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You Have to Burn the Web

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A victory for pyromaniac urges.
If anyone happens to use a source of ignition in a Cobweb Jungle, you'll have an inferno in seconds.

A bit of Artistic License – Arachnids — spider silk does shrivel quite rapidly when exposed to intense heat (so yes, a flamethrower can clear out cobwebs), but it doesn't actually burn, much less cause the pyrotechnics that people have come to expect in fiction. On the other hand, the dust that collects on old cobwebs usually is flammable, so sometimes those dusty old cobwebs really are as burnable as fiction makes them appear. But in fiction, even clean, freshly spun spider silk can (and usually will) go up in flames.

Sub-Trope of Made of Incendium. Not to be confused with the rise of the World Wide Web breaking the premise of a story. Nor with someone needing to destroy said World Wide Web.

This trope likely originates from the fact that in old movies, cobwebs were typically made from cotton and would burn quite handily if set to an open flame. Hollywood writers/directors apparently didn't realize that real webs do not work that way.

The trope name is a reference to You Have to Burn the Rope, a Flash game which is otherwise completely unrelated to this trope as it contains no webs at all, much less ones that can be burned.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Gintama, Jiraia covers Yoshiwara in webs as part of his villain motif and sets it on fire.
  • One Piece: Subverted in the thriller bark arc. When the Zombie spiders attack, the webs are immune to everything but fire... but they MELT. And not immediately... they just get softer and squishier.
  • xxxHOLiC: In episode three of xxxHOLiC Rei there are a lot of spider's webs being set on fire (fox-fire that specifically has anti-evil properties, mind you) and they even fall to the ground and continue to burn for a while. The villain comments twice on how fox-fire and spider's silk don't mix.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 6 episode 17, a lightning storm starts on Planet Guling, and the lightning bolts cause the webs used by the inhabitants for their primitive version of the internet to burn, creating a massive wildfire.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

  • In Big Ass Spider!, the eponymous menace is killed by detonating its highly-flammable webbing while it's still in the creature's spinneret.
  • Eight Legged Freaks: Averted. There is a fire, but it's caused by the presence of explosive gas in the mines where the spiders have taken residence.
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch when Gizmo shoots the spider gremlin with a makeshift bow and flaming arrow, saving the life of Kate and Marla in the process.
  • In Son of Godzilla, giant spider Kumonga (AKA Spiega)'s web is stated to be impossible to cut (not even Godzilla can slash it) but a cigarette lighter will take it out no problem (fortunately for Godzilla, he's got that atomic breath). Kumonga himself later catches on fire from repeated blasts of Godzilla's ray.

  • Forest Kingdom: Used on a couple of occasions.
    • Subverted in book 3 (Down Among the Dead Men). When confronted by a gigantic web that blocks their way, some bandits try to set it alight, but the flame only blackens the material without igniting it. That's because the "web" actually is a monster, not something a monster built.
    • Used in the prison Cold Open of the Hawk & Fisher spinoff series' book 6 (The Bones of Haven). Complicated by the fact that this particular Cobweb Jungle is alive, and mobile enough to freak out when it starts to burn.
  • In Metro 2034, the protagonists take this trope up a notch by blowing up the web, using a handful of gunpowder to get through a corridor full of webs so numerous and thick their machete gets stuck in it... And immediately regrets it as the explosion shakes up all the radioactive dust around.
  • The Quest of the Unaligned: Exaggerated. The fire-spiders shoot web that's on fire in the first place.
  • Rowan of Rin: There's a "get through the giant web by burning it" bit, although it doesn't ignite the whole place. Also, the minute they've burned enough web to escape, the giant spiders start repairing the hole, so getting through the "gate" there is a little unnerving and they end up brushing spiders off the last person through.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Web spell creates very sticky but also highly flammable webs. Setting fire to the web will destroy it and do fire damage to everything that was caught in it. In fact, this was the best solution to deal with a colony of spiders in the example dungeon found in the 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide.
  • Pathfinder: Invoked by shriezyx queens, which secrete a highly flammable oil that coats their spiderwebs, packing a nasty surprise for people who plan to exploit their fear of fire.

