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Loser Deity

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"No more, you lying, two-faced, no more sidling up to me, whining here before me. You, I hate you most of all the Olympian gods. ... If you had sprung from another god, believe me, and grown into such a blinding devastation, long ago you'd have dropped below the Titans, deep in the pit."
Zeus to Ares, The Iliad, Book V (translation by Robert Fagles)
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Being God Is Hard. Having divine power comes with a lot of responsibilities, it can be Lonely at the Top, and sometimes being young and inexperienced makes the job difficult. But worst of all is getting shunned and treated as a joke by your fellow gods. The specific reasons for a god getting this treatment can be due to them being a jerk, being lazy, because they messed up along the way, or maybe they are just the godly version of a Butt-Monkey.

For whatever the case, these gods find their divine powers have not helped to make their lives any easier. They are burdened by a long line of misfortune and quite often are deemed outcasts among their fellow gods. This may even lead them to instead seek the company of mortals. Odd Job Gods have higher chances to be a Loser Deity, but even some "cooler concept" gods may end up becoming losers.

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Only applies if others are aware they are a god and still give them this treatment, otherwise it would be Almighty Janitor or Underestimating Badassery. If disrespecting the god leads to them retaliating and asserting their dominance it can become Do Not Taunt Cthulhu.

See also God Is Flawed which can lead to this. Subtrope of Cool Loser, with the "cool" part of being a deity.

Compare and contrast The Devil Is a Loser, which generally involves the entity being malevolent, ineffective, and lower on the Divine Ranks than a more respectable power.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Binbō-gami ga!, there's Momiji, the goddess of poverty and misfortune, who was sent to Earth to end the Born Lucky status of Ichiko Sakura, whose absurd good luck was unbalancing the Earth. Momiji is a Disabled Deity with only one good hand to use, not so pretty, has A-Cup Angst (an advantage Ichiko exploits well to bother her) and, as the goddess of poverty she is, usually sleeps under a river like a hobo.
  • Dragon Ball depicts several of its gods in this way to varying levels.
    • King Kai for the most does his job quite well, but he became a joke among his fellow Kais after Goku's actions got him killed (since the Kais' homes are already part of the Spirit World, being dead doesn't really affect his ability to do his job).
    • Shin, the Supreme Kai of Universe 7, seemed like a proper Top God at first, but the more time is spent in his company the more it becomes clear he's terrible at his job. He's practically a child and was forced to take up the position after all higher-ranking Kais were killed or absorbed by Majin Buu, leaving him Incompletely Trained and prone to making serious rookie mistakes, such as not even knowing who Beerus was. This becomes especially prevalent when his ancestor Elder Kai is released and is disgusted by Shin's lack of knowledge in basic godly matters; even Goku teases Shin for being less useful than Elder Kai.
    • And speaking of Beerus, he himself is this in spades too. At first, he is presented as a lazy Jerkass God who gets away with acting like a Spoiled Brat due to his status as a Destroyer Deity. Except we later find out he's not supposed to act that way and many Gods of Destruction from other universes do a far better job at maintaining order than he does. Most of the threats in Z were things that Beerus should have dealt with before Goku even knew about them, but he gave Frieza a pass and was asleep for Majin Buu's rampage. Beerus himself is even shunned as an outcast due to his universe harboring Son Goku, whom everyone blames for inspiring the Omni-King to create the Tournament of Power.
  • Hestia from Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is regarded as a joke among her fellow gods. For a long time she was unable to recruit anyone into her Familia and initially survived by freeloading off Hephaestus. She also had a reputation as one of the only virgin gods who was never able to find a man in heaven. Loki in particular has great fun bullying Hestia over her poverty and short stature. Even after Hestia lucks out and recruits her first member, Bell Cranel, they are forced to face poor living accommodations of an abandoned church with Hestia working several part-time jobs to help them get by.
  • Aqua from KonoSuba, who is possibly the Trope Codifier and known by the In-Universe Nickname of Damegami (Useless Goddess). Most of her divine powers have no use beyond party tricks, and she tends to either forget about her genuinely useful abilities or use them in ways that make matters worse. Added to that, she is childishly jealous of the younger goddess Eris for being a Reasonable Authority Figure with a highly successful church; by contrast Aqua sent her own church vague/petty commands and left it to its own devices, causing it to become filled with deranged lunatics. As a result, whenever Aqua tries to explain who she is, Eris followers assume she's crazy and her own followers try to kill her for blasphemy. Kazuma makes no attempt to hide his utter disdain for Aqua's incompetence and has stated many times he'd happily trade her off if he could.
  • Little Pollon: Almost all the gods of Greek mythology are portrayed as losers and have many human weaknesses. Zeus is a short perverted guy with Blinding Bangs who is often beaten up by his wife, Apollo is a lazy drunk who forgets to do his job, Eros is so ugly that his mother is ashamed of him, Poseidon can't swim, etc. Even Athena, despite being the wise Only Sane Woman, is disliked by the others for her prickly attitude and is considered an "old spinster".
  • Lucoa from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid has shades of this. She was once the Aztec Dragon God, Quetzalcoatl, however one incident of her consuming cursed liquor which led to a scandal caused her to be exiled from godhood. Even among the main cast she sometimes gets chastised for her Shameless Fanservice Girl tendencies.
  • In Noragami, Yato is a minor god of calamity who is so hard up for followers that he's reduced to doing odd jobs in order to get by.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Discworld
    • Bilious, the Oh-God of Hangovers, one of several new gods created by the temporary death of the Hogfather. His sole lot in life is to absorb the hangovers that should have gone to Bibulous, the God of Wine and Things On Sticks. At least the rules of divinity throw him a bone in that, when he's given an extremely potent and Hideous Hangover Cure, it works without ill effects because Bibulous gets those instead.
    • Herne The Hunted: about three feet tall with a worried and paranoid expression, he is the deity of all prey animals and his role in the divine scheme of things is to run away, very fast, from all the Gods of the Hunt.
    • Reg, God of Club Musicians, the patron of all struggling semi-successful musicians whose role in life is to eke a perilous living on the margins of success and live in perpetual fear that they aren't going to get paid for the latest crummy gig in a craphole venue.
  • The protagonist of Tian Guan Ci Fu, Xie Lian, is a god known as the "laughingstock of the three realms" for having gotten kicked out of heaven twice and having spent 800 years in the mortal realm collecting scraps to survive.

