Hang a great golden cable down from the heavens,
lay hold of it, all you gods, all goddesses too:
you can never drag me down from sky to earth,
not Zeus, the highest, mightiest king of kings,
not even if you worked yourselves to death.
But whenever I'd set my mind to drag you up,
in deadly earnest, I'd hoist you all with ease,
you and the earth, you and the sea, all together,
then loop that golden cable round a horn of Olympus,
bind it fast and leave the whole world dangling in mid-air
That is how far I tower over the gods, I tower over men."
In a setting with a few or more gods, there is often one who stands above all the others. Academics call this henotheism.
This god is usually one of the following:
- King of the Gods: Not that different from the rest of the gods, but he tends to have the benefits of Authority Equals Asskicking in full effect. He's often applicable to You Kill It, You Bought It if someone challenges his title. See this article on Wikipedia for more info on these types.
- God of Gods: This version is as far beyond the other gods as they are beyond mortals. They're often a stand-in for the Abrahamic God, or at least a Crystal Dragon Jesus Expy. The "lesser" gods or spirits may or may not worship and/or serve them. It depends on the work in question. Unlike the "King of Gods" role, this version is usually completely unbeatable even to the other gods and often created them. In some long-spanning works however, the God of Gods can have an even greater god above it. These types of gods often overlap with Divine Delegation.
Sometimes, there may be both types in the same setting. In that case, the one (or several, if there are multiple pantheons) King of the Gods is still below the God of Gods.
- Dragon Ball loves this one.
- The status of who is the Top God is subject to constant retcon. The first divine being that Goku meets is Karin. He, along with Popo, is later revealed to be an attendant from the Afterlife who advises the God of Earth, Kami, like many other planetary gods. Kami is later shown to be deferential to King Yama, a deity who runs the afterlife, but we're told he's inferior to another god. We then meet said god, Kami's boss, Kaio, the highest of the gods. In the Buu arc it's revealed that Kaio is only the NORTH Kaio, and that there are four Kaios (Kings of Worlds) that rule over the four galaxies. Their boss is the Dai-Kaio that leads the four Kaios. Then later in the Buu arc it's revealed that above him are the four Kaioshins (God Kings of Worlds) that rule over the four quadrants of the Universe and the afterlife. They have their own attendants, such as Kibito to East Kaioshin; it's not clear where they rank compared to the Kaios, though they're known to be a lot stronger. Finally, the boss of the four Kaioshins revealed at the very end of the arc is the Dai Kaioshin, making this dude a King of Gods of Gods of Gods.
- Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods revealed that the Kaioshin and the Dai Kaioshin are the Gods of Creation balanced out by the God of Destruction. Continuing the retcons, the God of Destruction is far more powerful than the other gods, though on paper he's ranked the same as the Dai Kaioshin (enforced by the two sharing a lifelink; if the Dai Kaioshin dies, so does the Destroyer). The God of Destruction also has a mentor who is much stronger, and it is revealed there are twelve universes, each with its own Kaios, Kaioshins, God of Destruction, and mentor.
- According to the Super Exciting Guide and some of Toriyama's interviews, the Demon Realm has its own godly hierarchy, with the Makaios being below the Makaioshins, acting as the collective Evil Counterpart of the main universe's godly hierarchy. They also take in the Black Sheep of the Kaios and Kaioshins, integrating them as allies (whether these rogue Kaios and Kaioshins can become Makaios and Makioshins is not specified). But all of the gods are below the King of the Demon Realm, Dabura. It's not clear if he's divine, but he's explicitly stated to be both the undisputed ruler of the Demon Realm and by far the strongest single being in it.
- Dragon Ball Super reveals that there is a king of the multiverse named Zen'o, and his mere presence causes Gods of Destruction to freak out. He also has the power to destroy the whole multiverse and kill beings with Complete Immortality, which he later proves. According to Word of God, the only being more powerful than Xen'o is Tori-Bot, Akira Toriyama's Author Avatar.
- By the end of Super the Gods of Destruction's terror is fully justified. Zen'o may be Top God, and generally a nice enough sort, but he's also emotionally an 8 year old child. It's shown that he has a complete lack of understanding of the value of mortal, or immortal, life, for example playing marbles with inhabited planets. This includes forcing multiple entire universes to have an Involuntary Battle to the Death, killing Trillions. Having said that, it's also revealed at the end A selfish wish at the end of the Tournament of Power would have resulted in him intervening, but he also knew that the winner wouldn't have made it in the first place.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Sangenshin/Three Egyptian Gods have a pyramid hierachy. The Winged Dragon of Ra/Sun Dragon of Ra/Ra no Yokushinryuu stands on the top of pyramid, while Obelisk the Tormentor/Giant God Soldier of Obelisk/Obelisk no Kyoushinhei and Slifer the Sky Dragon/Saint Dragon God of Osiris/Osiris no Tenkuuryuu are on the bottom.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! R: The Three Wicked Gods have the same pyramid hierachy. The Wicked Avatar stands on the top, while The Wicked Roots and The Wicked Eraser are on the bottom.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Odin, Father of the Aesir is the leader of the three North Polar Gods, standing above Thor and Loki.
