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"It is a dangerous road you travel. To deny humanity a thing will only make them crave it all the more. And if you succeed in this grand vision of yours? What then? Beware that your subjects do not begin to see you as a god."
Uriah Olathaire, The Last Church, Warhammer 40,000.

A God-Emperor is a sovereign who is claimed, either by self or others, to be a Physical God. This trope can apply to anything from a tinpot tyrant with delusions of grandeur to a Galactic Conqueror or Dimension Lord with perfectly accurate assessments of grandeur.

Note that this means that, if the character in question is not claimed to be a god, that disqualifies them from this trope, even if the ruler is godlike in power.

Given its extreme usefulness in either helping found new religions or unify the recently-conquered into new nations, this trope is Older Than Dirt, and long a staple of fiction or fact.

In Real Life, declaring themselves gods has been very common to the rulers in ancient history. An Imperial Cult, as it has been formally called, handily brought religious and secular power together, and gave the ruler absolute power, which was always welcome. The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt are probably the earliest well-known example of the trend, and the divinized-upon-death Emperors of Rome (see below) are the source of the second word in the title. Note that this shouldn't be confused with the Divine Right of Kings, which was a doctrine holding that kings derive their authority directly from God. That gives similar advantages but acknowledges that the king himself is mortal.

Compare with Emperor Scientist and Sorcerous Overlord, which is how a good many of them get their start; and The Emperor, to whom the God-Emperor trope may apply also. Compare Priest King, when the ruler is head of both Church and State, but not worshiped themselves. May be the result of a Cult of Personality or The Theocracy. If you're looking for an emperor/king/leader of the gods themselves, see Top God. Fictional examples tend to also be an Immortal Ruler, though the real-life ones haven't been thus far.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Berserk, after becoming a Deity of Human Origin Griffith establishes the kingdom of Falconia where he uses his supernatural powers to dazzle the public through feats like reuniting people with the souls of their loved ones. He quickly becomes a Dark Messiah promising to save humanity... and conveniently leaving out that he was the one who doomed them in the first place.
  • In Bleach, Baraggan Louisenbairn in Hueco Mundo, who had the power to back up his boasts at least as far as being the strongest Hollow around. Incidentally, he got ousted by Sosuke Aizen, who himself wants to be this trope on a much larger scale although by the time he finally did "transcend" to that level of power, he pretty much had abandoned ruling Hueco Mundo and was stopped before he get to the Royal Realm where the Soul King resides and take his place. Then we get the Quincy emperor Yhwach.
  • In Death Note, Light Yagami (as Kira) becomes this (overlapping with Shadow Dictator), and plans to build a world centered around his values. He isn't actually a god, though he believes himself to be, and has many Cult followers around the world, including his proxy, Mikami. He also promises Takada that she'll be his "goddess."
  • Digimon Fusion has the lead Digimon's goal of finding all the Code Crowns to become the Digimon King. This is how the series ends; Mikey and Shoutmon use the combined Code Crowns to have the latter DigiFuse with all Digimon in order to defeat the Big Bad.
  • Dragon Ball Z: While Frieza isn't literally considered to be a god, given that this is a setting where mortals have direct knowledge of the actual gods and can even go meet them on occasion, he possesses absurd power for a mortal and is effectively feared as a god by all unlucky enough to fall within the shadow of his empire. The fact that he can effortlessly destroy entire planets on a whim certainly supports this perception. Later on in Super he becomes even more powerful, still lacking actual god ki but otherwise being roughly equal with literal Saiyan gods like Goku and Vegeta, as well as a fledgling God of Destruction.
  • Great Mazinger: The Emperor of Darkness, the Big Bad, was emperor of all Mykene and in later retellings it was stated he was Hades, Greek God of Underworld. Given that the Mykene were an ancient Greek civilization lived underground, it fit.
  • Lyrical Nanoha: Ancient Belka had the so-called Heiliger Kaiser or Sankt-Kaiser (literally: Holy-Emperors or Saint-Kings), who claimed to be, saintly (while it is yet uncertain whether the Sankt Kaisers were worshipped in their time but the modern Sankt Kaiser Church on Mid-Childa is built around worshipping the last one) and wielded magical powers close to that of a Physical God. For a comparison, an untrained, six-year-old clone of the last Sankt Kaiser went toe-to-toe with one of the strongest Aerial Mages on Mid-Childa, and would have defeated her eventually, had she gotten serious. Considering that with her final Power Limiter removed, Nanoha scores S+ on the aerial mage ranking scale, it would put Vivio and the other Sankt Kaisers at least into SS zone (something that only Hayate has achieved so far, but Hayate's SS is only a composite rank), with the potential to reach SSS (the highest possible ranking) with sufficient training.
  • In Naruto, after Pain seized control of the Hidden Rain Village, he was both its ruler and widely regarded as a god by his shinobi.
  • One Piece:
    • Eneru claims divinity, and has power to back it up. Within his domain he knows all, he can smite anyone from the heavens. He is physically invulnerable. He can travel at will instantaneously, meaning he's nearly omnipresent too. His official title is, in fact, God. However, it turns out he's just using a variety of super powers technically available to anyone with the right results in the Superpower Lottery, and the title of God is just what they call all their kings. He's totally insane.
    • The World Nobles, known to themselves as the "Celestial Dragons", are something of an inversion. They fully believes themselves to be gods, but the World Government broadly downplay this for publicity reasons—it's kind of hard to hold together a supposedly-federal system of nations when everyone knows how much the rulers hate everyone else.
    • Unbeknownst to all but a select few in the World Government, the whole world is ruled by a seemingly divine being known only as Imu. He is the Shadow Dictator that the Five Elders report to, and they seem to worship him as their god; they’re shown bowing and praying to him, and an assassination order from him is treated like a holy judgement.
  • Overlord (2012): The denizens of the Great Tomb of Nazarick consider their creators to be "Supreme Beings" not unlike gods. The last of them, Momonga, is treated like a god and fulfills the Emperor part because he is the temporal ruler of Nazarick and all the land it claims after declaring itself a sovereign nation.
  • Soul Eater has a low-key example in the form of Lord Death. Few question that he is most powerful being there is, he wields tremendous executive authority, and has done so for thousands of years. From Death City, he commands international paramilitary forces that can cross any border and attack any target without interference. That said, he tends not to meddle much in the affairs of people who aren't would-be Kishin, Witches, Weapons, Meisters, or engaged in the production or use of Magic Tools. The only reason Death City exists is because Lord Death sealed himself to that location in order to lock down Asura the Kishin ("demon god"), a former member of the Grim Reaper's right-hand men who turned himself into a monster Death wasn't sure he could kill. Now the Grim Reaper can't leave the city, even if Asura were to escape. This is why he got himself a son (somehow), to eventually replace him as a fully-mobile Guardian of Life and Souls.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: This is played with heavily throughout the series.
    • Even before Rimuru Tempest became a True Demon Lord and was named the administrator of the Jura Forest, to the inhabitants of Tempest he was all but a deity in name due to his strength and his kindness. His Cult of Personality only grows larger with each successive feat of strength or politics drawing more people to him and his cause. He finally becomes this in all respects when he evolves into an Ultimate Slime/True Dragon at the climax of the war with the Empire.
    • Milim Nava has an effective religion focused around her in the form of the Dragon Faithful and as a True Demon Lord and daughter of the world's actual God she has both the power and status to back it up, but she doesn't live up to it for a long time since she's not really interested in settling down as a proper ruler. And then she finally accepts her place as the ruler of Heaven and the angels that her father possessed at the end of the web novel.
    • Guy Crimson is one of the most powerful True Demon Lords in existence and rules a kingdom of demons with an iron fist, but as he himself is a demon, there are no signs they actually view him as a god instead of simply an unstoppable king. That said, as a Primordial Demon he's technically one of the closest things there is to a demon god.
    • Luminous Valentine is the true ruler of the Holy Empire of Ruberios and the "god" of the Western Saints Church, but very few people within or outside her nation aside from fellow True Demon Lords actually know they're one and the same, or that Emperor Louis is in fact a Puppet King and one of her top vampire servants.
    • Rudra Nam Ul Nasca is the straightest example, being the sovereign of the Nasca Namrium Ulmeria United Eastern Empire who has been constantly reborn to lead the empire for over 2000 years. He is an ancient Hero who had the favor of and was blessed by True Stellar Dragon Veldanava and is the lover of the Scorch Dragon Velgrynd. Unknown to almost everyone, his mind and soul have been slowly corroded by his reincarnations and allowing his Ultimate Skill Justice King Michael to gain more influence, which is a bad thing this former gift of Veldanava has become sentient and wants to Restart the World out of vengeance for Veldanava's death. By the present, "Rudra" is almost a complete shell used by Michael while his actual soul has reincarnated into a separate being entirely, that being the unknowing Masayuki.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms: The monarchs of the titular kingdoms. Ruling a kingdom comes with such perks as immortality and the ability to speak and understand any language. (Or at least Chinese, Japanese and whatever language is spoken in the Twelve Kingdoms) and quite a few very nice palaces. The downside is that if they rule badly the kirin who chose them to rule in the first place will begin to sicken and die, which means they will die sooner or later as well, along with the onset of extremely violent weather and demon-animal youma running wild throughout the kingdom. If the king doesn't change their ways the only way to avoid this is to step-down from the throne and commit suicide. High ranking civil servants and even their own servants also get immortality and language ability, so those traits aren't necessarily unique to the kings. The lower-ranked nobility also don't have to worry about answering to Heaven the way kings do. On the other hand, they do have to answer to the monarchs themselves, who in turn have absolute authority over them (along with all the rest of the kingdom's population), potentially for the rest of their immortal lives, so immortality still comes with a pronounced price.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: A strange example. The Pharaoh is considered by his people to be a god incarnate (historically, of Horus), but he directly refutes this when Shada brings it up. Subverted again when he is able to summon one of the Egyptian gods, and Bakura comments that the Pharaoh "isn't mortal", as he has been chosen to wield a god.

