"Nothing tears us apart. In Greek mythology, the Titans were greater even than the gods. They ruled their universe with absolute power. Well that football field out there, that's our universe. Let's rule it like titans."In Classical Mythology, the Titans (and their Primordial parents before them) were ancient godly beings that had ruled reality, until they were overthrown by the Olympians in the Titanomachynote . Titans and primordials have since been featured in many works of fiction, and have several common traits among their varying depictions. These include:
— Coach Boone, Remember the Titans
- Being incredibly huge. Usually even bigger than giants.
- Having tremendous power, which often rivals, if not surpasses, the gods themselves.
- Being extremely old. As in, they're the first things to ever exist, old. If this is the case, the Titans in question might be some kind of primordial entities, and may very well be Anthropomorphic Personifications or completely inhuman monsters. Due to their age, they often serve as Precursors to the gods.
- As a consequence of the above two traits, the titans often have a rivalry/animosity/connection with the gods of the setting. This may have led to their doom.
- They probably created the world/universe the setting takes place in. Or are the setting.
- The biggest variable would be their appearance. They often range from looking human-ish (if somewhat larger than normal), to something that can't be described by mere words.
- Their other big variable is their morality. This generally goes along with their appearance, for if they look human, they'll probably act human, and if they do look like Eldritch Abominations, they'll act accordingly. Occasionally, a writer may switch the two traits around.
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Anime and Manga
- The titular titans of Attack on Titan (Kyojin, or Giants in the original Japanese) are mysterious, giant (starting from 3 meters, to 60 meters tall), Nigh Invulnerablenote Humanoid Abominations with a powerful Healing Factor and varying intelligence who feed exclusively on humans and have been attacking humanity for just over a century.
- The Incredible Hercules - The Titans and Chronos are imprisoned behind sealed doors, and they break free when the Incredible Hulk accidentally breaks the seal. The exception is Atlas, who is placed at The Axis of the world (center of the world that sometimes moves, changing the political situation of the world, and can also serve as a nexus to all the mystical foundations of the world).
- The Titans from the New Titans story "Who Is Wonder Girl?" (one of the earlier attempts to give Donna Troy an actual origin) were absolutely indistinguishable from their Greek and Roman children, falling on the "nice" end of the morality scale as a result by abducting random orphan baby girls throughout the cosmos, raising them to have super powers, then rewriting their memories to forget this before sending them back to their homeworlds (which somehow atones for the whole "eating their offspring" bit from myth). This also subconsciously influenced Donna to suggest the name "Teen Titans" via retcon.
- The "aunts" and "uncles" (and presumably, parents) of Luna and Celestia in Under The Northern Lights. They are vast elemental beings which created the world and its intelligent species (learning the latter from the much younger Luna and Celestia when their toys turned into the first ponies because the sisters loved them so much - so yeah, ponies originated as toys of two little girls). The one we have seen in the fic is the water being called Karhu-Akka by reindeer. She combines traits of bear, cow, squid and whale, and now sleeps in the shape of a huge glacier. If she awakes, horrible things will happen. Her rolling over in her sleep when Discord got free is one of the causes for the crisis in the fic, one which might kill all life in a country. Luna, however, remembers her as a kind aunt who played with her and Celestia by the sea and gave them wonderful toys. Their greatuncles and greataunts, however, are pure Eldritch Abomination, seen in a vision as "lights... sounds... patterns of magic in a black sphere that itched the brain and made the soul cry". Discord is one of them.
- In the Pony POV Series, Titans are, instead of primordial deities, mortals who have obtained the might and power of a God, but have not become true deities and lack the cosmic responsibility that comes with this. Lord Tirek, King Lavan, the Sirens, and Lilith the Witch Queen are all examples of Titans, being mortals who mutated into world threatening sapient cataclysms.
- Discworld's mix-and-match approach to mythology means that while the Gods are mostly Greco-Roman in nature, the Titan-like figures they overthrew are the Ice Giants.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians has the Titans looking almost exactly like normal humans, with the exception of Oceanus. Kronos is possessing Luke and so looks just like him except for having solid gold eyes. The Titans are about as tough as the Olympians, and Kronos is apparently even more so.
- Kronos is also notably inhuman, possessing "eyes like miniature suns" and skin resembling "polished pennies" that is usually perpetually covered with fire
- The Dragon Crown War has the Oromise who fill the "titan" niche. The oldest intelligent beings in the universe, they were also the creators of many other racesnote and were in general beings of tremendous magical power to the point of being essentially gods. However, they had a falling-out with their closest peers, the dragons, that ended with them getting imprisoned beneath the earth. By the time of the series, barely anyone remembers they existed, and even the eldest dragons can no longer recall what they looked like although Big Bad Chytrine - and possibly her predecessor, Kirun - works to restore them to power, in exchange for magic and arcane knowledge no other mortal possesses.
Live Action TV
- In Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle once read a scroll and woke up three Titans, 30 foot giants who repaired the town. The three Titans had a cunning plan to make Gabrielle read the second scroll which would awake 1,000 other Titans and destroy the world.
