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Fire of Comfort

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bonfire lit

"There's something magical about having a fire. The crackles and snaps...the warm, flickering light...everything always seems safe and cozy if you're sitting in front of a fire. And if you've got a hot tiger tummy to lie against...well!"
Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes

This is where a fireplace or bonfire represents warmth, comfort, companionship, and rest. Might be found at a Good-Guy Bar or a Big Fancy House. Or at an inn. If the comfort is in some way related to the divine, it may also be an example of Sacred Flames. If romance is involved, it may also symbolize Flames of Love.

Additionally can symbolize the relief and warmth of the home, which is a very old motif dating back to Ancient Greece. Historically, most homes had a fire going 24/7, even in summer, as it was their only source of light at night and only means of cooking, and letting the fire go out was too risky.

Compare Campfire Character Exploration.



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  • Every Christmas commercial ever made tends to use this in some way, but notable ones are Quaker Oats, York Peppermint Patties and various brands of coffee and eggnog.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Berserk, Guts notes how the Band of the Hawk and their bond as True Companions reminds him of a "bonfire of dreams."
  • Laid-Back Camp, being a series about camping as a hobby, naturally has campfires abound. It shows the viewer how to build a campfire in the first chapter/episode, and also goes over some adverse effects that campfires have, such as giving you dry skin and making you smell like smoke.
  • In Moriarty the Patriot, William visualizes meeting Sherlock as a fire igniting in a cold, dark, empty room, in recognition of the first time he met someone he felt could understand him.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero's Journey, Jouelle has one running while she reads to Zero. As most of the comic takes place in Christmas Town, a few more are seen throughout the story.

    Fan Works 
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 20, Slice n' Dice hosts a weekly bonfire party at her farm, in which the locals get to meet up, hang out, chat, tell stories and generally have a good time; these gatherings happened even before she moved there, but she's volunteered to host it ever since. Twilight and her friends get to attend, and really enjoy themselves.

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Incredibles, when Helen and the kids are stranded on the villain's island, they hide out in a cave and build a campfire (if for no other reason, so they can at least see each other in the night).

    Film — Live Action 
  • Bilbo's narration from the beginning of the first Hobbit movie, talking about what Hobbit homes are about: "Good food, a warm hearth, and all the comforts of home."

    Live Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In the episode "Magic Tree", Miss Brooks spends Christmas Eve in a rocking chair in front of Mrs. Davis' fireplace.
  • A remote-controlled fireplace is used to suggest a newfound solace for DiNozzo in the beginning episodes of NCIS Season 5; the case had the character fighting to accept the departure of his love interest after the relationship, which was the Mole cover for his mission, went to hell with the mission itself. Served an in-plot purpose, too, as a running gag during the episode was to have DiNozzo all wet when the garden's... aspersor tubes? got activated again and again.
  • The Yule Log is a television program which is broadcast traditionally on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, originally by New York City television station WPIX but now by many other Tribune Company-owned television stations. The program, which has been two to four hours in duration, is a film loop of a yule log burning in a fireplace, with a traditional soundtrack of classic Christmas music playing in the background. It is broadcast without commercial interruption.

  • Harry Potter: Harry, Ron and Hermione have most of their comfortable easy moments of friendship in front of the fireplace in the Gryffindor common room and it where a large number of their conversations take place.
  • In the Hurog duology, the heroes, while adventuring, always have a campfire on evenings. Tosten, who is a skilled bard, often plays the harp and sings on such occasions.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Gandalf is bearer of the the ring of fire.
    • In Elrond's hall, the heroes gather to hear tales in the hall of fire.
    • The campfire at Weathertop where Strider tells the tale of Beren and Lúthien. A very well done scene which captures what it really can feel like camping, clustering round the fire with the night all about.
  • A fireplace appears in Old Peter's Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome.
  • In Tales of Kolmar, lighting fires for humans is, for Kantri, repeatedly portrayed as a kind and friendly act. In The Lesser Kindred Kedra lights a fire for his father, who sits and wallows in it contentedly - Kantri can't be harmed by wood fire, so it's more like a hot bath to them.
  • In the ending of Proven Guilty, after Harry helps to rescue Molly from the Winter Court, they rest by the fireplace in his apartment.
  • In Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, there's a scene where the main characters camp out in Jotunheim and Magnus mentions being very thankful for the fire, due to how cold and unsettling the surroundings are.

  • Hestia is the Greek goddess of the hearth, home and family. All three are closely associated with each other.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Traveller, hearthfires are sacred to the Sword Worlders. It is the duty of men to guard them and the duty of women to tend them. Police, soldiers and such, in the sword worlds, speak of themselves as "guarding the hearthfires".
  • In the first and second editions of Dungeons & Dragons, halflings, as a race, consider a fire on the hearth to be the central feature of a comfortable existence. The concept is so firmly a part of halfling culture that they will keep a small fire going even in the height of a summer heat wave.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: Hearthfires are sacred to Dazh, the Kislevite God of Fire, the sun, and hospitality. His followers take pride in their hearths and bless their meals in his name, and his priests gain a unique spell to conjure a magical campfire that needs no fuel and only warms living flesh.