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    Comic Books 
  • Aquila: Nero's goal is to become the immortal god-emperor of Rome and "carve my name across the bones of this Earth".
  • Birthright has its Big Bad God-King Lore, an elusive demonic tyrant with powers of possession and corruption that twists the land of Terrenos to his will.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Haazheel Thorn, a stupidly powerful evil archmage and main bad guy, is worshipped as a god by his followers in the Black Moon. Though he is the half-demon son of Lucifer, who is a god.
  • The DCU:
    • Darkseid: On Apokolopis, Darkseid rules as much like a god as like a king, and isn't shy about saying so. He is, in fact, a genuine god- the God of Tyranny- who happens to operate as an alien warlord. All of his immediate subordinates such as Desaad and Granny Goodness are evil gods as well, though far weaker than their master.
    • Superman: The Joker becomes this in the Emperor Joker arc, where he manages to gain Reality Warper powers by stealing them from Mister Mxyzptlk. When he ascended to godhood, he ravages the world and turns it into a twisted parody where he can commit all the murder that he wants, including devouring China or killing Batman and Luthor over and over again. Eventually, he decides to destroy all existence so someone like himself will never exist. Thankfully, he manages to stop himself when Superman points out that Batman is what defines him.
  • ElfQuest: The "Kings of the Broken Wheel" story arc has the human warlord Grohmul Djun declaring himself this after the Palace of the High Ones crashes in his territory post-timeskip and "spirits" (elves and trolls both) start to make their presence known, in order to keep his subjects from getting ideas about him somehow not being the ultimate authority and lord of all he surveys; this also puts him above the god the local humans do worship, Threk'sht. The decleration doesn't really help for long.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Mighty Thor: Odin the All-Father is King of the Asgards, a race of gods, and is a powerful Skyfather with the ability to shake galaxies. The Asgardians are but one of several pantheons of deities that have historical links to Earth, and most has their own Skyfather as well; Thor himself has become King of the Asgards at several points as well when Odin has been incapacitated or temporarily killed, and is destined in the far-future to be one of the most powerful Skyfather's that ever exists.
    • Doctor Strange: Dormammu is an Eldritch Abomination / Dimension Lord / Multiversal Conqueror who rules his own universe as a torture chamber, and wants to take over all other life and afterlife to give it the same treatment. He is worshipped as a god both inside his own dimension and without it.
    • The Supreme Intelligence is both this and a Master Computer for the Kree empire.
    • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, Thanos is the ruler of the Endless Resurgence, a vast empire where he is worshiped for having jurisdiction over the souls of his people. Later when he acquires the Cosmic Cube, he seeks to become this to the rest of the universe.
    • In Secret Wars (2015), Doctor Doom is the creator-deity of Battleworld.
    • Ghaur, high priest of the Deviants, at first connives to take over from the king of Lemuria and after doing so calls himself Priestlord, but when he hijacks the powers of the Deviants' god, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien Celestial, he upgrades himself to Godlord. And keeps the title even after losing said power.
  • Negation: Charon is a Physical God who conquered the entire Negation universe and proclaimed himself God-Emperor. He claims to be the God and most of his subjects worship him. Then he sets his sights on our universe...
  • Nemesis the Warlock: Torquemada is The Emperor who, after coming back from the death several times, earns himself nickname "Torquemada the God".
  • Subverted in The Ogre Gods: The giants certainly believe themselves to be divine after the largest and longest-lived of them all declared himself a god-king, but they're no more immortal than the humans they feast on. In fact after centuries of inbreeding they're lucky to even be giant-sized with The Hero Petit being big for a human but nowhere near his building-sized parents.

    Fan Works 
  • All For Luz: All For One's endgame is to rule as a functional deity across The Multiverse, accumulating so much strength and Quirks using Luz's body to do so after pulling a Villain Override on her.
  • Child of the Storm: Apocalypse became this after deposing Kang the Conqueror, becoming first a Fallen Hero, then a Sorcerous Overlord, then this trope. Unfortunately, in the process, he had made the horrible, horrible mistake of betraying Doctor Strange. What happened next was not pleasant.
  • Codex Equus: Many of Equus's deities are also sovereigns of their own kingdoms.
    • The Changeling Progenitors, Blackrose Avalon and Blackthorn Lyonesse, are this, being respectively the Empress and Emperor of Changelingkind as well as their divine biological parents. However, they are not together, as Blackrose detests Blackthorn and sees him as an Abhorrent Admirer, and rule over separate Changeling courts.
    • Despite their official ruling title being "Princess", the Equestrian Princesses are all immortal Alicorn goddesses who are capable of powerful feats of magic. This includes Cadence, the Alicorn goddess of Love, though she's technically not part of Equestria due to ruling the Crystal Empire. They all rather prefer their subjects don't see them as gods.
    • Queen Dazzleglow and her sisters once ruled over the kingdom of Kerajaan Cahaya in the Second Age, and now have emerged from sleep to continue their job in the Fourth Age.
    • Golden Scepter is quite literally a God Emperor, which isn't surprising since he's based on the Emperor of Mankind. He is an extremely antediluvian Alicorn who existed even before the Known Ages; while his origins are rather spotty, it is known that he was once mortal, and he was the supreme leader and judge of one of the most successful and advanced empires, until Morning Star became a Fallen god and betrayed his people, starting the "Twilight of the Alicorns" conflict that lasted for ten Ages. After that, Golden Scepter would help the survivors rebuild and founded the Imperium of Ponykind... but unfortunately his traumas from the war would catch up to him and deeply affect his judgement, to the point of becoming little more than a well-meaning yet hypocritical and ruthless Jerkass and a divine tyrant. Most notably, he wanted his mortal subjects to stop seeing him as a god and to stop treating him as such, to the point where he would destroy temples dedicated to the gods and even put an entire city to the torch for worshiping him. After he was gravely wounded by one of his own generals in the brutal "Aurum Apostasy", he would be sealed away until the Second Age, where he would be found and healed by Luminiferous and Dazzleglow. This would kick-start the long process of going through massive Character Development, eventually becoming much kinder. By the time the Fourth Age rolled around, he established the much smaller yet thriving Terran Empire, which is currently still ruled by him and his many Semi-Divine sons.
  • A Crown of Stars: In this story, Shinji and Asuka travel to an alternate dimension and arrive on the Empire of Avalon, ruled by a couple of God-Emperors: Daniel and Rayana. They are actually quite nice and beloved by their subjects and worshippers.
  • Dominus Mundi : The King of Kings: The supreme ruler of the Atlantean Empire held the title of Divine Sovereign. It also helped that all who held the position were descendants of the very first one, Amilanius, whose mother was a Perennial. There were also others who were Human-Perennial hybrids, so the "Divine" part of the title was mostly true.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami invokes this trope with Keeper Zarekos. While he and his army refer to him as a God, he is actively working to become a full God, building a large temple to himself and having his minions pray to him. Killing him permanently does take some extra effort, too, beyond what is normal for a vampire.
  • In Embers (Vathara), Earth King Kuei is this, although unlike his ancestors, who became arrogant over time, he's too humble to think this way. His powers are based on those the Emperors of China were said to have had in real life due to their Celestial Bureaucracy, altered to fit the setting of Avatar: The Last Airbender and the story's interpretation of spirits. In the Avatarverse, spirits will object when nature is ravaged by humans (the forest spirit, for example). The only reason a city of Ba Sing Se's size can exist is that the Emperor keeps it safe. He's exactly one rung on the Celestial Bureaucracy beneath the entities the Earth Kingdom worships as gods, and demonstrably more powerful than an entity generally thought to be on that level. The one time Kuei demonstrates his power, he kicks the Knowledge Spirit Wan Shin Tong, one of the Embers' universe's power players and all of his kitsune agents out of the Earth Kingdom. No wonder everyone prostrates themselves before him except the Fire Nation refugees. Even they went to one knee.
  • In An Empire of Ice and Fire, Joffrey's madness eventually reaches a point where he declares himself a god-king. The Faith Militant go along with it, tweaking the message so that he's the Seven's chosen messiah and enforcing his will, in exchange for his patronage.
  • The God Empress of Ponykind: Princess Celestia is the Emperor, just in the body of a pony. She is a bit more benevolent than her previous incarnation.
  • God Rising: The Cult of Ainz, the first entry in a sprawling universe of Overlord (2012) fics, expands on Ainz's canonical status as this trope, as the Black Justice cult of humans worshipping him grows into an actual religion. This triggers a war with the Slane Theocracy and reactionary elements in the Holy Kingdom that ends with them being crushed and assimilated into the Sorcerous Kingdom. Meanwhile, Black Justice spreads across all of Ainz's realm and its vassal states, and by the end of the first major sequel, The Synod: Book of Black Justice, Ainz has been officially recognized by the preexisting main religion as a legitimate deity in addition to ruler of his vast domain.
    • Later stories in the series introduce the Triumvirate, an allied trio of beastmen empires, each led by a supreme ruler known as a God-Emperor. Though unlike Ainz, who has the power to back this up, these titles are all ceremonial; much like most real world examples, it's merely a case of hereditary leaders being venerated as being descended from actual gods and therefore superior to regular mortals.
  • Hail to the Jewels in the Lotus: As per the source material, Inaros was worshiped by the Martian Sand People as their god-king after he lays waste to the Golden Skymen, the Martian name for the Orokin.
  • In the Beginning, There Was Man. An online text game on Sufficient Velocity featuring Warhammer 40k's God-Emperor in His quest to save Mankind.
  • In Kickassia's unofficial novelization, N. Bison is constantly referred as "the God-Critic". This is an example, in glorious Purple Prose:
    The Nostalgia Critic stood at the army's forefront, dressed in a uniform to rival the greatest generals of the ages. A peaked cap sat upon his brow, marked by a winged insignia of great power and vanity. His cape flowed down to his knees, colored grey like the skies underneath which he was born. A polished chain linked the two lapels of the cape together, and it shined under the Nevada sun like gold mined in neighboring California. Underneath his cape he wore an armored bodysuit of crimson and ebon black, which reached all the way down to boots that reached to his mid shins. He wore white gloves accompanied with silver gauntlets that cradled his forearms of average girth. This was no longer a mere critic. This was a god in human form.
  • The Night Unfurls: High Elf Queen, Celestine Lucross, is known as the Goddess Reborn, the Goddess Incarnate, or simply the Goddess. She is a rare non-villainous example who rules her country via a literal case of Divine Right of Kings, which grants her the power to see visions of the future.
  • Pokédex: Diancie is the queen and goddess of the Carbink.
  • Queen of Shadows: The Shadowkhan view their Queens as divine, due to them being the only ones capable of creating more of their race (the fact that the original Queen was an actual demigod probably helps with this opinion of them).
  • Ripples and its sequel Stirred deconstruct how this trope is at play on Meridian. The royal line of Escannor is believed by many to be divine, however everyone knows that a tyrant or a monster could easily hold the throne if they played their cards right. Caleb believes outright that Phobos is divine in nature in the same way a God of Evil is divine.
  • The Shimmerverse: Celestia is acknowledged to be a full-fledged deity and is still the princess of the realm.
  • Shinji And Warhammer 40 K: Shinji Ikari... sort of), whose Memetic Badassery has acquired him more and more power as the story progresses, both literally and metaphorically. Not that he's happy about it.
  • Space Defender Negi note  features Asuna as Twilight Empress of the Holy Ariad Empire, and has apparently been upgraded to full-on Physical God since she can apparently hear the prayers/thoughts of those who worship Her, has displayed instant teleportation to wherever she's invoked, and can bend physics to give normal humans Batman Can Breathe in Space. She's also called the Unmaker.
  • Stargate: Galactic Imperium: Not shown in either of the series, Area 51 has a computer scientist, Dr. Kevin Leed. Well, his alternate reality self got his hands on An'ran's reality jumping device. And he's got the collective knowledge of the Tok'ra. And he's a bit power-hungry. Result: he decides to use his extensive sci-fi knowledge to infiltrate the Odyssey, copy the Asgard core, steal Atlantis' database then create a huge empire spanning multiple universes. Oh, and did I mention he's a huge fan of Warhammer 40,000?
  • Stargate: Golden Dawn: Amann Adar of the Alesian Empire is a half ascended being that could crush entire battalions of enemies with little effort. Any of the Alesian Council in this story is this trope really.
  • Super Milestone Wars 2: The Greater-Scope Villain is titled "God-Emperor of Evil".
  • Thousand Shinji: The God-Emperor of Mankind of the Warhammer 40,000 universe makes an appearance in the last and second-to-last chapters. And at the end Shinji, Asuka, Rei and Misato become the New Chaos Gods and Emperors of Mankind.
  • Innumerable Touhou Project fanfics depict Yukari Yakumo as one of these, albeit an incredibly lazy one that doesn't do much. Most of the conflict surrounding Yukari in Imperfect Metamorphosis is that many other authorities in Gensoukyou are annoyed/furious that Yukari has for the longest time asserted herself as the highest "office" of the land, partly because they don't like obeying her and partly because she can't be trusted.
  • Where Loyalties Lie: Each race has its own immortal, deific ruler. The god part is meant literally here, as the rulers wield considerable power over part of the natural world and also serve as the psychopomp for their respective races. Other than Luna and Celestia, who govern the day/night cycle, there is Emperor Magnus of the griffons, who governs the wind.

