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Rule of Seven
Right after three, seven is the most commonly used "ominous" number in fiction. This can be traced back to the ancient times; just think of the Seven Wonders, the Seven Days of Creation, or the Seven Hills of Rome. It is also common in many fairy tales.

In the natural world, one of the origins of this significance come from the seven celestial bodies that could be seen with the naked eye, (Sun, Moon, and the planets up to Saturn), that were worshiped as deities, and the days named after them were the days of the week.

Later, natural phenomena were intentionally shoehorned into this "significant" number, for example the colors of the rainbow and the number of continents can be seven, depending on how you count them.

Since The Bible, especially the Book of Revelation, uses it repeatedly, seven became even more famous as a divine number, or as the number of perfection.

Lucky Seven is a subtrope about examples where it is considered a lucky number. Also see Magical Seventh Son, Seven Deadly Sins.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Seven Dragon Balls.
  • Seven Rainbow Crystals in the Sailor Moon anime.
  • Seven Celestial Warriors.
  • Seven Shichibukai. There were also seven Straw Hat Pirates for a considerable length of time (then they gained more crew members).
  • Seven Swordsmen of the Mist. Also, the ninja academy graduates each year are assigned to numbered squads. Guess which squad the main character ended up in.
  • Nana uses this rather prominently: both of the main characters are named Nana (a Japanese reading for the number 7), and they share an apartment numbered 707. Subverted in that neither of the two main characters' names use the kanji for 7.
  • The Sexy Seven from Claymore.
  • In Fairy Tail, all the dragons (except, apparently, the jerkass black dragon) disappeared seven years ago. On July Seventh of the year 777.
    • Seven years later, Black Mage Zeref decides to end his exile, and the dragon Acnologia appears and assault the strongest member of Fairy Tail on Tenrou Island, who disappear for seven years. And then after the Grand Magic Games, Future Rogue brings seven dragons from the past, and seven Dragonslayer mages fight them.
      • Regarding the Grand Magic Games, after the disqualification of Raven Tail, seven teams participated until both Fairy Tail teams are combined into one in the second-to-last day. On the other hand, the eight teams were participating for seven different guilds.
  • Shuya Nanahara from Battle Royale, with the "Nana" in his last name meaning seven. Used to be nicknamed "Wild 7" when he played baseball, which is also the brand of cigarettes Shogo Kawada smokes.
  • Seven types of Dying Will Flames. Because of this, all important groups of people also come in sets of seven.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has Johan's Crystal Beast monster spirits; when all 7 are gathered he can summon his ace monster Rainbow Dragon. (Its evil twin Rainbow Dark Dragon works in a similar fashion).
    • Inverted in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, where Season 1 antagonists the Dark Signers and their signature monsters, the Earthbound Gods, number seven in all.
    • The seven Millennium Items in the original Yu-Gi-Oh!.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL gives us the Seven Barian Emperors who wield the seven Over-Hundred Numbers.
  • Pokémon: Jirachi Wishmaker: Wishing Star of the Seven Nights.
  • Saint Seiya has seven Odin Saints (each guarding one of the seven Sapphire Stones), as well as seven Marine Saints.
  • YuYu Hakusho has the villainous seven espers, the seventh of which has seven personalities.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind takes place 1000 years after the world was nearly destroyed by the God-Soldiers in the "Seven Days of Fire".
  • Though not all were revealed, both the 777 Tools of Demon World (which also uses the Rule of Three) and the 7 Weapons of the Demon Emperor from Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, seven of twelve Numbers make a Heel-Face Turn. Ironically, Sette, the number VII among them, doesn't.
  • Father from Fullmetal Alchemist has seven Homunculi as his children. They are based of the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • The Seven Stakes of Purgatory from Umineko no Naku Koro ni are also based of the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • Seven Shichibukai. There were also seven Straw Hat Pirates for a considerable length of time (then they gained more crew members).

