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Omniscient Hero

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The Omniscient Hero is not merely The Omniscient, they are ALSO a main character! This has a huge impact on the plot, because it means that the readers/viewers will either know exactly what's going on or they will not know what the hell the main character is really doing.

Essentially, a being who possesses enough relevant information to make the events less interesting or less believable. Such a being who makes any kind of deceptive plan useless by seeing through them all is likely to fall into this trope.

When an Omniscient Hero is faced with a Moral Dilemma, the problem is made much less complicated by the fact that they somehow...

  1. Have a flawless overview of everything relevant to the situation,
  2. Know exactly what options are available, AND
  3. Know exactly what the consequences of each option will be.

Theoretical moral philosophy is full of thought-experiments based on these three premises. For the protagonist of such a theoretical thought experiment to become an Omniscient Hero, the Moral Dilemma has to be transformed into a story and played straight. However, a Strawman Political or Straw Vulcan is very likely to mistake themselves for an Omniscient Hero, and then be very surprised or go into denial when it turns out that there was at least one of those three premises that he or she did not live up to.

Such a villain is likely to take their delusion one step further and also believe themself to have a Omniscient Morality License, thus making it easier to convince themselves that Utopia Justifies the Means. Either that, or one turns out to having been a Straw Hypocrite all along.

Compare Invincible Hero, Clock King. Contrast The Omniscient, an omniscient being that isn't the protagonist and thus far less problematic.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: Eren essentially becomes a variation of this once he gets access to both the Attack Titans future sight combined with the Founding Titans access to the paths. From the instant he accesses this ability he jumps off with his newfound Omniscient Morality License.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Swedish comic Bamse, the Lancer/Professor character Skalman often fit this trope. This is done intentionally, since the target audience is rather young and the use of a BOH lets the writers introduce relatively complex concepts without making the plot overly complicated.
  • Batman Batman in many modern interpretations is so Crazy-Prepared that he occasionally falls into this category. (The man has backup plans for the contingency plans of his backup plans!)
  • Captain Marvel: Genis-Vell acquired "Cosmic Awareness" like his father Mar-Vell, but to a much greater degree — he literally knew everything that happened or could happen. It drove him mad.
  • Chaos War: Hercules is granted omniscience. This turns out to be practically worthless because Hercules either didn't bother to use it or purposely ignored it constantly making things worse. Only changed when all of his allies called him out on his crap and even then he had to be guided by others to victory.
  • Watchmen:
    • Adrian Veidt fits this trope. He has everything so well figured out that the morality issue is reduced to whether or not the goals he achieved were worth all the lives he sacrificed. However, two of the last few scenes make the whole thing ambiguous, leaving it to the reader/viewer to decide if the trope is played straight or subverted.
    • In the same story, Dr. Manhattan himself WOULD fit the trope perfectly if it wasn't for a certain loophole that effectively make him lose his omniscience halfway through the story. Before that point, he is so omniscient that it bores himself, but the readers/audience is spared sharing that boredom since he's a side character rather than the protagonist.

    Fairy Tales 
  • Hans the Hedgehog: Clearly Hans is one of these, seeing how perfectly his choices and actions work out for him. He must have known in advance that each king's daughter would be the first "thing" to greet the king on coming home and that once he got married at the latest, he could shed his hedgehog skin, have it burned, and remain human afterward.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Doctor Strange, thanks to his vast powers as a Seer and a Time Master, and his Purpose-Driven Immortality (the first two exponentially magnified, and the latter granted by the Time Stone). These mean that he can see pretty much every possible future, then tweak events so that the one he wants comes about, and has the luxury of not having to worry about how long it takes. He uses this to play the entire cast like a Stradivarius.
    • However, drama is maintained by several things: he's an important secondary character rather than the hero, he isn't going to simply solve every problem/defeat every villain. This is partly because he wants/needs them to happen to prepare Harry and company or set things up to be resolved. However, it's also partly because his powers have limits: others are working against him, with the capacity to create blindspots in his sight (he's smart enough to work around it, but the strain involved nearly kills him and drives him insane), and "contrary to carefully cultivated popular belief", he's actually not quite omniscient. These become important plot points in the sequel.
  • Every Host in Communication automatically become through Consensus: the players of said quest themselves who knows every single event and character that had or will occur in the world they are put into.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Nemo, the eponymous Mr. Nobody, is a rare sympathetic example. He can remember and envision all his possible futures, and it is explored quite well what this means for him.