  • 300: The Persian King Xerxes is known as the God-King. This doesn't hold up well, because while his men successfully wipe out the Spartan 300-man unit, Leonidas cuts his face by throwing a spear at him, utterly humiliating the so-called "God-King." 300: Rise of an Empire indicates that Xerxes really is a supernatural being, having given up his humanity to avenge his late father's death, although it's unclear whether that translates into any specific abilities beyond making him a giant.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: Immortan Joe (yeah, he's not subtle) is an aging, cancer-ridden warlord who needs an oxygen mask to live, and yet has convinced a cult of nitrous-chugging nutcase "warboys" that he holds the keys to Valhalla.
  • The Man Who Would be King: The protagonists' goal is for one of them to achieve this status, by finding a remote and relatively primitive society and playing on their superstitions to be thought supernatural beings.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers (2012): Loki's goal is to become this to humanity, but Earth's Mightiest Heroes prevent him from reaching it.
    • Captain Marvel (2019): The artificial intelligence known as the Supreme Intelligence is the absolute ruler of the Kree Empire, having ultimate authority and being spoken of with utter reverence.
    • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: Namor, the de facto king of the underwater nation of Talokan, is in fact known to his people as K’uk’ulkan, the Feathered Serpent God of Mayan mythology due to a number of enhanced traits he possesses that distinguish him from the Talokanil. These traits include, but aren't limited to, feathered wings he has on his ankles that allow him to fly and a prolonged lifespan that allows Namor to live for hundreds of years.
  • Queen of the Damned. Like the Pharaohs, the first vampire Queen Akasha was seen as a God-Queen when she ruled over Ancient Egypt.
  • Stargate: Ra is an alien who passes himself off as a god to rule a low-tech world in the manner of a pharaoh.
  • Starship Troopers 3: Marauder reveals the Bugs' supreme leader, Behemecoatyl, who is explicitly referred to as the "Bug God."
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: En Sabah Nur was once the god-king of Ancient Egypt, but he was overthrown by rebels who were convinced that he was a false deity. More than 5500 years later, Apocalypse's new ambition is to crown himself god-emperor of Earth where he would reign from Cairo, the seat of his throne ("the center of the universe," as he calls it).

