Created By: Ekuran on September 24, 2011 Last Edited By: Ekuran on November 19, 2011
Troped

Semi Divine

They're one part mortal (or 'normal/lesser being'), one part purely supernatural being.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
redirects:Semi Divinity, Quasi Divine, Semi Infernal, Part Abomination, Semi Spirit, Physical Demigod.

A character that's not fully supernatural in nature, but has a a touch of it or more in them. They may be the offspring/descendants of supernatural beings and mortals, or are part of a race that's inherently part-supernatural in nature. Hell, the character might have even become part-supernatural as a boon from the Powers That Be or their own personal attempt to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. The reverse can also happen, as a fully supernatural being Descends From A Higher Plane Of Existence and winds up with a "mere" fraction of their former supernatural touch.

They tend to exhibit several Stock Superpowers, and if they aren't outright Immortal, they're almost guaranteed to be Long Lived. They may or may not qualify as Humanoid Abominations (who themselves have a high chance of being this character type), and that's if they look humanoid in the first place.

The Antichrist is almost always an example. Changelings are also frequently found to be some mix of human and faerie. Divine Parentage, being Touched by Vorlons, and a Deal with the Devil are common origins for this type of character. Having a piece of a magical being in you may also count.

These characters can basically be thought of as beings that are Partially Made of Magic (or spirit-like being in general).

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • All of the Claymores are half-human and half-youma except for Clare, who is only a quarter youma. They're re born human and become half-youma by taking youma flesh into their body. A fallen Claymore warrior is called an "Awakened One" and is far more powerful than a pure-blooded youma.
  • Ichigo Kurosaki of Bleach. His mother was, as far as we know, a normal human. His father is a retired Soul Reaper, meaning that he's basically a human/ghost hybrid.

Comic Books

Literature
  • The White Court in The Dresden Files. Their souls are half demon due too a demonic symbiote that gives them superhuman abilities and incredibly good looks, but at the cost of a Hunger for human emotions. The Raith family is particularly noted to go after lust.
  • Daine in Tamora Pierce's Wild Magic series is the daughter of a minor god (of the hunt) and a mortal woman (who becomes a minor goddess when she dies).
  • There's also the Old Kingdom books by Garth Nix. The world was created by nine spirits of Free Magic, but in order to protect the world and humanity, the Seven created the Charter and bound most of the Free Magic in the world. Four of them poured most of their power into mortal bloodlines; the Clayr, the Abhorsen, the royal family and the Wallmakers. Consequently, although not directly related to a deity, they all do have powers inherited from a god (or close enough).
  • The Kushiel's Legacy series establishes that the D'Angeline people are like this; descended from God's son and his angelic companions.
  • Vishous from Black Dagger Brotherhood is another example; he is the son of the Scribe Virgin, the deity vampires pray to in his universe. He also has a twin sister named Payne....
  • In the Percy Jackson book series, most of the main characters (at least the children) are demigods, born of a god and a human.
    • And the sequel to the series, The Heroes of Olympus, does the same. Most of the main characters are the children on the Roman gods now, however.
  • The Delphaes in the The Shining Ones started as humans but now are slowly evolving into gods. As a result, they possess awesome powers, but they can also melt alive anyone who gets too close to them. Eventually, they fully evolve into gods and leave the earth forever.

Live-Action TV
  • The vampires of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They retain their (enhanced) bodies and theeir minds, but their formerly human soul is replaced with that of a demon.
    • Hell, most of the "demons" are an example. They're the product of countless generations of interbreeding between humans and true demons, who were more like Eldritch Abominations than their typical depictions.
    • An example of a mortal attaining semi-divine status happens in Angel. Cordelia was dying because her psychic visions were causing Power Degeneration. After refusing a divine offer to give up her powers and live a normal life in order to continue doing good, she was rewarded by being turned part demon. Being allied with the (generally) good Powers That Be, her demonhood had no cosmetic effects, gave her immunity to Power Degeneration, and healing abilities.
    • Also from Angel, the fifth season gives us Ilyria, an Old One, a pure demon. Her current shell is too weak to contain her power, so Team Angel siphons off some of her power. So now she's a semi-human Old One with a fraction of her former strength.
  • Castiel during the fifth season of Supernatural. After rebelling against heaven to help the Winchesters save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, he steadily losses his divine power until he's basically human by the end of the season.
    • Sam and the rest of the psychic children. Their powers originated from being fed Azazel's blood when they were infants.
  • In the Stargate Verse, any character on the path to ascension displays a plethora of Psychic Powers, which signifies how close they are to becoming the god-like ascended.

