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The Prophecy

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"The gods are four, whose works grow cold, as one betrays their laws of old.
Then dark grow deeds and darker hearts, for lost to all are holy arts.
A vagrant comes amidst the gloom, to seal the gaping maw of doom"
Mithras, Sacrifice

So the bumbling protagonist, the wandering merchant, or the neighbor from down the street walks into a herbal shop, gets met by some strange person, or simply has a dream with a lot of flashy lighting effects. Next thing they know, they've been declared destroyers of worlds, rulers of fates, or simply the best goddamned kitten-saver in the entirety of the universe.

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There is a considerable overlap with The Chosen One, but chosen ones are not always told what they were chosen for, and prophecies don't always refer to a particular person.

Subtrope of Call to Adventure. Supertrope to Either/Or Prophecy, Self-Defeating Prophecy, Self-Fulfilling Prophecy; please add the appropriate examples directly to those pages.

For the movie, see Film.The Prophecy. For the Fan Work with a similar name, see PAW Patrol: The Prophecy.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The 5,111th Prophecy of Grendel in Scrapped Princess foretells that the eponymous heroine will destroy the world, setting up the conflict between her select few guardians and the rest of it.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, Carim Gracia's rare prophetic skill allows her to foresee the Big Bad's plans, which would have otherwise caught the Bureau completely unaware. Thanks to her, however, they are able to prepare for the crisis just in time.
  • In Psychic Squad, a powerful ESPer dolphin prophecies that there will be a global war between ESPers and Muggles where two of the protagonists, notwithstanding the love that they will feel for each other, will find themselves on opposite sides and one of them will kill the other. Much of the series deals with how to avoid this prophecy from being fulfilled. To make things more ominous, said dolphin's predictions have never been wrong, though he hopes Minamoto will be able to prove this one wrong.
  • Words Worth : The inscription on the eponymous monolith forms the crux of the plot. "Only one of Light and Shadow may read the words inscribed here and understand their meaning. Thus, the two worlds will be made complete."
  • Gotoh's prophecy is a key plot point in The Castle of Cagliostro, and is inscribed on Clarisse's ring: "Light will rejoin shadow and live again."
  • In Berserk, Nosferatu Zodd was about to kill Griffith when he saw the Crimson Behelit. Realizing what it meant, he spared Griffith. As he left, he warned the Hawks with a prophecy: that the moment Griffith's dream came crashing down, an inescapable death would find them. The prophecy comes true for all but two of the Hawks trapped in the Eclipse: Guts and Casca. The dark forces governing fate work hard to correct this "error". When Zodd and Guts meet again, Zodd congratulates Guts on subverting his prediction.
  • It is referred to as a "legend" in Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, however it is treated much the same. On Queen Earth there is a legend that states a ten year old girl named "Nurse Angel" will protect the universe in times of crisis. Ririka is a ten year old human girl who becomes Nurse Angel to protect the universe. She is the reincarnation of the original Nurse Angel.
  • In the Necrozma arc of Pokémon, the Alolan students and Ash happen to be depicted as having ancestors in a prophecy depicting their involvement to stop it from wrecking havoc. Never mind the fact Ash isn't even native to Alola.