  • The Acts of Caine gives us His Most Beloved, the Ascendant Ma'elKoth, who fulfills this trope until being sent to Earth at the end of Heroes Die. After the climax of Blade of Tyshalle, he abandons the Physical God aspect and just becomes a nonmaterial deity, leaving the Emperor bit to Deliann.
  • Area 51: Aspasia ruled over Atlantis with his followers as gods. Later others did the same in ancient Egypt. Artad did this in ancient China as well. Given their technology was so far advanced over ancient humans, including granting them immortality, this was easy to believe.
  • The Balanced Sword makes mention of God-Emperor Idinus, the most powerful wizard ever to live, who has ruled the second-largest nation in the world as an iron-clad theocracy for thousands of years.
  • Betrayal Shadow: Jarlath the king is considered one by most of the populace. It helps that he can communicate over long distances with his generals and even possess them in order to use his magic. A laid back and relatively brutal dictator that also happens to be on the 'good side'.
  • Book of Swords:
    • Subverted: the Emperor actually is God. It's just that the Emperor isn't the secular ruler of anywhere, and most people think he's just a wandering clown and mountebank.
    • In the prequel trilogy, The Empire of the East, this is played straight with Orcus, mightiest of all the demons and founder and ruler of the eponymous empire, until he was overthrown by his right-hand man, John Ominor.
  • The Chathrand Voyages: The Shaggat Ness is an interesting one. The Mzithrin Empire is normally ruled by an alliance of five kings (hence why it's also known as the Pentarchy) but forty years before the series began King Ness, one of the five, suddenly went mad, proclaimed himself Shaggat (Mzithrini for "King and God") and launched a massive crusade to become ruler first of the Mzithrin, and then the world. The other kings put his rebellion down and he fled, only to be captured by the rival Empire of Arqual, who faked his death and imprisoned him on a remote isle with the intention of one day returning him to his still-fanatical worshippers in order to weaken the Mzithrin at a critical moment. Ness himself remained absolutely convinced of his own divinity and scarily charismatic for an Ax-Crazy maniac, even convincing his Arquali prison warden, who held him in terrified awe. It later turns out that it was Ness's advisor Arunis who convinced him he was a god, as the first step of an elaborate plan to kickstart the apocalypse.
  • A Chorus of Dragons: The god-kings of the ancient past, who ruled much of the continent as living gods and had the magical clout to create entire new species on a whim.
  • The Chronicles of Dorsa: The king of Persopos is viewed as a god by his people.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, the Tisroc (may he live forever) of Calormen is considered a descendant of his country's chief god Tash. Aslan's father (who never appears in person in the stories) is the Emperor Beyond the Sea, and, since Aslan obviously is Christ, the Emperor is God.
  • A The Cosmere:
    • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy:
      • The Lord Ruler is revered as the Sliver of Infinity, the Ascended Avatar of God, and is both the spiritual and temporal head of the Final Empire. He has the power to back it up as well, being both immortal and the single most powerful Allomancer by far, not to mention the elite Inquisitors warriors, shapeshifting Kandra spies and army of unstoppable Koloss who obey only him. It turns out actually just a mortal man who was able to combine the Feruchemy he was born with and the Allomancy he gained later on to make himself functionally immortal and incredibly powerful. All Allomancers used to be as powerful as he is, but the powers have weakened as they were passed down through generations. He created his various servants with a third, little known type of magic called Hemalurgy, and any sufficiently powerful Allomancer can control them. He did briefly harness the power of a god in his youth and temporarily save the world in the process, however.
      • Later in the series, Vin herself ends up here, albeit not intentionally. They became a (demi)god, at least as far as the Church of the Survivor was concerned, after they killed the Lord Ruler, and did actually eventually marry into having the title properly as well.
    • Wax and Wayne:
      • The Sovereign was this to the Southern Scadrians. As the legends go, he was king and god of the Final Empire, who was killed by his people. He saved his new people from the Ice Death with metalminds, and ruled as king and god for an unspecified period of time. He's gone by the present and is no longer king, but is still worshiped as one of a handful of gods. Even though he sounds like he's the Lord Ruler revived, he's actually Kelsier, the Survivor.
    • In The Stormlight Archive, the God-Priest Tezim, ruler of the nation of Tukar, claims to be the "Herald of Heralds" and an incarnate god, and is currently busy leading his nation on a crusade against the neighboring nation of Emul. He's rumored to have all sorts of weird powers to back up his claim, and may not even be human. Eventually it turns out that Tezim is Ishar, one of the Heralds of the Almighty who is, like his fellow Heralds, quite mad. He's a millennia-old immortal who was one of the ten chosen by a god, and is worshipped as a deity himself in some religions, making his claim on the "god" part of god-emperor reasonably accurate.
    • Warbreaker: Hallendren is a theocracy lead by a court of Physical Gods, and their monarch is Susebron the God King. He doesn't do much of the actual ruling himself, as the other gods and priests are responsible for the majority of actual decision making, and he just makes mostly just appears for special occasions. It turns out that Susebron is exclusively a figurehead. Growing up in the palace in near total isolation, he is very immature and naïve. All his knowledge of the world outside his palace provided by a book of fairytales his mother read him as a child, so he turns to mostly just be a Wide-Eyed Idealist who is genuinely quite a nice guy when he actually gets a chance to do anything. His primary function is to hold a massive wealth of magic power, called Breaths, which he is unable to use due to having his tongue removed. He has somewhere around 50,000 Breaths (each person is born with exactly one Breath) while only a handful of people have EVER accumulated even 1/5th that many, giving him likely the largest total amount of power on the entire planet.
  • Discworld:
    • In Pyramids, the ruler of Djelibeybi (Fantasy Counterpart Culture to ancient Egypt) is believed by their subjects to be a god, even if they are largely a figurehead until the end of the book. Because of the Disc's Clap Your Hands If You Believe nature, this also gives them minor "godly" powers. The godly part is immortal, and moves from ruler to ruler when they die. Teppic, the pharaoh's son, notes that it's very hard to believe in a god when you have breakfast with them every morning. It's a Running Gag that the pharaoh's chief power is supposedly to make the sun rise but none of them know how they do it, or what would happen if they didn't.
    • In Interesting Times the ruler of the Agatean Empire (Fantasy Counterpart Culture to China and Japan) is also seen as a god by their subjects. The Discworld Roleplaying Game defines "god" in this context as "someone who can kill you instantly and doesn't have to apologise. Or even explain."
  • Dragonlance: The last Kingpriest, Beldinas Pilofiro, tried to turn himself into this. It didn't work so well.
  • Dragonvarld: The Mistress of Dragons is worshiped as a goddess. She's also the true ruler of Seth, though a monarchy nominally exists.
  • Dune:
    • Paul Atredies and his mother Jessica take advantage of seeds of religious prophecy planted in the culture of the nomadic Fremen in order for Paul to get revenge upon the Harkonnens who killed his father and stole his rightful seat as Duke of the desert planet Arrakis. In doing so, Paul emerges into a Messianic Archetype and becomes the new Emperor of the known universe, leading armies of Fremen on a religious Jihad and accelerating the transformation of Arrakis from a wasteland to a lush paradise. But Paul is regretful of the Jihad and how the Fremen cult exalts him and what it does in his name, viewing himself as a Dark Messiah.
    • Paul's son and heir, God-Emperor Leto II, the eponymous God-Emperor of Dune. He's effectively immortal, can see the future with such clarity that he has numerous plans that span thousands of years, and when he's finally killed, it's made clear this was part of his plan all along and pre-arranged by his own hand. Leto II doesn't actually consider himself a god, but he does use religion as a tool to control humanity for his own purposes, which turn out in the end to be to humanity's general benefit.
  • Earthsea: In the Kargad lands, the (apparently mortal) Godking is worshipped as a deity.
  • The Elder Empire: The Emperor ruled for over a thousand years and was so incredibly powerful that anything he so much as touched became a dangerous artifact. In Shera's story, he is a magnanimous and fatherly ruler who constantly tries to make his subjects more comfortable. In Calder's story, he is a ruthless tyrant who kills a man for the crime of escaping from horrific experiments. There is one thing both stories agree on: His immortality came from binding a heart of the Dead Mother, which was not a good thing. The few people who knew him estimated he only had a few years before he would go completely insane, but he was killed first.
  • Queen Serkhet of the Everlasting Dynasty in Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain spends all her time wallowing in luxury and considers giving her servants substandard living conditions to be a sacrifice on her part. The only thing keeping their loyalty through it all is that they literally worship her as a God.
  • First Sword Chronicles: The Divine Empire is ruled by Aegea, the Divine Empress; when she was mortally wounded she did not die but ascended to godhood, and was worshipped and revered as the ruler of the country. The living ruler is referred to as the Prince Imperial, and is merely the servant of the Empress' will.
  • Flight of the Godkin Griffin: The Godkindred believe that cross-species breeding will enable them to ascend to godhood, and that their ruler, the Godson is closest to that goal. It turns out that he actually is a god, but apparently from sheer force of will rather than breeding, and after Angharad destroys his physical body by channeling the power of Shraeven's disembodied gods his spirit remains as the kingdom's patron god, with Angharad as his Priestess-Queen somewhat ironically.
  • Forging Divinity: Tylan, the Queen-Regent of Orlyn, is also considered a goddess. Edon, another deity, appears to compete with her for control of the city.
  • Forgotten Realms: King Obould Many-Arrows is blessed by the orc god Gruumsh with divine power. His subjects begin to see him as the physical incarnation of Gruumsh on the mortal plane, referring to him as Obould-Who-Is-Gruumsh. He gives little actual weight to these ideas, keeping a fairly realistic assessment of his limitations, but uses the moral that belief in him inspires as a tool to establish the first stable, recognized orc state. Ironically, given how he didn't actually believe he was a Physical God, after his death he Ascended To A Higher Plane to become a literal (demi)god.
  • The Hands of the Emperor: The emperor of Astandalas (who is indeed descended from a literal god, the sun, nearly a hundred generations earlier and is a very powerful mage to boot) is worshipped as a physical god, with shrines, invocations in prayers and ritual taboos.
  • The History of the Runestaff: King-Emperor Huon who is the Emperor of Gran Bretan and invoked by his subjects as a divine being. Huon is over 2000 years old and is preserved by his Lost Technology throne. Huon, among other things from Michael Moorcock, would inspire Games Workshop - especially one particular gaming product that also features a ancient human ruler declared as God-Emperor.
  • The Immortals: The Emperor Mage from the third book series banned offerings to the gods, saying that if people wanted to make sacrifices, they could make them to him instead, as he has more direct power over their lives. Eventually this pissed off the country's Trickster patron deity, and the shit really hit the fan.
  • The Inquisitor Cycle takes place in an Alternate Timeline where instead of dying on the cross, Jesus performed genocide of the other Jews for betraying Him and then conquered the Roman Empire. He then proceeded to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, leaving Saint Peter in charge of The Empire and making Christianity much bleaker with no promises of forgiveness.
  • John Carter of Mars: Issus, ruler of the black Martians, is known as a goddess even beyond their realm. Actually, she's just an old crone without any special powers, which the blacks are so angry to find out that she doesn't survive it.
  • Left Behind: Nicolae Carpathia claims to be this in during the Tribulation, and Jesus Christ is simply this during the Millennial Reign.
  • In The Locked Tomb the Emperor of the Nine Houses, the King Undying, the Necrolord Prime etc. is often referred to as God by his subjects, and has ruled throughout his empire's 10,000 year history. His actual name is John, and he powers the Sun.
  • The Malloreon: It's revealed that the emperors of Mallorea are divine per definition, due to the original emperor being a literal God, Kal Torak. The emperor thus holds the official name of "Kal Zakath", and becomes a major character... but at the end of the book, he changes the policy and drops the "Kal" (which is Mallorean for God-King, in case you didn't guess), actually crossing it out in an official letter because, as he puts it, "Now that I've seen some REAL gods in action, it just seems ostentatious". That said, he was never entirely thrilled with it from the outset and only took it because his administrators were so worried the empire would fall apart after Torak's death they wouldn't stop on about it until he did so. It wasn't until he saw the real gods in action that he finally climbed out of his apathy enough to put his foot down and get rid of it.
  • Moses, Man of the Mountain has this, both with the obvious example of the Pharaoh, and with Moses himself, who is seen like this by the Hebrews. He's somewhat disturbed by this, as he does not see himself as a god or a king.
  • New Jedi Order: The Supreme Overlord of the Yuuzhan Vong, while not considered to be on par with the Yuuzhan Vong pantheon, is certainly regarded by his followers as something greater than mortal, and apparently has the powers to back it up. Said powers turn out to be the doing of the real Big Bad, the Supreme Overlord's deformed, Force-using jester Onimi.
  • The Night Angel Trilogy: The Godkings. The people of Khalidor literally believe them to be gods. The Godkings themselves know they're not gods, but they tend to behave like they think a god would to fool their people. The first and last one was pure evil and they groom their children to be just like that.
  • Paradox Trilogy: The Sainted King of Paradox is viewed as divine by Paradoxians, who credit him with the power to perform miracles. His powers are real, but not necessarily divine in origin; while psychic powers are considered mere superstition on Paradox, psychic energy called plasmex is a well-documented phenomenon on other worlds, and there are plasmex-users who are capable of performing similar miraculous feats. Even after learning of the existence of plasmex, however, the protagonist Devi remains a devout believer in the Sainted King's divinity.
  • Retief: In "The Hoob-Melon Crisis", the Groaci ambassador to an empty planet declares himself king, since there's no one around to dispute the claim, and then manages to use the argument of the divine right of kings to get himself accepted into the official Groaci pantheon as a God, since he was the one who made himself king.
  • The Sacred Throne: The Emperor is... well, an emperor who died a martyr closing a portal to Hell. For this deed, people have come to worship him in a religion that states he has ascended to godhood after death and his companions sainted (in this world, one need only kill a devil to be declared a saint). Things start going downhill when edicts are declared in his name such as "suffer not a wizard to live".
  • Shadowmarch: The Autarch Sulepis of the nation of Xis is regarded as a living god, with absolute control over his vast empire and designs on ruling the world. Also once ordered a man to be tortured to death in his library so he could read and listen to his screams at the same time.
  • The Silmarillion: The evil Vala Morgoth (originally Melkor) is worshipped as the god of darkness and death by many frightened slave races, including Man. Ages later in The Lord of the Rings, his once-lieutenant Sauron is given much the same treatment by the orcs. Both of them are of course already actual "gods", or as Tolkien referred to them, Powers of Arda; while Morgoth aspired to be God-with-a-capital-G, Sauron was content only to be seen as such after how Morgoth wound up.
  • The Stone Dance of the Chameleon: Although the God-Emperors begin life as mortals, when they ascend the throne they undergo apotheosis, at which time their blood turns into pure ichor.
  • Victoria: The rulers of fanatical and theocratic neo-pagan Cascadia eventually declare themselves the collective incarnation of the goddess they worship, whereupon their reign becomes even more totalitarian.
  • In A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman, Queen Victoria (not to be confused with the historical queen of the same name) is technically a Great Old One Empress, but as far as her subjects are concerned, there is very little difference.
  • The Succession Duology: The Risen Emperor and his sister are worshipped as gods. Given that they're immortal, and have the ability to confer immortality upon others, this is somewhat understandable. The Emperor encourages this worship, but does not demand it.
  • The Sun Eater: In this series by Christopher Ruocchio, far-future humanity will have a God-Emperor and he's a Windsor too! Given prophecy and other powers by the Quiet, the God-Emperor saved humanity from the machine rulers of the Mericanii empire who nearly wiped everyone out. He did nuke Earth into a radioactive wasteland, but no one holds that against him. And there's a prophecy that a descendant of the God-Emperor will be the God-Emperor reborn and he'll save humanity again while also returning humans back to Earth.
  • Sword of Truth: While normally just a badass emperor, Richard briefly becomes this in the last book of the Chainfire trilogy, but gives it up after he's made the changes he thinks are necessary.
  • Tales of the Branion Realm: The ruler is the monarch of an alternate Britain and the Vessel of a fire God's power. Book 3 revolves around the faithful trying to get the throne back when the royal family converts to another faith and denies its own divinity.
  • Tree of Aeons: As more and more people enter his territory, TreeTree consistently demands final authority over everything that happens there; he doesn't necessarily micro-manage everything, but whenever he does intervene in something, he expects to be obeyed. As his power and influence grows, he establishes his own priesthood and worship, until even the other gods fear his influence, and issue propaganda against him. Eventually, it turns out that high enough levels can actually set him on the path to godhood.
  • The Vagrant Trilogy:
    • The Seven (and their creator) have ruled the world for a thousand years, preparing for the Breach to open and the infernals to spew forth. Unfortunately, a thousand years is a long time to wait, even for immortals, and by the time the attack comes, they have allowed the defenses to lapse.
    • The Uncivil is worshiped by her half-alive cultists, who repair her cloak of corpses in exchange for grafts and enhancements.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Lanfear's plan is to set herself and Rand up as God-Emperors using the infinite powers which they have by using the Choedan Kal to overthrow the Dark One and then challenge the Creator.
    • In the last book it's revealed that Demandred is more-or-less one of these in The Empire of Shara, having taken on the persona of Bao the Wyld, He Who Is Owned Only By The Land, the dragonslayer. The prophecies he followed to attain this position are heavily implied- and confirmed by Word of God—to parallel the ones about Rand. His followers practically worship him, and their morale is shattered when he dies.
  • The World of Ice & Fire: The rulers of Yi Ti are referred to as God-Emperors. There are currently three, none of whom hold real power outside their respective home cities. The island of Leng is likewise ruled by a God-Empress, and the Ibbenese used to be ruled by God-Kings until they were overthrown around the time of the Doom of Valyria.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Illyria, God-King of the Primordium. Except the show is set several million years after her death, and by the time she returns her demonic empire has crumbled to dust and her mortal worshippers are reduced to a handful of cultists awaiting her return.
  • Attila: The halfwitted Emperor Valentinian is shown to regard himself as a god, a notion that Flavius Aetius later sarcastically mocks while manipulating the Emperor. In fact, the Roman Empire was strongly Christian by this point in history, which the film itself portrays.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Emperor Cartagia didn't think he was a god yet, but he believed he could ascend to godhood and become a God-Emperor with his dealings with the Shadows.
    • Subverted in an early episode when Londo asks Vir how many gods there are in the Centauri pantheon. Vir is unable to give him a clear answer because so many of the Empire's numerous emperors have declared themselves Gods.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Davros tried to become this, with his creations the Daleks as the supreme rulers of existence and he as their master, but unfortunately he was too Genre Blind to recognise the logical conclusion of a non-Dalek trying to rule a species deliberately designed to hate anything not like them.
    • Rassilon could be considered this, being not the Lord President of the Time Lords, but part of the Time Lord triumvirate who created Time Lord society and culture. Many artifacts are named after him, and he is believed to have gained immortality by the time the classic series has rolled around. By the time of the Last Great Time War, he is Lord President, hell bent on remaining an all-powerful figure, and he definitely has the means to achieve that.
    • The Dalek Emperor that survived the Time War started styling itself as "The God of all Daleks" after it rebuilt them as religious fanatics loyal to it. The Doctor realises that this means the Daleks, who by design refuse to believe in any higher lifeform, have gone absolutely insane.
  • Highlander had an immortal who got into this in "Little Tin God". He killed the previous immortal ruler of a South American tribe and set himself up as "the decapitator". The people bought it because when he killed other immortals, it produced the light and sound show of the Quickening.
  • Kingdom Adventure: This universe's God-analog is called "The Emperor", and considering the powers His Son has, it's pretty clear that The Emperor would also qualify as a god!
  • Lexx: His Divine Shadow, a succession of hosts to the essence of the last of a race of planet-sized insects who ruled an entire universe (one of two).
  • The Man in the High Castle: The Japanese people still consider their emperor a living god in this timeline. This is mentioned to be vital to capturing him when the Nazis are planning the invasion of their former ally because he holds such sway over them.
  • MythQuest: Alex temporarily becomes Osiris, an Egyptian god who unified Egypt and became the first Pharaoh.
  • The Outpost:
    • The Three are the absolute rulers of the Prime Order, who worship them as deities due to the abilities granted to them by the kinj each of them possesses.
    • Yavalla, priestess of the Blackbloods, comes into possession of the white kinj and starts using it to absorb people into a Hive Mind called the United, who start worshipping her. Eventually, she declares herself a god and seems to be able to back it up, with her apparent Complete Immortality.
  • Space Sheriff Shaider: The Big Bad, Great Emperor Kubilai, rules over a galactic empire known as the Fuuma and is worshipped as a god by his many, many followers.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The Goa'uld System Lords, who pose as Gods. In fact, most of them actually buy their own propaganda. Pretty much the only one who doesn't is Baal, who's rather flippant about his godhood when speaking to those who already know the truth. It's also implied that Lord Yu might have known better before he went senile, since his identity is a Composite Character of mythological but not strictly divine Chinese emperors. The primitive people they enslave and oppress believe them to be gods, however.
    • Toyed with by mid-series villain Anubis, who was perfectly aware of not being a god, but who very much resembled one thanks to his failed Ascension, and who gave Stargate Command no end of troubles.
    • Also, the Ori, ascended beings who masquerade as gods in order to gain worship from people who don't know the truth. Unlike the Goa'uld, though, they can actually back up their claims of divinity, being able to alter matter with a thought, create life, and having technology several thousands of years beyond anything almost anyone else has (the Asgard excepted). And they actually get stronger from being worshiped.
  • Star Trek:
    • Kahless the Unforgettable's clone, at least insofar as his becoming figurehead Emperor of the Klingon Empire due to his genetic code having being effectively divinized by the Klingons.
    • The Founders of the Dominion rule their interstellar empire with the assistance of two Servant Races who are genetically programmed to be subservient to the Founders and indoctrinated to regard them as gods. The paranoia and xenophobia of the Founders is so intense that these devotees are the only people outside their own species to whom they extend any trust... and even then, their trust has limits. Even a member of the Founders' species who wants nothing to do with the Dominion finds himself occasionally on the recieving end of Unwanted False Faith from the Founders' worshippers.