Mythology and Religion
  • The original demigod, Gilgamesh himself, was actually two-thirds god.
  • Dragons in eastern mythology are often part-godly in nature.
  • Classical Mythology had a ton of them:
    • Heracles: The son of Zeus and a victim.
    • The swan sisters, Leda and Klytemnestra and their twin brothers Castor and Pollux.
      • The other sister of Castor, Pollux and Klytemnestra was Helen. Leda was their mother.
    • Odysseus spent a few years on an island shacked up with a minor goddess. The Odyssey doesn't mention any children, but there's no such thing as a divinity that isn't Super Fertile. Later myths explore the lives of their many, many, many children.
    • Frankly, Zeus and a few other gods deserve a special folder all their own. Those rapists were all up ins. And gods make babies. Always.
    • Aeneas's mother was Aphrodite. Dude founded Rome.
    • There were whole races that were thought to be somewhere between the Olympians and mortals in terms of divinity, such as the nymphs.
  • Jesus Christ, although in some denominations, he is both 100% divine and 100% human. As always, YMMV.
    • The Nephilim of Judeo-Christian mythology are thought to be the children of angels.
  • Merlin is thought to be the child of a demon and mortal, although in the original myths he was depicted as something of a fey spirit, so half-fairy was more likely.
  • In Hindu Mythology, Ganesh was a boy who was appointed by the Goddess Parvati to stop anyone from entering her bathroom while take her bath. When Ganesh stopped her Husband Shiva from entering, Shiva cut his head off. After Parvati found out what happened, she became angry, and Shiva had to fix Ganesh by attaching an elephant's head to Ganesh. Ganesh was given demigod status in the Hindu pantheon, and is supposed to be a sort of door god.

Newspaper Comics
  • Phil, Prince of Insufficient Light in Dilbert.

Tabletop Games
  • The eponymous Exalted are mortals that are blessed as the divine champions of the most powerful gods and god-like beings in the setting. As a consequence, they tend to have abilities that far exceed those of the "normal" gods and spirits, which is most obviously seen in the Solars and their derivatives.
    • It's worth pointing out that most Exalted become what they are when a normal human's body and soul are combined/merged with a shard of literal divine power.
  • The Scions are the children of gods, and can ascend to godhood themselves.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, Tieflings and Aasimar are descendants of fiends and celestials, respectively.
    • The planetouched in general, as they're all descended from outsiders.
    • Every sorcerer gets their powers from some kind of encounter with a magical force somewhere back in the family tree (either directly or indirectly.) Some of them are divine, infernal, or even draconic.
    • D&D also has Divine Rank 0 entities (normal beings have no rank at all). Such an entity isn't a god for most purposes (they don't grant spells), but they have many of the mechanical benefits of being considered divine (immortality, max HP, a host of immunities, some DR against non Epic weapons, resistances).
  • The Primarchs and, to a lesser extent, the Space Marines of Warhammer 40,000. The Primarchs are the 20 sons of the God Emperor, and while they aren't as powerful as him, they're nigh-godly unto themselves. The Space Marines are warriors that are Bio Augmented with the geenseed of the Primarchs, and they're basically an army of individuals who can each slaughter a thousand men by themselves.
  • Anyone with Outsider Taint in Cthulhu Tech.

Video Games

Visual Novels
  • Divinity in Fate/stay night is somewhat arbitrary and is ranked; the closer you are to the gods, the higher the rank. This results in heroes such as Gilgamesh, who is two-thirds divine (Rank A), but has his divinity reduced to Rank B since he himself dislikes the gods, and Medusa, who has had her divinity reduced severely after being transformed into a demonic creature.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation
  • Genie in the Aladdin sequels and series. After being freed, he has gone from having "phenomenal cosmic powers" to "semi-phenomenal nearly-cosmic powers".
  • Danny Phantom, along with Vlad Masters and Danielle Phantom, are half ghost, though there was no breeding between ghosts and humans involved: the former two were both results of lab accidents, and the latter was cloned.
Community Feedback Replies: 41
  • September 24, 2011
    Xtifr
    Already largely covered by Divine Parentage (which could probably be named Demigod, the more usual term). Possibly distinct enough, but I suspect that examples which aren't demigods are probably going to be rare. (I can't think of any.)
  • September 24, 2011
    surgoshan
    Unfortunately, Demigod is already appropriated to the game of that name.

    In order to be more inclusive than just people who have a parent who's a god, perhapd Godish?

    That said, there are a number of demi-god characters just from mythology.