    Comic Books 
  • In Lumberjanes, the prophecy, delivered by defeated three-eyed foxes, is "Beware the kitten holy." Its meaning remains to be seen.
  • The Transformers: Dark Cybertron: In the second chapter, Scoop relates to Starscream a prophecy about a supposed "false prophet", with the implication that it's talking about Shockwave. Much later on, in The Transformers, Optimus has a vision with a longer, even more ominous version of the prophecy.
    A sunrise dark shall cast pall upon the empire.
    And time will rust.
    And he shall stand alone while not alone.
    And adorned the titan will be in black metal.
    And the stars shall scream.
    And the symbol of the uncreator shall be clear.
    And his gaze shall unravel the legacy of Primus.
    Thus shall the adversary rise.
    A black star. Unstopped and unstoppable.
  • The prophecy that Orion would kill his father Darkseid is the driving force behind Orion's self titled book. He starts seeking out Darkseid after his mother spreads the false information that Orion isn't actually Darkseid's son in a plot to make Orion move against his father so that she can set up Orion as the new ruler of Apocalypse.
  • Monstress: There's a prophecy that a descendent of the Shaman-Empress will inherit her power during a war worse than any other, and serve as the deciding factor in that war's outcome. Everyone is convinced that the series' central protagonist, Maika, is the person in question.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm, being primarily a Harry Potter and Marvel Cinematic Universe crossover, naturally features the former series' canon prophecy regarding Harry and Voldemort's fated conflict with each other. And in the first book's penultimate scene, Trelawney has another prophecy that seems to plot out what's to come for the rest of the series — Harry gathering and uniting various heroes and facing off against various villains, all leading up to the Final Battle with Thanos.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures/W.I.T.C.H. crossover fic Kage, it's eventually revealed that long ago, the first Oracle, N'ghala, foretold the coming of a being matching the description of Jade (or, possibly, the Queen of the Shadowkhan), who will cover all the Known Worlds in darkness. Later on, Yua shares with Ari another prophecy, possibly related to the first, foretelling the coming of a being who will bring about the downfall of Kandrakar:
  • The Last Son has this as its major overarching plot. The mutant Blind Seer Irene Adler experiences a vision when Superman arrives on Earth. The prophecy refers to Superman as the "Child of the Star" that is destined to "unite mutankind" and "drive back the Dark".
  • Princess Trixie Sparkle: Starswirl had a prophecy where he would take a pony as his heir to become the new ruler of Equestria. He chose an Earth pony named Astelle, but after being made an alicorn Astelle ran off. It turns out that Starswirl misread the prophecy. Astelle wasn't the ruler—her younger sister Celestia was.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles averts the canonical prophecy, since Tom Riddle never launched a war. There is, however, a minor prophecy made by a centaur in relation to the Dominion Jewel, revealing that its holder must either use it to dominate others, or be consumed by it.
  • There is one in Young Justice: Darkness Falls involving Beast Boy and Raven: "One shall become what they were born to be. The other shall become what they were raised to be."
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Orion apparently fullfills the prophecy that he would kill Darkseid... except that he was supposed to kill him under different circumstances. This leads Orion to suspect his father somehow survived before the main character reveals Darkseid is indeed still alive in the future.
  • The prophecy of "the Return of Light and Shadow" in Pokémon Master states that the return of the Forbidden elements would "come with a hailstorm of death such that no one had ever seen before".
  • My Father's Son: This is Westeros after all. Prophecy is present in many places, with the Red Temple giving quite a few of them.
    • On seeing the dragon eggs, Melisandre prophesizes that the black one shall belong to the one which shall break the curse of Old Valaria. And that two of the other eggs will belong to a wolf and a false dragon.
    • Cersei again is given a prophecy from Maggy the Frog, but this time it's different: She's told she'll enter a line of kings, and the man she marries will love her, but be haunted by one long dead. She'd have seven "children" though the greatest will not be of her line. But that her whole world will be threatened by death, and the "valonqar" will emerge from the mists and drive a dagger into her favorite child.
    • Melisandre gives a pair of mini prophecies in the Reach. To Rhaegar, he's told that he'll meet his destiny. To Jon Fossoway, she gives a warning that to wade into the night might not give him safety from a knife in the back. Sure enough, Jon dies due to a knife in the back, and Rhaegar finds his destined Dragon Egg at Highgarden.
    • Melisandre tells Tywin that his house's place in history will be secured by his children in both the next war, and the war after that, but only if he does his duty for this war.
      • She also assures Tyrion that he's a little man with a big shadow, hinting that he has a great role to play yet.
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    Film — Animated 
  • Balto II: Wolf Quest was driven by the prophecy that the wolf pack would be led by "one who is wolf and does not know". It turns out to be Balto's wolf-dog daughter.
  • The prophecy in The Princess and the Pea states that the kingdom will fall to ruin after the death of the 18th King (which is Heath). To save the kingdom, the prophecy also says "To reveal the heart of true nobility, place the pea twenty mattresses deep. The Princess true is love and sensitivity, upon such she can never sleep."