- Fushigi Yuugi has the creator of the Universe of the Four Gods, Taiitsukun (or Tai-Yi-Jun, depending on your translation), who is above The Four Gods and other spirits/deities such as the Nyan-Nyan/Lai-Lai and Tenkou. She represents the Jade Emperor of Chinese mythology.
- Slayers has three. Flare Dragon Seified is this to the powers of good, and his equal foe Ruby-Eye Shabranigdu is this to the five demon kings. Then there is the Lord of Nightmares. You can run from the others, you can hide behind their opponents. You cannot run from her, as the aptly named Hellmaster found out when he made her mad, and she is known by that appellation because she is so utterly incomprehensible to both sides that the mere whisper of her is a nightmare. She could easily cause a Class Z apocalypse by willing it. Fortunately, she doesn't seem interested at the moment. Heaven forbid you wake her up from her nap though.
- Marvel's Odin certainly qualifies. He is both the King of Gods in the Norse pantheon, and is also part of a pantheon consisting of his "brothers"; each of whom is an "Sky Father" in themselves to each of their respective pantheons, and includes Zeus, Osirus, Manitou, Nuada, and others.
- The Marvel Universe has the One Above All, who is the collective Author Avatar. It's above every other Cosmic Being and god-like creature in the setting. Of course.
- The DC Universe follows a similar route with the Presence.
- In the Marvel Universe some particularly powerful demons and magical entities are worshipped as gods, or even God, by other beings who are themselves worshipped as deities and have the power to back it up. Shuma-Gorath, for instance, has relied on numerous gods and demons to do its bidding and has a massive power difference to back it up. Mephisto and Sataanish, demons who in their own realms are nigh-omnipotent, are said to be like "mice in a great temple" compared to even one of Shuma-Gorath's weaker forms. It is the ruler of literally hundreds of universes and worshipped in thousands more, so the fact that it is a God of Evil makes its power particularly worrying.
- It got worse when it's revealed in The Thanos Imperative that Shuma-Gorath is merely one member of an entire pantheon of these things called the Many-Angled Ones.
- Darkseid is God-Emperor of Apokolips and thus King of that world's New Gods. On Apokolips the state Religion of Evil goes so far as to cultivate worship of Darkseid as God himself.
- Darkseid is also sometimes known as The God the Devil Prays To
- Wonder Woman: Zeus is top god on Olympus but, prior to the New 52, is not among the gods the Amazons typically worship though they try to be as respectful as possible to him—without allowing him to have his way with them—whenever he feels the need to personally butt into their business in order to placate him since they don't want him to destroy their lives and home. In Wonder Woman (1987) he was dethroned and replaced by Athena and in Wonder Woman (2011) he was temporarily replaced by Apollo.
- Fate and Destiny in The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13. They created the lesser gods and control their very destinies on a level few of them truly understand. However, they are not invincible - they were unable to kill the Originals or their descendant Hadrian, and are eventually surpassed by another god.
- Chronicles of Harmony's End: Array and Discord represent order and chaos respectively, with Harmony above them. It's unknown how strong he was, only that he couldn't fight the two of them at once.
- In the Pony POV Series:
- The alicorns and draconequi report to their respective Elders, who are Eldritch Abominations to their Physical Gods. Further separating them from their children, the Elders are stated to be multiversal singularities by Word of God, meaning there's effectively only ONE of each in the multiverse, each 'separate' version simply being a different part of the same being. They've only been shown in one fight in the entire story so far, and it was in their Avatars designed to conceal their powers from Discord and company and more for aiding the CMC on their quest than fighting and were against creations intended to kill gods. Their opponents didn't stand a chance.
- The Outer Concepts have their own Elder, Azerhorse, who is evidently one of the Draconequi Elder's sibling as the Outer Concepts are the Draconequi's cousins. Though unlike the other four Elders, it normally doesn't do anything and even created its children by accident. There's a reason Havoc nicknamed it 'the Blind Idiot Concept'. This is why its spawn have a collective Mass "Oh, Crap!" when it actually addresses them after being clopped off at how their role in Discord's endgame went and punishes them.
- Something above even the Elders is mentioned by Havoc in passing that created the four main Elders and only referred to with female pronouns, no name. However, she's explicitly not involved in the story and it's unclear if anyone other than the Elders is even aware of her existence, making them the Top God level deities as far as the story is concerned.
- The Nex in Warhammer 60k: The Age of Dusk is the latter version of this to the Chaos Gods
- The Bridge has several tiers of deity, but each has someone above them:
- Mothra and Battra are deities who once formed huge flocks. Their superior was Reijuu, the Aspect of Life and Terra's Nexus of Magic. Unfortunately,, he fell to evil and became the Big Bad.
