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Mercury's Wings

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There are characters who have wings or use substitutes in different ways like using gigantic ears or magical hair. But then we have characters who have grown or were born with actual tiny wings attached to both sides of their heads, or on their feet. It's Fridge Logic to consider how they can even fly in the first place.

Characters who were not born with or have grown wings often use helmets, hats and sandals with wings to achieve this effect. Characters who have neither winged accessories nor wings will have wings on their headgear or costume for ornamental reasons.

The Trope Maker for these wings is Hermes/Mercury, the messenger of the gods. Because of this, many characters that have worn the winged helmet or winged sandals that are reminiscent to the ones he wore. They also tend to be quite swift in their movements.

This is a form of Good Wings, Evil Wings, as almost any character that has these wings are good or divine.

It's also not unheard of for Little Bit Beastly characters who are based on some type of winged species to have head wings in place of the usual animal ears.

Related to Winged Humanoid. See also Helicopter Hair, Ear Wings, Hair Wings, Hat of Flight, and Tricked-Out Shoes. Also check out Wings Below The Waist for when a character's wings extend from their lower back instead.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • An OVA of Accel World featured the main characters of Nega Nebulous got dragged into the dying game of Accel Assault, a predecessor of their own Brain Burst. Their characters become a scrambled mixture of their on-line avatars and their Brain Burst avatars, with MC Haruyuki's pink pig getting mixed with his armored Winged Humanoid to become an armored pig with wings in his ears.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura:
    • One of Sakura's favorite abilities is the Jump card, which adds wings to her feet and allows her to jump and fall long distances.
    • The Nothing (or alternatively, The Hope Card) from the second movie has wings on her head.
  • The antagonist of Domu: A Child's Dream wears a hat with wings. He has godlike Psychic Powers, though the hat is just a regular novelty hat that he killed somebody for with said powers.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's Secret Gadget Museum have a pair of gadget boots called the Kurocuckoo, which has wings in the heels. Unfortunately it was a prototype that doesn't work quite well yet - each shoe have a tendency to fly in different directions, as the Museum's director found out after wearing it.
  • Mavis Vermilion in Fairy Tail, only on the head. She doesn't seem to be able to use them for flying, though.
  • In Hermes: Winds of Love, Pan and Agape give Hermes a pair of small winged sandals after revealing themselves as fairies. However, these instantly adjust to his feet and instead of making him fly like in Greek myth, these only allow him to have an out-of-body experience.
  • Juvenile Orion has Tsukasa Amou who got a huge pair of wings on his head when he uses his angel power.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Nanoha's flight spell Flier Fin and its upgraded version, Axel Fin.
    • Reinforce has a pair of wings on her head to go with the two pairs on her back. They were removed in the movie continuity.
    • Subaru's Full Drive gives Mach Caliber wings, but since she already has Not Quite Flight, it just increases her speed instead.
  • In Shugo Chara!, wings appear next to Amu's feet during character changes with Ran.
  • Anyone in Strike Witches who has a bird as a familiar sprout out small wings on their head while using their magic, as birds don't have ears to depict the Witches with.
  • In Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan Yoma Hashimoto is able to form these in his back, calves and head. Justified as he is stated to be a God in Human Form, more specifically the human avatar of Hermes himself.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy S. of Happy Heroes has little yellow wings on the sides of his helmet, though they're not used to fly (even though Happy S. actually does have that power) and can instead come off and combine to form a Battle Boomerang.
  • In YoYo Man, Fefe wears a helmet that has little decorative wings on either side.

    Comic Books 
  • In Asterix, the titular Asterix the Gaul and other prominent Gaulish characters affect helmets with wings attached. This has some referents in archaeology and history. But this style of headgear was largely imagined by Victorian historians and folklorists who were attempting to give a sense of heroic romance to their Celtic heroes - especially in France.
  • Captain America has small wings on both sides of his mask, much like the Flash.
  • The Flash:
    • They're merely decorative, but Flash has wingtips on the head of his costume.
    • The Golden Age Flash actually had a hat with such wings on it, a clear homage to Mercury.
    • The Flash of Earth 2 has stylized wings on his helmet.
  • The Mighty Thor also wears a winged helmet. His sister, Angela, also wears a winged circlet. As do some versions of Loki, like kid versions, or even teen Loki, when they got morality inverted for a time and did a Good Costume Switch (Yes, there seems to be a very loose correlation between Loki's goodness and the wings, but that might has to do more with how they see themself (or want to be perceived) at that moment, not their actual alignment).
  • In the Marvel Universe, Sub-Mariner has small wings on his ankles that allow him to fly.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): The giant women of Mercury (the planet) wear winged sandals and helmets, with their queen wearing a winged crown, which allow them to fly.
    • As originally envisioned for her Post-Crisis revamp Wonder Woman could not fly naturally and had to wear the sandals of Hermes to fly without her plane. Later authors allowed her to fly without the sandals, instead relying on them to fly through dimensional barriers instead. (Prior to the revamp she had Not Quite Flight via gliding on air currents.)
    • Prior to learning of her divine parentage and having the block on most of her natural demigod powers removed the second Wondergirl wore the actual talaria of Hermes to achieve flight.
    • While Artemis was acting as Wonder Woman she had to wear winged sandals over the boots in order to fly as she cannot fly naturally.
    • In The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) Diana once more needs winged god forged additions to her boots in order to fly, up until the final pages where Gaia grants Diana powers including flight as her final act before fading away.

