Disabled Deity
A god or divine being with a physical disability.


(permanent link) added: 2013-07-07 20:50:22 sponsor: Floria edited by: KingZeal (last reply: 2013-07-21 13:06:02)

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When a god or similar being, despite the power and physical resilience that comes with divine status, is disabled in some way. Because of the obvious complications in even figuring out what would count as a disability to an entity like a Sentient Cosmic Force, this trope is generally applied to Physical Gods. This trope is Older Than Feudalism, dating back at least as far as Hephaestus in Classical Mythology. It's not uncommon for contemporary uses of this trope to be inspired by mythological figures.

Somehow, using their godly powers to cure themselves never comes up as a viable option. Depending on how divine powers work in this setting, there may be a certain amount of Fridge Logic involved regarding why a being who can change shape or alter reality can't grow back a lost body part. This may be justified out-of-universe if the disability has symbolic significance or is part of the deity's "theme" (such as visual impairment for a god of knowledge, or a Red Right Hand for a God of Evil).

This is for gods with physical disabilities, injuries, and such. For deities who are mentally ill or just not all there, see Mad God and Almighty Idiot.

Examples

Literature
  • Michael Moorcock's Corum stories. In the first trilogy Corum loses his left hand and right eye, and is given the Hand of Kwll and the Eye of Krynn to replace them. These items were originally part of the ultra-powerful beings Kwll and Krynn, who were disabled by their loss.
  • The Crippled God from Malazan Book of the Fallen, due to a severe case of Wound That Will Not Heal. Millennia of pain haven't done his state of mind much good either.
  • Blind Io, chief of the Discworld's gods, is an aversion. While he has no eyes in his head and wears a blindfold, he has a bunch of eyes floating around him that let him see (which causes problems when a raven comes around).
  • Belgariad: Torak's disability doubles as a Red Right Hand. The Orb of Aldur burned the left side of his body leaving especially his face and hand horribly scarred.
  • In The Elenium, Azash was castrated by the Younger Gods, which weakened him enough that he could be trapped inside an idol.

Mythology
  • Egyptian Mythology: After the god Set killed the god Osiris, he ripped his body into 14 pieces and scattered them across the world. The goddess Isis gathered up all of the body parts except his phallus (which had been eaten by a catfish) and bandaged them together like a mummy. The other Egyptian deities then resurrected him...well, almost all of him.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • The blind god Hodur in Norse Mythology, who is best known for his Accidental Murder (abetted by Loki) of his brother Baldr.
    • The Allfather Odin was missing one eye. He sacrificed one of his eyes at Mimir's Well in order to gain the Wisdom of Ages.
    • The god Tyr was depicted as missing one hand. When the gods wanted to bind Fenrir (the Fenris Wolf) with the magical ribbon Gleipnir, Fenris refused to let Gleipnir be put upon him unless one of the gods put his hand in Fenris' mouth. The god Tyr volunteered to do so. When Fenris found he couldn't escape Gleipnir, he bit Tyr's hand off.
  • Classical Mythology:

Tabletop Games
  • Hackmaster supplement Gawds & Demi-Gawds. In the world of Aldrazar (the Hackmaster campaign setting) the greater gawd Luvia is blind. This gives him a -4 to hit in combat.
  • While in his prime, the God-Emperor of Mankind was in excellent physical condition, in the universe's "present" he's been dependent on life support for millennia.
    • The Eldar/Elf pantheon in Warhammer 40k/Warhammer also contains the smith-god Vaul, who is the Eldar/Elf equivalent of Hephaestus, and Moria-Heg who had her hand cut off to gain knowlege of the future.
  • Vecna of the Dungeons & Dragons Greyhawk setting is missing one hand and one eye, both of which have a tendency to resurface in the setting as Artifacts Of Doom.
  • Forgotten Realms:
    • Tyr, the god of justice, was blinded by Ao the Overgod for questioning one of his decisions, and, much like his Norse Mythology counterpart, had his hand bitten off during an attempt to subdue Kezef the Chaos Hound.
    • The Orc deity Gruumsh is said to have lost an eye while battling the Elven deity Corellon Larethian, although the church of Gruumsh insist this is a heresy spread by the elves and Gruumsh has always had one eye.
    • Ilmater is a borderline example. His body is covered in Wounds That Will Not Heal, symbolic of his role as the god of martyrdom.
  • The Nameless God in The Dark Eye is a villainous and self-inflicted example. Chained into a breach in the firmament by the other gods as punishment for attempting to conquer all creation, he rages and tears off bits of his own body to free himself. His mortal followers seek to emulate him and sacrifice body parts one by one as they ascend through the ranks of his cult. This doesn't make them any less dangerous, which can make veteran players very nervous when they encounter a one-eyed NPC.

Video Games
  • The Thunder Dragon Lanayru in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is dead in the present and suffering from a terrible disease in the past. If you do some time warping to save him he'll be back to full health in the present.
  • The god Tyr in Neverwinter Nights is referred to often as "The Maimed God" because he's missing a hand.
  • The halfing thief god Bolo in Arcanum is said to only have one arm; the other was cut off as punishment for him stealing the shadow of Progo the god of storms.
  • In Eternal Darkness, Mantarok--the Eldritch Abomination that kept the three others in balance--eventually sustains a major disability: Death. However, even as a "dead god", it wields considerable power. The True Ending, in fact, reveals that everything that transpires was all part of its plan to eliminate the other three, leaving Mantarok uncontested.

Web Original

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