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A Muggle Born of Mages
is someone privy to The Masquerade
, born to parents with Magic and Powers
, but entirely mundane himself. He ought to be just as powerful, but he isn't. No fear, though: the world is full of Muggles
and no one comments. He can simply become one of them.
In other words, he's way better off than the Un-Sorcerer.
In the Un-Sorcerer's world, there is
no Masquerade, because Everyone Is a Super
...except him. Magic healing doesn't help, and neither does therapy. The kids at school tease him
. He can't operate Magitek
. He can't even claim to be a Badass Normal
, because normal people have the Power!
As bad as this sounds, though, there's a silver lining: someday, it will turn out that his unique status is an asset to him
. He may be immune to magical attacks
, or to The Corruption
. Maybe he really has a game-breakingly awesome power that takes a long time to manifest
. Maybe there's an Ancient Artifact
that only activates for someone with no magic. Or perhaps, lacking a crutch
, the Un-Sorcerer develops a Charles Atlas Superpower
in a world of Squishy Wizards
. What's certain is that the Un-Sorcerer will go far, and may even be The Chosen One
An Un-Sorcerer can only survive by averting Hard Work Hardly Works
. Contrast Super Hero
. See also Muggles Do It Better
. Usually played as An Aesop
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Anime & Manga
- Rygart from Break Blade is the Trope Namer, having no power over quartz and consequently being unable to operate any complex machinerynote , with the exception of an ancient and super-powerful golem that refused to respond to anyone else. It's heavily suggested that this is because he is the only person the golem recognizes as being actually human.
- Rock Lee from Naruto, the only Konoha ninja who can't perform Ninjutsu or Genjutsu (offensive and illusion magic), but he's a Taijutsu (martial arts) expert.
- His mentor Might Guy also used to be like Lee, but now he can use Ninjutsu. However, he doesn't need it and almost never uses it because his Taijutsu is superb and he's one of the strongest Konoha ninjas. Madara Uchiha even acknowledges Guy as the greatest Taijutsu user he's even encountered.
- The hero of Iris Zero lives in a world, where most of the children is born with Magical Eyes and was once thought to have the power to tell what other people's powers are. He's really just incredibly clever.
- Louise the Zero from Zero no Tsukaima developed an enormous ego and hair-trigger temper to compensate for her lack of magical powers, something that defines nobility in her world. It turns out she actually has a very rare and powerful magical ability: Void Magic, the legendary Fifth Element...which happens to be explosion/energy-based magic.
- Edward Elric becomes this at the end of Fullmetal Alchemist (the manga and Brotherhood continuity), giving up his ability to perform alchemy to bring Al's body back. Note that while most people in the setting aren't alchemists, this technically counts as an example because he is now the only human we know of who is physically incapable of alchemy rather than simply lacking knowledge of how to do it.
- normalman is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- "President Thor," a story arc from Ultimate Fantastic Four. It details a world where the Skrull have given everyone superpowers; except Ben Grimm. The superpower gift is revealed to be a virus that feeds power into the Ultimate Super-Skrull. It also can be activated to kill the carrier. The Skrull King activates the killer gene, but without any power source, the Super-Skrull is easily defeated by Grimm in a powersuit.
- A Superman comic in the 90s, pastiching the Silver Age, had everyone in Metropolis suddenly acquire Superman's powers and immediately buy a spandex costume with a cape. The exception was Dan Turpin, the only person in Metropolis who didn't want superpowers. He's therefore the only person not affected by Kryptonite when Metallo shows up.
- Always Having Juice features a subversion of the usual aesop. Maria Robotnik was born with a genetic defect that meant she was born without powers. Because the ability to have powers was so ingrained in the biology of those living on Planet Mobius, her lack of powers also meant she was terminally ill and had to be quarantined in order to lower her risk of dying from exposure. She was killed by gunshot during a raid of the hospital she was living in and never accomplished anything while she was alive.
- Godo(Gun God) from Notes is presumably the last unmodified human alive in the post-apocalyptic world where Everyone Is a Super. Worse, he must regularly take medications just for daily survival. He's Blessed with Suck though as only "untainted" humans like Godo can wield the Black Barrel, a gun that can kill even the Aristoteles.