    Video Games 
  • In A Boy and His Blob, one of the first puzzles is a giant cobweb that kills you if you go through it. You burn it with a torch, but the trope is somewhat averted in that the web doesn't really burn, so much as completely vanish.
  • Adventure Escape: At one point in Asylum, you use a flamethrower to clear a room of cobwebs and the spider that made them.
  • And Yet It Moves has this for one level, made difficult because the fire can burn your poor paper body.
  • In Black Mesa, Gordon's progress through the Gonarch's territory in Xen is blocked by the occasional tangle of webs. While some of them can be destroyed simply by shooting them, others need to be set alight by damaging the flammable plants next to them.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer encounters webs large enough to completely cover doors in both of her video games. The only solution is to burn them down.
  • In Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead, some basements or forests may be covered in webs and infested with giant spiders. Given that lighters and matchbooks are common items, setting fire to a single square of web and watching the whole house/forest burn down is a perfectly acceptable reaction. In the case of houses, the noise and light of the house burning down will even lure in nearby zombies, which the falling rubble will kill, killing two birds with one stone if you manage to get away fast enough.
  • Cute Knight Kingdom: Reaching the final boss monster requires learning the spell of Flame in order to burn the webs blocking the passage. It just disappears, though, no inferno.
  • Dark Parables: In the first game Curse of Briar Rose, there's a Giant Spider with an equally giant web blocking a doorway through which you must go. Naturally, the only recourse is to burn the web, but you can't do so until you acquire the necessary Plot Coupon (a torch).
  • Deep Rock Galactic has giant webs that can slow you down if you touch them. They can be burned by incendiary based weaponry, though the web just burns up and is incinerated rather than going up in flames.
  • Dragon Quest XI: Referenced. During the second expedition into the Caves Under Octagonia, Sylvando, a circus performer whose repertoire includes a Burning Breath ability, suggests taking advantage of his "tactical fire-breathing" to get through the massive cobwebs blocking the tunnels more easily.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online: Some of the earlier quests involve webs that block your progress. You can get through them with any weapon or attack spell, but they'll simply shrivel away if you light them on fire.
    • The actual Web spell can be burned away with a fireball, burning hands spells or some other fire area effect.
    • Some higher-level quests have web curtains which cannot be burned or damaged in any way, but as soon as you kill the spiders involved, the webs part obligingly.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the webs of the Frostbite Spiders that sometimes block your path have to be hacked away or burned up with a fire spell. This is a bad thing, since this alerts nearby spiders.
  • The Hobbit (2003): Giant walls of webs are common obstacles in caverns and in Mirkwood. Sting can usually cut through them with ease, but there are two (one in Mirkwood, one in the Elven Palace) that are too thick and need to be burned or dissolved.
  • Hunted: The Demon's Forge: In the very beginning, Caddoc walks through an abandoned tunnel, burning away webs that block his path.
  • Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine averts this by having Indy slash through cobwebs with a machete (even though he carries a lighter from the get-go).
  • In Książę i Tchórz, a huge magical-looking web blocks the way in the Dragon's lair. The protagonist plays this trope realistically by spraying the web with highly flammable perfume and then strikes a spark so the web just explodes.
  • Kuon: One part faces the player with an entryway blocked off by silk. You already have a knife that's on fire, but in order to get through it you need to find and use the one-time Scythe item.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Mass Effect 3: One of the side missions gives Shepard a flamethrower weapon for just the purpose of burning spider webs.
  • In Metro: Last Light, Artyom often has to use his lighter to burn through the webs of the giant Spiderbugs, lest he be slowed down by them in hostile territory. Might be justified in that the Spiderbugs are not necessarily actual spiders (being either radiation-born mutants, or, as Artyom himself theorises, some kind of subterranean Animalistic Abomination), and their webs may well be flammable.
  • MUD: You encounter a cord in a forest. When you touch it, you discover that it's part of a giant spider's web and that you're stuck to it. Once you've done that, you literally Have To Burn The Web before the spider devours you alive.
  • Orcs Must Die!: The Web Sprayer trap sprays sticky webs over enemies, immobilizing them. Fire removes the webs, but the Sprayer can be upgraded to make the burned webs do extra damage when that happens.
  • Resident Evil: You end up trapped in a room where the exit is webbed over by Giant Spiders, and when playing as Chris, can burn the web off the door with a flamethrower. If you're playing as Jill, on the other hand, you just cut the web with a knife. It doesn't catch fire in either version, though. In the original it simply vanishes, and in the remake it pulls apart when the flame hits it.
  • Savage Empire has several caves with webs all over the floor. Setting a patch alight with your torch will set adjacent webs on fire as well, making them burn out in sequence in a pretty nice (for its time) bit of animation.
  • Spelunky Spiderwebs are more a nuisance than a serious threat, but you can burn them away if you have a torch.
  • Ty the Tasmanian Tiger loves this trope, and uses it as often as it can. Collectable on the level floor? Burn the web. Arched doorway? Torch it. It gets annoying quite quickly, as your fire boomerangs are actually some of your weaker weapons, forcing you to cycle between it and a better one, often while under attack by funnel web spiders.


    Web Original 
  • Spoony's Campaign: In one session, the party encounters a room full of spiderwebs and deals with them by throwing a flaming bedroll into the room. Unfortunately these were phase spiders, which meant they teleported LordKaT's character Grae into the room with the burning webs while his friends were outside dealing with more monsters.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: In "Benderama", Bender gets trapped in a spider's web and has to burn it away to escape.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: Zig-zagged. Usually, Spider-Man's webbing is fireproof, and he can use it to put out small fires. However, if dealing with something incredibly hot (i.e. high tech lasers or lava), then his webs will burn up on contact.


Video Example(s):


Luigi's Mansion 3 webs

Webs can be burned in Luigi's Mansion 3

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Example of:

Main / YouHaveToBurnTheWeb

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