Follow TV Tropes


Mage Born of Muggles

Go To

A Mage Born of Muggles is someone who is born with powers despite their muggle parentage in a setting where Magic and Powers are passed on genetically or are the birthright of a Mage Species. Of course, they will still need training in how to use their power, and so they will quickly meet someone from the Magical Society, who will take them as The Apprentice, lead them to Wizarding School, or otherwise ensure that they're introduced to their new life.

This is a common trait in a protagonist for several reasons. It means that they begin as a Fish out of Water, which can be kept up and milked for comedy or drama for as long as it remains entertaining. It means that, as the viewpoint character, they can be slowly introduced into the customs of the Magical Society. It means that they can be the target of any Fantastic Racism that exists between mages and muggles. And since their initial values and sympathies are likely to be different from someone raised in magical society, they're almost certain to be a disruptive influence on it - especially if, as often happens, they're also far more talented than most people from magical bloodlines.

If they're not The Protagonist, the character may instead serve as The Watson, likewise allowing the audience a chance to learn about the magical world. In this case, they may or may not be shown in contrast to a protagonist who's more of an insider.

In a world where Randomly Gifted individuals are the norm, being muggle-born is unremarkable, and therefore doesn't fit this trope unless there are exceptional circumstances (such as Fantastic Racism against muggle-borns, even if that makes no sense). It's only this trope if a character's birth outside of magical society is abnormal, or seen as abnormal, compared to how magic usually manifests.

An inversion of Muggle Born of Mages; also contrast Muggle in Mage Custody, when a muggle is a ward or a slave to a mage. Sister Trope to Randomly Gifted; here, the point is that the gift is usually predictable, but sometimes, life throws you a curveball. May result from Recessive Super Genes. Compare Muggle Foster Parents.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Little Witch Academia: Akko comes from a non-magical family, which contributes to her ineptitude in magic so much that she can't even fly a broom properly.
  • Lyrical Nanoha has two of its strongest mages (in a civilization spanning dozens if not hundreds of worlds) not only be born of muggles, but be born on a planet that as far as we know is composed entirely of muggles barring those two and a third of unspecified strength.
  • My Hero Academia: When quirks first came into being. Discovered when a baby in Qing Qing was born glowing, the new generation began developing powers to the point up to where a Muggle Born of Mages was a rarity during the event of the manga and anime.
  • Tweeny Witches: Arusu is a human girl but capable of magic even without the True Book of Spells, making her stand out in a setting where magic is passed down among the witches and warlocks.
  • Witch Hat Atelier: Played with. The protagonist, Coco, is a normal girl who is taken under the tutelage of a witch to learn magic from him, however, the witches hide the secret that anyone can do magic by having knowledge and access to magic ink, so her powers aren't innate either.

    Fan Works 
  • Izuku in Timeless Academia is an interesting case of this and Muggle Born of Mages. While as per canon he's among the 20% of humans of his era to not have a quirk, he does however have magic circuits and thus can perform actual magic. Dr. Roman explains that this is no coincidence, as when quirk users began popping up, the Mage's Association did some testing on compatibility and realized that it's impossible for someone to have both magic circuits and a quirk.
  • In SlifofinaDragon's Sengoku Basara fanfic Finally Home, Kagehime/Hitomi Kira a witch born to Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Nene, who are both normal human beings. She has managed to gain magic powers after learning some sorcery, and has replicated the ghostly black hands of Oichi.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: Force-sensitivity is heritable, but can also appear in families with no known prior Force ability. Most Jedi in the prequel period are the latter, since the Jedi Order of this time period actively discourages romantic relationships (though strictly casual sex is allowed). Normally the Order takes them for training as infants or young children once detected, with the parents' permission.

