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Lord of the Ocean

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"You pitiful, insignificant fools... Now I am the ruler of all the ocean! The waves obey my every whim. The sea and all its spoils bow to my power!"
Ursula after gaining King Triton's trident, The Little Mermaid

For every thing, there is a god. There are gods of Love and War, Good and Evil, the Heavens where the creators of the world reside and the Underworld where the dead leave to rest. In between the high and the low lies the second half of that big blue horizon: the deep blue sea.

Gods of the Water often reflect the very nature of their domain, being temperamental like a calm ocean that can swiftly shift into a raging storm. They often wield the Prongs of Poseidon (the most notable wielder being, of course, Poseidon himself), and anatomically either resemble humans, possess fish-like characteristics like gills and webbed feet, or are full-on merpeople. Given that they are gods, the Mermaid Problem is usually absent.

Offerings are made to them by Pirates and Superstitious Sailors for safe sailing and a bountiful catch. Those who perish at sea look to them as guardians for their poor unfortunate souls being ferried to the afterlife. Sea Monsters answer to them, sinking the ships of sailors that fail to take proper precautions before crossing the enigmatic oceans.

Compare and contrast Water Is Womanly, often more calm and graceful as associated with more "still" water. Contrast God of Fire, gods that deal with fire and/or volcanism.

A Sub-Trope to Stock Gods.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman: Born from the union of a lighthouse keeper and the Queen of Atlantis, Arthur Curry eventually takes his place as as the King of the Sea and protector of the kingdom of Atlantis in addition to his role as a member of the Justice League of America.
  • Wonder Woman: Poseidon is god of the sea, and occasionally manipulates portions of it such as in Volume 2 where he turned the water in the ocean around Themyscira into a Healing Spring, but normally is more subject to the sea than it is to him; after all King Arthur rules the sea and Poseidon is just a fading old god.

    Fan Works 
  • In By the Sea, a "merfolk AU" where the Mandalorians and some others from Star Wars canon are merfolk, Sho'cye (literally "ocean" in Star Wars Legends canon Mando'a) is the Mandalorian people's chief deity. Unlike most sea deities, she is female, and is considered to be both a deity and the sea itself. The mercurial, inscrutable nature of the sea, the merfolks' entire world, also lends her to associations with fate and luck, which feature heavily in the themes of the main sequel, Currents and Tides.

    Films — Animation 
  • King Triton from The Little Mermaid (1989) is the merman king of Atlantica and father of the protagonist Ariel. He wields the Trident, an immensely powerful magical weapon wielded by the monarch of Atlantica, bestowing upon its user untold magical power, including the power to control the seas, the weather, the power to change one's size, the power to shoot lightning, the power to turn a mermaid into a human and a plethora of other powers.
  • Much like in Classical Mythology, Poseidon from Hercules is the Olympian God of the Seas and Hercules' uncle.
  • The Pacific Ocean in Moana is portrayed as a Genius Loci that selects specific people (like the titular Moana) for a specific purpose. While it does not actively act on its own interests, it does choose to help in subtle ways, leading the abandoned baby Maui to the gods and inspiring Moana to take up sailing, eventually leading to her people's return to wayfinding and the return of Te Fiti (and by extensions all of creation as we know it).

