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God-Eating

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Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco de Goya.
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The idea of cannibalism is one of the oldest taboos in our history. As such, it's unsurprising that many creation myths and stories about gods have stories on them indulging in this act. Some gods have a habit of eating other deities, for various reasons. Sometimes it's to gain the power of the consumed divinity, or it's a means of getting rid of the competition.

Occasionally, the act of deicide will involve mortals eating gods, usually to gain their powers or as some kind of ritual. Often when a god eats another god, it's a sign that they're an Eldritch Abomination. Either way, Assimilation Backfire is a common result.

Compare Monstrous Cannibalism (where monsters or other supernatural beings are not above eating each other) and Kill the God (usually has the same result as god eating, though without the cannibalism). Related to Divine Conflict, with one god eating each other being a possible end to the conflict. May occasionally lead to Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth.

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Has nothing to do with God Eater.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball: One of the first things Majin Buu does upon re-awakening is turning Dabura, the King of the Demon Realm, into a cookie and eating him. He also considers eating the Supreme Kai before he's able to get to safety. It's later revealed in his original rampage against the other Supreme Kais he enveloped and assimilated two of them, turning Buu from a mindless destroyer of worlds into the Obliviously Evil child-like Buu shown at the beginning of the arc.
  • Father of Fullmetal Alchemist seeks to achieve godhood by using a massive transmutation circle to absorb the Truth and the souls in Amestris to have the power to contain the Truth within him.

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics has a number of instances of gods eating each other, or being eaten:
    • Marvel Zombies: After the Zombie Apocalypse has turned most of humanity into zombies and/or they've consumed most of humanity, Galactus, a Cosmic Entity, arrives to consume the planet. The zombies end up overwhelming him and eating the Devourer of Worlds. This ends up giving them his Power Cosmic.
    • The Mighty Thor has the appropriately named Demogorge the God-Eater. Originally Atum, he was created to fight off the Elder Gods, who had devolved into demons. Slaying and consuming them causes Atum to devolve into Demogorge, who absorbs the power of the deities he consumes. Thor manages to defeat him by using his willpower to take control of the Demogorge.
    • The Ultimates (2015): In order to achieve a new order, Master Order gets his brother Lord Chaos to force the In-Betweener to undergo a Fusion Dance with them. This is achieved by Lord Chaos eating the In-Betweener before being eaten by Master Order, to become a new Cosmic Entity in the form of Logos.
    • The symbiotes — Venom, Carnage, and their ilk — were created by the dark elder god Knull, who refers to them as pieces of himself and his children; and are capable of killing divine entities, with Venom once going on a feeding frenzy in Asgard. Knull himself implies he engaged in some divine cannibalism during his deicidal crusade against all existence.
  • Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse: Wormwood is an extradimensional larva possessing a corpse for greater mobility. His species feed on dead gods for eons, which gives him immense power that he can unleash when he feels like it.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Azzathra, the Dark God of Tyranny and Brute Force, ate Murdrul, the Devourer.
  • The MLP Loops: This is half of how, in a Warhammer 40,000 loop, Pinkie ascended as the Chaos Goddess of Parties. The other half was throwing a party for the entire Eldar Empire.
    Big Mac: How did you even wrest the power from Slaanesh?
    Pinkie: It tried to read my thoughts, so I shredded its mind until it believed that it was a fantastic idea to turn itself into a cupcake. Then I ate a chocolate frosted chaos god.
    Big Mac: Eeyep, because that ain't terrifying at all.

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    Literature 
  • Angel Mage: Liliath is able to avoid the cost of using angelic magic because she consumed a number of angels, making her ageless and more than human.
  • Everworld: Ka Anor is a god not from Earth but another dimension, who is particularly horrifying to the gods of Everworld because he eats them. We see him eat Ganymede onscreen, and is know to have eaten the Daghda and Thor. Though the latter turns out to be alive.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: The Big Bad of The Broken Kingdoms is a demon who's been murdering physical gods to consume their hearts and a fraction of their power. Even the primordial goddess of Hunger, ordinarily a huge fan of consumption in all its forms, thinks what he's doing is unspeakably wrong.
  • Old Kingdom: At the climax of Sabriel, Kerrigor devours Mogget who is eventually revealed to be the last Bright Shiner, Yrael, and the setting's equivalent of a god, gaining his powers. However, this backfires as he becomes subject to the same binding spell used to ensure Mogget's obedience as well. When the spell is invoked, Kerrigor is trapped and Mogget is separated from him again.
  • In The Silmarillion, the Eldritch Abomination and Extreme Omnivore Ungoliant expressed an interest in consuming Morgoth, the God of Evil. He had to summon his balrog squad to fend her off.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • After overthrowing his father Ouranos, the Titan Cronus is given the prophecy that one day his children would overthrow him. To prevent this, whenever he had a child he would consume the infant and imprison them within his belly. The last child, Zeus, was hidden from him and eventually confronted his father, forcing him to vomit up Zeus' divine siblings.
    • The origin of Athena proves Zeus Not So Different from his father. When it's foretold that the unborn child of his first wife Metis will one day overthrow him, Zeus turns her into a fly and eats her. Some time later he complains of terrible headaches and asks either Prometheus or Hephaestus (depending on the version) to cut his head open, revealing Athena had been born inside him and emerges fully grown. Unlike with Cronus and Zeus, Athena remains loyal to her father.
  • Egyptian Mythology: During Ra's nightly trip to the afterlife, the monstrous snake-god Apophis would try to devour him. Its hope was that as Ra was the god of the sun, eating him would bring about eternal night and the end of the world. Solar eclipses were believed to be Apophis successfully consuming Ra, only for Ra to escape when the eclipse ends.
  • Jesus: "This is my body, given up for you." The act of the Eucharistic Communion is a highly benign version of this trope, in which the act of Christ's sacrifice of his life for the forgiveness of mankind's sins is symbolized in the consumption of bread and wine, his symbolic flesh and blood.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dungeons & Dragons fan supplement Immortals Handbook features the Akalich, the stage beyond a demilich which remains once the latter has its last bones crumble into dust. Its only material parts are soul gems holding trapped souls... with everything below a demigod having a trapped soul digested within a day, and others being used as charges for the Akalich's special abilities.
  • Warhammer 40,000: During the birth of the Chaos God Slaanesh, it grew to strength by devouring both most Eldar souls and most of the Eldar's pantheon of deities. Cegorach, Isha and Khaine were the only deities to avoid this fate, and only the former two survived.