  • The Kwisatz Haderachs, Paul Atreides and his son Leto II in Dune. Both of them come to hate this because it makes life so utterly boring when you know everything that's going to happen long before it happens. Everyone else comes to hate this because when someone is omniscient, they're effectively invincible: they know everything you're going to do before you even think of it, so no matter what you do, you're playing into their hands.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya's Nagato Yuki is one of these.
  • In Horns, by Joe Hill, the main character has horns growing out of his head that not only cause the characters around him to reveal their darkest thoughts to him, but also give him the power to see their entire pasts simply by touching them.
  • In State of Fear, Professor Kenner already knows or suspects the entire plot of the bad guys at the start of the book.
  • Ia in the Theirs Not to Reason Why series is a somewhat unusual example. She can't "just" see her own timeline, she can see all of them. This also makes her an interesting case because while she could theoretically prepare for every single way events can play out, she doesn't actually have time to A) look through all potential outcomes of a situation and B) set up contingency plans for all of them. This leaves her immensely powerful, but Not So Omniscient After All because she can never be sure which of the many possible futures will actually happen in her part of the multiverse.
  • In The Wars of Light and Shadow, Arithon s'Ffallen, Master of Shadows, has inherited the foresight powers of his s'Ahelas mother and the empathy of his s'Ffallen father, which means that he sees the implications of all his actions, and feels the suffering they cause. The only reason why the Wars of Light and Shadow haven't ended with his suicide is because he has sworn an oath to survive at all costs, as his survival is critical to returning the Paravians to Athera.

    Live Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor has elements of this Depending on the Writer. He is easily the smartest person in the room, and can work his way out of just about any situation, up to and including the end of the universe. With certain exceptions. Notably, several episodes have the Doctor working out how to kill the enemy of the week within a few seconds, but either something happens which he didn't plan for, and he has to play a game of Xanatos Speed Chess, such as "Remembrance of the Daleks", or he's desperately searching for a non-lethal or more peaceful solution, which he sometime finds ("The Beast Below"), but often doesn't ("Warriors of the Deep").
  • John Doe of the eponymous show has encyclopedic knowledge of everything humanity has learned up to the beginning of the show. He's also capable of easily using that knowledge, such as becoming rich in the pilot by playing the stock market, and countering moves in an obscure martial art. He's also an Omniglot, as demonstrated when he speaks Khmer to a group of Cambodian fishermen who rescue him.

    Video Games 
  • Theresa from the Fable series has the ability to see into the future. In Fable II and Fable III, if she hadn't been there to guide the hero towards their destiny, then there wouldn't have even been a plot.
  • Can be played with in a meta sense for most videogames that offer a save function. Reloading after a string of losses to eventually overcome some obstacle can be seen as functionally identical to scanning through possible timelines of actions until finding one where victory is guaranteed, and Save Scumming can invoke this even further to fish for even more favorable outcomes. Similarly players can resort to things like walkthroughs and strategy guides to learn all there is to know about a game before the in-universe protagonist even takes their first step.

  • Dominic Deegan decayed/developed into one of these by the time of the "Snowsong" arc.
  • Homestuck has Terezi. However, her ability only activates when the wrong choice will create a doomed timeline. Since attaining god tier, Rose is one too, though there are some ill-defined limitations. Jade also knows an awful lot after becoming a First Guardian.