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl has Sharkboy. He discovered his true potential when Max revived him with an unselfish dream — leader of the sharks and king of the ocean.
  • Aquaman has the title of "Ocean Master", although it doesn't grant any power, it's merely an attribute of the one uniting the remaining tribes of the old Atlantis (Orm in this case). The real power over the oceans is the Trident of King Atlan, which Arthur Curry/Aquaman gets before Orm.
  • Godzilla is sometimes presented this way in movies that emphasize his aquatic nature.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Calypso (named after the nymph of Classical Mythology) is the Goddess of the Seas. In the days of myth and legend, the beautiful Calypso ruled the seas, and all sailors both loved and feared her, even though she too had mortal blood. As a heathen goddess, Calypso was able to take many forms, but since the crab was attributed as her symbol, she chose that form. One day, she fell in love with the human sailor Davy Jones, granting him authority over the Flying Dutchman and the role of Psychopomp to those who perished at sea. After she broke her promise to meet him ten years later, Davy Jones conspired against her, instructing the Pirate Lords how to entrap her into a mortal form as a way for mankind to gain control over the oceans. Calypso became the witch Tia Dalma and Davy Jones, in neglect of his duties, became a Cthulhumanoid and the pirate lore equivalent of the Devil. Interestingly, related materials refer to her as a daughter of the Titan Atlas (as per mythology), which implies (until the fifth film clears it up) that other Greco-Roman gods might also exist in the same universe.
    • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the MacGuffin of the film is the Trident of Poseidon, an artifact capable of breaking all curses within the borders of the oceans upon its destruction. This not only implies that Poseidon is real, but that he is arguably the most powerful being in the franchise, his power maintaining all of the magic associated with the Seven Seas.
  • The Amphibian Man from The Shape of Water is a Fish Person found in the Amazon River by the U.S. Government. The natives that lived by the river worshipped him as a god, the legitimacy of the skepticism against this claim put into question due to its healing touch, Healing Factor and its ability to give Elisa gills.

  • A Chorus of Dragons: Laaka is the goddess of the sea, storms, and sea serpents, and is said to be the mother of the krakens.
  • Cthulhu Mythos: While many of the Eldritch Abominations possess aquatic characteristics, Dagon and Hydra deserve special mention being powerful Deep Ones worshipped by the Esoteric Order of Dagon. Despite being corporal beings, Dagon and Hydra can fall under the category of Lovecraftian Gods due to their connection with the cult, their worshipers' transformative nature, the sheer threat they pose to mankind and their association with other Eldritch Abominations like the Star Spawn.
  • Dark Shores: The Maarin worship the sea goddess Madoria, who helps sailors and claims their souls as her own after they die — and grants some of them power to breathe under water. Her scions are huge sea serpents which guide and guard some of Maarin ships.
  • The Gods of Pegāna: Among the titular gods is Slid, "lord of gliding waters and of foaming waters and of still", whose soul lies in the Sea and whose voice calls all who hear it to forsake their homes and follow. He raises and calms the storm, and calls all waters home to the Sea.
  • Small Gods: The Sea Queen is the goddess of the sea. Worshiped by sailors, she is vindictive and causes storms to attack ships that disrespect her. One way to do so is by killing dolphins, who are her favorite species. For every dolphin killed, she demands a human killed in equal measure.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Poseidon is the Greek god of the sea, and also our hero Percy Jackson's father - which is why his son has water-based powers.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The Drowned God is a god worshiped by the Ironborn of the Iron Islands. Their lore states that the Drowned God is said to have drowned in the sea, for the sake of the Ironborn, but returned to life "harder and stronger". He is said to be the mortal enemy of the Storm God, and encourages the Ironborn's Viking-esque lifestyle of piracy, battle and sailing. It is stated that those the Ironborn drown (a form of piety in their religion) are recruited as the God's oarsmen, and the Ironborn that have drowned are invited to the God's underwater halls where they are served upon by mermaids for all eternity. The Faceless Men of the Free City of Braavos believe that the Drowned God is but one of the many aliases (as, they believe, are all other gods associated with death) of their Many-Faced God of Death, and thus they keep an official effigy of the Drowned God (a statue made of driftwood in a humanoid shape) in their base at the House of Black and White.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: Of the Valar who shaped the planet, Ulmo has control over the oceans and waters, dwelling in the Eldritch ocean Vaiya that encircles the globe and watching all of Middle-Earth through its waterways. His Maiar servants include Ossë, who watches over the coasts and tides after a brief Face–Heel Turn; and Ossë's wife Uinen, who tempers his more extreme impulses and protects coastal life.