    Film — Live Action 
  • A variant in the Planet of the Apes series. In Escape and Conquest, the humans are worried about the knowledge that apes would rise up and rule the world. In Battle, Caesar is worried he won't be able to stop the foretold destruction of Earth in his parents' time in the future.
  • In Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker is The Chosen One who is prophecized as the he who will destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force.

    Literature 
  • The prophecy of Saint Erasti (an apocalyptic painting) drove most of the plot in the first duology of the Arcia Chronicles. The more traditional (oral) prophecy of "Saint" Eric, delivered at the end of the second book, drives many plotlines in the following installments.
  • The Black Witch Chronicles: The prophecy, seen by seers of every species, is that the next Black Witch and a powerful male Icaral will rise and fight each other, and determine the fate of the world. By the end of the second book, it turns out that protagonist Elloren and her Love Interest Yvan are the people mentioned in the prophecy, with the true Big Bad someone else. They are separated because they need training, and because the other members of La Résistance are concerned about how things will play out.
  • Subverted in The Brightest Shadow. The prophecy itself is allegedly positive, but the characters (and presumably the reader) consider it horrifying. It also shifts between people, making The Chosen One position a mockery of the normal trope.
  • Doctrine of Labyrinths: Thamuris delivers this in The Virtu:
    "Love and betrayal, the gorgon and the wheel. The dead tree will not shelter you, and the dead will not stay dead. Though you do not seek revenge, it will find you all the same."
  • Dune: Trope Codifier, and Unbuilt Trope. There is a prophecy, but it is not a gift from the gods, but a tool created by the Bene Gesserit and inserted into various populations in order to make their manipulations easier. There is also a Chosen One, but he isn't divinely ordained, but the end result of a Bene Gesserit breeding program millennia in the making. And, of course, everything falls to pieces the second the Chosen One decides that the script can go fly a kite, and that he's going to follow his own, genuine, visions of the future instead.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: The last angel to enter the Deep uttered a prophecy stating the rise of a pair of Queens, each one more powerful than what has been seen before. By Rielle's time, this prophecy has been subject to much dissection and interpretation among academics, with most laypeople not giving it much thought. By Eliana's time, it's mostly dismissed as mere wishful thinking.
    "The Gate will fall. The angels will return and bring ruin to the world. You will know this time by the rise of two human Queens- one of blood, and one of light. One with the power to save the world. One with the power to destroy it. Two Queens will rise. They will carry the power of the Seven. They will carry your fate in their hands. Two Queens will rise."
  • Sybill Trelawney's first prophecy more or less drives the entire Myth Arc of the Harry Potter series, as it foretells the death of the Big Bad at the protagonist's hands or vice versa.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has the prophecies concerning 3 very special people: The Stallion Who Mounts The World, The Warrior of Light and The Prince Who Was Promised.
    • Cersei received a prophecy in her youth that she would become Queen, but that all of her children would die, she would be supplanted by a woman younger and more beautiful than her, and one of her younger brothers would ultimately kill her.
  • As a part of their Animal Religion, dogs in Survivors believe in a prophecy known as the "Storm of Dogs". Long ago, all the world's dogs fought over territory in one big war. It is said that another Storm of Dogs will come when a dog upsets the Earth-Dog enough. The first book starts with an earthquake (or a "Big Growl" as dogs call it) occuring. Dogs take it as a sign of the apocalypse and of an upcoming Storm of Dogs.
  • The Warrior Cats series is driven by prophecies:
    • The first series has Fire alone can save our Clan, referring to the orange-furred main character and his, uh, potential to save his Clan.
    • The second series has two main prophecies. The first is Darkness, air, water and sky will come together and shake the forest to its roots. Nothing will be as it is now, nor as it has been before., foretelling the destruction of the forest by humans. The second is Before there is peace, blood will spill blood, and the lake will run red, about a character killing his half-brother, who would have otherwise caused inter-Clan bloodshed.