    Video Games 
  • Arcanum: An in-game book about pagan gods states that Torg fathered an entire pantheon of gods to rule over the ogres, but when he saw that many of them had forgotten what it meant to be ogrish, he slew them all and swallowed their still-beating hearts.
  • Dark Souls III: Aldrich, Devourer of Gods, was a cannibalistic Lord of Cinder who's gluttony for flesh turned him into a monstrous Blob Monster. Due to gaining the power of those he devours, Aldrich seeks to devour gods, and has so far managed to do so with Gwyndolin.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, this is how the Daedric Prince Malacath came into being. Originally, Malacath was the Aldmeri (ancestors of the modern races of Mer) "ancestor spirit" Trinimac and champion of the Auri-El, Top God of the Aldmeri pantheon. However, the Daedric Prince of Plots, Boethiah, "devoured" Trinimac in order to speak with his voice and convince Trinimac's followers (the Aldmer who would become the Chimer, later Dunmer) to leave for Morrowind. Boethiah would late "excrete" Trinimac, with his remains becoming Malacath and his remaining followers mutating into the Orsimer (also called "Orcs"). Malacath admits there is some truth in the story, but frequently complains that mortals take it too literally.
  • The fate of Mr. Eaten from Fallen London, who was offered to cannibalistic priest-kings in exchange for the Third City. The priest-kings didn't turn out so well.
  • In MapleStory, the Heroes of Maple blockbuster focuses on the Legends' attempts to stop Damien from absorbing Alicia, the Transcendence of Life and the source of all life on Maple World. Damien succeeds, gleefully declaring that he "devoured" her and her power before twisting the World Tree into a massive Womb Level the Legends climb up to face him down and stop him before he ends all life on Maple World.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2's Mask of The Betrayer expansion pack is about your Player Character inheriting a Horror Hunger curse called "The Spirit-Eater". There are a few points in the story when you are given the chance to use the curse to devour gods, or god-like beings:
    • You first discover the curse after defeating Okku, a powerful Nature Spirit who is effectively the god of bears, and the sight of his injured body in front of you causes a strange hunger to stir within you. You can either give in to the hunger and devour Okku, or suppress it with Heroic Willpower.
    • At the end of the second act, your character encounters the corpse of Myrkul, the former god of death, still holding a semblance of sentience due to Gods Need Prayer Badly. Since Myrkul created the Spirit Eater curse, it's entirely possible to give him an Ironic Death by using the curse to consume what remains of his mind, leaving him Deader Than Dead.
    • The evil ending gives you the option of magnifying the Spirit Eater curse to the point that your character becomes capable of consuming gods. If you do this, the ending narration states that the Gods of Faerun declare your character an abomination and band together to destroy you, but many of them are devoured before your character is forced into retreat.
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, Extreme Omnivore Drong wants to eat the benevolent god Lord Sartek. The player character denies the request, then offers to let Drong eat the next god they encounter. This turns out to be Lord Bane, Sartek's evil brother; after the team defeats him, the player character makes good on their promise.
  • Terraria Calamity features a massive worm called The Devourer of Gods, who does exactly what its name implies. It has killed an even larger astral worm god before by eating it from the inside out. What's more, the Devourer gains the power of anything it eats.
  • Utsuho Reiuji from Touhou was once a relatively normal hell raven, until Kanako Yasaka told her to consume the corpse of the sun god Yatagarasu. As a result, she has the power to manipulate nuclear fusion. The rapid gain in power caused her to go mad with power and try to destroy the world until the protagonists knocked some sense into her, after which, she runs a nuclear power plant in hell, providing electricity for Gensokyo.

    Webcomics 
  • In A-gnosis' comics on Greek myth, Zeus consumed his first love, the Titan Metis, for fear that he would be deposed by any son they had. This granted him her unparalleled knowledge, but "impregnated" him with the goddess Athena, who also inherits Metis' wisdom. Athena is disgusted to learn that Zeus is Not So Different from his father Kronos, who devoured his immortal offspring to avoid being replaced by them.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation:
    • This is part of the Scarlet King's backstory. Originally a weak god known as Khahrahk, he was the first of his brothers and sisters to become aware of and soon came to loathe existence. His first act of omnicidal mania was to consume his divine siblings, becoming stronger so that he can better fulfill his nihilistic agenda.
    • The original goal of the Sarkic Cults was to kill and eat the god Yaldabaoth, using the power gained from this act to create a paradise for humanity free from the gods.


Alternative Title(s): Theophagy

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