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Loser Deity

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Bacchus, making an ass of himself.

"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, either by your fellow gods or even worse (and more dumbfoundingly) by mortals. The specific reasons for a god getting this treatment can be vary: due to them being a jerk, being lazy, because they messed up along the way, or maybe they are just incapable of enforcing their rule, a rather preposterous revelation given the expectations associated with such an entity. In short, they are 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 unless it is combined with the title of God of Evil.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 

  • Kosuda's sex god in B Gata H Kei: He's not only the guardian of one of the greatest losers imaginable (Kosuda), he fits the loser archetype quire well himself. He is completely useless and never gives out any useful advice, with his incompetence showing everywhere. He fails to be seen at one point and usually only wastes Kosuda's time, who has to figure out everything for himself. Kosuda even complains about this in the manga.
  • Dragon Ball depicts several of its gods in this way to varying levels.
    • Kaio (King Kai) for the most does his job quite well, but he became a joke among his fellow Kaios after Goku Relocating the Explosion got him killed (since the Kaios' homes are already part of the Spirit World, being dead doesn't really affect his ability to do his job).
    • Shin, the Kaioshin (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 the Kaioshins 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, the Elder Kaioshin, is released and is disgusted by Shin's lack of knowledge in basic godly matters; even Goku teases Shin for being less useful than the Elder Kaioshin.
    • Beerus himself is this in spades. 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 Freeza 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 Zen'o to create the Tournament of Power, and Universe 7 has the second-lowest mortal level behind Universe 9.
    • Universe 9's respective Kaioshin and God of Destruction, Roh and Sidra, make Shin and Beerus look competent at their jobs and show exactly why they have the absolute lowest mortal level. They act the complete opposite of how their titles are supposed to act: Roh is an egotistical, short-tempered Kaioshin, while Sidra is a passive and indecisive God of Destruction that rarely destroys anything. Because of this disastrous combination, Universe 9 is a Crapsack World that's constantly in ruins, and its fighters for the Tournament of Power are picked based on how well they survived the universe. As a result, they were pit against Universe 7 in an exhibition match, where they lost by an absolute landslide. During the Tournament of Power proper, it's the first universe to be eliminated and erased from existence, with the only reaction of its angel Mohito being a smile of relief. And keep in mind, when the Kaioshin and God of Destruction are gone, the angel then has to go into Forced Sleep. When Universe 9's own angel would rather do that than deal with Roh and Sidra, they're definitely these, no questions asked.
    • Beerus's brother and the GoD of Universe 6, Champa, is also one of these; fitting, as it has the third lowest mortal level behind Universes 7 and 9. On one hand, Universe 6 is certainly better off than Universe 7 (its Saiyans aren't nearly extinct, for one), and it has its fair share of powerful fighters such as Magetta, Hit and Kefla, which have given Universe 7's fighters plenty of trouble. On the other hand, Champa is even lazier than his brother, preferring to have his angel Vados do all of the work, while also getting into petty squabbles with Beerus over menial things like which universe has the best food. Taken even further in the manga, where its mortal level is actually lower than Universe 7, and its fighters are Adaptational Wimps that get eliminated far more easily than in the anime.
  • In Good Luck Girl!, 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.
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?:
    • Hestia 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. After their familia has a miraculous victory against Apollo in a Familia War Game, they inherit all of his wealth and attain incredible popularity.. until it's revealed Hestia blew all their savings on additional expenses rather than paying off their debts.
    • Loki, in a different way to Hestia. While she enjoys a lifestyle of luxury and wealth as well as a much stronger familia, her own familia members are thoroughly sick of her due to her obnoxious and perverted behavior, and tend to treat her like The Friend Nobody Likes. It's also clear she is Authority in Name Only in her familia, with Ais, Riveria, and Finn being the ones actually running the show and often needing to tell her off and make her behave.
  • KonoSuba:
    • Aqua, 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.
    • In later novels, it is revealed that Aqua is good at exactly one thing: Convincing dead souls from other worlds to reincarnate in the New World and fight the Devil King. Her replacement Eris, who is better than her in every other way, just doesn't have the bombastic personality to convince people to dedicate their lives to an Impossible Task.
  • Little Pollon: Almost all the gods of Greek mythology are portrayed as losers and have many human weaknesses. Zeus is a short perverted guy 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 
  • Anytime God appears in a Garth Ennis comic, he's bound to be this.
  • Venom:
    • While Knull — the primordial dark god who created the symbiotes — is treated as The Dreaded throughout Venom (Donny Cates), in King In Black: Return of the Valkyries he is disparaged by the then-unnamed valkyrie Rūna, who sneers that he's a faker only worshiped by the living shadows, puppeteer parasites, and draconic abominations he created himself. When Knull attempts to intimidate Thor, the God of Thunder tells him to shut up and that Knull is no different from the countless would-be dark gods and demon-lords that Earth has defeated in the past; and Knull ultimately suffers a rather humiliating Curb-Stomp Battle at the hands of the Unipower-augmented Eddie Brock.
    • In Extreme Carnage, Carnage invokes this when he disparagingly refers to the psuedo-apotheosized Eddie Brock as a pathetic replacement for Knull, due to his apparent indifference to the plight of symbiotes left stranded on Earth, and the strain of tapping into his new divine powers causing his still-mortal body to undergo Rapid Aging.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Clash of the Titans (2010): Hades gets the short end of the divine stick as the unloved master of The Underworld and is treated like an uninvited guest on Mount Olympus. However, while the other Gods Need Prayer Badly, Hades is empowered by mortal fear, so when The Dog Bites Back, he bites hard.
  • Thor has shades of this in Thor where his brashness leads Odin to exile him to Earth without his powers, during which time Loki takes great pleasure in tarnishing Thor's image. While there he is forced to learn humility and seek out the aid of humans. Only once Thor sets aside his pride does he regain his godly powers and is allowed to return to Asgard. Played even more straight in Avengers: Endgame where the God of Thunder has drowned his grief over the events of Avengers: Infinity War in booze and food, becoming an obese alcoholic. Rocket even compares him to "melted icecream".