    Live-Action Series 
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: In the prison where Halbrand and Galadriel are temporary kept, there is a statue dedicated to the Maia Uinen, The lady of the Sea. In the books, she was held in reverence as equal to a Valar by the Numenorians, which is implied to be the same in the show.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Ursula is portrayed as a Goddess of the Sea, worshiped by human and merfolk alike within the Enchanted Forest, the other Ursula of the series having been named after her. When Regina takes on her likeness to trick Ariel into helping her capture Snow White, Ursula appears in the form of her statue coming to life and reaching through her magic mirror, and threatens to kill her if she ever tries using her name like that again. Whether or not she is associated with the Greco-Roman Gods featured in the franchise is currently unknown.
    • While it is never made clear if King Poseidon introduced in the Season Four episode "Poor Unfortunate Souls" is the actual Poseidon of Greek Mythology, he willfully named his daughter after the actual Goddess of the Sea, implying that he was named after the actual God. The fact that both Zeus and Hades are confirmed to exist, it is very likely that their middle-brother is real as well.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Ngalyod from Gunwinggu Dreaming is the god of the sea (pretty fittingly considering the Gunwinggu live in Australia's northernmost tip). He is sometimes conflated with his mother Yingarna (particularly in the Western-imposed "rainbow serpent" god complex), who is also a water goddess but not necessarily one with powers over the sea.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Oceanus is the Greco-Roman Personification of the sea and primordial waters, which at the time was believed to be one massive river that surrounded the world.
    • Poseidon was the Greek God of the Sea, earthquakes, soil, storms and horses. He was the second youngest son of the Titan Cronus (Hades the oldest and Zeus the youngest), who swallowed him and all of his siblings sans Zeus at birth. When Zeus forced Cronus into disgorging them all, he and his siblings joined Zeus in their campaign against the Titans — known today as the Titanomachy. During the war, he was given a three-pronged trident that gave him command over the seas and various other divine abilities. When they won their war, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades drew straws to decide who gained ownership of what part of the cosmos, leading Poseidon to gain lordship of the seas.
      • The cult of Poseidon was very important in Athens, which built its economic and military power on control of the sea. The Athenian founding myths tend to involve Poseidon in roles where other states put Zeus—for instance, their royalsnote  claimed descent from Theseus, a demigod son of Poseidon, rather than Heracles or another one of Zeus' children.
      • Neptunus (more famously known today as Neptune) was the Roman God of the Seas and Roman equivalent to Poseidon. Originally a god of springs and rivers, the expansion of the Italian Peninsula led to the Romans incorporating aspects of the Greek Olympians to their pantheon, Neptunus adopting Poseidon's characteristics. Because the Romans were not a sea-farming civilization, Neptunus was considered more frightening and foreboding.
    • Before Poseidon and Oceanus, there was Pontus, a primordial sea deity and son of Gaia. He was mainly notable for fathering Phorcys and Ceto, who went on to produce fearsome offspring such as Echidna, the Gorgons, and the Sirens. His other children included Nereus (the Old Man of the Sea), Thaumas (father of Iris, the rainbow goddess), and Eurybia. In ancient times, pontos was the generic word for any large sea, though it later came to refer specifically to the Black Sea and eventually the region bordering it in the southeast, hence the Kingdom of Pontus and the Pontic Greeks.
    • Because Aphrodite (and her Roman equivalent Venus) was born from the ocean (when Cronus castrated his father and his severed penis fell into the ocean), some consider her a goddess associated with water.
  • While technically a river god, the god of the Douro River, Durius, was the most prominent (unambiguous) water god in Lusitanian Mythology and even had his own weapon, the net.
  • Ran is the Norse Goddess of the Sea and her husband Aegir, the Jotunn personifications of the sea and the mother and father respectively of the Nine Goddesses of the Waves. They are considered allies to the Aesir and their realm is where those who have died at sea are believed to rest. They also host wild parties and brew beer for the other gods.
    • Njord holds this role among the Aesir/Vanir, being associated with the wind, wealth, sea, sailors and fishing.
  • In Japanese Mythology, the dragon Ryujin was the god of the sea. He lived in a palace under the ocean and, depending on the legend, has played both heroic and villainous roles, reflecting the ever-changing nature of the sea. He is also said to own a magical pearl that controls the tides.
  • Chinese Mythology has four Lords of the Ocean in the Dragon Kings, each of whom presents one of the Four Seas of ancient Chinese geography: Ao Guang of the Eastern Sea, Ao Qin of the Southern Sea, Ao Shun of the Northern Sea, and Ao Jun of the Western Sea. They are also charged with controlling the weather, particularly rain.
  • Varuna in Hindu Mythology, although he was in fact initially a sky god. He is often seen riding a crocodilian sea monster called Makara.
  • Tangaroa is the sea deity of many South Pacific cultures, who often also tribute him with having fathered all fishes. In Hawaii, he is known as the octopus god Kanaloa, and is also associated with magic and the Underworld due to the connections with the murky and mysterious depths of the ocean.
  • Irish mythology:
    • Manannan mac Lir of Irish mythology, whose name means "Son of the Sea". Legends ascribe him with a magical boat called Scuabtuinne ("wave sweeper"), as well as having the duty of ferrying souls to the afterlife (specifically Mag Mell, the Celtic elysium, as opposed to [still pleasant, but less so] Tech Duinn ruled by Donn) as there was a strong association between water and the next world in Celtic belief.
    • His father Lir was also a sea god, though he is more akin to the Celtic Oceanus or Pontus to Manannan's Celtic Poseidon. Lir being a more primordial personification of the sea rather than just the god of it.
    • Though he is more of a god of death and ancestors, Donn also has some ties to the sea, owing to his association with storms, especially sea storms, and shipwrecks.
  • In Yoruba belief, the orisha Olokun is described as the King of the Oceans. He has rulership over all other water deities and is usually thought of as having an Ambiguous Gender, being depicted as male, female, or androgynous (in acknowledgement of the fluid nature of water). Occasionally, the title of sea deity is given to his daughter Yemoja instead.
  • Inuit Mythology: Sedna is described as being the ruler of the underworld. Legends say that all marine mammals were born from her fingers when they were severed by her father, thus giving her command over the whales, seals, and walruses so important to Inuit survival.
  • Manimekhala is the Buddhist deity of the sea, very popular in places like Thailand and Cambodia where she inspired some of the more well-known folk dances.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In Oriental Adventures, the ruler of the Sea Spirit Folk is the Lord of the Sea. He is the greatest of all of the spirit folk lords and takes the most interest in his people. When a sea spirit folk character raises his Honor to 85, the Lord of the Sea will bestow a gift on him.
    • In the Forgotten Realms, the oceans are part of the domain of Umberlee, a goddess also known as the "Bitch Queen of the Depths". She is a chaotic and destructive deity who causes storms, sinks ships and drowns people on a whim, and her worshipers often run protection rackets, charging a fee to ship captains in exchange for protection from their goddess' wrath.
  • The GURPS "Dungeon Fantasy" sub-line features classic dungeon fantasy-style clerics and holy warriors, and allows for the possibility of them worshiping a range of deities; GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics offers different spell lists and special powers for different types of deity served, and Sea Gods are an option.
    In some cases, the sea is taken to represent primal chaos, and its ruling deity may be on the lines of the Babylonian Tiamat – a monstrous, ancient power. Others, such as the Greek Poseidon, may be more comprehensible to humanity while still wielding terrible forces such as earthquakes and ruling a realm of huge, scaly monsters. Certainly, the homes of sea gods tend to be strange underwater palaces. Even so, the sea is also a fertile realm, a food source for some and a world of hidden treasures and wonderful mysteries.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Generally speaking, sea gods tend to be known for their tempestuous and fickle natures:
      • Gozreh takes this role in their female incarnation as the goddess of the sea (as opposed to her male incarnation as the god of the sky); as the ruler of the seas, she's depicted as a woman with sea-green hair whose lower body is a pillar of roiling water. Being the god of the seas in one incarnation and of winds and storms in the other, Gozreh is worshipped by most people who make their living in or on the water, especially fishermen, merchants and sailors, and favors the trident as a weapon.
      • While the cult of Gozreh is well-established and predominant in the continents of Avistan and Casmaron, the people of Tian Xia worship Hei Feng, the Duke of Thunder, the quick-tempered god of sea and storms.
      • There's also Besmara, goddess of piracy and sea monsters.
      • Ragadahn, one of the Eldest of the fey, is a deity of the sea, its depths and the monsters that live there, jealously guards the oceans of the First World, and has the fickle, temperamental and tempestuous nature common to these deities. Not surprisingly, most of his non-monstrous worshippers are sailors entreating him to keep his wrath and servants at bay.
    • Ocean giants embody a non-divine version of this, being blue-skinned rulers of the seas who, depending on personal inclination, may be either benevolent if moody wardens of the undersea world who protect their charges from lofty coral towers or malevolent destroyers who force their will on the people of the sea and send storm and monsters to destroy any ship that crosses their territory.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle has several gods and powerful beings related to the sea:
    • Manann (Mathlann to the elves) is the setting's principle god of the oceans, and his cult is widespread across the coasts of the Old World. He is said to be an incredibly fickle and temperamental deity, prone to giving his followers (who are all Superstitious Sailors by default) strange and often conflicting strictures related to sea travel. Anointed priests of Manann naturally gain several divine powers related to the sea and sea travel, such as the ability to breathe underwater, influence the speed of a ship, or attack by Making a Splash.
    • Stromfels is an Evil Counterpart to Manann; the actively-malevolent god of ocean predators and other dangers of the sea. Worship of Stromfels is illegal within the Empire and the Wasteland, since those who do worship him are often pirates who prey upon merchant ships. Naturally, he is only openly venerated in Sartosa, an island nation ruled by pirates.
    • While not a god in the strictest sense, there is an immense mer-giant known as Triton who inhabits the Warhammer world's seas. According to the elves, Triton is the last of an ancient race of demi-gods who ruled the ocean, battled primordial leviathans and taught elf-kind the secrets of safely travelling the Great Ocean. He even comes complete with gargantuan Prongs of Poseidon, which he uses to spear ships as a show of force.