  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: It happens from time to time for children in the Commoner and Merchant classes, but the Nobility strictly control the training and tools necessary for their exclusive use. This means that for most lower-born potential mages, their power builds up and they die of "the Devouring" before the age of seven. The only hope for young girls is to essentially sell themselves to a noble to bear their children when they grow up (as magic power usually is inherited from the mother), in exchange for old Magic Tools that can draw off their mana buildup. Myne manages to avoid this fate by joining the temple, which was suffering from a man(a)power shortage she could fill with her New Life in Another World Bonus levels of Mana, while using her inventions to support herself and donate to the temple.
  • In The Black Magician Trilogy, Sonea is a frighteningly-powerful natural (someone whose magic emerges without training) from the slums of Kyralia, while nearly all magicians are born to the nobility and trained from an early age in their talent.
  • Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte: Fiene is this in the MagiKoi canon, being a commoner with magic while it is usually assumed to be restricted to the noble class. Subverted in novel's timeline. Fiene is actually a Royal Bastard and her mother is shown to have powerful magic. Fiene's mother fabricated her background to hide her identity.
  • Malwina from the story Flight of the Whale included in the Harda Horda anthology is a curious case. She's a regular woman from regular Earth, except her Earth ended up colliding and glueing with an Alternate Universe, where magick is very real. And she not only has the ability to use magick, but also hear its songs, an exceedingly rare gift. The thing is, Malwina was born before the two universes collided, meaning she always had the related powers, but without magick around her to interact with.
  • In Harry Potter, these are called Muggle-bornsnote , or more derisively, "mudbloods," and their existence is a driving factor in the Big Bad's A Nazi by Any Other Name ideology.
    • Harry's best friend Hermione Jean Granger is the most prominent one, and the Fantastic Racism she experiences drives her to become a champion for the rights of magical minorities. The fact that she is the most talented magic-user in her generation is frequently cited as an evidence of the complete BS regarding the view held by many people (not just pure-blood supremacists) that Muggle-borns are weaker. One could say she is the Trope Codifier.
    • Harry's late mother, Lily Potter (nee Evans) was born to an otherwise Muggle family. Like Hermione, she was an extremely talented witch in spite of this. Lily's sister and Harry's aunt Petunia, who is a Muggle, resented Lily's aptitude for magic, which led to her and Vernon Dursley's attempted (and unsuccessful) suppression of Harry's magical potential and their abuse of Harry. Hermione was also meant to have a Muggle sister but the character was cut since there wasn't a way for her to have anything to do with the story at home.
    • Several Hogwarts classmates are Muggle-borns, such as Justin Finch-Fletchley of Hufflepuff, who relates that he was "down for Eton" until he received his notice from Hogwarts instead. One of Hogwarts' founders, Salazar Slytherin, was a pure-blood supremacist, and didn't want to admit Muggle-borns to the school. He was shunned by the other three founders and decided to depart, but not before leaving a basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, the idea being that his descendants could use it to terrorize Muggle-borns. Centuries later, this came true when Tom Marvolo Riddle used the basilisk to kill Myrtle, and a few decades later, it's used again to petrify Muggle-borns like Hermione and Justin.
    • Albus Dumbledore's mother, Kendra, was a Muggle-born. A minor plot point in the series is how Albus' father, Percival, was jailed for life in Azkaban for attacking three Muggle boys because of his ostensibly blood supremacist views, which many people point out is ridiculous in hindsight because he married a Muggle-born witch (the real reason he attacked the boys was because they attacked his daughter Ariana).
    • Nymphadora Tonks' father Ted is a Muggle-born. His wife Andromeda came from the aristocratic, pureblooded, and very supremacist Black family, and she was immediately disowned upon marrying him.
    • Multiple examples are also encountered throughout the series where a "half-blood" witch or wizard is descended from both a Muggle and a magical parent. Voldemort himself is one, born of the unwilling union of a witch and the Muggle man she drugged with Love Potions to force him to fall in love with her, as are Snape (his mother was a witch and his father a Muggle) and Umbridge (although she denies it, especially since she's all for pureblood supremacy).
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar setting, mage-potential is heritable but often too buried to ever be realized without some extreme or unusual trauma to activate it. This potential can be passed down for many generations of people who essentially show no signs of having magic before a child is born who definitely is Mage-Gifted. Because Valdemar itself is under a country-wide spell forcing everyone in it to think of magic as no longer existing, any mages born in it are either Chosen and train as if they have Psychic Powers instead or leave, as there is also a spell that causes mages to be slowly driven mad unless they leave the country. When the spells are broken, any and all new mages in the country are functionally this.
  • This is Serious Business in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy. Allomancy is exclusively hereditary and meant for the nobility only. Ska (commoner) allomancers represent the single most credible threat to the Final Empire, a regime that's hell-bent on maintaining a one thousand year Medieval Stasis. The Empire is so serious about it that official policy is that if a known male Allomancer has sex with a ska woman (even by rape), she is to be executed, rather than run the risk of the union producing a child who can use Allomancy. Even so, a few get through, and their bloodlines can run dormant for generations. Protagonists Vin and Kelsier are ska Mistborn, the rarest and most powerful kind of Allomancer. They prove that the Final Empire's concerns were valid ones.