    Mythology & Religion 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chronopia: The One King of the Firstborn was an all powerful being who liberated humanity from being enslaved by the Blackbloods, Elves, and Dwarves. He was once killed by the Devout, but his soul went to the other side and fought the Devout's god the Dark One. He defeated the evil god and came back to life to lead his people.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: These appear in several campaign settings.
    • In Dragonlance, the last Kingpriest, Beldinas Pilofiro, tried to turn himself into this. It didn't work so well.
    • The Lord of Blades in the Eberron setting is a warforged who hopes to lead a kingdom of his race to subjugate the humanoids that created them. Some warforged clerics pray to him for spells.
    • The Sorcerer-Kings of Athas in the Dark Sun setting are not only treated as gods, but are the closest thing to deities in their universe, having ascended into terrifying half-dragons that rule the very world they irrevocably defiled.
    • The God-Kings of Mulhorand in the Forgotten Realms setting. Before the Time of Troubles, Unther was ruled by an avatar of Gilgeam, the last god of the Untheric pantheon that was neither dead nor had bolted for another pantheon (or just plain bolted — for reasons to do with interplanar magic and an interdict on divinities, the Mulan gods had to keep their avatars on Toril to keep a link to the world). He was not a good ruler, especially not at the end, but he was the only thing keeping an ancient peace treaty between the Mulhorandic and Untheric pantheons — and therefore between Mulhorand and Unther — valid...
    • Greyhawk: as an actual demigod, Iuz the Old rules his realm as a literal god-emperor and most of the functionaries running things are his clergy.
  • Exalted:
    • Though neither were actually gods, the Scarlet Empress and Solar Queen Merela both had strong elements of this trope, particularly in the power department. Also, a common term for First Age Exalted rulers in general is "god-kings", and most Solars with at least minimal public presence could expect to have actual cults to themselves exist somewhere. And, this being Exalted, it is entirely reasonable for the player characters to have attaining this status as one of their long-term goals.
    • Given the nature of the powers of the gods and the Exalted, Exalted are powerful enough that apotheosis would be a step down in rank.
    • While many Exalted can be god-kings in principle, the Zenith Caste of the Solars (and their Abyssal and Green Sun Prince counterparts) exemplify it (at least in so far as some can blur the line between priest-king and god-king, though all are made to be kings).
    • Exalted can get worship from mortals, which has a host of benefits.
    • Malfeas has settled on the upper edge of this power belt after his post-War castration. Before that he had so much power that he couldn't be constrained by a physical form, and the beings he ruled made the gods. And the world. And then kinda got rolled for their lunch money by the Exalted and shoved/turned into hell.
  • Iron Kingdoms gives us Lord Toruk the Dragonfather, almighty ruler of the Nightmare Empire of Cryx. He happens to be a Godzilla-sized dragon / Eldritch Abomination that wants to kill everyone and turn them into zombie robots.
  • Legend of the Five Rings:
    • The Emperor of Rokugan is not a god, but does have literal divine blood due to being directly descended from the original gods of the sun and moon. The first dynasty was founded by their youngest son Hantei, but after the fortieth Hantei emperor died without an heir the throne was taken by the former Lion Clan Daimyo Toturi, himself a direct descendant of the sun and moon's eldest child Akodo.
    • Taken further in that all of the great clans are ruled by direct descendants of the sun and moon, most of them founded by one of their children. The Mantis Clan, which was granted Great Clan status more than a thousand years after the founding of Rokugan, was still founded by a great-grandson of the sun and moon.
    • The Shadowlands to the south was long ruled by another child of the sun and moon, Fu Leng.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Razmir the Living God, ruler of Razmiran. The text explicitly states that he is a charlatan, but the players and/or characters may or may not know this.
    • The hero-gods who rule the city-states of Iblydos are a more genuine example of this. They're mortal, and — eventually — die of old age, but they make no particular secret of this and are genuine demigods in all other respects: they wield immense (by worldly standards) divine power, each gained mythic powernote  after performing a great deed, and they can grant divine magic to their worshippers like full gods can.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: Subverted. The Erciyes Fragments was written from the in-universe perspective of Cain. At one point, he states that the Great Flood was sent to destroy not sinful humans, but the children and grandchildren of Cain that have set themselves as gods to be worshipped by the descendants of Cain's brother, Seth. Cain refuses to either warn or help them, explaining that they have aroused YHWH's jealousy with their hubris. He advises future generations of vampires to let the mortals do the declaring and worshipping of their own volition, rather than by command, because then the whole matter is the result of the free will that YHWH gave humans to begin with.
  • Vor The Maelstrom had the God King of the Pharon species. The God King is an amalgamation of their Dark Messiah, the scientist-wizard Ulhothep, and the Morgue God which is at the heart of the Maelstrom. Even the Pharon's Arch-Enemy, the Shard a species of Energy Beings encased in Power Crystal bodies, were awestruck by the God King's magnificence when they first saw him - even though they see carbon-based life forms as disgusting ugly obscenities worthy only of elimination. Awe quickly turned to terror as the God King easily killed the mightiest Shards and devoured their souls.
  • Warhammer: Sigmar was deified after he disappeared. His religion became the offical religion of the Empire and a major political force (they have three votes when electing the next emperor, the most among all electors) much to the chagrin of the Church of Ulric, which not only used to be the major power, but also crowned Sigmar, leading to resentment between the churches. If Sigmar wasn't sufficiently a God Emperor before, he most certainly is now in Warhammer: Age Of Sigmar.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Immortal God-Emperor of Mankind. Funnily enough, unlike other examples he specifically said he wasn't a godnote  and wanted to create a society of Flat Earth Atheists (supposedly to starve the Chaos gods of their required sustenance). But after the Horus Heresy happened, he was immobilised and stuck on life support for ten thousand years, and the Imperium became a totalitarian fanatical nightmare, which was his last demand before being put into the throne, since he realised that the Chaos Gods feed more on emotion than prayer. Want to hear another irony about Emperor of Mankind, who was the biggest atheist in the whole 40K? It's implied that he was Jesus. As shown in the page quote, the last priest on Earth called it (after tearing down his badly argued Hollywood Atheist justifications to boot). As did The Emperor's best friend and trusted advisor Malcador. Emps just refused to listen, even when he had to start outlawing cults worshipping him. Best of all? It turns out that collectivist faiths literally starve Chaos of their worship. His atheist teachings made humanity vulnerable to Chaos, which nearly damned humanity in an entirely literal sense. After the Horus Heresy, faith is used to combat daemons and other Chaos forces to great effect.
    • Daemon princes, after achieving the ultimate power of Chaos, spend the rest of eternity mostly ruling over their followers and shaping their own corner of the warp to their liking.

  • Tsukino Empire — Prince Shun is an inversion, a god (more or less — rather, he's Death itself) pretending to be human. He doesn't even make himself Emperor. Rather, he calls himself the second imperial prince, and creates illusions of a father and older brother above himself (though in the end, Hajime, the "Life" counterpart to Shun's "Death", fills the position of first prince).