    Ballads 

    Comic Books 
  • DC's Seven Soldiers of Victory, both in the Golden Age and in the anthology series by Grant Morrison.
    • In Seven Soldiers #0, a team is assembled with only six members because one didn't show up. Dan the Dyno-mite remarks that the significance of the number 7 can't be overstated, especially since 6 is extremely unlucky in comparison. Then they all die.
  • The "Big Seven" - the original members of the Justice League of America - Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter. In Grant Morrison's JLA, the original seven are reunited, except with Legacy Characters for the then-dead Green Lantern and Flash. In the New 52, Cyborg is now a founding member rather than the Martian Manhunter, but the number is still seven.
    • Grant Morrison also did a story arc titled "Synchronicity," where various occurrences resulting from a probability-altering machine including seven separate villains attacking Washington DC simultaneously to Martian Manhunter calling in the Atom because he was the seventh "new member" since the League's inception.
  • Warren Ellis often used this in his Wild Storm work: the faux JLA in Storm Watch, the pulp era heroes in the first issue of Planetary (and the other faux JLA that they fight), and the members of The Authority (whose leader Lampshades the trope).
  • "The Seven" are the main superhero team in The Boys.
  • Scott Pilgrim: Seven Evil Exes. Gideon takes the "seven" motif Up to Eleven. He then takes it up to twelve in The Movie, even stating after he swallows his gum that "It's gonna be in my digestive tract for SEVEN YEARS!"
  • The Mexican superhero Kalimán is The Seventh Descendant of the Seventh Dynasty of the goddess Kali, and must renew his vow to fight injustice every seven years.
  • The seven Endless from The Sandman; Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium.
  • The seven aspects of the emotional spectrum from 2000s-era Green Lantern, and the Lantern Corps that use each of them: red rage (Red Lantern Corps), orange avarice (Agent Orange), yellow fear (Sinestro Corps), green willpower (Green Lantern Corps), blue hope (Blue Lantern Corps), indigo compassion (Indigo Tribe), and violet love (Star Sapphires).
  • For some time, The Avengers were forced into a seven-member roster by the government. It's since become the average roster size.
  • In Blaze, seven is identified as a powerful mystical number that can hurt demons and undead beings.

    Fairy Tales 

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter:
    • Invoked by Voldemort, who planned on splitting his own soul into seven pieces — six Soul Jars plus the piece still in his body. Then he made Harry the seventh Horcrux without knowing it...
    • Seven books for seven years at Hogwarts.
    • Seven Weasley children.
    • This would have culminated with book 7 being released on 7/7/07, but the bomb attacks on London the year before put a damper on that, so the publisher released it on the 21st (7+7+7) instead.
  • Practically every number you encounter in the Septimus Heap series is either somehow related to the number seven (often the result of adding the numbers together), or an homage to something or other. There's even a list at the end of the first book.
  • Subverted in Discworld, where the most magical number is 8. Magic being a very dangerous thing to play with, there are a lot of superstitions around the number (some people insist on calling it "7a").
  • Gilbert L. Morris' books "The Seven Sleepers" series is about seven teenagers who have adventures in a post-nuclear attacked world.
  • "Seven Little Monsters".
  • Lampshaded in Lord Darcy stories, where the characters are making fun of a sect for thinking 7 is a magical number - in that world's magic, only five - and, to a lesser extent, six - are.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Seven Rings of the seven Dwarf Lords; also a Shout-Out to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".
    • And the seven sons of Fëanor.
    • The flag of the kings of Gondor depicts seven stars with the White Tree, and there are seven palantíri.
  • Night Watch has seven levels of Twilight.
  • Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix has seven Morrow Days who are Trustees of seven Parts of The Will which each represent one of the Seven Heavenly Virtues and wield seven magic Keys, who each hold jurisdiction over one of the seven days of the week and are in charge of one of the seven parts of The House and due to breaking their contracts, each suffer from one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Seven is an Arc Number of the series. It's associated with the the Faith of the Seven, the dominant religion in the main setting, the Seven Kingdoms. There are seven aspects of god, septagon-shaped temples called septs, seven hells, seven members of the Kingsguard, etc. George R. R. Martin is currently planning on making the series seven books long; whether he'll actually be able to do that is another matter.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, von Horn has not set foot on a place under American jurisdiction in seven years.
  • In Patricia A. McKillip's The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, when Sybel asks Coren how it is that an ordinary human knows so much about the beasts in her care, he explains it by telling her that he's the seventh son of a seventh son.
  • In Alethea Kontis's Enchanted, Sunday's parents are a seventh son and a seventh daughter. Her father wanted the seventh son of a seventh son, but her mother said, seven sons or seven daughters, whichever came first. With Sunday's birth, his dream was dashed.
  • In Seanan McGuire's October Daye novel Rosemary And Rue, Toby contemplates how she vanished longer than the seven years necessary to declare a human dead.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, seven years pass between Tom's disappearance and Jenny's following him.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, there are seven fairies in each series and seven magical items Jack Frost stole.
  • In Juliet Marillier's The Sevenwaters Trilogy, Sorrcha is the seventh child of a seventh son, which allows her to break the curse. When her half-brother is born, he is the seventh son of a seventh son, which has great mystical meaning. Also, as the name of the trilogy mentions, they live at Sevenwaters, which has a lake in the centre with seven streams feeding into it.