  • Played for Drama in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!. Maria is a powerful light magic-user even though she comes from an ordinary family. Since the ability to use magic is normally only found among the upper class, it ends up destroying her parents' marriage due to rumors that her mother must have slept with some random noble. note 
  • Played for Drama in Reign of the Seven Spellblades. Magic is usually inherited (to the point where the mage aristocracy has a de facto Super Breeding Program), but mages are occasionally born to non-magical families, which can mean such a significant increase in socioeconomic status in the magocratic Union that non-magic expectant mothers in mixed cities occasionally approach mages hoping for a spell that could make their child a mage (according to all current magical science, this is not possible). Of the main cast, Pete Reston was definitely born to a non-magic family, and Nanao Hibiya probably was.note 
  • The Scholomance: Wizard children can be born to Mundanes but rarely survive to adulthood because Magic Is a Monster Magnet and elitist Magical Society is generally disinclined to help them. The one named case in the series is a Posthumous Character because she didn't know about the titular, highly deadly, Wizarding School until it teleported her into a dorm.
  • In Schooled in Magic, Emily is an Earthling Trapped in Another World, and both of her parents were ordinary Earthlings (though since Earth has no magic, it's possible that they had magical potential that they never got to exercise). She avoids Fantastic classism because everyone thinks that she's the daughter of Void, the Lone Power, but Book 5 shows just how badly the more conservative magicians can treat magicians without proper ancestry: At Mountaintop, they're deliberately mistaught, used as slaves and crapped on by the upper-class students, then expelled and used as batteries for Mountaintop's defenses.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm is set at an evil Wizarding School which has students who are this, notably including the evil Medina twins as well as Megumi, a (relatively) heroic ally of the protagonist. They get into conflict with witches who come from long lines of famous magicians and who think they're superior because of it.
  • Work Ethic: Kristine is a magically cognizant child born to incognizant parents, meaning, unlike most humans, she can perceive and remember magic and magical creatures.
  • In the Young Wizards series this happens 100% of the time (at least for human wizards) despite wizardry being genetically determined. The genetics only grant the capacity to do magic, while the godlike Powers That Be decide who among the capable are granted the gift. The Powers That Be do this as a favor to human wizards, in return for all their efforts in the fight against evil, since being a wizard and fighting evil is dangerous. It's a load off the mind of wizard parents to know that their children will only be facing ordinary dangers.
  • In Xanth, Xanth is a land of magic where humans are all born with a special magical skill called a Talent. The centaurs view this as disgusting in their own species, and Talents are almost unheard of. Arnolde Centaur ends up having been born with the Talent to create an aura of magic around himself. Since he was creating magic where it already existed everywhere, he grew to fairly advanced age before it was eventually discovered by someone looking for him where he was researching at the borderes of the magic.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tara's a witch from a family of pure Muggles who despise for her practice of magics (and for being a female, in the case of her father and brother).
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Neither of Penelope's parents were witches, making her powers' emergence a huge surprise, since this hasn't occurred in hundreds of years.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Both Garou and Kithain from the Old World of Darkness interbreed with humans (indeed such is required of the Garou, for whom breeding with each other is taboo and any resulting offspring of such pairings are infertile). Some children born as a result of this interbreeding are Garou or Kithain themselves but most are Kin or Kinain respectively, fully human but with the blood of their werewolf or faerie parent. Their children will likely be the same, even if the other parent was a normal human, but any child of a Kin or Kinain has a chance to be born Garou or Kithain. This can occur many generations down the line, sometimes long past the point that the family has forgotten their supernatural ancestor. This leads to some very confusing situations. For extra fun, there's been enough contact between the werewolves and the fae that some bloodlines are both Kin and Kinain and while no-one can be both a Garou and a Kithain you could end up with both in the same family.
  • Warhammer:
    • Mutated children of normal humans are often abandoned by their parents. If they survive, they roam the wilds until they're found by groups of beastmen or other Chaos mutants who they can join up with.
    • In Brettonia, children with magical ability are abducted by The Fair Folk (actually Wood Elves). The girl come back as Damsels (young women who serve the Lady), the boys are never seen again.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Sorcerers frequently have this trope as their backstory, since they are premised on innate magical talent, as opposed to Wizardsnote  and Warlocksnote . Still, one of the possible mechanics for a Sorcerer's power is having a hidden ancestral bloodline, often draconic in origin, which has resurfaced in the character and manifested as magical capabilities. (Oddly, in most campaign settings, it's rare for sorcerers to form explicit family lines.)
    • The background fluff for Warlocks also indicates that sometimes they're simply born out of nowhere or are descended from fiends, often unknowingly — although this is edition-dependent and Depending on the Writer.