    Video Games 
  • In Baldur's Gate III, Queen Vlaakith CLVII is the ruler of the race of Scary Dogmatic Aliens known as the githyanki, and a lich who's ruled for a millennium while manipulating her subjects into believing she's a goddess. Githyanki Token Evil Teammate Lae'zel is so brainwashed by her lies that even with the mounting evidence that her Religion Is Wrong she initially refuses to believe it.
  • Battleborn: Empress Lenore is worshiped as a goddess by many of her subjects.
  • In The Battle Cats, the True Form Dragon Emperors are billed as this. They have the power to back it up, too.
  • Borderlands 3: The main antagonists, siblings Tyreen and Troy, lead a cult whose followers worship them as divine. Tyreen is called God-Queen by herself and her followers, although when Troy called himself God-King, Tyreen remarked it sounds ridiculous.
  • Breath of Fire IV: The God-Emperor Fou-Lu. In fact, specifically summoned as a god and emperor by the previous dynasty, which was in a state of civil war.
  • The Castlevania games portray Count Dracula—or rather, Lord Dracula, as he's called here, with good reason—as no mere vampire, but both a god of evil and the ruler of the underworld, commanding vast armies of demons from his infernal castle. Dracula draws power from Chaos, an extra-dimensional Eldritch Abomination, granting him eternal life (to the point that he has returned from death at least a dozen times) and immense supernatural powers outclassing most, if not all of the various monsters who serve him, a roster that includes Death himself. He is worshipped by select humans and lesser vampires who arrange for his various resurrections, and holds the title of Dark Lord due to his rule. He is, for all intents and purposes, The Antichrist but with an army and a cult that deifies him.
  • In Civilization V: Brave New World, one of the beliefs you can select for your religious pantheon is God-King, which causes the palace in your capital city to generate one extra unit each of culture, faith, gold, production, and science. It's a good all-around bonus in the early part of the game, but because the bonus level is static while other pantheons are scaled upwards as the civilizations grow and develop it gets comparatively weaker as the ages advance.
  • Command & Conquer: Though the Brotherhood of Nod's religion primarily seems to venerate Tiberium, their leader Kane is also highly venerated by the Brotherhood's fanatics, and his word is considered divine law. There's a good reason for that.
  • Dark Souls has Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight. The leader of the various godly Lords and father of several gods on his own, he rules over man from Anor Londo in Lordran.
  • Disco Elysium had Posthumous Character Dolores Dei, a Dark Messiah and Jeanne d'Archétype who as Innocence practically ruled the known world 300 years before the game took place and has churches dedicated to her in the present day. She was murdered by one of her own bodyguards who suspected her of not being human, accusing her of radiating heat like a furnace and sometimes neglecting to breathe for minutes at a time.
  • Divinity: Original Sin has Lucian the Divine One, who was endowed with half the power of the Seven Gods and used his power to save the world before eventually leading it. In Divinity: Original Sin II it's the goal of the Player Character to rise up and assume the reigns in his absence.
  • The Dominions series revolves around this concept in a more literal fashion. Every player takes on the role of a pretender god, very powerful creatures and mages that are making a bid for God-hood, now that the former Pantokrator is gone. This Pretender is represented in-game as an actual unit. You even get your own religion, temples and priests! One particular Pretender type, the Divine Emperor, goes double by being a literal emperor who managed to use the fact that he's technically the Son of God (due to Roman-style post-death deification of emperors) to leverage himself into Pretender God status.
  • Elden Ring Queen Marika the Eternal is the undisputed ruler of the Lands Between, as well as its main deity. She's a vessel of the Elden Ring, and thus has domion over the metaphysical order of the world. The Elden Lord could technically count, being a mortal who ascends to demigodhood and lordhood through marrying Marika, but they're very explicitly a step below her and she can strip them of that power whenever she wants. Though even she is below the Greater Will, an Outer God that is the source of her and the Erdtree's powers.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind has a downplayed example: The Dunmer worship the Tribunal, a trio of living, flesh and blood gods (who are really elves who obtained divinity via an Artifact of Doom). In the modern day they exert great influence, but aren't officially the government and their powers have waned greatly; rather, there's a separate King of Morrowind, who reports to the Emperor. But before Dagoth Ur's return and the Imperial conquest of Morrowind, they really did fit this trope.
    • Tiber Septim, the founder of the Third Cyrodiilic Empire, achieved apotheosis after his death and is worshiped as Talos, one of the Nine Divines. He has an especially strong following in the Imperial Legion. Exactly how he accomplished this is hotly debated, with the most prominent theories involving Merger of Souls and Becoming the Mask scenarios. By Skyrim, worship of Talos has been banned thanks to a humiliating treaty forced on the Empire by the fascistic Aldmeri Dominion.
    • While Talos is the most prominent of the post-death apotheosized Men, at least two other rulers are said to have achieved apotheosis as well: Cuhlecain, Septim's predecessor (Tiber was his general, and took over and continued the work when Cuhlecain was assassinated right after taking the Imperial City) with 'the Cult of Emperor Zero' and Reman Cyrodiil, founder of the Second Empire (also known as the Worldly God and the Light of Man).
    • Among the Akaviri race of the Ka Po' Tun "tiger folk", their leader, Tosh Raka, has become one. He has supposedly achieved the race's goal of becoming dragons, being the largest dragon in the world with orange and black colored scales. (Other sources claim that this story is metaphorical at best.)
    • In the Mythic Era, the dragons, particularly Alduin the World Eater, put themselves in this position over the Nords of Skyrim, ruling over them and forming cults dedicated to their worship. The Dragon Cult was brutal and cruel, and the dragons responded to any rebellion with absolute, extreme violence. It was only through literal divine intervention, the defection of a number of dragons, and the use of an Elder Scroll that the dragons were defeated by the Nords.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, Caesar's Legions view of Caesar himself is best stated around here, with them believing he is the son of Mars and a God. This goes a long way to explain their fanatical devotion to the Legion. Caesar himself has no such delusions, but his ego is no less massive.
  • Fear & Hunger had Alll-mer, one of The Old Gods who was an analog to Jesus. He was a Deity of Human Origin who was crucified and had his death mark the beginning of a new calendar. Unlike Jesus however, upon coming Back from the Dead he then proceeded to take revenge upon his oppressors before forming a One World Order.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II's Emperor has land, resources, and technology...but he's still just a sorcerer. Then the heroes kill him, the next step in his Evil Plan that results in him taking over Hell, taking over Heaven, and then coming back to the human world to finish what he started. Nice one, Firion.
    • Final Fantasy VI: Kefka Palazzo was technically already made Emperor after he betrayed and murdered Gestahl, but when he also absorbs the Warring Triad's power during the year of his reign, and even by the time he moves the Triad out of alignment, he pretty much became God and Emperor.
  • Genshin Impact takes place largely on a continent divided into seven nations, each of which is ostensibly ruled by a Physical God known as an "Archon" though for the most part each nation has a human-run government that does most of the work. The degree to how much direct influence each Archon has over their nation varies, with Barbatos (the Anemo Archon) preferring to let the people govern themselves while the Raiden Shogun is explicitly a military dictator. After the events of Chapter IV, Chief Justice Neuvillette becomes the official ruler/deity of Fontaine after the Hydro Archon Focalors sacrifices herself to relinquish her divinity to him (with her human aspect Furina becoming a mortal).
  • Hollow Knight: The Pale King, accompaned by the queen, the White Lady, were both godlike beings (a Wyrm and a Root, respectively) who ruled over the fallen kingdom of Hallownest.
  • Infinity Blade: Raidriar the God King is a self-proclaimed example, though he is merely one of the Deathless, albeit one of the most powerful. According to Galath the Worker of Secrets, Raidriar is unique in that he is the only Deathless who genuinely believes he is a god. The others never forgot their original human roots and merely pretended to be divine to rule over humanity.
  • Jade Empire: Claimed by Emperor Sun Hai and Sun Li. Sun Hai is delusional, but Sun Li can back it up.
  • Kult: Heretic Kingdoms: In the backstory, the Garulian Empire was ruled by people who considered themselves divine. This probably adds to (though is not the only reason for) the strong anti-religious sentiment of some factions, leading to the suppression of all religion by an Inquisition (which the player character belongs to).
  • The Last Remnant has a man who they call the God-Emperor, who ruled the land for a long time before the start of the game. By the start, however, his power is only relegated to the area he lives in, as everyone has developed into monarchy-like city-states, leaving him God-Emperor In Name Only.
  • Legacy of Kain: "Kain is deified. The Clans tell tales of Him. Few know the truth. He was mortal once, as were we all."
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Shao Kahn, while not specifically referred to as a god, he's a powerful, apparently ageless warlord of a Death World. In Mortal Kombat 9 he proclaims himself to be one near the end and before the Timey-Wimey Ball, it's revealed he had won Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and achieved omnipotence. His predecessor, Onaga, though very mortal, was also extremely powerful, and displayed power over life and death. When he died his army allowed Onaga's holy men to mummify themselves alive so they could serve again if he returned.
    • Shinnok is a fallen Elder God who was stripped of his role as one when he attempted to conquer Earthrealm. Instead, he was banished to the Netherrealm, where he overthrew its ruler Lucifer, installed himself as the new overlord, and reshaped it to his whims.
  • In a way, the CPUs of Neptunia could be seen as this, considering that they're immortal deities who rule over their respective nations.
  • Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell: After defeating the Zin, The Boss is now apparently "President / God-Emperor for Life of the Universe", though it's just an ostentatious title rather than them actually achieving divinity.
  • StarCraft: The Overmind, for the rest of the Zerg, in the original game; all the more so given the fact that every Zerg, especially the Cerebrates, were manifestations of different aspects of his/its personality.
  • Emperor Valkorion in Star Wars: The Old Republic is openly deified among the people of Zakuul and considering that he is a nigh-immortal Eldritch Abomination, he has a proper claim to this title. In the Jedi Knight storyline he's also worshipped by cultists in his Sith Empire willing to help him with his Omnicidal Maniac plans, not realizing he'd already abandoned them to go play Columbus on the other side of the galaxy.
  • Stellaris:
    • A ruler of a Spiritualist Imperial Government has two flavors of this: a God-Emperor, which requires the Authoritarian ethos and the Imperial Cult civic, and a Celestial Emperor, which requires pacifism and xenophobia and the Inward Perfection Civic. Flavor states that the former is actually divine, while the later is descended from divinity.
    • The Utopia DLC allows psionic ascendant empires (usually Spiritualist) to make pacts with Shroud entitiesnote  and turn one of their leaders into an immortal Chosen One. While this can include a God-Emperor/Empress or Crown Prince(ss) a random scientist or admiral is just as likely to be Chosen, which might make it a good idea to temporarily reform into a dictatorship or Elective Monarchy.
  • Strider (Arcade): This is Grandmaster Meio's primary motivation. He desired a world where every living thing looks up to him as their one and only God, but realizing that this is impossible, he set up a plan to cause the extinction of all living beings on Earth so he can then repopulate the planet with life born out of his powers, making him the Creator God of a new world. Strider 2, set 2000 years after the first, reveals his plan eventually succeeded, as world leaders and subordinates proclaim him the Creator of the world.
  • Sunrider: The backstory features the God-Emperors of the Holy Ryuvian Empire. They weren’t actual gods, but since they wielded technology so advanced that they could do anything short of time travel, their subjects worshipped them as gods regardless. In the Alternate Universe of Sunrider Academy, the God-Emperor is still worshipped even though the empire has long-since collapsed and the protagonist can go to a Shinto-esque Ryuvian Shrine to pray for good luck.
  • Touhou Project has Suwako Moriya. In a reversal of how this trope usually goes, she started as a Mountain Goddess, then became the ruler of what would become the kingdom of Moriya. Somewhere in there, she single-handedly tamed the Curse Gods of the land. Suwako defended her kingdom from other gods who wished to conquer it, until she was tactically outmaneuvered by Kanako Yasaka, a Wind Goddess, to whom she surrendered. Kanako then become the God-Queen of Moriya, but the humans and Curse Gods didn't accept her, so she had to settle for joint-rulership with Suwako. This arrangement worked out very well for everyone involved, and continued until the twilight of human faith in the modern era, at which point Kanako decided to move herself, her old friend, and her friend's descendant into Gensoukyou to gather new faith. Before either Suwako or Kanako, there was, back in the PC-98 game Mystic Square, Shinki, The High Queen and creator goddess of the demon dealm, Makai, as well as all life in the realm, which effectively also made her Touhou's gender-swapped Satan.
  • Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception: The Mikado of Yamato is explicitly said to be a god and is worshipped by his people. Miraculous powers are attributed to him, as well as bountiful wisdom. He's actually an ordinary human who has access to advanced technology and scientific knowledge in a pre-gunpowder setting. One of those technologies is life-extending medicine that has let him live for hundreds of years. And despite taking a couple of questionably moral actions, he ultimately does love his people and wants them to live in peace and prosperity.
  • Warframe: The Twin Queens of the Grineer, immortal rulers who have led the Grineer since the fall of the Orokin Empire. All Grineer are fanatically devoted to them, to the point that any Grineer who are not slavishly loyal are declared "defective" and cast out. In truth, the Twin Queens are two of the last Orokin alive, taking advantage of the genetic loyalty that was originally programmed into the Grineer when the Orokin first created them.
  • World of Warcraft contains several individuals who may fit the requirements to be considered God-Emperor:
    • First we have the founder and absent leader of the Burning Legion, Sargeras. Originally the greatest warrior of the Titans, he was appointed to hunt down and imprison all the demonic races who sought to prey upon the ordered worlds they had created. After killing one too many demons and seeing one too many races corrupted by them, he went mad and decided that universe itself was fundamentally flawed and that it must be destroyed and recreated anew without imperfection, for which effect he released all the demonic races he had imprisoned and gave them the option to help him destroy the universe or be killed. Due to the fact that he could probably destroy Azeroth single-handedly, he was Put on a Bus, by banishing his spirit into the Twisting Nether following his corruption of Medivh, which didn't stop the Legion from carrying on his mission, and his Dragon Kil'jaeden taking command in his name, but never trying to usurp command, simply considering him to be "absent". Though he has godlike powers, he doesn't seem to encourage his minions to worship him; however, mortal groups like the Shadow Council, who seek the favor of the Legion, do so anyway.
    • Second, we have the Big Bad of the second expansion, the Lich King. Originally a mortal orc shaman, Ner'Zhul, who had a prominent role in allowing the Burning Legion to corrupt the orcish race into The Horde they were prior to their redemption by Thrall. Once the horde failed to take over Azeroth following their defeat in the second war, he tried to escape the wrath of the Legion Lord Kil'jaeden, but was captured by him, had his soul ripped off from his body and trapped in the Frozen Throne, and sent back to Azeroth, this time to raise an undead army with necromantic magic and a zombie plague, to finish the job the Horde had started. Though he succeeded in destroying the kingdom of Lordaeron, he was clever enough to know that Kil'jaeden would eventually dispose of him, so he engineered the Face–Heel Turn of the human prince Arthas Menethil, in order "merge" with him and be truly free of Kil'jaeden's control, gaining godlike powers in the process, though that may have backfired since it is implied only Arthas is in control following their Mental Fusion. The second expansion depicts Lich King Arthas as having powers to raise and control the dead, both mindless and sentient, which causes the Vrykul and the Tuskarr to identify him with their respective patron deity of death. It is also evident in its very nature that the Cult of the Damned, the still living and willing servants of the Lich King, worship him as a God, and expect to be blessed with the immortality of undeath as a reward for their faith.
    • The fourth expansion, brings us the last (pandaren) Emperor of Pandaria, Shaohao, who upon learning from his local Jinyu Oracle that the Sundering was coming, decided to search for a way to save Pandaria from it. The method he came up with required him to purge himself from his negative emotions, using masks that created Anthropomorphic Personifications of them, and then beating the crap out of them. It is implied that this is what released the the Sha from their imprisonment, which would go on to cause problems for his people for millenia to come, but then again considering the alternative, he may have had a point. After purging himself from negative emotions, and becoming a "being of pure light", he returned to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, to commune with the land, but failed until he realized he needed to save his enemies the mantid as well if he wanted to save Pandaria, so with that in mind, he succeeded in "becoming one with the land" and when the Sundering came, Pandaria drifted quietly into the ocean and became enveloped in impenetrable mists, hidden away from the rest of the world, while his mortal body disappeared, leaving only his clothes behind. In modern times, the pandaren don't really worship him, but it is clear that they admire him and consider him to have become more than mortal in his quest to save Pandaria, having achieved some sort of Enlightenment Superpowers:
      Lorewalker Cho: Would that we could all live like our most sacred emperor. That we could put aside all our burdens and exist in harmony with the cosmos.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Though the inhabitants of Aionios don't really have a concept of "gods," the Queens serve the role. The singular, immortal rulers of Keves and Agnes, both Queens are spoken with reverence even by their enemies, and particularly foul-mouthed characters swear by them in a way that is largely treated as a minor blasphemy. They are named early on as Melia Antiqua (Keves) and Nia (Agnes), heroes from the previous games... which makes it very odd that they are perpetuating an absolutely unnecessary Forever War between the two nations. As it turns out, the real Queens went to sleep when Moebius and the Consuls took over; the "Queens" everyone knows are actually robots spouting Moebius propaganda.