    Live Action TV 
  • Red Dwarf: The sapient cats that evolved in the Dwarf's cargo hold worshiped a god they called "Cloister the Stupid", who promised that when he awoke from his slumber he would lead them to the glorious land of "Fuchal" and open a hot dog and doughnut shop. They had a holy war over the color of the shop's uniforms. What makes it worse is that "Cloister" was actually Technician Third Class David Lister, who was in stasis for bringing a pregnant cat on board when a reactor leak killed the rest of the human crew.
  • Fatuus in Young Hercules has the power to foresee the future with 100% accuracy, but he can only foresee bad things, making him extremely depressing company and causing all the other gods to avoid him. He's so desperate for companionship that in the episode he appears in, he's trying to get Strife to be his friend. Towards the end he happily declares that he can foresee his success, then realises the implications.

    Mythology 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • The Greek god Hephaestus, though the creator of many of his fellow Olympians' best weapons and items, was otherwise rejected and scorned. Upon being born, his mother Hera threw him down Mount Olympus for being ugly (making him the only unattractive god), which crippled him. He was given Aphrodite as a wife only to prevent other gods from warring over her, and even then she ended up cheating on him with Ares in his own home.
    • The Greek god Ares is basically divine Dumb Muscle, once ending up trapped in a jar and even sent packing by a mortal during the Trojan War. His Roman equivalent Mars, on the other hand, is one of Rome's most important gods and portrayed much more positively.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • In Bill Bailey's "Part Troll" show, Bill talks about the three main deities of Hinduism, Brahma the Creator, Shiva the Destroyer and Vishnu the Maintainer. He then goes off on a tangent about how he feels sorry for Vishnu, imagining him to be an eternally stressed and put-upon janitor who is forever cleaning up the messes that Shiva creates.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Garagos, the god of War, Plunder, Destruction and Mindless Slaughter in the Forgotten Realms, is sometimes portrayed as one of these, since he is forced to share the portfolio of war with another god, Tempus. Legends say that in ancient times, Garagos was a well-respected Greater Deity in the Netherese pantheon, but when the gods of war held a contest of arms to decide which of them was mightiest, Tempus slew all of them except Garagos, took the best bits of the portfolio of war for himself and left Garagos alive so he could embody the aspects of war Tempus had no interest in. Since that time, Tempus has been revered as the god of Honorable Combat and Glory and become one of the most powerful gods of Faerun, while Garagos has been relegated to being a mere demigod, forced into subservience to his hated rival (who could easily destroy him if he wished), worshipped by only the most Axe-Crazy individuals and with an enormous chip on his shoulder about the whole situation.