- Celestia and Luna are Physical Gods, with their Top God being their mother Harmony, the Nexus of Light Magic. Ironically, they actually don't know about her and are more guided by her indirectly than anything.
- Grogar is Harmony's equal and Nexus of Dark Magic. Discord, Tirek, Chrysalis, and King Sombra were all his students, and while not explicitly gods, are each in a similar tier to Celestia and Luna, further fitting this trope. Unfortunately, like the Big Bad, he fell to evil.
- Mad World strongly implies at the end that Miss Bitters is this, with the reveal that she's the mother of both God and Satan.
- Adopted Displaced has a couple of examples across its various stories:
- In the setting of Three More Things!, the two most powerful deities in existence are The Creator, who can will things into existence, and Beast Ragnarok, who can likewise will the destruction of things. Being equally powerful, they're locked into eternal combat without the possibility of either winning. One of the duties of the Jade Council, the alliance of all the other gods (Good, Dark, and Wild), is to ensure that no other beings with such power ever come into existence, as they might ally with either of the other two against its foe; if that happened, the entire balance of the universe would be destroyed and everything thrown into chaos.
- In Order and Chaos, when Discord comes into his full power as Daedric Prince of Chaos and Madness, he declares himself Daedric King, in order to give the Daedra unified leadership and purpose. Most of the other Princes, who view Discord as a friend and loved one, fall into line right away; those who don't, he faces in challenges wherein he beats them at their own skill sets, proving his superiority and magically binding them in servitude.
- Naruto and Xanna in The (Questionable) Burdens of Leadership of a Troll Emperor both claim and prove to be at least as far beyond the Ascended as the Ascended are beyond mortals. That they allow mortals to worship them, which much like with the Ascended, further empowers them, only makes the gap wider. Naruto and Xanna prove on multiple occasions that they can freely remove an Ascended's powers, block them temporarily, or even descend the lot of them with no visible effort, even when enforcing their will upon all of the Ascended at once.
- In Warbreaker, the Returned are the gods of Hallandren, and their leader is Susebron the God-King. But Susebron is actually a figurehead for his priesthood, and the Returned are not gods in Brandon Sanderson's wider cosmology, though their followers certainly regard them as such.
- In Discworld
- Blind Io is generally seen as the chief of the gods, although it's unclear what, if any, power this position gives him. In Small Gods, he clearly assumes not even another god would dare to challenge him, but a god fueled by a temporary surge of especially powerful belief is actually able to physically overpower him, perhaps partly due to the Refuge in Audacity of even trying. (It's also mentioned that hardly anyone believes in lightning gods these days.) On the other hand, when Offler the Crocodile God hurls a Bolt of Divine Retribution at Io's High Priest in Feet of Clay, it gets deflected and goes off at a right angle.
- There is also, according to the philosopher Koomi of Smale in Small Gods, a Supreme Being. Little is known about him except that he isn't the same as the Creator, because you only need to look around at the universe to realise the Creator can't have been very Supreme at all. Therefore directing prayers at the Supreme Being will only attract his attention and lead to trouble.
- In Creatures of Light and Darkness, Thoth had this role, as ruler of the House of Life and Death, until his mysterious disappearance. Since then, Osiris and Anubis have basically split the job, as rulers of the House of Life and the House of Death respectively.
- In the Cthulhu Mythos, Azathoth is the most powerful being in the canon, bar none. Despite lacking autonomy, Azathoth's very dreams are powerful enough to shape reality as we know it.
- David Eddings:
- In The Elenium and The Tamuli:
- Most of the gods are mortal (although very hard to kill) and their power is directly tied to how many worshipers they have. Then there are The Old Gods Bhelliom and Klael, who have no such restrictions and are responsible for the creation and destruction (respectively) of entire worlds.
- The Elene God is by far the most powerful non-Elder God thanks to his huge number of worshipers, but prefers to be an inscrutable All-Powerful Bystander. While other gods grant magic to their followers, he outsources that role to the Styric Pantheon, allowing them to empower his Orders of Magic Knights in exchange for their protection of the often-oppressed Styric people.
- In The Belgariad, UL is the father of the other gods and is far more powerful than them, though he's usually pretty hands-off; he was intended as roughly analagous to the Judeo-Christian God. Torak thinks he's this, but it's all in his head—really, it's about as close as an actual god can come to declaring A God Am I.
- In The Elenium and The Tamuli:
- The Young Wizards series has The One, who is ultimate source of everything, although It delegates quite a bit. This applies because Its most immediate agents, The Powers That Be, are godlike in power and have been worshiped as deities; in fact, one of them has been known as Athena and other pagan figures.
- Played with in Lord Dunsany's short story "The Sorrow of Search": a prophet has a vision of gods mightier than those his people worships, and goes in search of them with his followers. They find them, and they settle down to their new religion, but then the prophet has another vision of gods even beyond those. This repeats several times, with fewer and fewer followers accompanying the prophet each time, until his last vision brings him alone to gods mightier than any so far encountered—who turn out to be the same as the gods he started with.
