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Fiery Stoic

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"You have light and peace inside of you. If you let it out, you can change the world around you."

Fire is energetic. It burns hot. So giving people with fire-based abilities an equally fiery temperament acts as a kind of shorthand or shortcut, the same as giving them red hair or clothes. And then there's this trope.

This is one example of a Power Stereotype Flip (of which this is a Sub-Trope), giving characters with fiery powers (or lots of firepower — see Kill It with Fire, Mad Bomber and Throw Down the Bomblet) a more serene, stoic, composed, wise, or just plain nice personality that contrasts with the destructive power of fire. It's often justified In-Universe by explaining that they need to maintain their cool to keep their chosen element from getting out of control. It can be equally justified that, as Real Life fire is not a toy, it is one area where the normal choleric personality actually has the fire-forged patience (heh heh) to keep their cool.


Note that this differs from a character who is merely hiding their inner fire under a veneer of Tranquil Fury — these slow-burning characters also have a less restrained or outright sadistic personality (though the latter is sometimes still present as a "true self", a darker half or even a Superpowered Evil Side which sometimes slips through). And despite being at odds with the more expected, passionate, Hot-Blooded portrayal of other firestarters, this can still be considered a Personality Power; the calm personality can represent the fire of hearth and hospitality, with which bonfires and Sacred Flames may be symbolically linked, or the light of industry, even while still dropping hints at the threat fire can still pose if left unchecked.

Particularly common with characters who harness The Power of the Sun rather than harsher earthly (or hellish) flames. Compare Genius Bruiser for another character archetype which contrasts with their usual portrayal, and Making a Splash, for characters who wield the element this personality is more commonly associated with. Contrast Pyromaniac and Burning with Anger.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • While Playing with Fire is the norm for Reborn! (2004), being how people's powers manifest in the setting, remaining completely calm while using them is considered an outstanding achievement. That state is called "Hyper Dying Will Mode". When protagonist Tsuna uses it, his personality does a complete 180, from an exaggeratedly emotional kid to calm and focused, hardly ever changing his tone or expression.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Signum has a natural affinity for the fire element (allowing her to convert her mana into flame at will) and includes flames in pretty much all of her combat spells. Personality-wise, she verges on Germanic Depressives levels of stoic. This is possibly justified by the elemental affinities like hers being just a random genetic trait among mages in the setting, rather than being tied to their personalities.
    • Nanoha's Material counterpart Stern (who is even more stoic than Signum) gains fire powers in the second video game as well as all later appearances in other continuities. Even she isn't sure how it happened, though from a meta perspective it's probably so she'd have Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition with Fate's counterpart Levi.
  • Played With in My Hero Academia with Shoto Todoroki. He speaks softly but tends to give others the cold shoulder, but he has both fire and ice powers. At first he avoids using his fire to spite his abusive fire-using father, but then has a Not So Stoic moment the first time he does break it out in combat. However, even when he does come to terms with his fire side, he still remains calm and collected.
    • On the villains side is Dabi, who has blue flames that are by comparison much hotter.
  • Sailor Mars in the Sailor Moon manga is a level-headed Shinto priestess with fire-related powers tied to the red planet (unless she gets mad). The anime makes her a more straightforward "hot-tempered" fire user.
  • Naruto: The Uchiha clan is associated with fire jutsu. One of the first jutsu Sasuke learned was fire-based and he frequently uses fire jutsu. Sasuke is an unemotional and aloof person on default.
  • K has Mikoto Suoh the Red King, who, despite his fire powers is incredibly stoic and laid-back.
  • The title character of Vampire Princess Miyu uses mainly pyrokinesis and is consistently portrayed as very composed.
  • Gabimaru "the Hallow" from Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku. A ninja famed for his lack of emotions while killing uses his Ninpo to set himself on fire by raising his body temperature to ignite the oil on his skin, and is later revealed to have fire Tao. While Gabimaru shows himself to be more emotional than his reputation portrays him to be, he's much more calm than most fiery flame users.

     Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm:
    • This is the ideal nature of a Phoenix host, as demonstrated by the White Phoenix of the Crown, Lily Potter. This is because Phoenix fire amplifies and is amplified by emotions, risking the host becoming Drunk on the Dark Side and Jumping Off the Slippery Slope very quickly if they're not careful. It's why they're very carefully picked, because when they're not, the result was Surtur, the original Dark Phoenix. And Harry, who's not a conventional host, but has a fragment of the Phoenix within him, ends up as a fledgling Dark Phoenix after a brutal Trauma Conga Line causes him to snap, before he's talked down through the Power of Love and the Power of Friendship.
    • Harry quickly develops a gift for fire-magic, and has a fragment of the Phoenix inside him, which protected him from the Killing Curse, and while he's initially Hot-Blooded, he later develops it into Tranquil Fury, before progressing towards this during the second book to ensure that he doesn't become the Dark Phoenix again and learns how to control the Phoenix within him, becoming calmer, wiser, and more thoughtful. However, it should be noted that he does still have a temper.

    Film - Live-Action 

  • Young Charlie McGee from Stephen King's Firestarter, a child that can generate spontaneous combustion just by concentrating on the target. Once the sinister government agents kill her father, Charlie wants out of their facility. The Film of the Book shows actress Drew Barrymore as Charlie give the eye to every Shop agent she meets, giving each the chance to stand down. Alas, Shop agents are all Too Dumb to Live and dare to oppose Charlie, which nets them instant cremation right where they stand. Although the complex and all its personnel are left a roaring bonfire, it was not a Roaring Rampage of Revenge by a hothead; it was a methodical eradication of all those who opposed her, with Charlie's grim purpose being especially chilling.
  • Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings bears Narya, the Red Ring of Fire, which may account for his skill with fireworks and flames in general (e.g. the wargs outside Moria). He's an archetypal wizard with all the calmness and wisdom that entails (although he does have a temper occasionally — subtle and quick to anger and all that: "Bilbo Baggins! Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks!").
    Gandalf: I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass.
  • Unlike his Fiery Redhead counterpart in the video games, Heat in Quantum Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner is calm and collected at all times, The Quiet One and he displays Dissonant Serenity at the creepiest moments. He only breaks out of this attitude when fighting.
  • Melisandre from A Song of Ice and Fire, who predominantly uses fire-based magic, is cold, calculating, and composed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Nowhere Boys: The Leader of the Boys, Felix Ferne, is an Emo Kid with fire-based powers who is considered the most center-focused of the crew and the series.

    Myth & Religion 
  • Hestia, the goddess of hearth and home in Classical Mythology, symbolizing the domestic warmth of the fireplace and the flames of the sacred pyres and braziers of the temple altars. Despite her Odd Job God status, she is Zeus' eldest sister, and was one of the Twelve Olympians. However, instead of killing/raping mortals like her siblings, she prefers peace and stays a virgin. She even gave up her seat among the Twelve Olympians to Dionysus to prevent conflict. One of the Orphic Hymns sung in her name:
    Hestia . . . who dwellest amidst great fire's eternal flame; in sacred rites these ministers are thine, mystics much blessed, holy and divine. In thee the Gods have fixed their dwelling place, strong, stable basis of the mortal race.
  • Similarly, Atar the personified fire in Zoroastrianism is foremostly associated with purity and truth rather than chaos; while Zoroastrianism can get comfortable with ethical hedonism, anger is a cardinal "no no".

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering fire is associated with Red, the color of emotions and passion, so right of the bat most pyromancers are impulsive. However, occasionally you might get a character that is emotional but in a more subtle way, giving the impression of this trope. For instance the Yamabushi shamans from Kamigawa are ascetics with outward calm, but not dettached from their emotional well being.
  • Silver Age Sentinels: One of the signature characters is "Officer Prometheus", a fire-slinging Super Cop best described as "Captain America if he was a cop and inside the Human Torch's body."

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Eleonore von Wittenburg from Dies Irae is one of Reinhard's most zealous lieutenants, with powers over burning hellfire to match her zeal. In spite of this, she is an experienced commander and as such is able to keep her cool no matter what, even when her temper starts to get the better of her it stays as a Tranquil Fury. Rare is the day she explodes into all out rage.