    Video Games 
  • Fate/Grand Order: Ishtar from Mesopotamian mythology is a highly haughty goddess of beauty and love, who, due to her attitude (and failure to be useful), gets much mockery from a lot of other Servants (including other Divine Servants). Gilgamesh even puts an equivalent of the "Kick Me" Prank that instead says "I'm a useless goddess" on her. There's two very good reasons for that, and the other characters should be grateful for it: first, Ishtar appeared as a pseudo-Servant, thus reducing her power from complete invincibility to something more manageable, and is possessing Rin Tohsaka, improving the goddess' personality but also inheriting the host's Butt-Monkey's tendencies; her infamously misplacing her Noble Phantasm Gugalanna Strike is actually the result of it getting stolen from across dimensions by her counterpart from the Fate/strange fake universe, who, not appearing as a pseudo-Servant but by possessing a homunculus, has her personality unchanged and a slightly better access to her original abilities.
  • Touhou: Shion Yorigami, a binbogami, or a god of poverty. She has the ability to absorb misfortune for others, but due to Power Incontinence it regularly leaks out, so nobody wants to be near her. She herself isn't immune to the misfortune she carries either, so she lives in a perpetual poverty such that she considers random weeds to be luxury food. Even her own twin sister Joon doesn't have much respect for her.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has the Daedric Princes, pre-creation entities who did not make any sacrifices during the construction of the mortal world and thus, remain at full divine power with Complete Immortality. However, a few in their number are looked down upon by both their fellow Princes and mortals like. To note:
    • Malacath is the Daedric Prince of Spurned and Ostracized, and is the patron deity of the Orcs. He was originally the Aldmeri ancestor spirit Trinimac, but was "eaten" by the Daedric Prince of Plots, Boethiah, when Boethiah needed to "speak with Trinimac's voice" in order to convince the Chimer to leave for Morrowind. Trinimac was later excreted by Boethiah, becoming Malacath, and his remaining followers were transformed into the Orcs. The other Daedric Princes do not consider Malacath to be a "real" Prince. Given that he's the patron of pariahs, this is rather appropriate. As Sheogorath puts while talking about Jyggalag, "Malacath is more popular at parties! And Malacath is not popular at parties!"
    • Peryite is the Daedric Prince of Pestilence, Tasks, and the Natural Order, and is charged with the ordering of the lowest levels of Oblivion. He is considered to be the weakest of the Princes, and is considered particularly "loathsome" by the other Daedric Princes, who constantly look down upon him. He is also the Prince with perhaps the fewest mortal worshipers, both because of his low status and because his blessings to them tend to suck, often using them to spread plagues and diseases.
  • Zagreus of Hades may be very impressive by mortal standards, he feels very out-of-place in the House of Hades. He appears a lot more "mortal" compared to his godly brethren despite his impressive parentage—he's noticeably smaller and less powerful, he bleeds red blood instead of golden ichor, and he has the dubious honor of being the one god who doesn't actually seem to hold dominion over anything—to the point that he's often referred to as a mere godling or demigod even by those who are fond of him and don't know he's actually the son of the Semi-Divine Persephone rather than Nyx's. He also has absolutely no talent in the administrative duties he has as the Prince of the Underworld, and his father Hades wastes no opportunity to remind him how useless, irresponsible, and disappointing he is.
    Hades: Nyx is the Night herself; her twin sons, Death and Sleep. But you? I can't think of anything, I fear, except the God of Talking Back to Me.

    Web Animation 
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: The Chaos God Malal is depicted as a whiney loser staring at reality through a peep hole desperately wishing he could get back in. He and other entities that have been retconned out of canon have to sit in darkness, unable to interact with the rest of the galaxy.
    • Tzeentch is, in contrast to the brilliant schemer his canon counterpart is, only claims to have planned everything that happens in the universe. Really he is just a petty bully who pulls childish pranks and "manipulates" people with childish insults. He is also a very Sore Loser at card games.

    Web Comics 
  • Exterminatus Now: The gods of Law and Chaos are depicted as playing games (Dungeons & Dragons for the former, poker for the latter, Monopoly for both) and not much else. And despite the Dark Gods being Expies of Warhammer40K's Chaos Gods, they go one step further by showing the Patterner lose a lawsuit to Tzeentch ensuring he can no longer be an avatar of change, and when they meet they have to be pulled apart by their respective War Gods.

    Western Animation 
  • Death from Family Guy, while not exactly a god or deity, still plays the rest of the trope straight. He's a momma's boy who still lives at her home, and is also hopeless with girls. He's also a constant Butt-Monkey in most of his appearances.
  • In Hercules, while Trivia is not bullied, he doesn't get any recognition by the other gods because he constantly drones on about inane things. Not even the villain of the episode he appears in bothers capturing him when he captures every god.
  • In Tutenstein, Bes the deity of households has shades of this. Hathor sends him whenever she can't be bothered handling Tut's whims. There's also the fact he climbs in and out of the toilet when arriving on Earth.

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