- In Supernatural, Chronos shows up in season seven as a time traveler who needs to kill to control where he can time travel to, and is seeking to get back to his love. An amnesiac Prometheus shows up in season eight.
- In Charmed, the Titans are a group of supernatural beings who terrorized ancient Greece and were then imprisoned until the present day. They are certainly powerful enough to be worthy of the myths of the Titans (enough so to scale the heavens and kill almost all of the Elders (angels), but they don't seem to have the kind of cosmic significance you might expect from a creation myth.
Mythology and Religion
- The word 'Asura' in Indian Mythology (which includes Hinduism, Buddhism, and several other religions) is usually translated as demon, or "fighting fiend", but in actuality, "Titan" would be the closest equivalent. Their godly counterparts are the 'Devas'.
- Inverted in Zoroastrianism, where the 'Ahuras' are the good guys and the 'Daeva' are 'false gods' . It helps to know that the two regions where they were worshiped are neighbors, so it's more a case of opposed cultures and pantheons, than direct succession. There's even etymological & behavioral links between the the Ahura/Asura and the Norse Aesir, further confusing the matter.
- Norse Mythology is quite similar to the classical/Greek one. The Jotunn (giants) are basically a mix of the Titans and Protogenoi.
- Classical Mythology, of course, is the Trope Namer for Titans, and their Protogenoi/Primordial parents count as well.
- Japanese Mythology: Izanagi, Izanami, and the obscure deities who appeared before them. The obscure deities no longer appear in the universe. Izanami died giving birth to god of fire Kagutsuchi, and Izanagi is too grief-stricken to have anything to do with the world. The current pantheon consists of Izanami's daughter Amaterasu and the rest of the gods in Takamagahara.
- Irish Mythology had the Fomorians, a monstrous, supernatural race which ruled over Ireland until the Tuatha Dé Danann came along.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, titans are a race of outsiders (creatures native to the outer planes) who happen to be about 25 feet tall, so they're not only celestial giants, they are taller than the tallest "normal" giants. Every aspect of them is perfect. In addition, they can cast powerful spells and speak several languages as standard abilities for the race. At a starting CR of 21, a titan with no other skills is equal to an epic-level Player Character in battle. In contrast to their usual portrayals, they're also (slightly) weaker than the gods and act as their servants. They are traditionally Chaotic Good and live on the plane of Arborea (also known as Olympus), though the Greek titans (Cronus, et al) are imprisoned in Carceri (Tartarus).
- There are also the Epic-Tier monsters known as Elder Titans, who have more Hit Dice than most deities, more spellcasting levels than most deities in both arcane and divine, have epic spellcasting as the rule rather than exception, and have all-round better stats. They lack the gods' divine salient abilities and maxed HP, but they could definitely throw down with the gods on a similar level, suggesting the above are the younger, weaker generation.
- The Primordials (also known as Dawn Titans) of the 4th Edition are a mix of this trope and Elemental Embodiment. The class of creatures known as titans are the Primordials' first creations, who sided with their parents in the war against the gods and in turn created the various races of giants.
- In Pathfinder, titans were the first creations of the gods, and half of them rebelled against their creators in the equivalent of the Titanomachy. The giants are their degenerate descendants. The titans who fought against the gods were imprisoned in the Abyss, while those who remained loyal live in Elysium.
- In Scarred Lands, the Titans held sway over the planet Scarn, treating it as their plaything, creating and destroying casually as they went. Their children, the major gods, objected to this, as the Titans were laying waste to the world and their worshippers, and went to war against them; since the Titans could not be truly killed, the gods imprisoned and/or crippled the Titans so they could no longer roam free. One Titan, Denev the Earth Mother, sided with the gods, and remained free after the war, bending her efforts towards restoring Scarn. The setting's present day is about 150 years after the war ended, and there's a long way to go before Scarn is healed.
- In Scion, Titans are Eldritch Abominations, elemental embodiments of fundamental concepts such as Sky, Fire, Darkness, Time, and Chaos, who are free of human shaping, hard to comprehend, and shape reality simply by existing. The Titans spawned the earliest gods, who sought to avoid being devoured by their predatory parents by anchoring themselves to humanity. Doing so allowed the gods to rise up against the Titans and imprison them; unfortunately, in the last few decades, the Titans have broken free, and once more seek their children's destruction.
- Exalted has the Primordials, eldritch beings of vast power who built Creation and then created the gods as their slave janitors. The gods got fed up with their cruddy jobs and had the Exalted overthrow the Primordials (while they stole their bosses' crack stash), but it turns out that killing some of them broke the universe.
- To elaborate, the death of several Primordials in the setting's equivalent of the Titanomachy is the reason The Underworld exists. One of the Primordials who surrendered, as a parting shot before her imprisonment, erased, by some estimates, ninety percent of Creation from existence down to a conceptual level.
- The two remaining Primordials, who sided with the gods, are: Gaia (the Earth Mother, creator of the Five Elemental Dragons, who is in some way connected to Creation) and Autochthon (the inventor of Exaltation and the patron of technology, who later fled to Elsewhere and became a planet made of Steampunk). Both of them also happen to be the kindest of the Primordials even prior to the war, with Gaia having an all-encompassing empathy and Autochthon being particularly fond of humans and their skill at technology.