- Tavi in Codex Alera is the only Aleran to not be able to command any furies. Mostly he's an Action Survivor, but he's had to be very, very clever to prosper without any furycrafting.
- Mega spoiler: And then it turns out that his powers were deliberately locked down by his mother, to keep enemies from finding out that he's the lost heir to the throne, Gaius Octavius. Once she stops, he quickly becomes one of the most powerful furycrafters alive—and his previous experience working around difficulties makes him one of the most inventive, too.
- Minor example in Larry Niven's The Smoke Ring: occasionally a "dwarf" is born whose growth isn't distorted by the zero-gee environment — in other words, a normal human. They're considered ugly, but if your clan happens to own one of the ancient space-suits, guess who's the right size to wear it?
- In Xanth, everyone has exactly one power, although that power's strength and utility can vary. Bink alone has no such power, and the culture demands his exile. It turns out that his power is to automatically set up coincidences to protect from magical threats, up to and including dragons getting laryngitis right before breathing fire, and polymorph-spells hitting his skin microbes instead.
- Interestingly, his power is hidden because it interprets mundane harm that would come to him as a result of other people knowing his talent, as harm that would result from magic. In other words, his talent even protects Bink from itself. If it didn't, spells would just fizzle when they hit him, and then people might realize they just needed to punch him. A punch that would never have come if not for his talent.
- In Lirael, the second book of the Old Kingdom trilogy, the protagonist Lirael is born of the Clayr, seeresses who live in the cold northern arctic. Most girls are expected to gain the Sight around the time they hit puberty, but as Lirael enters her late teens, she still shows no sign of it, and agonizes over being considered still a child and a social misfit. She turns out to be a Remembrancer instead, able to See the past with the help of a special mirror, because of her mixed Clayr and Abhorsen lineage.
- Arguably, Rincewind in the Discworld novels is this. He is such a bad wizard that one of the novels specifically says "When he dies, the occult ability of humanity will go up a fraction." However, since he is a Cosmic Plaything of Lady Luck herself (he is her favorite piece), there are times when something casts magic using him as a conduit, or when a strange coincidence LOOKS like he casts a spell, etc.
- Joram of The Darksword Trilogy. There are some people in the world with so little magic they can't do anything useful with it, but Joram is unique in having absolutely no magic whatsoever. He narrowly avoids being executed for his powerlessness as a newborn, and has to spend the rest of his life faking minor magic through sleight-of-hand. Lucky for him the eponymous weapon can only be wielded by the Un-Sorcerer.
- Jonathan of Gull Mountain is about a boy born without wings, in a society where everybody has them. Anvilicious Aesop about life with a physical handicap ensues.
- Even though Argus Filch is technically a Muggle Born of Mages, he's treated by the narrative and by other characters as a sad little thing to be pitied for his tragic circumstances. Nowhere do the books suggest that there are any other options for squibs like him. (This may have to do with the ignorance of the wizarding world towards Muggles. Most wizards would probably be genuinely baffled at the idea of going off to live among the muggles.) This never becomes an advantage.
- In Hart's Hope by Orson Scott Card, there's a Chosen One created by the gods as a natural magic sink. He can't benefit in any way from magic, which in this world comes from blood sacrifices, but he eventually serves as a living Reset Button for centuries of enchantment.
- Outcast: The Un-Magician focuses on a boy who is the only one in his society to have no magic at all. It turns out that his presence cancels out magic, which makes him pretty powerful in that world.
- Shattered Continent: Low potentials in The Empire used to be virtual pariahs for their inability to benefit from magic. And then Cardenas arrived on the scene and showed the world what a low-potential with a belt-fed machine gun could do if they caught a unit of Imperial knights out in an open field.
- In the first series of Misfits, the character of Nathan is apparently without super powers even after his mates discover theirs. However, in the final moments of the finale episode it is revealed that not only does Nathan indeed have a power, but his power is Immortality, seemingly the most powerful power yet.
- In SaGa Frontier 2, almost everyone can use Anima; however, young Gustave XIII cannot, which costs him the throne and leads to him and his mother being exiled. But Gustave eventually discovers that, while weapons made out of materials like wood and stone are used by everyone because they channel Anima so well, Steel-based weapons, which dampen anima, are far stronger. And since he lacks the ability to channel Anima anyway...