- The Deed of Paksenarrion has two: the High Lord, whom Paks eventually becomes a paladin of, and Gitres, the High Lord's Evil Counterpart.
- Near the end of Robert A. Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice, Lucifer — in a desperate attempt to get Yahweh and Loki to stop screwing with reality over a bet — appeals to 'the Director' to mandate an end to the central character's troubles. He mentions in an aside to the main character that the Director's powers are beyond his and Yahweh's, but that the Director is also not Top God.
- In The God Engines by John Scalzi, most of humanity worships a god who claims to be the top god, and allows competing lesser gods to be enslaved as starship drives. It turns out that this god is so strong because it's willing to consume the souls of humans, something that the other gods of its level consider abhorrent - and that eventually it has to answer for its actions to another being which is actually the god of those gods.
- The Inheritance Trilogy has the Maelstrom, the primordial creative force which birthed the universe and may or may not be sentient, as a variation God of Gods, and also the Three (Nahadoth, god of darkness and chaos; Itempas, god of light and order; Enefah, goddess of balance) who collectively function as Kings and Queen of the gods. When the Three fall out of harmony, or any time the Maelstrom's attention is drawn to the physical world, bad things happen...
- In The Silmarillion there is Eru Ilúvatar (who is meant to be the Christian God), who rules over the Ainur (angels equivalent to "lesser gods") as a God of Gods. This was one of the ways that Tolkien—a devout Catholic—reconciled his fictional world to his deeply-held religious beliefs. There's also Manwë, who is the leader and most powerful of the Valar (the 14 — 15 if you count Morgoth — strongest Ainur) and functions as a King of Gods under Eru's ultimate lordship.
- In the Mithgar novels, there are several levels of this going on. The main pantheon of gods is led by Adon and the evil splinter group by Gyphon, both of whom being examples of Kings of Gods, because they're the same kind of being as their subordinate deities, just stronger. Above them are the Fates, and above them is the Great Creator. However, the series leaves it unclear if the Fates and Great Creator are personified entities or cosmic forces.
- The Yuuzhan Vong pantheon in the New Jedi Order has Yun-Yuuzhan the Creator, who is somewhere between a King of Gods and God of Gods - he created the lesser gods from his own body and directly rules over them, but isn't so much more powerful that the lesser gods can't go against his will if they really want to. Since Yun-Yuuzhan is supposed to be largely distant from the affairs of mortals, however, as a matter of course the Yuuzhan Vong direct most of their worship to the most powerful lesser gods - twin brother and sister Yun-Yammka and Yun-Harla.
- The Good Place: It's implied that the All-Knowing Eternal Judge plays this role, or at least is the closest thing to this among the celestial beings, being the one to make decisions that both the Good and Bad Place bigwigs have to abide on the threat of punishment.
- In Supernatural, the pagan gods are more or less on the level of most of the monsters that the humans fight, likely as a result of Gods Need Prayer Badly. In contrast, the angels are largely untouchable, with few exceptions, and the most effective way of killing an angel thus far in the story has been to persuade another angel in one way or another to do so, with Zachariah as the sole exception. Then consider that even in their own belief system they aren't the top of the food chain, and we have this trope. The Abrahamic God seems to be part of a duality alongside Death, who is stated to actually be capable of killing Him (although Death is in no rush to do so, and plans to do it so far into the future that it might as well never happen as far as humanity is concerned).
- In Angel, the Old One Illyria, "a great monarch and warrior of the Demon Age," described itself as both "God-King of the Primordium" and "god to a god."
- In Scythian mythology the queen of the gods was Tabiti, which Herodotus equated with the Greek Hestia; Papaios and Api, gods he equated with Zeus and Gaia respectively, rank beneath her.
- In Hittite Mythology, the King of Gods was Teshub, who replaced Kumarbi, who replaced Anu, who replaced Alalu. The sun goddess of Arinna is usually his consort and a powerful deity of her own right, sometimes even been identified as the mother and father of all the gods.
- In Mesopotamian Mythology Marduk, Enki/Ea, Enlil/El, and Ashur were all King of Gods in different places and times.
- Celtic Mythology had a number of gods that presided over the Tuatha de Danann as the High King, namely Nuada of the Silver Arm, The Dagda, Bodb Derg, and Lugh the Long Handed. Dagda usually takes most of the features of this trope, though, such as being a sort of chief and "father god."
- Additionally, the mother goddess Danu is believed to be a sort of "God of Gods," since "Tuatha de Danann" is tentatively translated as "tribe of the gods of Danu." This is somewhat speculative, though, as little to nothing is known about her concretely.
- Nyname the sky god is king in the mythology of the Ashanti people of Ghana.
- Cagn king god to the San people of Southern Africa. He is also The Trickster in his pantheon.