    Web Animation 
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device some of the Emperor's biggest complaints about how the Imperium has been run in his absence involve the theocratic elements focused around him and his first edict upon regaining the ability to communicate is to disband the Ecclesiarchy and Inquisition. Though after the Inquisitors who refused the order are banished to the Warp he reinstates those who obeyed, insisting that they stop worshiping him as a God and calling him the "God-Emperor of Mankind". Decius settles on "The Man-Emperor of Mankind", pointing out what the 'actual' gods of the setting are like, and proclaiming that humans are greater than them, and that the Emperor is the greatest human. However, other characters point out how the Emperor's being a hypocrite in still wanting to be treated like a god sometimes.
  • RWBY: When Ozma first reincarnates and reunites with Salem, she convinces him that the best way to unite humanity is to do it as gods. Because they are both immortal and magic makes them much more powerful than other humans, many people believe it and become their followers. They are able to establish and rule an entire kingdom until Salem's increasingly extreme methods of "uniting" humanity finally opens Ozma's eyes to the truth of her corruption; their masquerade ends in violence and tragedy, and they have been fighting over the fate of the world ever since.

  • 8-Bit Theater: Bahamut, god and king of dragons, who rules by his own divine mandate. Several characters remark that it must be a pretty sweet job and is probably something you have to be born into.
  • Beyond the Veil:
    • Nicodemus Aurelius was one before he was betrayed and deposed. And there is still a cult devoted to him 300 years after his "death".
    • Uriel, the one who deposed him, seems to evoke this to some extent as well. At the very least the governor of a seemingly medieval planet sets herself up as a goddess.
  • Girl Genius:
    • The Other styles herself as one; the Geisters refer to her as their goddess, and she flies into a rage when she hears about traitors among her priestesses. Zola later calls her a fraud, however, and there are some implications that she stole the power and position from someone else.
    • Her Undying Majesty Queen Albia of England has ruled for thousands of years, and demonstrates powers so far beyond normal science that even Sparks (who are also capable of many things beyond normal science) consider it magic. Albia says she was once part of a sisterhood of god-queens, but when the Portal Network they used to communicate went dark, she lost contact with them. Her trade fleets have found one or two of them, but they've also found many ruins, and in other cases simply failed to find anything at all. Skifander, for example, was once ruled by a god-queen, but she died centuries ago, and now Skifander simply has mortal queens.
  • Jix: Kelelder the Planet Thief is an immortal Ambis who assassinates nobles and claims their planets for fun, and is worshipped as a god by a legion of loyal followers. And it seems he's planning to make the "emperor" part official by adding the Ambis emperor to his trophy wall.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons:
    • The Demiurges style themselves as these, or collectively the Seven Lords of Infinity. For example, Mottom is known to her subjects as Nadia Om, Blood Flower Imperatrix of the Gates of Fire, Bearer of the Word Glory, Goddess of the Seven-Part World (meaning she’s the Dimension Lord of 111 111 worlds, 1/7 of the multiverse). Since each Demiurge's power is augmented by knowledge of a Name of God, they can back up the claim.
    • Of the Seven, Solomon David deserves special mention for actually being called God-Emperor among his list of titles.
    • Then there's Zoss, the Conquering King, also known as the Second King of Creation (the first was Top God YISUN), who is an even better example of this trope and according to Word of God he could "shit on" all of the Demiurges put together. He rediscovered the Red City of Throne after the death of the Multiplicity, at this point only inhabited by the Prime Angels, mountain-sized colossuses wielding near-godlike powers. He slaughtered them all with his own two hands, then declared Throne to be his by right of conquest. After opening the Magus Gates, thus allowing inhabitants of all universes into Throne he founded an empire ruled by "peaceful philosopher god-kings", with himself on top, which rediscovered and conquered all 777 777 universes, bringing them under his rule. He has vanished since, letting his empire break into seven parts in the hands of the Demiurges, but they suspect he's still alive. If so, he's easily the most powerful character still alive in the comic by a ridiculous margin. (The second most powerful, Metatron 1, a freaking archangel, Zoss left a half-dead cripple still alive only because Zoss wanted his knowledge.)
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Played with. Lt. Pibald is not a God-Emperor, but claimed to be one on one of his dozens of applications for the demolitions expert position.
    • Petey seems to be closer to the mark. By part IV of Book 5, he's amassed an armada, and later gets ahold of the greatest power source in the entire galaxy. His power level makes governments wear their brown pants.
  • Sluggy Freelance: At the end of one story, it seems that alternative reality America is about to elect the Goddess of Goodness their president. You can't even refer to her without calling her a goddess. Her enemy the Demon King of the Dimension of Pain is also at least heavily implied to be a god by his subjects, particularly when he's pointedly worshipped as an evil Crystal Dragon Jesus in one guest story.
  • Tower of God: King Jahad, in the words of the author, is a godlike existence to the residents of the Tower. Also he is immortal. Well, for the most part. The only reason the heads of the Great Families don't clearly count is that Jahad is technically their king; they rule territories containing entire continent-sized floors of the Tower, are worshipped, and have about the same sort of Complete Immortality.
  • xkcd:
    • "Suddenly Popular" is a list of words and phrases that quickly become well known. These include "I swear allegiance to the God-Empress, in life and in death," in about 2038.
    • "Age Milestone Privileges" is a list of entitlements that US citizens gain at various ages. These include "Learn about the God-Empress" at 45, and "Get a birthday card from the God-Empress" at 105.