- In 2e you can become a Titan yourself, if you're a Green Sun Prince. This means you tie your personal legend into Creation, and exist forevermore barring serious disasters. Since one of the Titans destroyed 90% of Creation back then, the job vacancy of Titan-hood is always open.
- In the Role Aids supplement Giants, the Titans were the first giants. They had godlike abilities and powers, including the ability to cast any spell at will, and have artistic abilities that outmatch those of any other culture.
- Many creatures in Magic: The Gathering are referred to as Titans, typically Giants or Beasts, but the best fit would be the cycle of five introduced in Magic 2011.
- In Ars Magica, the Greek titans and Norse jotnar are powerful beings of the Magic Realm. More generally, the Kosmokrators and Protogonoi are immensely powerful magical beings governing cosmic principles such as time, love, or night. Very few magi are powerful enough to get involved with them.
- The Titan unit from Age of Mythology: The Titans. In game, Titans serve as the Pantheon of the Atlantean civilization, with Kronos, Oranos and Gaia as main gods, and others serving as minor ones. Barring Oceanus (who is blue-skinned, but otherwise human-looking) and Kronos (who is a giant rock demon), all of them look like Olympians. Furthermore, it's possible for a civilization to summon a gargantuan, city-destroying Titan to fight for them: Greeks have Cerberus, Egyptians have Horus, Norse have Ymir and Atlantineans have Perses. Yes, they took a little artistic license here and there....
- Titans are powerful units, lightning-wielding-giants, on the Wizard/Academy side in the Heroes of Might and Magic games.
- Final Fantasy: Titan is an Earth-elemental summon who originally caused a great earthquake to do damage to enemies, but in Final Fantasy VII, for example, he picks up the ground the enemies are standing on, flips it over, and smashes it down. This guy dwarfs half of said game's bosses. The other half aren't dwarfed per se, but they're still smaller.
- In God of War, barring those who look like Olympians like Helios, Prometheus and Rhea, all the other Titans are mountain-sized beings that look somewhat human-ish. Some also are Elemental Embodiment(s) like Perses (Lava), Oceanus (Water/Lightning), Epimetheus (Rock), Gaea (Nature) and Typhon (Wind), who wasn't even a Titan in the myths. note
- Titan Quest: there are the Telkines, eldritch-looking sorcerers with tentacles instead of legs that are said to be remnants of the Titans. In the last part of the game you have to defeat Typhon, a huge four-armored behemoth with tons of attacks.
- The Titans in Ogre Battle March Of The Black Queen are upgraded Giants, who are large, club-wielders, and are Wind/Lightning-aligned, and Palette Swap(s) of the other Giant upgrade classes like Frost/Fire Giants and vice versa.
- Titans in Dwarf Fortress are, essentially, ginormous randomized creatures spewing things like fire or random disease carrying clouds which can literally be made of anything. They're usually a bitch to kill, as they're immune to traps, temperature (including magma), pain, hunger, drowning, and a lot of other things. This varies significantly with what material, though: ones made of metals rival Bronze Colossi for Nigh-Invulnerability, but you'll occasionally get one made of a liquid that breaks into pieces with a single strike. Forgotten Beasts are a similar class of creature except found underground instead of above-ground.
- Rygar has Titans as the main enemies. Some of them are living statues - some of them are apparently little worm-monsters.
- In Warcraft Titans are a race of Magitek-using demi-gods who have the self-imposed duty of bringing order to the cosmos. They travel from world to world, terraforming them and populating them with seed races, usually golems or mechanical in nature though they were corrupted by the Old Gods to be made of flesh. After their work is done they depart for new worlds, leaving behind Watchers to maintain any facilities.
- Despite their name, the Titans actually resemble Sufficiently Advanced Aliens or Precursors more then any kind of God or Titan. Therefore, they'll be more at home in a Sci-Fi Space Opera then in High Fantasy. Consider that Warcraft and Starcraft share the same core writer...note
- The Old Gods fit closer to this trope, chaotic beings who sowed the first forms of life on Azeorth, controlled the elements, and were eventually defeated by a new pantheon. Though defeated the Old Gods are not gone and have been working to undermine the work of the Titans and reclaim Azeroth for themselves.
- Xenoblade has the entire universe be composed of an endless sea where the two titans stand. These country-sized titansnote are the organic Bionis and the mechanical Mechonis. It is said that they waged in battle ages ago, before eventually reaching a stand-still. As the years passed, this lead to life growing in them, and the growth of a conflict between the people of Bionis and the Mechon from Mechonis.
- In Hercules, the Titans are Chaotic Evil elemental beings imprisoned by Zeus. Hades' Evil Plan is to free them and use them to storm Mount Olympus and take over.
- The animated series has appearances by Prometheus and Atlas, who are more human-looking and considerably more benign, though Atlas is still a self-centered jerk.
- Hercules and Xena – The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus: "Boom shakalakalaka boom shakalakalaka."