    Comic Strips 
  • Jack Flash, a campy 1950s strip in the British comic The Beano, was about a boy from Mercury who could fly. He had little wings on his ankles.
  • One Calvin and Hobbes story has Calvin and Susie required to give a school presentation on the planet Mercury. Calvin's section on the mythology of Mercury starts out okay but quickly goes off the rails.
    The planet Mercury was named after a Roman god with winged feet. Mercury was the god of flowers and bouquets, which is why today he is a registered trademark of FTD Florists. Why they named a planet after this guy, I can't imagine.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • In the 1925 version of Ben-Hur, Messala (Francis X. Bushman) famously wears a leather helmet with small wings.
  • In Jason and the Argonauts, Hermes himself appears, wearing a bronze helmet with small wings.

  • Nezha from Fengshen Yanyi, who travels while standing on a pair of flaming Fire Wheels which lifts him into the air, giving him great advantage against his enemies. Most adaptations of the Nezha mythos will depict him in this attire, from the animated film Nezha Conquers the Dragon King to the Shaw Brothers Na Cha duology and the 1990s TVB adaptation Gods Of Honor up to modern-day adaptations like Ne Zha.
  • The Spirit of the Post in Going Postal is a golden statue with a winged helmet, winged sandals and a winged fig leaf. Moist, as Postmaster and possible avatar, gets a gold postman's hat with real pigeon wings attached to it, and a matching pair of boots. (There's also some kind of elasticated arrangement, but he decides to forgo this.)
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, wings are a popular adornment for a Cool Helmet if a knight has any winged animals in his heraldry. Ser Jason Mallister, Ser Vardis Egen and even Mance Rayder are all noted as having bird-winged helms, Barristan Selmy wears dragon wings in honour of Queen Danaerys, and Oswell Whent wears bat wings. Sansa Stark has the idea of founding a whole order of falcon-wing-adorned knights as a Praetorian Guard for her cousin Robert Arryn, who is obsessed with his mythical ancestor, the Winged Knight.

    Live-Action TV 

    Myths & Religion 
  • Hermes/Mercury, of course. The winged sandals (named Talaria) were made of imperishable gold by Hephaestus/Vulcan and were the source of Hermes power of swift flight. Thus it's natural for speedster type characters to homage Hermes, or his gear, in their design.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dungeons & Dragons supplement Unearthed Arcana (1985) introduced the magic item Winged Boots. When the wearer concentrates on the desire to fly, the boots sprout wings at the heel and allow the wearer to fly for a total of two hours per day.

    Video Games 
  • The Binding of Isaac: The planetarium item Mercurius gives Isaac a pair of wings above his ears (or at least where his ears would be if he were drawn with any). They don't allow him to fly, but they do grant a sizable speed boost and allow him to leave rooms without fighting the enemies inside.
  • Blood Will Tell has a kitsume boss who can fly thanks to having fiery wings on it's ankles.
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon: The Kick Boots that unlock wall jumping are a pair of winged boots.
  • Darkstalkers has the Aensland Sisters, Morrigan and Lilith, a pair of succubi who each have a second pair of bat wings extending from the sides of their head in addition to the more traditional pair on their backs.
  • The Siren summon from Final Fantasy VIII has huge, golden wings... sitting on top of her head. Even her eyebrows appear to be feathers, though it all does sort of blend in with actual hair (which is the exact same color as the feathers).
  • Fanny from Guilty Gear Petit and its sequel is a Nurse with Good Intentions who searches for Dr. Baldhead, the man who saved her life when she was younger, unaware that he now operates under the alias of Faust. Her cap is adorned with wings that are mostly cosmetic (they only flap while Fanny is air dashing) and may serve as a reference to the caduceus.
  • Heroes of the Storm: Tracer's Divine Herald skin dresses her up as Mercury, complete with wings on her head and ankles that let her flit around for her ready and Blink animations.
  • The heroine of The Legend of Valkyrie and, by extension due to The Cameo, Cassandra's third outfit in Soulcalibur II have ornamental wings (which are later obtainable as parts for creating a character in the third and fourth games).
  • Some The Legend of Zelda games have the Pegasus Boots, which are depicted with having wings near the ankles. They are used for making a Dash Attack, rather than flight, although in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening they can be used in tandem with the Roc Feather, allowing that item's jumps to cover longer distances.
  • Harpuia from Mega Man Zero wears a winged helmet (purely for decor) along with having thruster containing mechanical wings on his back. Very fast moving when airborne to the point where he is one of the only things in the series that can actually outrun Zero (and Zero's quite fast himself). This is an Anti-Villain or Hero Antagonist example, if not both.
  • Pokémon:
    • The Dragon-type Pokémon Dragonair has wings on the sides of its head.
    • Winona, the Flying-type Gym Leader from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, has tufts of hair that are shaped like wings that stick out of her aviator helmet and goggles. It is for stylistic purposes only, though.
    • Koraidon and Miraidon from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have wings attached to their heads. Koraidon's wings are tied like antenna while Miraidon's wings seem to be Hard Light, and they unfurl/conjure those wings to fly.
  • In her earlier appearances in the Puyo Puyo series, Amitie's signature puyo cap has little decorative white wings on the sides. That wing shape is the emblem of the magic school Amitie goes to.
  • In Scribblenauts, one of the many ways you can make Maxwell fly is to write winged sandals. You could also write winged helmet but it doesn't fly.
  • Shining Wisdom has the Pegasus helmet that allows Mars to fly at certain points in the game.
  • Super Mario 64 gives Mario the Wing Cap power up, which allows him to fly.
  • While Koakuma in Touhou Project is often portrayed with proper wings on her back, she only has a pair of wings on her head in the game she appears in.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • White wings on the head are the defining trait of the the High Entia race from Xenoblade Chronicles 1. They can range from being very long (reaching half way down their legs) or comparatively short (Barely below the neck). There's a good reason for this, as small-winged High Entia such as Melia are actually half-Homs. Ones with long wings can actually train to use them to fly, although it doesn't do much good to a Higher-Tech Species that mastered antigravity. It makes one such display during a sidequest all the more sudden.
    • Various Kevesi soldiers in Xenoblade Chronicles 3 have wings sprouting from their heads, among them main party member Eunie and Colony 9 commander Zeon. One sidequest has a character speculate that the wings give people greater control over ether, and that Eunie's skills as a Medic Sniper stem from them. They're heavily implied to be descendants of the High Entia.