    Video Games 
  • In Aquaria, the Creator is the Top God of the ocean, having created several minor gods who in turn created intelligent life before the Creator destroyed their civilizations. The Creator also made most of the fantastical sea life in the setting. He's the artist boy seen in the introduction, who fell into the sea and somehow gained godlike power over the oceans and all within them. He only created the other gods in an attempt to replace his dead family and drove them mad when they wanted no part in it. Everything else was him using the ocean as his canvas.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, there are two divine figures known for ruling the seas:
    • Llymlaen the Navigator is a member of the Twelve and goddess of wind and the seas. Her winds guide sailors through the crashing waves and she is worshiped as a patron diety of the city-state Limsa Lominsa.
    • Leviathan, Lord of the Whorl, is the Primal worshiped by the Sahagin who pray to and summon him to find and create safe havens for them to raise their young.
  • Fishing Vacation: In the cabin you can read a book telling one version of the Inuit myth of Sedna, goddess of the ocean. It's revealed that she's the one responsible for the strange happenings at the lake, due to the uncle's fanatical worship.
  • Genshin Impact:
    • Focalors (who also goes by Furina) is the Hydro Archon, also known as the God of Justice, who rules over the nation of Fontaine, a nation known for a harsh legal system. Despite this, she's also described as incredibly fickle in nature by those familiar with her and she sees the courts more as a play for her own amusement more than anything.
    • Her attendant, Neuvillette, also counts as this, as he is able to manipulate the Hydro element without the use of a Vision, implying his powers to be innate, which is due to being the reincarnation of the Hydro Sovereign, one of the Seven Sovereigns that were the former gods of Teyvat before the Archons, making his power indeed innate to him. By the end of the Fontaine storyline, with Focalors relinquishing her power back to Neuvillette he is the official God of Water in Teyvat.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, the seas part to allow Pit into the Seafloor Palace to fight Thanatos. When Pit asks Palutena how she did this, she jokingly accepts the credit before Poseidon reveals to be the one to part the seas and threatens to unpart them while Pit was still near the ocean floor. He scolds Palutena for lying and admits that he is only helping because the Underworld Army is overstepping into his territory.
  • Pokémon:
    • Lugia has always been characterized as this, but bizarrely, it's a Psychic/Flying-type Pokemon instead of a Water-type. It lives within the ocean and acts as a mediator between Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres, preventing one element from overcoming the others. It has the power to control the weather, calming or causing storms with the beating of its wings.
    • Kyogre is a Water-type Pokemon native to the Hoenn Region with the ability to expand the oceans, acting as the equal-opposite of Groudon, a Ground-type Pokemon with the ability to expand the continents.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic Ashan: Shalassa is one of the Six Dragons and is the Elemental Embodiment of water, claiming dominion over Ashan's oceans and all who inhabit them. She is the wisest and most graceful of the gods and values diplomacy, versatility and adaptability, but also encourages swift and indomitable action when it is necessary. She is the Patron God of the ocean-dwelling Naga and of the Sea Elves, as well as being worshipped by sailors, fishermen, pirates, and hermits.
  • World of Warcraft: Neptulon the Tidehunter, as the Elemental Lord of water, rules over the oceans of Azeroth and is worshiped and/or feared by all sea creatures and seafaring people. Azshara, Queen of the naga is trying to take over his domain and enslave his servants.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age: After traversing the dangerous and foggy Sea of Time, guess who is guarding Lemuria? Poseidon himself.

