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Fanatical Fire

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"Then we shall purge it with fire. I have yet to find a cinder that was not faithful in its praise of the Emperor."
Canoness Selena Agna, Dawn of War: Soulstorm

Maybe it's the connection The Bible makes between fire and punishment. Maybe it's just that flickering, destructive flames work so well to signify a dangerous, unstable mind. Whatever the case, fire is often used as a motif in fiction for religious fanatics and extremists. It's pretty common to see such a character preaching in front of bonfires or braziers, or, in more extreme cases, burning sacrifices alive.

Often overlaps with Evil Is Burning Hot, Hellfire, Burn the Witch!, Self-Immolation and Light Is Not Good (particularly if the fire itself is divine, though even normal fire emits light). Compare Sacred Flames.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Judge Dredd: Judge Fire, one of the Dark Judges, wants to kill everything with fire to rid the world of crime.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Billion Dollar Brain: The supporters of General Midwinter are shown burning pictures of Communists in a rally bonfire while he's giving his Motive Rant.
  • Clash of the Titans (2010): A rambling preacher burns his own hand in a brazier mid-sermon, showing both his total devotion to the gods and a totally unstable mind.
  • The Night of the Hunter: Harry Powell gives his sermons in a small, dark church whose only source of light is a rather large brazier. Although a hypocrite and a thief, his fanatical faith does appear to be genuine.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): Invoked by Steve Trevor in an attempt to woo Dr. Maru, by staring at a fireplace and pretending he's a kindred spirit.
    Steve: I love fire, don't you? It is like...a living act of entropy. The ultimate weapon of destruction. Reminding us that in the end, everything eventually returns to the ash it came from.

    Literature 
  • Anno Dracula: John Jago, an anti-vampire preacher, rants about fire and stakes (two of the only sure means of killing vampires).
  • Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: This is touched in Oath Breaker with the Deep Forest clans that are of fundamentalistic nature and at war with each other. Not only do they believe that all the other clans are wicked, but they each also think their own way of handling fire is the only correct one. Thiazzi, the Soul Eater who started the war and deceived the clans into this line on thinking, burns animals to death while using the last Fire Opal piece to protect himself from fire and self-servingly preaching that he will make all the clans strong by uniting them. The strongest example of this, however, is Thiazzi's insane minion called the Chosen One, a pyromaniac who worships fire and believes only Thiazzi knows how to properly respect. After she attempts to sacrifice Torak to the forest fire she ignites yet he manages to survive, she believes him to be blessed and helps rescue him from the Deep Forest clans because she thinks they have no right to kill the one who was spared by the fire.
  • Discworld: In Small Gods, a character from the fundamentalist nation of Omnia shows his God (who's not very attentive) a rather large furnace shaped like a bull, assuring said God that they use it for burning heretical material, not people. Turns out "heretical material" does indeed include people, Omnians just don't consider them thus.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: A subversion: priests of the Red God. The best known one, Melissandre, plays it straight by being a Knight Templar and has quite a penchant for burned offerings. However, other R'hllorists are just ordinary people in spite of the fire motif.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Supernatural: Angels have a connection to fire: they burn out the eyes of anyone who sees their true form and their basic attack is to sear someone's insides with a touch. However, while they're all unquestionably trusting in God, it's not entirely fair to call them all fanatics.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Some beings aligned with Red and White mana tend to mix white's fundamentalism with red's pyromania. Notable examples include the insane angels in Shadows over Innistrad, which have gone on a murderous rampage against humanity and burn everything to the ground.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Sisters of Battle, Inquisitors, and other fanatical Imperial organizations traditionally use flamers and other fire-based weaponry. The Order of the Ashen Shrine, a minor Order of the Sisters of Battle, is notable for having an obsession with flames unusual even for the Sororitas, as they believe that it represent's the Emperor's holy word, and for the fire-based miracles that follow them into battle — stories about the order include volcanic fissures opening across battlefields, burning meteors raining upon their enemies, or machines targeted by their forces being consumed in fiery explosions.

    Video Games 
  • Civilization II has Fanatics, the special unit that can only be recruited by Fundamentalist governments. They're depicted wielding a lit torch.
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Fanatic from the Crimson Court DLC is very, very fond of fire indeed. The very first thing he tries to do in every fight against him is to burn one of your heroes at the stake.
  • Elden Ring: Fire magic is almost exclusively the purview of faith-based incantations. Even the very few sorceries involving fire require a certain level of faith stat in addition to the intelligence usually associated with sorcery. And unlike holy and lightning incantations, the faiths associated to fire incantations range from morally grey to outright malevolent.
  • Lies of P: The boss King's Flame Fuoco is a puppet which has Grew Beyond Their Programming with enough force to develop the capacity for faith and worship. It was a puppet responsible for the forge in the Venigni Works factory, and therefore has a lot of fire powers, including launching fireballs and setting the ground ablaze.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: Genevieve's history lesson on the Wingless, a.k.a creations of the God of Evil as the dominant religion said, reveals that Wingless have appeared on the Floating Continent setting of most of the game, multiple times, such as:
    Seven thousand years ago, a group of Wingless were burned alive when they were discovered in Terasu. This was just one of many instances.

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