A character that's not a fully supernatural being (such as a god
, spirit in general
, etc.), but has a touch of it or more in them. The character may be the offspring
of supernatural creatures and mortals, or is part of a race that's inherently part-supernatural or in between. For that matter, 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.
These characters 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.
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.
One can think of these characters as beings that are partly Made of Magic
beings in general).
As can be derived from the title, part-divine characters are one of the (if not, the
) most common examples, which is unsurprising, considering the fact that many gods in mythology have had rather promiscuous lifestyles, and this would naturally extend to modern-day fiction. It should be noted, however, that this trope applies to any mix or midway between "normal" and purely supernatural beings, so this isn't limited to the literal Semi-Divine.
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Anime and Manga
- All of the Claymores are half-human and half-youma except for Clare, who is only one-quarter youma. They're born human and become half-youma by taking youma flesh into their bodies. A fallen Claymore warrior is called an "Awakened One" and is far more powerful than a pure-blooded youma.
- Bleach: Ichigo Kurosaki is the child of a human mother and a Shinigami father, making him a human/ghost hybrid. His mother turns out to be a Quincy, making her a very special type of human.
- The White Court in The Dresden Files. Their souls are half demon due to 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).
- In 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 grandson 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 Greek god and a human.
- And the sequel to the series, The Heroes of Olympus, does the same. Many 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.
- In the Inheritance Trilogy, demons are the descendants of both god and mortal, and include Oree, the protagonist of the second book. Since demons are themselves mortal, but also partake of godhood, their blood is the only thing that can kill the genuinely-immortal gods.
- The Lord Ruler of Mistborn presents himself as a Physical God but is actually a human who briefly held a portion of the power of the god Preservation a millenium ago. Though he no longer possesses that power directly, while holding it he gained enough divine insight to make him scarily good at all three of the trilogy's forms of Functional Magic, rendering him immortal and virtually invincible. Word of God calls people like this from across the overall cosmology of Sanderson's works "Slivers".
- Subverted in The Wheel of Time with the Forsaken, who are basically considered minor evil deities under the power of the Dark One in-universe, but are really just very powerful, very evil humans (the gap between legend and reality being a major theme of the series). However, in the last two books Rand becomes this or something pretty close after fully coming into his Enlightenment Superpowers, and is even able to face the Dark One on fairly even footing at the end.
Live Action TV
- The vampires of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They retain their (enhanced) bodies and their 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 loses his divine power until he's basically human by the end of the season.
- 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.
- Leontius from Sound Horizon's Moira is noted to be descended from the Thunder God from his mother's side. As his siblings, so are Elefseus and Artemisia.
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 Alcmene.
- The swan sisters, Helen and Klytemnestra and their twin brothers Castor and Pollux: children of Zeus and Leda.
- 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 the city and fathered the people that would go on to later found 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.
- 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 taking 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.
- From Irish legend comes Cú Chulainn, the son of the mortal woman Deichtine and the sun god Lugh.
- In Japanese Mythology, the entirety of humankind (or maybe just the Japanese) itself is semi-divine, due to being descendants of the First Emperor, who in turn is a descendant of the Sun Goddess, who in turn is a descendant of one of the creator of the world.
- Furthermore, some humans can increase their divinity-level by being worshipped while still alive, they are known as arahitogami, or living-god.
- Phil, Prince of Insufficient Light in Dilbert.
- 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
- "The planetouched" all descended from outsiders — Tieflings and Aasimar are descendants of fiends and celestials, respectively.
- In D&D3 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).
- Planescape introduced proxies — mortals turned into extensions of the divine will and power.
- Forgotten Realms, with its endless tug-o-war between deities, got Chosen — mortals given a chunk of divine essence to carry and work with. Mystra is most known for keeping a bunch of these, because as the goddess of magic, she have to stash some power in mortals. They're "not quite mortals" — don't age or need to sleep, immune to any poisons, and so on. Unlike proxyhood, this can't be called off at will, and as such happens only when gods are quite sure they want to make this specific follower overpowered and near-immortal — though, of course, if a Chosen becomes enough of a problem, the respective deity is likely to send powerful and more loyal minions to take it from the renegade's dead body; this happened to The Rebel Chosen (killed by Elminster) and Sammaster after he went violently insane (killed by Khelben).
- Ubtao protects his faithful using Bara. These also have untouched will, but this status is explicitly contractual and can be easily lost through improper behaviour. Bara get immortality and an overpowered random signature ability. Known gifts included commanding any water creatures, raising undead with unlimited control, power over plant growth, and telekinesis strong enough to crush the Tarrasque beyond regeneration.
- 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 geneseed 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.
- The Demonspawn and Demigods of Dungeon Crawl. They can be created through magical experiments, breeding with demons and gods/angels, (un)holy pacts, or any number of other ways. The former are very versatile and have a wide range of (random, but usually powerful) abilities from their demonic mutations, but are weak against evil-smiting powers. The latter have the highest base attributes in the game, and have a lot of HP and mana pools, but they level slowly and can't worship a god, which is pretty bad, as a lot of powers and bonuses can only be gained through religion.
- In the Baldur's Gate series, the Bhaalspawn are the children of Bhaal, the Lord of Murder. He sired them so they would kill each other until none remained, at which point his essence that was scattered among them would have accumulated, and his chosen follower, Amelyssan, would have performed rituals that would have brought him back. Neither Amelyssan nor the last Bhaalspawn (the protagonist) complied to these plans, however.
- In fact, Amelyssan was something like 99% god by the end of the Throne of Bhaal expansion. After defeating her, the PC (him/her)self can choose to ascend to full godhood.
- Dante and Vergil of Devil May Cry are both the sons of Sparda, a demon who made other demons look like wet tissue paper in comparison.
- In F.E.A.R, the unnamed child that was produced by Alma Wade raping Michael Becket (the protagonist of Project Origin) certainly counts. It's even described as a ghost in the flesh.
- In Disgaea, Laharl is the son of the former overlord and a human.
- The Dragonborn of Skyrim, who was been born with the soul and blood of a dragon (who are otherwise known as aedric spirits), but has the body of a mortal.
- The Hito-Shura in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne is a curious case - the catalyst for his transformation into a half-demon was an artificial parasite forcefully implanted against his will. The implications are also notable; it is mentioned demons are wholly subservient to their nature in return to their immortality, and that humans are able to shape their own destinies, but are mortal in exchange, leaving the Hito-Shura as a truly interesting being with the best attributes of both races with none of the downsides - as lampshaded by a Loa near the entrance of the Labyrinth of Amala.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, it is eventually revealed that the Royal Family of Hyrule is descended from the goddess Hylia, as the first Zelda was her mortal reincarnation.
- Touhou has two Shrine Maiden characters Reimu and Sanae, both are on the way toward divinity, Sanae significantly ahead by virtue of rigorous training. It helps greatly that one of Sanae's ancestor is a goddess.
- 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.
- This actually does have an impact on the plot because one of Gilgamesh's Noble Phantasms, Enkidu, get's stronger the higher the target's Divinity Ranking.