  • Antimony Carver of Gunnerkrigg Court zigzags between this trope and Fiery Redhead. She develops an affinity for creating etheric flames, and in her second year, learns that she's descended from a fire elemental. She starts out as reserved and calmly polite, often to Emotionless Girl levels. On the other hand, with time she is revealed to have a temper that can flare up unexpectedly fierce if her buttons are pushed. With further character development, she becomes a lot more open about showing emotion, but still tends to retreat into stoicism under stress.

    Western Animation 
  • Played with in Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Played for Drama with Jeong Jeong the Deserter. He is a very serious and tranquil firebender who left the Fire Nation military because of the destruction he witnessed that was possible from firebenders, especially as he was the former mentor of noted villain Admiral Zhao. As a result, Jeong Jeong resents his bending, and most modern firebenders. He loves and admires earth and waterbending, demonstrated when he talks about the respective elements, describing them to Aang. Feeling his bending is a curse, he even initially refuses to teach Aang at all because of Aang's impatience and over-eagerness.
    Jeong Jeong: Destiny? What would a boy know of destiny? If a fish lives its whole life in this river, does he know the river's destiny? No! Only that it runs on and on of his control! He may follow where it flows, but he cannot see the end. He cannot imagine the ocean.
    Aang: Okay... But it's the Avatar's duty to master all of the bending disciplines.
    Jeong Jeong: To master the bending disciplines, you must first master discipline itself. But you have no interest in this, So I have no interest in you! Now, get out!
    Aang: Please, I have to learn. This could be my only chance.
    Jeong Jeong: Are you deaf? How can I teach you if you refuse to listen? Before learning firebending you must learn water and earth. Water is cool and soothing, earth is steady and stable, But fire, fire is alive! It breathes, It grows, without a bender, a rock will not throw itself. But fire will spread and destroy everything in its path if one does not have the will to control it! That is its destiny! You are not ready! You are too weak!
    • The page image is Uncle Iroh, a laidback, goofy Mentor Archetype who happens to be Fire Lord Ozai's brother. Early in the series, he's mostly played as his nephew Zuko's comic relief, though rather than a case of Obfuscating Stupidity, he really believes that one of the best lessons his nephew could learn is how to lighten up. Iroh is deeply kind, very wise, and one of the most skilled firebenders in the world — though perhaps not necessarily as powerful as his brother, as firebending in particular is generally fuelled by strong emotion (though as it turns out, it doesn't have to be, the original method focusing much more on its association with life rather than rage and hatred, and he's considered to be the only person other than Aang who could conceivably beat Ozai in a straight fight).
    • Many of the more prominent firebenders appear outwardly calm, but this is often a Mask of Sanity, one which Anti-Villain Zuko tries but largely fails to maintain. Ozai, his daughter and dragon Azula, and Admiral Zhao all derive significant power from their reserves of Tranquil Fury, but have Hair-Trigger Tempers and eventually crumble when their various plans start to fall apart. A large part of Zuko's Character Development is about learning how to accept his anger and use it constructively, and let much of it go, rather than being controlled by it like his father and sister.
    • Combustionbenders (who are able to focus heat into explosive projectiles) are calm and reserved, as their specific powers require great focus. The Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer Sokka dubs "Combustion Man" is a Terminator expy who never speaks during his appearances.
  • Then, in Sequel Series The Legend of Korra:
    • Mako is a firebender who can lightningbend, a trait associated in the series with detachment, cool-headed discipline, and a waterbender-like sense of flow, and the responsible sibling to his brother, Bolin, a Nice Guy earthbender who eventually learns to lavabend, thus combining his happy-go-lucky attitude with another sort of fire. The most excitable member of the trio is Hot-Blooded Avatar Korra herself, born of the Water Tribe but a much straighter take on the usual Hot-Blooded firebender stereotype, to the point where it's her go-to element — her excitable and direct nature being the reason it takes her so long to master airbending.
    • Downplayed with Season 3's P'li, Big Bad Zaheer's lover and second-in-command. She's another combustionbender, but while fairly self-serious in general, the bulk of her characterization shown is the deep mutual love between her and Zaheer, who "showed her what true freedom means."