    • The third and fourth series follow the same prophecy - There will be three, kin of your kin, who hold the power of the stars in their paws - about three relatives of the character the prophecy is made to, and the fact that they are each born with a supernatural power.
    • Even one of the Expanded Universe books has its own prophecy: Like fire, you will blaze through the forest. But beware! Even the most powerful flames can be destroyed by water.
    • Even ignoring the major prophecies, small prophecies appear all the time in the series.
  • Wings of Fire unsurprisingly has a prophecy considering it's written by an Erin Hunter (who works on the above-mentioned Warrior Cats). "The Dragonet Prophecy" says that when the current war goes on twenty years, five baby dragons (or "dragonets" as they're called) from the different kingdoms will be hatched who will stop the war. Two of the three dueling queens will die and the third will become queen after realizing her faults.
  • The Witchlands has Eridysi's Lament, which (apart from being a popular drinking song) contains a section devoted to the circumstances of the next coming of the Cahr Awen.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are made of this in many seasons.
    • Buffy season one has the prophecy that the Anointed One would rise and the slayer would not know him. He would lead the slayer to the Master and the slayer would die at the hand of the Master. Buffy does, but then gets revived by CPR.
    • Angel has the Shanshu prophecy, that the vampire with a soul will become human after his part in the apocalypse-he will either save the world or destroy it. And then a twist comes up, as (completely unanticipated by everyone) there's now two vampires with souls and it's called into question whether Angel is actually The Chosen One after all.
    • Sesaon one also has the Prophecies of Aberjan, part of which was the Shanshu prophecy and part of which foretold what happened to Cordelia, when she was cut off from the regular world and her mind opened to all its suffering.
    • Season 3 has the birth of Connor, the child sired by the vampire with a soul, who would grow to manhood and kill Sahjhan (a demon villain). There's also the false prophecy "The father will kill the son", a result of Sahjhan using Time Travel to edit all written copies of the prophecy. Angel does sort of kill Connor, but not the way Wesley or anyone else expected. Angel cuts his son's throat to stop him after he goes off the deep end, and then Wolfram and Hart gives him a new life.
    • Season 5 had Illyria's prophecied return.
  • Volume one of Heroes has a painting of the future depicting Peter blowing up and destroying New York unless he's stopped.
  • Merlin has the prophecy about Merlin helping Arthur become the great king who will unite all of Albion. Then there's the dragon's prophecy that the Druid boy Mordred will kill Arthur. And the prophecy that Morgana is now spending all her time trying to prevent happening: that Emrys (Merlin, though she doesn't know it) will be "her destiny and her doom."
  • Star Trek: Picard: In Romulan mythology note , Ganmadan ("the Day of Annihilation") is caused by Seb-Cheneb ("the Destroyer"), who is the surviving twin sister of Seb-Natan ("the Foreteller"). In the tale, shackled demons break free from their chains and answer Seb-Cheneb's call, which then leads to the destruction of all life in the galaxy. The Zhat Vash firmly believes that this story is actually a prediction of the future, and the Romulan cabal's main goal is to prevent this apocalypse from happening. Its interpretation of the myth is that the "sisters" are a pair of twin Artificial Humans in female form, so the most effective solution would be to eliminate them and all other sentient androids that may exist.
  • Babylon 5: The Centauri believe heavily in Prophecy and have some ability to get glimpse of the future. Most commonly how they die. However, these visions tend to mislead.
    • Technomages have this ability, Elric tells Londo what he sees of his future:
    "As I look at you, Ambassador Mollari, I see a great hand reaching out of the stars. The hand is your hand. And I hear sounds — the sounds of billions of people calling your name."
    "My followers?"
    "Your victims."
  • The StoryTeller: "The Luck Child" begins with one. "A child is born. A luck child; poor as penance, rich as snow, the seventh son of a seventh son. And the luck child will one day be king." And the plot focuses around the current wicked king's attempts to foil the prophecy.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Christianity, the Old Testament holds a prophecy that God will send a Messiah to save the world. Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of this and that his Heroic Sacrifice allowed God to forgive humanity. The New Testament has another prophecy as well, stating that Jesus will return.