- Unblessed in Infinite Undiscovery. Unable to use Lunar Glyph powers, but quite conveniently also immune to transformation into Vermiforms.
- The protagonist of Black Sigil is at a particular disadvantage—a previous non-magical character in this setting was guilty of terrible deeds, so almost nobody trusts him.
- In Fortune Summoners, the main character Arche is the only one in her school who can't use magic (partly because her parents can't afford an elemental stone to cast with, but also because she's a Book Dumb Idiot Hero and also prefers to fight with a sword and armour, which get in the way of casting magic). Near the end it turns out that a legendary elemental stone's "chosen" her in some way and when it's unsealed she gains the ability to fuse with the Team Pet Air Elemental for a massive stat increase.
- Even so, in the epilogue it turns out that the unique nature of said stone means she still cannot use regular magic, and thus still has to watch during magic class.
- The main character in the Awakening series was born completely without magic in a world where every other human had at least some, which made her unable to be affected by the villain's attacks. Didn't hurt any that she was a princess, either.
- Nortrom the Silencer from Dota 2 was the product of seven generations of careful breeding among powerful magi. He never displayed any magical prowess of note until he joined his peers in a series of magical duels. It then became apparent that Nortrom wasn't lacking in magic. Lacking magic was his magic.
- The Angelic Buster class in Maplestory lacks the magical abilities that the rest of her race has. She later finds a weapon called the Soul Shooter which allows her to use special abilities, although she lacks the MP system used by every other class.
- Two of the protagonists of Atomic Laundromat. He owns the eponymous laundromat and comes from a family of supers and is okay with not being super. She's a lawyer who defends supervillains, who's seemingly fine with being normal, but has been shown to court shady dealings in hopes of gaining superpowers.
- In The Wotch, a magic shop owner is unable to use magic, but also unable to be affected by it. This makes him perfect for handling items of power and artifacts of doom that would be dangerous for anyone else. The downside? The Wotch can't heal him when he's wounded by teeth and claws of magic beasts, and she tends to attract those. Then again, he's immune to lycantropy too.
- Tedd Verres in El Goonish Shive by all expectations, had to inherit "insanely potent" magic from both parents, but didn't. In fact, his magical ability is even less than most muggles who at least have some potential to gain spells. For Noriko it's implied to be one of the reasons why she loses heart and departs after some confusion and vague guilt. For himself, it's plainly stated to be the reason for seizing in a different way what he didn't receive easily, after feeling powerless in the face of a serious threat to his friends.
- Dex from Dominic Deegan. He has immunity to magic, which is very useful for taking on rampaging mages. Unfortunately, magical healing is also magic.
- The priest Brother Linnaeus from Tales of the Questor is mage-blind, one of very few Racconans who can't sense or manipulate lux. It's considered a disability in his species, but then he finds a group of potential converts, who are eager to learn but have a bad history with lux users and religion.
I cannot use my powers to deceive you because I have none. I come to you with nothing but the words of God. If they are not enough to persuade you, then nothing else will be.
- One episode of Darkwing Duck had the main character taken to a planet where everyone had super powers. There was one exception, and the superheroes spent their time rescuing him from various perils. He goes missing, so they bring in DW to replace him. Eventually it's revealed that he got fed up with the state of affairs, and decided to become that planet's first supervillain.
- A somewhat recurring theme in a number of the Barbie movies.
- Main character in Barbie Fairytopia is wingless fairy, Elina. Other fairies tease her because of that. But a lack of wings comes in handy, when she has to face Enchantress' Evil Twin and her magic substance making every flying creature weak. Later Laverna even tries to pull Not So Different and We Can Rule Together offering her wings, but Elina rejects her. At the end her dream comes true anyway and she is given a pair as a reward.
- In Barbie In A Mermaid Tale, despite being of royal blood, Eris can't spin Merillia. This drove her to kidnap her sister and fool everyone into thinking she could.
- In Barbie And The Secret Door, Malucia is the only person in the land of Zinnia without innate magic, so she uses her wand to steal others' magic.