- Prior to the descent of Islam, the Arabs had a pantheon of clan deities. They acknowledged Allah, adapted from an Aramaic term for the Hebrew God but besides crediting him with the creation of the heavens, the earths and providing rain they kept him in the background, focusing their worship on the clan deities, mostly as a part to assert the superiority of one's own clan over others (it was a vicious time). According to the Book Of Idols, Allah's children were more venerated than he was and Hubal, whose idol was the greatest of those in the Ka'bah, would have been king of the Arab gods from the Quaraysh and other Meccan's perspective.
- Nana Buluku King and Queen of the gods in the religion of the Fon people of West Africa. There are also many lesser god monarchs, such as Sogbo who leads the thunder gods.
- Aramazd was basically the Armenians adopting the monotheistic Ahura Mazda into their own polytheistic system.
- The Zoroastrian Ahura Mazda is similar to the supreme being of Abrahamic religions, but rules over a pantheon of divine or angelic figures called Ahuras, Amesha Spentas, and Yazatas.
- In Yoruba tradition, the Orisha, owners of heads, are often translated as gods since they are worshiped like a polytheistic pantheon but they really are not. It is just that God is too powerful and defying of description for humans to properly worship so a lot of attention is given to Orishas, who take on forms that can be viewed by people directly, with hope they will act as middlemen to God for humans. Undergods is a more correct term.
- Voodoo works similarly. People often call the loa gods but the theology states there is only one God. Loa are powerful forces who are served by people and serve people in a mutualistic relationship that helps both groups reach paradise with God.
- Roog, who is known by different names depending on which group you ask, is king god in the mythology of the Serer people of West Africa.
- Perun, notable for being worshiped as a grand god by nearly all Slavic tribes. Even if they couldn't agree on anything else, they acknowledged that Perun was the god of gods.
- Modern-day Hinduism is more in the God of Gods mold. The various local deities are seen as "aspects" of Vishnu or Shiva; but this is after millennia of syncretism, and strong influence by both Islam and Christianity in the recent past. The original concept of these (and several others: Indra, Rama, Krishna, arguably Ganesha) was the king of gods.
- All gods (and indeed all creation) are aspects of the Brahman, the energy-like primordial entity from which all creation springs forth. The many Hindu gods are entities which are distinct, yet still part of the Brahman, as are humans, who are less connected but still part of it. And indeed, many local gods of Hinduism are aspects of other more important gods. In fact, many gods are recognized as being the same god, yet worshiped separately. For example, Parvati and Kali are different aspects of the same goddess who is Shiva's consort.
- In the pre-Hindu Vedic period, Indra was the Top God in the King of Gods mold, but nowadays is seen as far less powerful than Vishnu and Shiva, though he is still sometimes said to manage day-to-day divine affairs beneath them. As well, the Vedas briefly refer to Indra's own father Dyaus, and historians believe he was the Top God of an even earlier period due to similarities between his name and those of Zeus and other pantheon leaders throughout Europe and the Near East. However, no records from this period survive.
- From Japanese Mythology, there's solar deity Amaterasu, a relatively rare example of a Queen of gods being supreme (rather than a consort, if a powerful one). There's also Ame-no-minakanushi, who may or may not count as a God of Gods.
- Chinese Mythology, specifically Taoism, has the Jade Emperor and his Celestial Bureaucracy. However, in some cases, the Buddha shows up as a God of Gods to deal with problems that even the Jade Emperor cannot handle — most memorably at the beginning of Journey to the West. In very early Chinese religion a god named Shang Di was worshipped, who was considered the highest possible deity, but worship of Shang Di fell out of practice early on in dynastic China (the term was later taken over by Christian missionaries to refer to God the Father).
- Huánglóng, the Yellow Dragon embodying earth, is the leader of The Four Gods in Chinese Mythology living at the center of the four directions they represent; however he does not have a Japanese Mythology counterpart and thus is not their leader there.
- Egyptian religion had different kings of the gods in different periods of their history, and it very much depended on where you were, and who you asked. Re, Amun, Atum, Amun-Re, Ptah, and Isis all had their turn at the pinnacle of the pantheon. The Ennead of Heliopolis made Ra (also identified with Atum) the first king of the gods, but then had Osiris and then Horus serve as sort of under-kings because Ra was too busy with handling the Sun (or something like that), leaving affairs on Earth and the other gods to them. We should note that this concept of a heavenly dynasty appeared just as the first pharaohs were concentrating their authority and building up their dynasties...
- The Egyptian religion also included the concept of a deity "mightier than the gods," though more as a matter of theology than actual worship. This deity was rarely depicted iconographically, and writers had no fixed name to refer to him/her. Attempts to illustrate the god beyond the gods generally involved combining the iconography of several deities together into a hermaphroditic, multi-armed, multi-headed, multi-winged entity somewhat reminiscent of Hindu deities.
- There were French settlers that concluded the "Great Spirit" recognized by many of the Amerindian groups they encountered was the same God they believed in. Unfortunately, this way of thinking did not become too popular with their successors.