    Video Games 
  • In Kingdom Hearts, Kairi's homeworld is introduced with a pan up from the fire. The symbolism of home is obvious.
  • In World of Warcraft, a campfire is used primarily for cooking, but it will hasten the health regeneration of those gathered around it. It's a bit silly, but not uncommon, for players to put one down before facing a dungeon boss; every little bit of Spirit helps, right?
    • In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion zone Zul'Drak, players assist the Argent Crusade against both the native ice trolls and the invading undead Scourge. Many quests involve taking the fight to these enemies, but one assigns you the simple (but not necessarily easy) task of gathering enough wood from the thorny local flora to make some tired soldiers a campfire. It's oddly satisfying to see a bunch of NPC crusaders sit down and rest around a cozy fire you made for them.
  • Pictured above and being one of the most iconic examples of this in modern media, in the Dark Souls series, the bonfires scattered all over the world serve as recharging stations for your healing items, magic and health. They also reset the positions of most enemies (As well as reviving the Mooks of an area, for Level Grinding purposes,) which may very well save your life in many instances. In the late game, these fires also serve as a fast travel system. Given how difficult the game is, finding one is always a huge weight off your back. It's such a memorable system, it's been spoofed and homaged countless times in other games.
    • Dark Souls III has a moment that puts this into perspective: when you arrive at the First Flame, the final boss, the Soul of Cinder, is resting in front of it, in exactly the same pose as your character does in front of bonfires. It only rises from its reverie when you get close enough.
  • Little Inferno delves into the negative aspects of the trope, likening the fire to ease and predictable comfort of consumerism, and the willful blindness to the slow decay that the passive hordes staring at the fire all day cause. Ultimately, you have no choice but to venture out to the cold world in hopes of finding happiness by actively searching for it.
  • Guess what the name of the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC dedicated to building your own manor house is? Hearthfire.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild lets Link sit at a fireplace until certain parts of the day. The old man serving as a tutorial help mentions how calming and relaxing the act can be, often forgetting that time is passing.
  • Don't Starve has a a Sanity Meter and one of the playable characters, Willow, is a Pyromaniac whose sanity is regenerated by flames.
  • Darkest Dungeon gives your adventurers firewood as an item on long missions, giving them a chance to camp out for some much-needed healing, stress recovery, and/or buffs before continuing.
  • In The Sexy Brutale, the party's host (and leader of his group of friends) has a fire motif.
  • Toriel's home in Undertale has a cozy fireplace in the living room where Toriel sits and reads to you. If you check the fire, you'll find that it's actually impossible for you to get burned by it, being a product of Toriel's fire magic.
  • The 3rd timeline Tomb Raider games have this (Called base camps) for Lara Croft where she can change clothes, customize weapons, fast travel to other discovered base camps etc. The first time you visit a particular fire you'll usually get a sentence or two from Lara, implying she's gathering her thoughts like the player.
  • In Red Dead Redemption II, Arthur can sit by the fire when in camp, as do most of the rest of the gang at various times. Arthur can also build campfires when he's out on his own, which allow him to sleep (and save the game), cook food, or craft ammunition.
  • Spirits of Anglerwood Forest: Fire is associated with safety and warmth throughout the game. The main mechanic revolves around lighting lanterns found around the forest and the light from the lantern fire protects you from the forest spirits. Any time a character offers Edgar shelter, a fire is often mentioned or shown. Most levels has Edgar returning to his campfire to rest for the night.

    Visual Novels 
  • When the protagonist of Double Homework is approaching the ski lodge on Barbarossa, he is on foot in the snow, and he has been walking for hours, but he is warm and cozy by the fire with a selected female companion. If he chooses Lauren or Amy to join him, they will even be keen for some sexy time outside by the fire.

  • Antimony in Gunnerkrigg Court (and her ancestors) has this as an always-active personal power: while her fire affinity is not readily obvious, magical beings invariably sense her nature and seek such a company. When she learned to turn her Etheric self into visibly Wreathed in Flames form and demonstrated it to the ex-fairies, this intensified to outright mass squeeing. Fire elementals as such, while not really met so far, are subjects of "wonderful stories" for other magical creatures.

    Web Original 
  • Inspired by Greek mythology, Hestia appears in There is no GATE; we did not fight there as the "Great Spirit of the Hearth." As demonstrated by her followers, her powers mostly come in the form of a comforting and cleansing flame, useful for strengthening armies, healing the wounded, and curing victims of plague and sickness.

  • The word focus came from the Latin word for fireplace. The word for fire in many of the Romance languages ("fuego" in Spanish, "fuoco" in Italian, "fogo" in Portuguese, "feu" in French, and "foc" in Romanian), were all derived from "focus".
  • PC treasures Inc. publishes the DVD Fireside Reflections, which is a video of a fireplace to be played on a television set. It's also available as a screensaver.
  • Hours-long videos of crackling fireplaces, with our without accompanying music, are all over Youtube. They're surprisingly effective.