    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 Heaven Official’s Blessing: 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 
  • Loki (2021): Loki, the God of Mischief hears that losing is in his nature from two unrelated people in a single day, Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Mobius of the TVA. Coulson also notes that Loki lacks conviction to succeed, while Mobius comments on how Loki was not born to rule but rather to be a stepping stone for the heroes to achieve greatness.
  • 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 own family also regularly expresses their (warranted) dislike of him. 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 the cosmic equivalent of 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 Ax-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, greatly improving the goddess' otherwise horrible 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... And is willing to annihilate Snowfield to get back at Gilgamesh and Enkidu.
    • The "Useless Goddess" sign appears again in the anime adaptation Fate/Grand Order - Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia (where it was apparently made by Mash and so is written in Japanese instead of cuneiform), and is used to punish her again in the game's second summer event, Dead Heat Summer Race, after Ishtar's racing ritual is revealed to actually re-summon Gugalanna (which would cause AT LEAST as much damage to human history as the singularity she was trying to fix).
  • Genshin Impact: Barbatos is the god of freedom and wind, and one of the archons that comprise the Seven, the seven elemental gods that rule over Teyvat. In Barbatos's case, though, "rule" is a loose term—due to his ideals as the God of Freedom, he refuses to exercise any sort of rule over his nation of Mondstadt, and since an archon's power is directly proportional to how proactive they are in ruling their territory, Barbatos is the weakest member of the Seven despite being one of the oldest of them. Unlike the other archons, Barbatos hasn't shown himself to his people in a long time, and people from other nations look down on him believing that he is never there for his people. As it turns out, Barbatos prefers to wander the world as the bard Venti, who has alcoholic tendencies, isn't terribly responsible, and is treated with very little respect even among those who know his identity. One time, he even got thrown out of his own church when he tried to reveal his identity, as his followers could not believe someone like him could be their god.
  • 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.
    • In this verse, "The Imperial Truth" has shifted into basically "all the gods are losers, and our emperor is better than all of them because he's not a god." All of the get potshots aimed at them, such as The Deceiver being friendless or Slannesh needing drug rehab.
  • Neptune in Unbiased History is depicted as this, albiet mostly for a short gag. The emperor Caligula wrestles with him on the beaches of Gaul and utterly humilates the God, taking his seashells as trophies (this is a reference to a real incident where the emperor was picking up seashells instead of preparing an invason of Britain).

    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 from their Wimp Fight 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.
  • Zeus from DuckTales (2017). He is, as one would expect, a petty jerk. Unlike the Zeus of Classical Mythology who is presented a being to be feared, Zeus in this cartoon is treated as an annoyance who fails at everything he does.

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