- In Classical Mythology, Thunder god Zeus is the king of the gods, who succeeded his father Cronus, who succeeded his father Ouranous. Zeus claimed to be stronger than all of the other Olympian gods combined, and while he was never called on to prove it there was never any evidence given to the contrary either. However, no god could get around the decisions of Ananke, the personification of fate and god of gods.
- War God Odin is also a king of the gods in Norse Mythology, but when the Norns came the gods themselves could not escape. Odin had no problem with that. You may not be able to escape your fate, but you can meet it with valour. He apparently originally wasn't king over the Vanir (there were two groups of gods, the Aesir and the Vanir — Odin was an Aesir), since there was a war between the Aesir and the Vanir, but stories taking place after the war (almost all of them) have him as having authority over Vanir as well.
- The Judeo-Christian God could be considered a god of gods if you consider the angels and demons as lesser gods, which would make the Archangels as kings of the gods. Early Jewish thought seemed to consider all gods as being real, but all except Yahweh are evil impostors, with Yahweh being the one true god. Later though, in Jeremiah, God only refers to some of the gods as actual creatures that he will punish, like Amon, while most, like Chemosh, are idols based on someone's imagination. Orthodox Christianity Sacred Tradition confirms that other (pagan) gods are merely disguises for demons, though it states that our (humanity and angels) task is to become gods through obedience to God and atonement (for humans), which allows Him to do that.
- In non-Biblical Hebrew Mythology, El and Astarte were the mother and father of the Elohim (godly beings). One of El's sons, usually storm god Baal-Hadad, sometimes someone else, was king of the Elohim. Elyon was God of the gods, basically the same as what the Israelites thought of as God except the other Hebrews did not consider Elyon to be the same as YHWH.
- Aisa is the mother of the Winti gods, a religion that developed among Surinamese slaves in South America and the Dutch empire, and the creator of the continent where people originated from (Africa) as well as the head of the ground pantheon. She and the other Winti were only allowed to reign with the permission of a more powerful supreme God who prefers to stay distant from creation, however.
- Ala, embodiment dry land, is very much the same in the Odinani religion of the Igbo people of southern Nigeria. The supreme eternal god appointed her ruler of everything else.
- The Conquistadors destroyed most records of Mayan mythology, but from what survives, it's believed the spot was held by Itzamna for the Yucatecs and Gucumatz for the Ki'iche. Spanish sources also mention a more abstract God of Gods figure named Hunab Ku who was sometimes said to be Itzamna's father, but most scholars conclude the Maya did not actually believe in this deity and he was made up by the Conquistadors to assist in transitioning the Maya to monotheism.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- Forgotten Realms:
- Ao is an "Overdeity" who shuns mortal worship and is powerful enough to redefine how divinity itself functions for subservient gods, though in practice he's more of a hands-off boss than a god to the multiple pantheons. There is also one mention of Ao reporting to a being of pure light, who could presumably be a God of Gods of Gods.
- While the standard (read: human) pantheon lacks a "Top god" (at least publicly; Ao and his boss work in the shadows and most mortals don't know about them), the racial pantheons of dragons, dwarves, elves, giants, goblins, and orcs tend to have a designated ruler/leader among them. As the setting holds to the Divine Ranks trope, the top god in the racial pantheons tends to be the only "greater god" among them, the others being intermediate or lesser deities.
- Highgod is the supreme being analogous to Yahweh who created the other gods.
- Beneath the Highgod, each of the three pantheons has its own supreme deity: Paladine for Light, Takhisis for Darkness, and Gilean for Balance
- Forgotten Realms:
- Exalted used to have Theion, Divine Tyrant of the Primordials, the beings that created the gods, but then the Exalted killed some of them and crippled the rest, letting the Unconquered Sun become the King of the Gods.
- In Nobilis, one god or another incarnates literally every single conceivable ideanote , so there are naturally quite a passel of them. However, Cneph the Creator is on a vastly higher order than any of them— albeit so completely non-interventionist that a few heretics think It may actually be a myth.
- On the plane of Theros in Magic: The Gathering, There is a pantheon, whose mono-white-aligned deity (an Expy of Zeus without the libido) styles himself the leader.
Heliod: I am the lord of the pantheon. I am the greatest of these.
- The god with the actual claim to the position, in fact if not in name, is the green-blue deity, with the seniority and the demonstrated power to back it up. He prefers to remain in the background, except when the cosmic temper tantrums provide too great a threat to the mortals of the plane.
- Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer:
- The four Chaos Gods are forever battling to establish dominance, though none of them stay at the top for long (and don't want to, permanent victory would leave them with nothing to do). As they're basically emotion incarnate, this is done both by beating the other gods' followers and by the amount of sentient beings experiencing rage (Khorne), hope (Tzeentch), love/despair (Nurgle) or desire (Slaanesh) in the galaxy. Due to the amount of bloodshed constantly going on, Khorne is usually Top God by default.
- Tzeentch was Top God at one point in the backstory, leading the other three to (temporarily) stop fighting each other and bring him down. Just as Planned...