    • Heracles: The son of Zeus and a victim.
    • The swan sisters, Leda and Klytemnestra and their twin brothers Castor and Pollux.
    • Odysseus spent a few years on an island shacked up with a minor goddess. The Odyssey doesn't mention any children, but there's no such thing as a divinity that isn't Super Fertile. Later myths explore the lives of their many, many, many children.
    • Frankly, Zeus and a few other gods deserve a special folder all their own. Those rapists were all up ins. And gods make babies. Always.
    • Aeneas's mother was Aphrodite. Dude founded Rome.
  • September 24, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^^Meh. That's more of a Sub Trope than something that can cover all of Semi Divinity.
  • September 24, 2011
    surgoshan
    ^ I think you're correct that divine heritage covers more than just having Divine Parentage, particularly since portions of divinity can be conferred on those who don't have DP. For example, what about Changelings? They're supernatural and show it, but usually, due to human upbringing, are less supernatural than their parents, and don't have to be divine.

    Maybe reduce it from "Godish" to "Somewhat More Than Human" or something.
  • September 24, 2011
    Ekuran
    Something More Than Human? Hmm...

    Should I expand this to include all combinations of mortal and supernatural beings? Whether they're Half Human Hybrids, a race of their own, or became that way?
  • September 24, 2011
    surgoshan
    If that were to happen, it would be necessary to differentiate it from Badass Abnormal. Or possibly fold one into the other. This sounds, to me, like a specific subclass of Badass Abnormal in that they're touched by divinity.

    And they're touched in that they're descended and not "bad touch" touched.

    We may be splitting hairs with Badass Abnormal in an unnecessary way. BA may suffice.
  • September 25, 2011
    Koveras
    @surgoshan: "Demigod" should be moved to VideoGame.Demigod to make way for the trope, if needed. That's what the on-going namespace move is all about.
  • September 25, 2011
    FantiSci
    Daine in Tamora Pierce's Wild Magic series is the daughter of a minor god (of the hunt) and a mortal woman (who becomes a minor goddess when she dies).
  • September 25, 2011
    TonyG
    Genie in the Aladdin sequels and series. After being freed, he has gone from having "phenomenal cosmic powers" to "semi-phenomenal nearly-cosmic powers".
  • September 25, 2011
    Earnest
    • An example of a mortal attaining semi-divine status happens in Angel. Cordelia was dying because her psychic visions were causing Power Degeneration. After refusing a divine offer to give up her powers and live a normal life in order to continue doing good, she was rewarded by being turned part demon. Being allied with the (generally) good Powers That Be, her demonhood had no cosmetic effects, gave her immunity to Power Degeneration, and healing abilities.
  • September 25, 2011
    dalek955
    This sounds like it would be pretty much covered by Divine Parentage and Touched By Vorlons.
  • September 25, 2011
    TBeholder
    While there is a point, the category is blur-tasic.
  • September 25, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^^Those tropes are more like the how instead of the who. Divine Parentage basically states that a character is Semi Divine because they're the children of gods. Touched By Vorlons is how a divine character caused Semi Divinty.
  • September 25, 2011
    kuyanJ
    The other sister of Castor, Pollux and Klytemnestra was Helen. Leda was their mother.
  • September 26, 2011
    Irrisia

    (Unless Aasimar exist in Dn D, which is possible. Anyone know more than me?)

    There's also the Old Kingdom books by Garth Nix. The world was created by nine spirits of Free Magic, but in order to protect the world and humanity, the Seven created the Charter and bound most of the Free Magic in the world. Four of them poured most of their power into mortal bloodlines; the Clayr, the Abhorsen, the royal family and the Wallmakers. Consequently, although not directly related to a deity, they all do have powers inherited from a god (or close enough)
  • September 26, 2011
    Ekuran
    @surgoshan: I think we should limit this too Made Of Magic like beings in general. There's an obvious difference between mortal based supernatural beings like wizards/werewolves/vampires/etc., and those who tend to be pure beings of the supernatural, like The Fair Folk and whatnot.

    And differentiating this from Badass Abnormal isn't that hard, as becoming part supernatural is only one way you can reach Semi Divinity, and isn't the only way to become Abnormal, either.
  • September 26, 2011
    nitrokitty
    @Irrisia As an avid Dn D player, I can confirm that Aasimar have been around before Pathfinder. If you want to get even more nit-picky, Tieflings and Aasimar's aren't half-angel/demon, they're just somebody with a demon or angel way up in the family tree somewhere, just enough to give them a little touch of the infernal/divine. Half breeds in the setting are just referred to as "half-demons" or "half-angels".
  • September 26, 2011
    Irrisia
    @nitrokitty: Thanks =) Wasn't exactly sure, having not actually read the bestiaries for either game. We've had a tiefling player and he described it as being a half-demon, and we've had someone consider being an Aasimar, but that's about as close as I got to knowing much =/