    Video Games 
  • This is the driving force behind Gells' followers in Countdown Vampires. As revealed by The Vampire Hunter, the prophecy is that if Misato and Gells meet on the final day of the century, then the sun will never rise again.
  • In Devil May Cry, Mundus's downfall has been prophesized as mentioned by a book in the castle's library, although he's referred to as "Pluto", one of his many aliases.
    There's a word left by a notable prophet when he visited this castle. It states, "Pluto shall come on the promised date and separate heaven and earth. One with black wings of treachery shall come and stand in Pluto's way."
  • A prophecy by one of the supporting heroes in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers drives the main scenario: Urianger states that in his visions of the future, Eorzea is thrown into another Umbral Calamity. Just as the Eorzean Alliance push the Garlean Empire back, a new and devastating chemical weapon called "Black Rose" is deployed, turning the world into a toxic wasteland. Civilization collapses as the people descend into warring tribes fighting over what little remains, and those that could forestall the Calamity, including the Player Character, would've long succumbed to Black Rose to turn things around. Later Subverted as Urianger never actually had this vision, but was told of the events of this possible future from the Crystal Exarch, who hailed from the Bad Future where these events came to pass.
  • In Super Paper Mario, the plot is driven by the prophecies told by the prognosticative books possessed by Merlon and Count Bleck. One tells of a man in green who will bring darkness with the Chaos Heart, and the other of a legendary hero who will stop the end of everything with the Pure Hearts. Some time into the game, Merlee tells an additional prophecy that reveals that there will be four heroes destined to save the day.
  • In The Legend Of Zelda C Di Games it's stated that "It is written, only Link can defeat Ganon!"
  • Mithras' prophecy from Sacrifice, which warns that one of the five gods has betrayed the others and is planning to undo the balance of the world, which will spark a new war (the gods hearing the prophecy immediately causes one, so good call there). A 'vagrant' is said to be the only one to prevent this by 'sealing the gaping maw of doom'; protagonist Eldred quickly sees an opportunity to sell himself to the gods by claiming to be that vagrant. The prophecy turns out to be quite a twisty one: Mithras turns out to be Omnicidal Maniac Marduk in disguise; Stratos betrayed the other four gods by summoning him and believes the prophecy is just nonsense made up to increase tensions; and Marduk intended for himself to be the vagrant who would 'seal' the world's doom (i.e. ensure it). Eldred ends up defeating Marduk in the end, which ends up fulfilling the prophecy in a manner not intended.

    Web Comics 
  • In El Goonish Shive, there is a prophecy about the coming of an individual who would unify the chimeric shapeshifter outcasts of the world.
  • In The Witch's Throne, there's a prophecy where every ten years, during a random month and day, a girl will randomly be chosen to become a Witch and try to destroy the world while four brave heroes will rise up to stop her.
  • Dragon Sanctuary has an old fairy tale lays out who the chosen member of the Kiata family is. Though it's yet to be stated in full, it's well known in-universe that a Kiata born under a full moon with golden hair and silver light within is the one who can command the dragons and defeat the shadows.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: The Prophecy of the Successor. Ironically, said successor (Allison) isn't aware of the prophecy at all as she wasn't present for it; only the Demiurges know its contents and they believe someone else (Zaid) is the Successor, which sets a lot of the comic's plot into motion.


 
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Chosen One prophecy

A prophecy to show the main character is the Chosen One.

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