- The human and elven pantheons also have their top gods. The humans have Sigmar, the human turned War God. The elves have Asuryan, God of Justice.
- Arceus from Pokémon is the strongest of the (non mega or primal) legendary monsters and said to be the creator of the universe. Furthermore, it spawned the Creation trio and lake guardians, both of which are considered gods in their own right with the former being capable of creating and destroying a universe by themselves.
- The Legend of Zelda has, since The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening revealed the existence of many orders of deities and spirits. From sky whales to giant sentient trees, who while immortal (they may still feel pain, suffer loss or be killed), their power pales in comparison to the Golden Goddesses that created them, and the reality filled with mortal beings they are charged with tending to, as respective guardians.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the Golden Goddesses of the Triforce are referred to by the lesser deities such as Hylia as "The Old Gods" aka the Gods of Gods.
- The Settlers III portrays the pantheons of Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt and China all being subservient to an overgod referred to only as 'Him'. He sets the events of the game in motion to stop the mortals developing Monotheistic religion.
- Shin Megami Tensei:
- YHVH, acknowledged in-universe as "the Great Will" is implied to be this, toying with other deities, humans, and universes at whim.
- Later works muddle the picture somewhat with the implication the The Great Will is a separate kind of deity all of it's own that is ruling the Amala Multiverse while YHVH is just the Great Will's most well known avatar. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse even implies that the Great Will is actually benevolent and that YHVH is a rogue element. However, problematically, the Great Will doesn't have the ability to remove YHVH from his seat... at least directly, which is why it has the Messiahs do the job for it.
- Final Fantasy has a few unrelated examples, due to the independent universes of each game.
- Final Fantasy IV had Bahamut, god of eidolons, themselves powerful supernatural beings that summoners can call on for world-shaking magic. Most eidolons live in a subterranean city, but Bahamut has his own cave on the moon.
- The Fabula Nova Crystallis sub-series of the Final Fantasy franchise had a number of gods in it, but the guy at the top was Bhunivelze. The first god was actually his mother Mwynn, but he killed her and took her position (of course, you'd only know this if you read the supplemental materials). In turn, he created three other gods to serve under him: Pulse, Lindzei, and Etro. By the time the games take place, Pulse and Lindzei are nowhere to be found, while Etro dies in the course of the second game. As for Bhunivelze himself, well...
- The world of Final Fantasy XIV has multiple religious systems. Eorzeans worship the Twelve, Domans worship Kami which are said to exist in all things, and it is mentioned that there are those who only worship a single deity, a notion that seems odd to the speaker. However, there is one god, or rather goddess, that stands above them all. Haedelyn is the creator of the world, and very possibly the world itself. She is the goddess of light and the one who gives all the Warriors of Light their mission. Despite this, nobody actually actively worships her. It's possible the world at large are unaware of her existence, but even the Scions of the Seventh Dawn who have multiple members who have been given powers by her worship the Twelve instead.
- Double variant with the Hive in Destiny. Orxy, the God-King of the Hive and Big Bad of The Taken King, is described as the Hive's chief deity, making him a "King of the Gods" variety. However, Oryx is in turn described as "born of" the Darkness, the Greater-Scope Villain of Destiny itself, which the Hive worship as a universal force of destruction, making the Darkness the "God of Gods" variety for the rest of the Hive pantheon.
- Dragon Age has multiple entities that claim this title:
- The Maker is the closest analogue to the Abrahamic God. Many In-Universe consider spirits and demons to be lesser gods.
- The Tevinter Imperium worshipped seven dragons that are called the Old Gods. Dumat, the Dragon of Silence, is said to be the leader of the seven, and the most powerful. Of the five that have been corrupted into Archdemons so far, Dumat took the longest to defeat and came the closest to destroying the world.
- In the elven pantheon, the husband and wife couple of Mythal, Goddess of Love and Justice, and Elgar'nan, the God of Vengeance, share the role "King of the Gods". Going back further into the elven monomyth, Elgar'nan and Mythal's mother "The Land" and Elgar'nan's father "The Sun" share the role of "God of Gods".
- Kid Icarus: Uprising: Hades is the Top God of the Underworld, ruling over Pandora, Thanatos, and Medusa (albeit begrudgingly in her case). In terms of power, he's far and away the strongest of all the other gods in the game, beating out even Palutena and Viridi. Only Dyntos is likely more powerful, but he doesn't do much personally.
- Lots of Top God of various mythologies duke it out each other in Smite, as the game concept is a Crossover between mythological Pantheons. Many Top Gods are included: Zeus, Ra, Odin and Kukulkan.
- In Dwarf Fortress, the mysterious Armok, God of Blood, the creator and destroyer alike of the myriad worlds and universes of the game. Entirely absent beyond said creation, unless you accept the interpretation that says they're the game's description of the player, which explains why they're called the God of Blood.