    Web Video 
  • Parodied by College Saga, in which Leviathan is the "guardian force" of the ocean, or at least a college swimming pool.

    Western Animation 
  • Tui and La, Spirits of the Moon and Ocean in Avatar: The Last Airbender are the personifications of their namesakes and represent the eternal push and pull of the tides, having taken the form of two black and white koi fish within the Spirit Oasis in the North Pole. When Tui is killed by Zhao to rob the Waterbenders of their bending ability, La retaliates by fusing with Aang in the Avatar state to become a massive water spirit, rampaging across the North Pole and decimating the Fire Nation armada effortlessly.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Lapis Lazuli is a gem (an artificially created Silicon-Based Sufficiently Advanced Alien) with a seemingly unlimited psychokinetic power over water. Even when weakened with a cracked gem, she had enough power to create a massive tower from the planet's oceans and creates water-based clones of the gems that the Gems themselves had no hope of stopping, Lapis Lazulis being made specifically for terraforming entire planets. Much like water-gods of most mythologies, Lapis Lazuli is hostile and prone to mood-swings, a product of being confused for a rebel by homeworld forces, trapped in a mirror for thousands of years, being held prisoner and used as an informant by Peridot and Jasper and being stuck in an incredibly toxic partnership with Jasper in the form of an unstable fusion trapped in the bottom of the ocean.
    • Malachite is a fusion between Lapis Lazuli and quartz soldier Jasper. She has all of the powers of the two gems, possessing Lapis Lazuli's wings and water-powers and Jasper's strength, crash-helmet and spin-dash ability. With their animosity towards one another, Malachite resembles an ocean god know to create storms and creates hostility among mortals, lampshaded in "Super Watermelon Island" when the tribe of Watermelon Stevens living on mask island selects members of their tribe as sacrifices to appease her.
  • King Neptune shows up in a few SpongeBob SquarePants episodes, as well as the movie. He's a rather self-centered and short-tempered old man who wields vast magical powers through his trident.
  • Wishfart has its own version of Neptune in the form of an egotistical Surfer Dude voiced by Christian Potenza.
  • Rick and Morty has Mr. Nimbus, a Namor parody who rules over the oceans and has the honor of claiming to be Rick's nemesis with the power to summon seas to flood cities on a whim. He's also a God of Police, meaning that he's able to bend cops to his will on a whim.