    Live Action TV 
  • Extreme Makeover Home Edition built seven homes for seven familes in seven days in their finale.
  • Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined): The "significant seven" Cylons. Subverted: There used to be eight, and #7 was unlucky enough to be Abel to Cavil's Cain.
  • Seven mysterious Plot Coupons in Defying Gravity, each located on a different astronomical object.
  • Survivor season seven winner Sandra Diaz-Twine became the first (and, so far, only) two-time winner by winning season 20, seven years after her first win.
  • Doctor Who's A Good Man Goes to War was the 7th episode in its series, and the 777th in the show's nearly fifty-year run. Three days after it aired, on June 7, the BBC officially announced Series 7.
    • This was later followed by one of the Executive Producers announcing her departure from the show, at the end of the season, on 7/7.
    • Series 7 will be the 49th (7 times 7) year of Doctor Who.
  • Merlin had the seven Knights of Medhir.
  • In Power Rangers:
    • Season 7, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, was the one where the franchise broke away from the continuous storyline of previous years and began telling a new separate story each year.
    • Due to escalation of the use of the Sixth Ranger, Power Rangers S.P.D. and Power Rangers RPM eventually got seven full-time members each. (A bit of a subversion with SPD, though, as the numbers on their suits were 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, VI for 6, and... 100.)
    • RPM also finished its run, and with it Disney-produced new episodes, with the franchise's 700th episode. Incidentally, it was Season 17.

    Music 

    Pinball 
  • The Doctor Who pinball game has the player "collecting" (so to speak) the seven Doctors. It may not have been intentional, since there were only seven of them when the game was made in 1992, but it still counts.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • Several religions regard 777 (Rule of Three and Rule of Seven united) as special:
    • According to the American publication, the Orthodox Study Bible, 777 represents the threefold perfection of the Trinity. Satan the arrogant and imperfect, is represented with 666.
    • A collection of Aleister Crowley's writings is entitled 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
  • The Seven Heavenly Virtues
  • Seven occurs all over The Bible — seven days of creation; David was the seventh of his father's sons. In Revelation, The Dragon has seven heads, The Beast has seven heads with seven crowns, seven churches in Asia Minor, seven seals, seven last plagues...
  • Many Abrahamic traditons include seven heavens.
  • The Seven Sleepers
  • In mythology, the seventh son of a seventh son is said to be either magical or a vampire. Iron Maiden's Rock Opera Seventh Son of a Seventh Son was about such a child.
  • Any jolly sailor worth his salt will brag about his encounters along the Seven Seas (actually oceans), and brave adventurers in the days of old Arabia will travel across the Seven Deserts.
  • The Seven Lucky Gods of Japanese mythology.
  • The seven Maskim in Mesopotamian Mythology, described in a famous poem beginning, "They are Seven! They are Seven!"
  • The Jade Emperor of Chinese mythology has seven daughters, the youngest (seventh) is the one that has the most stories associated with her.
  • The Qixi festival is held on the 7th day of the 7th month in the lunar calendar, and is supposed to be the day that its two namesake stars (Altair/Cowherder and Vega/Weaver Girl) are closest to each other.
  • In the Book of Judges, the phrase "The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD" is mentioned 7 times, which states that the Israelites begin return to their sin after God saves them.
  • In Useful Notes/Islam odd numbers in general, and especially odd primes, are considered auspicious, as they represent the unity and indivisibility of God; therefore, it shouldn't be any surprise that seven shows up at several points in Islam, although not as much as five. The most prominent is probably the Iman al-Mufassil, or Detailed Statement of Faith, in Sunni Islam, which states: "I believe in God [1] and His Angels [2], His Books [3] and His Messengers [4], in the Day of Judgment [5], that all things good or ill are the will/fate of God [6], and in resurrection after death [7].