- Pharaoh has five gods (Osiris, Ra, Bast, Seth and Ptah), each able to influence part of the game's mechanics (the Nile flood, diplomacy, health, war and industry) and placated by building temples. Depending on the city's location, some gods take on greater importance and can have temple complexes dedicated to them, which give two small bonuses from related aspects (such as increasing game regeneration rates, lowering worker salaries, or empowering priests to fight crime/heal the sick).
- The gods of Zeus: Master of Olympus are arranged so that every god can only beat those of lower rank than him/herselfnote , with two exceptions: Aphrodite prevents Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hermes and Ares from showing up in the first place, while Hera is the only one who can beat her husband Zeus.
- The Elder Scrolls
- Fitting the "God of Gods" version is Anu, who along with his Anti-God "twin brother" Padomay, are the Anthropomorphic Personifications of the primordial forces of "stasis/order/light" and "change/chaos/darkness", respectively. The series' primary Creation Myth states that their interplay in the great "void" of pre-creation led to creation itself. Creation, sometimes anthropomorphized as the female entity "Nir", favored Anu, which angered Padomay. Padomay killed Nir and shattered the twelve worlds she gave birth to. Anu then wounded Padomay, presuming him dead. Anu salvaged the pieces of the twelve worlds to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and wounded Anu, seeking to destroy Nirn. Anu then pulled Padomay and himself outside of time, ending Padomay's threat to creation "forever". From the intermingling of their spilled blood came the "et'Ada", or "original spirits", who would go on to become either the Aedra or the Daedra depending on their actions during creation. (Some myths state that the Aedra come from the mixed blood of Anu and Padomay, while the Daedra come purely from the blood of Padomay).
- Akatosh, the draconic God of Time, is the chief Aedric deity of the Nine Divines Pantheon fitting closely with the "King of Gods" version of the trope. It is said that he was the first being to manifest out of the raw energy of the early universe. To the Altmer (High Elves), he is instead Auri-El, the golden eagle god from whom the Altmer (and really all races of Mer) descend.
- In the old Nordic pantheon, Shor was instead the top god. Shor is the Nordic version of Lorkhan, the Trickster God who convinced those who would become the Aedra to aid in creating Mundus, the mortal world. Doing so caused them to lose much of their divine power, and in revenge, they "killed" Lorkhan, tore his still-beating heart form his body, and cast it down into the world he made them create where his spirit is forced to wander. To the Nords, Shor is a bloodthirsty warrior king, very fitting for their Proud Warrior Race. While many Nords would come to accept the Imperial pantheon (where Akatosh is the chief deity), many still hold Shor (and his Deity of Human Origin incarnation Talos) in extremely high regard.
- In the Yokudan/Redguard pantheon, Ruptga, aka "Tall Papa", is the chief deity. He is sometimes associated with Akatosh, but the two are typically treated as separate entities. The biggest difference seems to be that Akatosh participated in Lorkhan's plan to create Mundus, while Ruptga did not "participate or approve" of Sep's (the serpentine Yokudan counterpart of Lorkhan) plan.
- In Runescape:
- Downplayed with Guthix, God of Balance and All-Powerful Bystander who spends most of his time in slumber. Due to the tragic circumstances of his ascension to divinity, he doesn't believe in exercising divine authority; however, he's powerful enough that when the God Wars woke him, he swatted every other deity off the planet, barred them from returning, and went back to sleep.
- The five Elder Gods are at the top of the Divine Ranks by a huge margin, with sole dominion over the creation of worlds and life itself. Their relics are powerful enough to create other gods, and even the crippled Almighty Idiot elder god Mah birthed two gods of equal power to Guthix solely for companionship.
- Sluggy Freelance: In the Mohkadunese pantheon, which exists at the time of the existence of Mohkadun, Krohnus the Time-Father is the chief of the gods, whom he seems to have promoted to godhood himself, and to whom he is overwhelmingly superior in power. Above him is Prozoato the Creator, and above it is something known only as The One, who created both the Creator and its counterpart the Destroyer. The Destroyer is evidently equal to the Creator, but the others, to some extent apparently even The One, view him as the adversary.
- Holystone: With Physical Religion playing a central part in the day-to-day operation of nation-states, the "high god" is as much a political station as it is a spiritual one. It is typically a seat occupied by the God of Life.
- Kill Six Billion Demons has YISUN, the panentheistic supreme being who comprises all of reality and non-reality. Paradoxically, YISUN committed suicide in order to create the 777 777 lesser gods, who in turn destroyed themselves to create The Multiverse, but scripture still describes YISUN interacting with gods and mortals. Transcending time, space, and causality means that being dead isn't much of an impediment.
- In the original version of the story, Primus and Unicron were respectively the lords of the "Light Gods" and "Dark Gods".
- The Third Race from Gargoyles contains gods from many of the world's pantheons, including Anubus and Odin. Oberon is their king and the strongest of them all. However, the creators intended to eventually introduce his mother Queen Mab, who was even stronger than him, and completely mad. Oberon got this position by sealing her away.