    Web Original 
  • Arkn: Legacy: Marchosias Aversen, though not yet having achieved his goal of becoming Emperor of the Dekn, believes himself to be a god and has a cult of loyal admirers and disciples who address him as their God-Emperor in hopes that he will one day claim the throne.
  • Diamanda Hagan: Diamanda, ruler of Haganistan, actually has a pretty good case for divinity. Thus far, she's risen from the dead three weeks after committing suicide just to see if she could, possessed several other internet reviewers, come back from the dead again, and transformed a minion into an unused vibrator in its original packaging using the power of her mind. Supernatural powers aside, it's also implied throughout the first couple seasons that she's a genius—and given that omniscience is also a part of godhood...
  • Orion's Arm:
    • The cyborg God-Emperor of the Solar Dominion, who founded the religion of Solarism and now serves as the avatar of an Archailect known as the Lord of Rays.
    • All the major empires are controlled by immensely advanced transhuman AIs that might as well be Physical Gods so far as else is concerned.
  • Tales of MU: This seems to be the most common form of government in the setting. The emperor of Magisteria (the America equivalent) is unique in being a mere mortal, while the Nameless One that the founder of his dynasty rebelled against is still alive.
  • Whateley Universe: The Captain ie. the Star Stalker (past life of Tennyo) "ruled" a major star system thousands of years ago, and became deified after she disappeared.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • As stated in the article, practically all of the history of Ancient Egypt for most if not all the pharaonic period. This took several forms:
    • From the beginning of unified Egypt, every king was regarded as a reincarnation of the god Horus, the perpetual King of Egypt. The oldest part of the Egyptian five-part royal titulary was the Horus name, and it is the Horus names of the earliest kings (like Narmer) that survive.
    • As the five-part titulary took hold, the last part, stating the king's birth name, came to be invariably prefaced with the title "the Son of Ra". This also indirectly perpetuated the Horus mythology, as in most myths Horus was a male-line descendant of Ra (whether he was a son, grandson, or great-great-grandson depended on the telling).
    • As Eygptian theology about the afterlife developed during the Middle and New Kingdom periods, the king gained a new association with Osiris, king of the Underworld. Specifically, when a king died, he "became" or united with Osiris, making room for his son to become the new Horus on Earth. (As in most tellings Horus was the son of Osiris.)
    • Various specific monarchs claimed divinity in more specific ways. These are too numerous to name, so we'll just point to the earliest big offender: Amenhotep III of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Starting around the 30th year of his reign, Amenhotep III began to go beyond the mere metaphorical association with Horus and Osiris or descent from Ra and claimed to be divine. His propaganda started to put forth that he was a manifestation of several gods, most prominently the chief state god Amun, and statues of the gods he was identified with began to be made with his face. He also gave his great palace at Thebes the name "Nebmaatre Aten-Tjehen"—"Nebmaatre Is the Shining Aten"—with "Nebmaatre" being his throne name and the Aten being one of the manifestations of Ra (specifically the physical sun disk we see every day).
  • Japanese emperors before 1945. Usually though, Japanese emperors always claimed descent from Amaterasu, but playing at being a Physical God really only happened under the fascism within parts of Hirohito's reign.
  • Invoked by the Roman Emperors who were smart enough to follow the lead of Augustus, the first emperor, and leave orders to deify them after death.
    • Including perhaps the most cunning, Vespasian, whose dying words were "Vae, puto deus fio" ("Oh damn, I think I'm becoming a god").
    • It has also been said to be one of the reasons for the whole problem with Christians: as they only had one god, they didn't accept the divine nature of the emperor, who in turn didn't accept them. On the other hand, once most Roman Citizens were Christians, the practice of Caesaropapism began, in which Imperial decree gave legitimacy to the ecumenical councils that he called in the first place to try to end all the squabbles that were messing with Imperial unity.
    • Gaius Caligula jumped the gun and started when he was alive: he even wanted to put his statue in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem! You can imagine how well that went over. The funny thing is, he thought he was being nice: every other religion had a statue in its Holy of Holies, so he figured the Jews must just have been too poor or something to deck out their Temple properly. His response to this was like, "I know! I'm a god—and I've got way too many statues lying around! Here! Have one! Wait, you don't want a statue? Weirdos." (Truth be told, most of the Mediterranean didn't really get the whole "thou-shalt-make-no-graven-image" thing.)
    • Generally, the worse an emperor is depicted as being in our sources, the more likely it is that they will state that he claimed to be divine while alive (the other obvious candidate being Commodus, of Gladiator fame). State worship of the Emperor in Rome was generally considered a big no-no throughout the Empire's existence. Outside Rome was another matter.
  • The king of the Hittites was considered adopted by the gods upon his birth, and would become a god upon his death. Any reference to the death of the king would be phrased as "when he becomes/became a god".
  • Despite what common portrayals such as 300 might lead you to believe, the Persian King-of-Kings was not worshiped as a god, as the Persians were monotheistic Zoroastrians. The misconception arose among the ancient Greeks, who mistook the Persian practice of proskynesis before the monarch for an act of divine worship, when it was in fact a secular social ritual. The Shahanshah was tasked to be the guardian of the Holy Fire, one of the most important roles in Zoroastrianism, which gave him an important religious role within the Persian Empire. But then again, you have the example of the Queen of UK being the head of the Anglican Church, but you can bet that the United Kingdom is a pretty secular society. The one area of the empire where a Persian king did present himself as a god was Egypt, where they assumed the role of native pharaohs.
  • North Korea:
    • Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il "rule" over and are "worshipped" in North Korea. (Note the present tense for both "rule" and "are worshipped". Though Kim Il-Sung died in 1994 and Kim Jong-Il in 2011, the elder Kim retains his position as "Eternal President" and the younger is still referred to as "Dear Leader" and "Eternal General Secretary of the Party".) The cult revolves around the elder Kim's revolutionary activities and the transformation of North Korean system. Christopher Hitchens only semi-jokingly referred to North Korea as a "necrocracy" for this reason.
    • Official North Korean history places Kim Jong-Il's birth at the foot of the holy mountain of Paektu, beneath a new star and a double rainbow. In fact he was born in an army camp in Siberia. Official history also claimed that his birth was heralded by a swallow, caused winter to change to spring, a star to illuminate the sky, and a double rainbow spontaneously appeared, and that he learned to walk and talk before the age of six month. He personally claimed he could create rain on command and that he invented the hamburger.
    • A few journalists have reported that they are directly worshiped, or at least prayed to. Nobody knows yet whether the new leader, Kim Jong-Un, will receive the same treatment.
  • Dangun Wanggeom, the founder of the first Korean kingdom of Gojoseon in 2333 BC, was said to be the grandson of the Lord of Heaven.
  • Before the Republican revolution of the 20th century, Chinese Emperors were each known as the "Lord of Ten Thousand Years." Hong Xiuquan, who led the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing dynasty in the mid-19th century, called himself the Heavenly King and believed he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ.
  • A running theme in Thai history. Spend any time in Thailand and you will see people praying to icons of King Rama V. The King is officially considered an incarnation of Vishnu (Rama), and not only is insulting the King a literal crime (One Thai man got 37 years in prison for insulting the King's dog), but the option to change the law is not considered a constitutional right. King Thaksin the Great went one better, and declared himself to be the reincarnation of the Buddha (which is shockingly blasphemous in Thai Theravada Buddhism: it amounts to denying that the Buddha achieved nirvana in death, at which point he would have stopped reincarnating, which basically denies that he was the Buddha). King Rama IX, who ruled from 1946 until his death in 2016, attracted his share of veneration as well, given that he was: a, the longest-serving head of state on Earth; b, reigned over the greatest expansion of Thai prestige and economic growth in history; and c, is listed on this very wiki on the Cool Old Guy page.
  • The Hindu kings of Cambodia (when it was the Khmer Empire) would take the title "Devaraja", literally "God-king" and claimed to be incarnates of the Hindu gods. Statues of gods in temples would be carved in the likeness of the reigning monarch. Averted by Hindu monarchs in India, however. In Hinduism, the god emperor is a figure restarting the world cycle, called "Chakravartin".
  • Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was (and is) considered the second coming of Christ by the Rastafarians. He was quite surprised (and perhaps disturbed on religious grounds, being Christian and the head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) to find this out upon visiting Jamaica in 1965. However, out of respect he didn't disabuse their belief.
  • Wilfried Daim published a photograph of a document signed by Adolf Hitler. This document ordered the "Immediate and unconditional abolition of all religions after the final victory", and proclaimed Hitler as the new messiah. Miguel Serrano (Chilean writer sympathetic to Nazism) advocated the same idea, and so did Anglo-French Hitler lover Savitri Devi. Such ideas form a strain of Neo-Nazism named "Esoteric Hitlerism".
  • There is a village in Vanuatu which harbors a cult worshipping Philip of Edinburgh as a god.
  • The Incan Kings were basically seen this, with the title "Sapa Inca". They were perceived as the messenger of the Sun God, seen not only as the Supreme God, but also a priest, king, and a prophet.
  • In 2015, Dutch comedian Arjen Lubach led a mock campaign to have himself named "Pharaoh of the Netherlands". Since he got the necessary number of signatures, the Parliament was obliged to respond, stating that it would be unconstitutional to appoint a monarch who demanded to be worshipped as a god (plus they already have a monarch).
  • An example of post-mortem deification is Tsarebozhiye, a small sect in Russian Orthodoxy that believes that Tsar Nicholas II was killed as an atoning sacrifice for the Russian people. They venerate him as Tsar-Redeemer and an image of Christ. For obvious reasons, this belief is considered heresy by the mainstream Russian Orthodox Church.
  • Donald Trump has been nicknamed the "God Emperor" by his followers. Make of that what you will.
  • Hồ Chí Minh is worshipped in some village temples and family altars in Vietnam. That being said, the country has had a tradition of worshipping and deifying national heroes (Trần Hưng Đạo, for example). Hồ is also referred to as "Uncle Hồ/Bác Hồ" thanks to his public Cult of Personality as A Father to His Men and Celibate Hero that was encouraged by the government after his death. Therefore, he can be considered a deceased family member according to the general Vietnamese belief of ancestor worship: not precisely a deity, but on par with a beloved uncle looking out for his descendants from the afterlife. In life, there are multiple anecdotes of him being extremely humble and frugal (scolding soldiers and officials who try to give him preferential treatment for being the leader, for example, and his Iconic Outfit being simple khaki clothing and slippers made from recycled tires), but it only plays further into the aforementioned cult of personality.
  • The Dalai Lama is considered to be the incarnation of the Buddha Avalokitesvara, deity of compassion. Not a god in the traditional sense though, as Buddhas attained that state and do not have Buddhahood as inherit nature, but a deity nevertheless. The Dalai Lamas ruled the Kingdom of Tibet whether as independent or as part of larger empires (Mongol, Qing) with almost entire autonomy up until 1950. Tibet was also a regional power, not only it was a large empire, the literal Tibetan Empire that ruled from India to parts of China and from the Himalaya to Bengal (thought this was in pre-Buddhist times) but also once it become Buddhist and theocratic it remained as an influential local power.
  • With Xi Jingping taking the seat in mainland China, he implemented the Xi Jingping thought as a bible and deitified himself as the lord and savior of China, with the CCP as the primary religion.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): God King, God Empress, God Queen, Divine King, Divine Monarch


The Emperor of the Daleks

"I reached into the dirt and made new life. I AM THE GOD OF ALL DALEKS!"

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