    Video Games 
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Bowser has seven minions collectively known as the Koopalings. Bowser Jr., his son, became the eighth in later games.
    • Seven Star Pieces in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
    • Seven Star Spirits in Paper Mario 64.
    • Seven Crystal Stars in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
    • Super Paper Mario has eight Pure Hearts, but you start the game with one of them, so you've still got to get seven.
    • Mario Kart 7, the first game in the series to be numbered this way. Also the debut of the Lucky Seven item, which gives an assortment of seven weapons.
    • In the early days of the series, there were seven Mushroom Retainers.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Seven Princesses of Purest Heart from Kingdom Hearts. And the seven Sleeping Keyholes from Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance].
  • Seven needles in Mother 3.
  • Seven personalities in Killer7, along with a revolver that has seven chambers. The game is also divided into seven chapters.
  • In Resident Evil 4, a gun named Killer7 costs 77700 ptas, and has initially a seven-bullet capacity.
  • Prominent in the Halo series
    • There have been whole groves of Epileptic Trees over how almost every arbitrary number in the series is somehow related to 7. One of the more obvious ones is 117, Master Chief's operating number, and that there are seven of the eponymous Halo rings or were, before MC blew one up in the first game.
    • This has been a Running Gag at Bungie since the Marathon trilogy. Consider.
    • 343 Guilty Spark and 343 Industries. 343 is 7ł.
  • All over the place with Punch-Out!! Wii's version of Aran Ryan. He always gets up from a knockdown on the seventh count, you can hit him seven times when he's stunned, and sevens pop up in his challenges in Exhibition Mode. He's Irish, so it's a "lucky seven"/"luck of the Irish" gag.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII (figures) has something interesting happen if a character's HP hits 7777. The Lucky Seven concept continues in the prequel Crisis Core, where getting three Sevens on the Digital Mind Wave (the battle system's slot-machine gimmick) will level up your character.
    • Final Fantasy IX contains the attack "Lucky 7s", a Shout-Out to the above.
  • The seventh Touhou game is the only one to feature the "Supernatural Border" system, which can and will save your life on occasion. It is also the first game in the series to have visible hitboxes. Also, most of the games have a total of 7 stages - 6 normal and the Extra. The 2 exceptions are Story of Eastern Wonderland (with only 6) and Perfect Cherry Blossom (Phantasm = 8).
  • Stage 7 of Battle Garegga is home to a very popular scoring trick involving using bombs on the penultimate boss's grenades.
  • DJMAX Technika has a song called "Area 7".
  • There are seven tetrominoes in Tetris: I, T, O, S, Z, L, J.
  • In Gradius Gaiden, stage 8 of the first loop has six bosses. On the second loop, it gains a seventh boss, Heaven's Gate.
  • In Pokémon, the best you can get at the slots in the Game Corner is triple sevens.
    • In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, the Sevii Islands are are seven normally accessible islands (though certain event lets you access two more) and they were all created in 7 days, according to a lady on Quest Island, the seventh island. Quest Island itself also houses the seven botany-themed Tanoby Chambers, which are chock full of Unown and shrouded in mystery. Additionally, there are seven beta "Sevii Islands" that are not accessible during normal gameplay.
    • Pokémon Emerald Version introduces Gym Leader-like individuals known as the seven Frontier Brains, each of whom heads a unique battling facility. To attain success in said facilities, one must repeatedly win by defeating sets of seven Trainers in a row. There are a few exceptions, though.
    • In Generation V, the villainous Team Plasma includes a group of high-ranking members known as the Seven Sages.
    • Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Time, Darkness, and Sky all feature the Seven Treasures, items which are obtained by defeating seven bosses that guard seven secret dungeons.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • No More Heroes references Killer7 with the Lovikov Balls, as there are 49 of them in total (7 x 7), seven are required for a new ability, of which there are seven as well (each of them based on one of Emir's personalities from Killer 7). Also, one of the Dark Side powers are enabled when the jackpot (which appears every time an enemy is killed) hits 777. In No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, both training courses in Ryan's gym have seven levels each.
