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Jules: This was Divine Intervention! You know what "divine intervention" is?

Vincent: Yeah, I think so. That means God came down from Heaven and stopped the bullets.

Sometimes, one or more of the characters get caught in a tight spot. They might be heavily outnumbered, hanging on to ledge by one hand, or falling into a volcano. For them to survive, someone will have to help them, and this time, one (or more) of the gods interfere in person. The function is that of a Deus Ex Machina, but in this trope we are left with little to no doubt about the nature of the helping hand.

See also God Is Good. If whether there was an intervention is debatable, see Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane.

Examples of Divine Intervention include:


Anime and Manga

  • Happens occasionally in Transformers Cybertron, with Primus lending power or providing Mid Season Upgrades. In fact, the Autobots' main goal is to reconnect Primus' spark with his body so that he can intervene in the crisis they face (the all-consuming black hole created by his brother Unicron's death throes).
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: to divinely intervene is ascended Madoka's job after she make a wish to save all the magical girls. She must do this for all eternity while being removed from existence.


Film

  • The whole point of End of Days is getting the protagonist to realize that in the end, nothing he can do can beat the bad guy, and asking for Divine Intervention is the only way to save the world.
  • In Pulp Fiction, hitmen Jules and Vincent are caught off guard by a man with a Hand Cannon, who empties all six shots at them without hitting them once. Jules is convinced that this is Divine Intervention, and it inspires him to give up his life as a hitman and walk the earth. Vincent is less than convinced.
    • A careful viewing of the event in question reveals that there are several bullet holes in the wall directly behind Jules after the shots are fired, but none directly behind Vincent, which may indicate that for Jules it really was this trope and for Vincent it really was just luck. The fact that shortly thereafter, Vincent is blown away by Butch implies that maybe he should have considered that a final warning.
  • The Disney Villain Death of, well, Disney's The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. What turns it from a cop-out to this is the way that Frollo tries to grab a gargoyle, and it roars at him.
  • In The Blues Brothers, their mission for God to save the orphanage is helped along by this trope. Of particular is the car which survives an impossible amount of damage only to last just long enough to get the brothers to where they need to go, where it promptly falls apart. Once their mission is over, the luck runs out and they're arrested.

Literature

  • The end of Stephen King's The Stand.
  • Obviously occurs in The Bible numerous times.
  • In the One Rose Trilogy, the plot centers around the naitan Kallista Varyl who gains new powers and abilities after calling on God to save a besieged city. Throughout the trilogy, she gains 8 "Godmarked" mates who are essentially the magical batteries for her powers.
  • Happens several times in Marie Brennan's Doppelganger books. Given how much the characters talk about and rely on their faith, it's not really a cop-out.
  • The Valar of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings only occasionally intervened in goings on in Arda (most notably sending an army out to defeat Morgoth after being begged by a representative of Elves and Men, and sending the Istari (Wizards) to aid the Free Peoples in the Third Age). The end of the First Age made them significantly more reluctant to intervene directly, due to the damage they had the potential to cause (as well as their growing belief that they'd never been meant to intervene in the affairs of the Children of Illuvatar).
    • Illuvatar himself only directly intervened in Eä three times in its history; once to call out Aulë for creating the Dwarves (and then giving them true life and independence when he repented), once to change the shape of the world when Númenor attacked Aman, and (implied) once to send Gandalf Back From the Dead. It's implied that He may have had more subtle interventions (such as Bilbo finding the One Ring).
  • Very prominent in Greek epics such as The Iliad. In fact, divine intervention heavily influences the outcome of the war.
  • The Always Chaotic Evil Drow in the Forgotten Realms books by R.A. Salvatore should, by all accounts, have backstabbed themselves into extinction long ago. Their deity Lolth is the only reason they are still alive. Then again, Lolth is also the reason they are Always Chaotic Evil. Drow that have turned away from Lolth and her evil ways have been shown to be relatively sane and functional.


Live Action TV

  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Amends," Angel's life is saved when a snowstorm comes out of nowhere (in southern California, bear in mind) and blocks out the sun. Although it's left ambiguous whether this was truly divine intervention or the exact opposite; the First Evil had spent most of the episode trying to get Angel to pull a Face Heel Turn, and it may not have been ready to give up on him just yet.
    • 4 seasons later the possibility that Jasmine saved him is raised. Which basically is divine intervention, though not exactly a friendly god.
  • At the start of season 5 of Supernatural, Sam and Dean are teleported away from the area where Lucifer is about to rise, Sam is cleansed of his demonic addiction, and Castiel is resurrected. They conclude that God had acted, though another angel suggests that Castiel, as a fallen angel, was actually raised by Lucifer to provide more opposition.
    • About halfway through the season, the angel Joshua confirms God did all the above, when Dean complains about God not doing anything to help them.
  • An episode of the 2003 revival of The Twilight Zone featured a man on death row being saved from his executions by increasingly improbable circumstances. Each time, the man hears a woman's voice say "Not yet," and he eventually sees a heavenly woman he believes to be an angel. He is granted a new trial and found innocent. At that point, he reveals to his lawyer that he is, in fact, guilty, but no one can do anything since the Powers That Be don't want him to die. He steps out of the courtroom to greet the press... and the voice says "Now," and a statue falls on him, killing him. The statue? The "angel" he saw: Nemesis, the Goddess of Vengeance.


Video Games

  • In the debug mode in the RPG maker Unlimited Adventures, the designer can instantly win every battle by pressing a button called "WIN". This destroys all enemies, with the announcement "The gods intervene!"


Tabletop Games

  • In Nomine has Divine Interventions as a game mechanic; if a 111 is rolled (on 3d6), something happens which is good for the cause of Heaven and/or bad for the cause of Hell. This could be anything from an NPC showing up to help or hinder the PCs (PCs can be on either side of the War) to the servants of Hell exploding into fireballs, depending on the situation and what the GM comes up with. Interestingly, a 666 results in an Infernal Intervention which is basically the opposite, good for Hell and/or bad for Heaven.
  • All members of a cult in Rune Quest can pray for divine intervention. The chance of it working is small, though (unless you're a high-ranking member), and always has a high price when it does - you lose part of your permanent Power attribute, and if you lose all your Power you die.


Web Comics


Web Original

  • Pretty much any time the Tal'Vornian Gods turn up can come under this trope.


Western Animation

  • Happens during at least one Celebrity Deathmatch.
  • Double Subverted (maybe even Triple Subverted) in King of the Hill. Hank decides to watch the Super Bowl instead of helping Luanne with her puppet show, which is being broadcast at the same time. However, the TV starts spontaneously changing from the game to Luanne. The first subversion comes when we see it's just Peggy, hiding around a corner, using a universal remote. Then at the end of the episode, Bobby comes up and says he borrowed its batteries before the Super Bowl, shocking Peggy. And then at the very end, he shrugs and says "Or maybe after, I don't remember."
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