    Web Animation 
  • Demonica from My Jungle Book, Your Year has wings on the side of her head. They change from black to white when she transforms.

  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe: The Everyman accidentally creates a winged helmet when attempting to separate a visored helmet and a floating cuirass he had earlier fused into a single item. The helmet proves fairly underwhelming — it's not strong enough to let him fly but also obscures his vision, and eventually it's simply ditched.
  • In Glitter and Guilt, Sweetheart gains feathered wings on her head and feet in her Beloved form, and Bitterbat has a pair of bat's wings in place of ears.
  • Sleepless Domain: Alchemical Aether's magical girl costume includes a pink and gold winged headband. The accessory seems to only be decorative, but it does reflect her ability to jump long distances and leap from rooftop to rooftop.

    Web Original 
  • Gaia Online has a few of these for items. The headwings and the feetwings are, naturally, separate items that must be purchased separately.

    Western Animation 
  • Bosworth the dog in Alias the Jester has wings sprouting from his head that let him fly. It's not clear whether Alias himself wears a winged mask or a mask with holes in it for his wings, but he can fly as well. (When he's Jester, his wings would be covered by his jester's hat.)
  • Looney Tunes: In one of the Rudy Larriva Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner cartoons, Wile E. ties pigeons on his feet to catch the Roadrunner, inspired by the Mercury myth. Like all of his plans, it doesn't go well.
  • Twister from Rocket Power has the ornamental version of these wings on his helmet.
  • The Smurfs (1981):
    • In the episode "The Magical Meanie", Genie Meanie tormented Brainy and Clumsy by causing feetwings to appear on their feet, which made them fly uncontrollably until the genie removed them.
    • In the season 7 episode "The Fastest Wizard in the World" Gargamel uses a magic spell to grant him “the Fleetfoot of Mercury” via functional wings on his feet to increase his speed to catch Smurfs. as is his track record it doesn’t end well for the evil wizard.

    Real Life  
  • Roman commentators on the early wars with the Celts report that many Celtic warriors wore helmets adorned with representations of birds' wings. Some archaeological evidence exists to support this, but in most cases the helmets worn into battle would only have had a vestigial or abstract representation of wings on them. note . Romantic interpretations by the Victorians elevated the winged helmet to the same folk-popular status as the horned helmet to Vikings: wings, in battle, would have been every bit as impractical as horns. The winged helmet worn by Asterix The Gaul in the cartoons is an example of the sort of exaggerated headgear Victorian imagination made mandatory for Celtic warrior heroes.
  • Older Than Dirt, it seems—a fair bit of small, birdlike dinosaurs had wing feathers on their legs, most famously Microraptor, whose legs looked so much like wings that many paleontologists suggested it flew like a biplane. While Microraptor probably couldn't use its "leg wings" as extra wings per se (attempting to splay its legs out would result in them popping out of their sockets), they still likely had an aerodynamic purpose, a commonly suggested one being to help steer the animal while it was in flight. If not that, they may have been display structures. Other dinosaurs of this nature had more downplayed examples, such as Archaeopteryx (a small set of feathers reaching up to its "knees") and Anchiornis (whose leg feathers were positioned and colored in such a way that many have even joked that they looked like they were wearing Adidas pants).

Alternative Title(s): Winged Head And Feet, Head Wings