    Video Games 
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt 2: The boss Tenjian's backstory is that he was an Adept born from 2 completely normal parents. They ended up putting him in an orphanage because they don't know how to deal with him and the stigma towards Adepts.
  • Deconstructed in the Dragon Age games. The status of muggle-born mages depends largely on the player's background. City elves and human peasants make out the best since they get to leave a life of inescapable poverty to join the Circle of Magi. Human nobles outside the Tevinter Imperium also join the Circle but lose all claims of nobility in the process. Tevinters are a special case. Their nobility is composed entirely of mages, and marriages are arranged in such a way to ensure mage offspring. Commoners hold out hope that one day their children or grandchildren might become mages, but even if they do, they'd be stuck working as lowly bureaucratic clerks since all the lofty positions are held by the noble families. Then there's the Qunari, whose mages become slaves to the state.
    • On an individual basis, Anders is an example of how this can go spectacularly wrong. When his magic manifested his father rejected him out of fear, and although his mother remained supportive she was forbidden to keep any contact with him. Combined with the mistreatment Anders received in a Circle that others consider overly permissive, this created the resentment that turned the spirit of Justice into a demon of Vengeance and kicked off the chain of events that led to the Mage-Templar situation exploding in the most literal way possible.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, Vivienne demonstrates how this can end extremely well for mages born into the lower rungs of society. Thanks to her magic Vivienne was able to manipulate the system to gain considerable political power in one of the world's most powerful nations, even to the point of being able to ignore many of the restrictions placed on other mages. Without her magic Vivienne would most likely have followed in her parents' footsteps as an impoverished merchant.
  • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade: While there are other magic users in Elibe that have gotten skills in magic via genetics, Lilina, a mage who starts with a C-rank in Anima, stands out because Hector and his potential wives are all physical fighters rather than mages.
  • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, some people with Crests can be born from those who do not have Crests themselves but are parts of bloodlines with Crests. For example, Ingrid is the first member of House Galatea in generations to bear the Crest of Daphnel, which makes her desirable to prospective marriage partners. In Edelgard's supports with Hanneman, it is revealed that the latter's sister was born without a Crest and married off in the hopes that she could produce a Crest-bearing heir, which didn't happen, leading to her early death from mistreatment and heart disease.
  • An in-universe explanation of this phenomenon is given in the Mass Effect-verse for the existence of biotics in all races except the asari (who are all genetically engineered to have biotics). When a fetus is exposed to element zero in utero it has a small chance of growing element zero nodules and developing biotic powers. In humans this happens only ten percent of the time. Thirty percent of the time they get brain tumors that kill them before their third birthday, and the remaining sixty percent see no effect at all; an undetermined number of that sixty percent can gain biotic powers later in life if they are exposed a second time.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney: Pearl Fey is a girl that is surprisingly good at channeling spirits at an early age. While she does come from a family where many female ancestors can channel spirits, Pearl's mother, Morgan Fey, was unable to do such a thing, claiming her spiritual power was too low, while her father is neither part of the Fey family nor would be able to channel spirits even if he were. Pearl is the only known instance of this trope in the series, where Muggle Born of Mages is noticeably more common (with examples such as Morgan herself, and Queen Ga'ran of Khura'in).
  • Magical Diary has Mary Sue, the protagonist, as a "Wild Seed." No particular Fantastic Racism is shown, but several routes show differences in how Wild Seeds and mage-born have to come to grips with their powers and with magical society.
  • In the Nasuverse, mages come from families passing their particular form of magic down a Single Line of Descent. Every family started with a muggle that decided to practice magic, though it takes generations of research to make much of it.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara is a unique example. She’s from the Water Tribe, and her being a waterbender born to two non-benders (Hakoda and Kya) isn’t unique because being Randomly Gifted with Elemental Powers in the World of Avatar is very common. However, she’s a member of the Southern Water Tribe, which has been targeted by Fire Nation raids in order to kill and/or capture every single waterbender that was produced there during the Hundred Year War. Katara is the only one left by the time the series begins, and the 14-year-old hardly has any waterbending experience because there have never been any other waterbenders around to teach her. A major subplot of the first season is Katara finding a Waterbending master from the Northern Water Tribe (which has mostly remained intact thanks to its isolation from the rest of the world) to teach her.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Gungi, a Force-sensitive Wookiee. While force-sensitives with normal parents are not uncommon, this deserves mentioning as according to Yoda, it is a very rare occurrence for a Wookiee. This is a nod to a rule in Star Wars, where Wookiee characters aren't allowed to be Force-sensitive, with the exception of one character in the old Expanded Universe who was made before the rule came into affect and Gungi who was created by George Lucas himself.
  • One of the Cake twins in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a unicorn (the other is a Pegasus) despite both Cakes being Earth ponies.