  • In the backstory of the Dragon Age games, Chantry lore claims that the Blight appeared on Thedas when seven ancient Tevinter Magisters traveled to the Golden City of the Maker in an attempt to steal his power. Their invasion of the City corrupted it into the Black City, and they returned to Thedas as the first Darkspawn. The Chantry's lore is all but confirmed in the Dragon Age II DLC "Legacy" with the appearance of Corypheus, one of the original Magisters, who acts as the Final Boss. There are also seven old gods, which means there should be seven blights.
  • The fifth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney features a police ID that is all 7's. That ID belongs to Police Chief Damon Gant, the murderer of both the current case and the SL-9 Incident.
  • The number seven is huge in Tales of the Abyss. Seven fonons for seven elements. Seven fonstones. Six party members, but Mieu makes seven companions, while Asch is something of the seventh playable character. Six God Generals, but their leader makes seven antagonists. Overlaps with Arc Number.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd's review of Kid Kool (whose full name is Kid Kool and the Quest for the Seven Wonder Herbs), the Nerd says that the game has a story that says that the king has a terminal illness, and that Kid Kool has to find the aptly named Seven Wonder Herbs.
    AVGN: Yeah, I bet the game designers were smoking seven different herbs.
  • PeanutButterGamer always has 7 people in his Hardcore series.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Seven continents on Earth
  • Seven seas
  • Seven days in a week
    • Which is, in turn, caused by the presence of seven celestial objects regularly visible from Earth — the sun, moon and five planets.
  • Seven colours of the rainbow. This is actually a contrivance of Sir Isaac Newton, a well-known scientist and not-well-known mystic. Observing the spectrum of sunlight produced by his prism, he convinced himself that the area between blue and purple was a separate colour, indigo, because seven colours would fit his numerology better. The joke of this is, he missed a real seventh colour: cyan, between green and blue. In Russian language, cyan IS addressed as the true seventh color.
  • As a homage to this trope, the highest jackpots on a slot machine is often assigned to three 7s.
  • 21 (7×3) in blackjack.
  • Seven is the most likely roll of a pair of standard six-sided dice. In craps, you can win by rolling a seven (or eleven) first, and lose by getting seven on any subsequent roll. The fact that seven is the most likely sum for the outcome of rolling two dice (with a probability of 1/6) is likely the origin of the whole "seven is a lucky number" superstition.
  • In chemistry, the pH scale is neutral at 7. And it's not arbitrary at all, since H+ molarity in water is approximately 10^(-7), and pH is a logarithmic scale (though the mole's value, from which molarity comes, is indeed a fixed one).
  • The number of daughters of Atlas in the Pleiades (also called the "Seven Sisters").
  • And by analogy, "The Seven Sisters" is used to refer to:
    • The seven historic women's colleges of the United States (Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Radcliffe, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley).
    • The seven largest oil companies in the world from 1940 to 1973. More specifically, they were part of the Consortium for Iran oil cartel. Before they were sidelined by OPEC, the seven were responsible for a rather large amount of unpleasantness in the Middle East. They are (current names): BP, Gulf Oil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, Esso, Exxon-Mobil, and So Cal.
    • The original seven Hollywood film companies.
    • The seven main denominations of the American Protestant church: Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, Baptist, and Reformed.
  • Almost all mammals have seven cervical vertebrae.
  • A ladybug has seven spots.
  • Seven is the atomic number of nitrogen, which makes up the majority of Earth's atmosphere.
  • Ask people to randomly choose a digit from 0 to 9 and they're more likely to pick 7 than any other.
  • In physics and metrology, there are seven SI base units: Meter (length), kilogram (mass), second (time), kelvin (temperature), mole (amount of substance), ampere (electric current), and candela (luminous intensity).
  • Television channels with the number seven love this.
  • Microsoft Windows 7, the first to use the numbering scheme in its marketing since way back with Windows 3.1.
  • The reason Ian Fleming gave James Bond the number 007 is because of Real Life Elizabethan spy John Dee, who would sign his letter to Queen Elizabeth I as "007" - the 00 indicating the letter was for her eyes only, and "7" being the luckiest number.

Six Student CliqueNumber TropesLucky Seven
Rousing SpeechOlder Than FeudalismRule of Three
Rule of SexyLaws and FormulasRule of Symbolism
Rule of ThreeFairy Tale TropesThe Runt at the End

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