out evil, but he's still a tremendous Jerkass and ends up burning down Ringford Forest and annihilating the fairies during Armageddon.
  • Pokémon:
    • Team Magma from the third generation has an affinity for fire, but they're only evil in Ruby and Emerald. They are allies in Sapphire.
    • Team Flare from the sixth generation has a fire motif, with tacky red-orange uniforms and red hair on most of the Grunts. Although their boss Lysandre is fought in an arena resembling the surface of the Sun, his Pokémon of choice is actually a Gyarados, not a Fire-type Pokémon.
    • Pokémon Scarlet and Violet introduces Chi-Yu, a Dark/Fire legendary Pokémon who brought ruin to an ancient empire together with its three partners (one of them being Evil Is Deathly Cold, too) until the four were sealed in hidden shrines across the region.
  • Soul Series Big Bad Inferno takes the form of a living, humanoid flame in most of his appearances (with the exception of his playable appearance in Soulcalibur, where he is given a body that is simply on fire for technical reasons). Normally he is unable to exist outside of his pocket dimension so battles against him take place there, where he can have form. At times his body has other parts in it like bones or organic greaves in addition to the flames.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Iblis is a fire being that is one of the two main villains of the game.
  • Street Fighter Alpha - typically seen during Akuma's win pose where dark flames appear on his shoulders. This doubles as his taunt in subsequent games.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Bowser's trademark ability is to breathe fire, and he's usually surrounded by flaming or flame-like objects like lava and stars in the main platformers.
  • Jinpachi Mishima of Tekken fame can spit fireballs which take up 3/4 your lifebar, plus in Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, his whole body is surrounded by flames and lava. Oh, and he's also the final boss of Tekken 5 and the aforementioned Dark Resurrection. Ironically, he is probably one of the most just characters in the series, or at least, he is just compared to his family.
  • Utsuho Reiuji (aka Okuu), the Big Bad of Touhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism throws giant suns at you...IN HELL!
  • Titan Quest Ragnarok: after fighting your way through both Asgardians and Jotuns, you descend Yggdrasil's roots to reach the real Big Bad Duumvirate composed by Loki and Surtr in the scorching land of magma and ashes that's Muspelheim.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, among the first things seen in the story are shots of Reshef and Pegasus surrounded by fire.


    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Hell Charles

For the final battle, Charles transforms into a larger, more demonic version of himself called Hell Charles. This was foreshadowed by an NPC who leads you to one of the eggs.

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Example of:

Main / OneWingedAngel

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