    Additionally, should have remembered the Sorcerer bloodlines in Pathfinder. Every sorcerer gets their powers from some kind of encounter with a magical force somewhere back in the family tree (either directly or indirectly.) Some of them are divine or infernal.
  • September 26, 2011
    TBeholder
    ^^ ...specifically, half-fiends in Dungeons And Dragons are mostly known as cambions. With other names for special cases, like alu-fiend (succubus/human) or draegloth (glabrezu/drow). And almost always count as full fiends, unlike tieflings or their non-human counterparts, tanarruks (orcish) and fey'ri (elvish).
  • September 29, 2011
    Gatomon41
    What about characters who are treated with reverence and have cosmic powers, but are never directly stated to be divine? Like My Little Pony Friendship Is M Agic has Celestia and Luna, for example.
  • September 29, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^Physical God, basically. And the Semi Divine rarely get any reverence or belief, unless they fully ascend to whatever they're a part of.
  • September 29, 2011
    Falco
    Video Games:
    • The Player Character in the Baldurs Gate series is one who can ascend to full godhood at the end of the overall series. So is his/her sister Imoen.
  • October 2, 2011
    LiberatedLiberater
    • Divinity in Fate Stay Night is somewhat arbitrary and is ranked; the closer you are to the gods, the higher the rank. This results in heroes such as Gilgamesh, who is two-thirds divine (Rank A), but has his divinity reduced to Rank B since he himself dislikes the gods, and Medusa, who has had her divinity reduced severely after being transformed into a demonic creature.
  • October 5, 2011
    deuxhero
    Dungeons And Dragons also has Divine Rank 0 entities (normal things have no rank at all). Such an entity isn't a god for most purposes (they don't grant spells), but they have many of the mechanical benefits of being considered divine (immortality, max HP, a host of immunities, some DR against non Epic weapons, resistances).
  • October 6, 2011
    Nora
    The Kushiel'sDart series establishes that the D'Angeline people are like this; descended from God's son and his angelic companions. Also, Gunnerkrigg Court's Antimony is part fire-elemental.
  • October 7, 2011
    Sheba
    Vishous from Black Dagger Brotherhood is another literature example; he is the son of the Scribe Virgin, the diety vampires pray to in his universe. He also has a twin sister named Payne....
  • October 7, 2011
    JohnDiFool
    Newspaper Comics: Phil, Prince of Insufficient Light in Dilbert.
  • October 10, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    Ganesh was a boy who was appointed by the Goddess Parvati to stop anyone from entering her bathroom while take her bath. When Ganesh stopped her Hunsbandm Shiva from entering, Shiva cut his head off. After Parvati found out what happened, she became angry, and S Hiva had to fix Ganesh by attaching an elephant's head to Ganesh. Ganesh is given a demigod status in the Hindu pantheon, and is suppossed to be a sort of an door god.
  • October 11, 2011
    TBeholder
    This still has no clear definition and not connected to any obvious function (gag, archetype, plot device, meme...). Just some blurry cloud of "neither X nor Y", already turning into a cancerous growth.
  • October 12, 2011
    Jhimmibhob
  • October 12, 2011
    surgoshan
    • Also from Angel, the fifth season gives us Ilyria, an Old One, a pure demon. Her current shell is too weak to contain her power, so Team Angel siphons off some of her power. So now she's a semi-human Old One with a fraction of her former strength.
  • October 12, 2011
    UglyShirts
    Comic Books
  • October 15, 2011
    ArcadesSabboth
    It's worth pointing out that most Exalted become what they are when a normal human's body and soul are combined/merged with a shard of literal divine power.
  • October 15, 2011
    ChickInTheMoonlight
    In the Percy Jackson book series, most of the main characters (at least the children) are demigods, born of a god and a human.
  • October 17, 2011
    LarryD
    And there all those Hanyo (Human/Youkai) in Manga/Anime.
  • October 18, 2011
    troacctid
    Please fix the Example Indentation before launching.
  • October 21, 2011
    ImaginationInterpreture
    Does Dragon Ball Z count? Gohan, Goten, and Trunks are all Demi-Saiyans.

    Also, Disgaea. Laharal is son of the former overlord and a human. And would that be a spoiler?
  • October 22, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^Saiyans are aliens, not purely supernatural creatures. Now, if there was some combination of Ki and mortal beings, that would count.
  • October 30, 2011
    Ryuuma
    The Delphaes in the The Shining Ones started as humans but now are slowly evolving into gods. As a result they possess awesome powers, but they can also melt alive anyone who gets too close to them. Eventually they fully evolve into gods and leave the earth forever.
  • November 19, 2011
    LiberatedLiberater
    Bumpity. Is this ready to launch?
  • November 19, 2011
    surgoshan
    It's got plenty of examples and five hats; I'd say yes.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=owfwath7770oj49skcmwmpou