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To kill the gods, or even God (or a Crystal Dragon Jesus Expy) Himself, is a daunting task. You're often dealing with an Immortal, Nigh Invulnerable, Physical God that can probably snuff the light out of you in an instant.
But that doesn't sit well with how deities are portrayed in stories, where they have a tendency to die, as mythology often shows. As a result, you may have a setting where you can Kill The Gods. This makes sense if the character who kills the god is its equal or greater in power, although it's not unheard of to see someone who's weaker than the god kill them anyway.
If the Gods Need Prayer Badly, this could be accomplished by everybody ceasing worship at once and letting the god just shrivel up.
Anime & Manga
- Almost happens to Haruhi at the hands of Kuyo and Fujiwara at the climax of The Astonishment of Haruhi Suzumiya Vol. 2.
- Bleach gets this pretty easily, considering the Soul Reapers are considered Death Gods by their own submission. Aizen, on the other hand, was so ridiculously powerful and ranting about his godhood that the final set of chapters leading to his defeat is actually called Deicide.
- In Princess Mononoke, Lady Eboshi kills the forest spirit, which is a sort of Physical God. The results, however, aren't quite what she intended.
- An extremely difficult proposition in Saint Seiya, as the gods (with the exception of Eris in the first OVA) are really powerful, but possible with the right means. The real problem is getting them to STAY dead: Poseidon apparently died millennia before the series, but still managed to operate as a spirit and by Grand Theft Me.
- A variation occurs in Code Geass. Emperor Charles and his brother, V.V., having lost their parents to the machinations of their Deadly Decadent Court, promised each other as children that if there was a god that made people fight and scheme against each other for power, they would kill him. By the time they are older and in a position to put their plan into action, their understanding of the situation has sufficiently evolved that they're no longer trying to kill the "god" they have discovered, but they are planning to use it to enact an Assimilation Plot where all human consciousness, past and present, will unite so the fighting will stop and the dead will return.
- It happens in Preacher (Comic Book). The Saint of Killers REALLY lived up to his name.
- In Thorgal, Ogotai gets shot in the back with his own plasma gun. He wasn't a real god, just a dangerously delusional and terribly powerful alien psychic, but from the characters' power level, he certainly counts. And he did have a Mayincatec civilization doing mass human sacrifices for him.
- One of the enemies of the Marvel Comics version of Thor, Desak, wants to kill every god in the universe because of the actions of his home planet's Jerkass Gods.
- Darkseid sees other gods besides his New God underlings as threats to his conquest of everything, so he kills them and takes their powers.
- The title character of Harry Kipling (Deceased) does this on a regular basis. He can do it because he's technically a god himself.
Films -- Live-Action
- Star Trek V has earned the Fan Nickname Star Trek: Shoot God in the Face since its climax involves going to the heart of the galaxy and meeting an Omnipotent, godlike being in need of a starship, and then shooting it in the face.
- In the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans, various rulers are trying to do this to the Olympians by destroying their temples and denying them worship. While it does weaken them, the gods are still powerful enough to inflict misery on the commonfolk, whose suffering their arrogant rulers ignore. It also doesn't do anything to weaken Hades, since he draws power from their fear of death.
- The climax of Dogma involves the protagonist finding and killing God, in order to allow Her to respawn at the place She needs to be to stop the villain from destroying the universe.
- In His Dark Materials, this is Asriel's mission. There's also a knife which is properly called the god-destroyer.
- In Percy Jackson and The Olympians, Pan is killed because of a lack of people who believe in him, which also doubled as a Green Aesop.
- Belgarion of Riva has "Godslayer" as one of his official titles, and it isn't honorary.
- Also by Eddings, Sparhawk killed a god at the end of both The Elenium and The Tamuli. The gods were even aware this was a danger because Sparhawk was born Immune to Fate.
- In Everworld gods can't be killed by mortal means, but they can be killed by other gods or godly weapons. Or modern weapons from our world. There's also the Eldritch Abomination Ka Anor, an alien god who eats other gods and is basically trying to genocide the whole holy race.
- In Hogfather, a Discworld novel, the plot is driven by an attempt to assassinate the Santa Claus Expy, the Hogfather, by using magic to keep children from believing in him. At one point the protagonist stops to consider that the Hogfather really is a god when you get down to it, and indeed, the story explains that he's basically the modern incarnation of an old solstice deity.
- Several gods are slain using the eponymous items in the Book of Swords series by Fred Saberhagen. In fact, once humans realize gods are not immortal, they start not believing in them, and the rest die from disbelief.
- The goal of Nicolae Carpathia's Global Community One World Unity Army at the battle of Armageddon in the Left Behind book Glorious Appearing, and also that of The Other Light at the end of the Millennium Kingdom in Kingdom Come -- neither of which was achieved as God and Jesus wiped out both armies.
- In Xena: Warrior Princess, the title character gains the Power to Kill Gods in the season 5 finale, and uses it so often that she is actually billed as "Xena of Amphipolis, the Warrior Princess, Slayer of Gods and Defender of the Elijans."
- On the Hercules and Xena Wiki, there's a category on the trope "Power to kill Gods".
- The entire fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer revolves around killing Glory, a seemingly unstoppable hellgod trapped in a mortal body.
- Another Star Trek example: Worf claims that Klingons have no gods, because they killed them centuries ago. Apparently they were "more trouble than they were worth."
- In Stargate SG-1, a device is created that is capable of killing ascended beings. In the Ori galaxy, the Ori themselves are ascended beings who have become, quite literally, gods. The device is sent through a stargate to the Ori galaxy, where it goes off, destroying all of the Ori.
- In season five of Supernatural, Lucifer wipes out a hotelful of gods in about five minutes. Death also claims he will reap God at the end of time.
- The third act of Fireaxe's epic four hour metal album Food for the Gods centers around Satan leading an army of demons and damned in a full-on assault of Heaven with this goal. And it works! Sort of.
Mythology and Religion
- Older Than Dirt: In Egyptian Mythology, Set chopped up his brother Osiris and threw all the pieces into the Nile.
- Balder in Norse Mythology. Killed by an arrow (or spear) through the heart shot by Hodr, but he was set up by Loki. He knew Balder's only weakness: mistletoe.
- In Gesta Danorum's version, Baldr dies via a sword called mistletoe.
- At Ragnarok, Odin, Thor, Loki, Heimdall, Frey, and most of the Aesir bite it at the hands of giants, trolls, Fenrir, Jormungandr, and Surtr.
- Exalted is full of exaggeration, and this trope is no exception. You can trivially kill the vast majority of gods right out of chargen. And not only you can kill typical day-to-day house-spirit gods, you can also kill the Incarnae, who are the big bosses of the gods. And ultimately you can kill the Primordials, who are the gods of the gods. In fact, that last one was the very reason why the Exalted were created.
- For an RPG based on Gnosticism, this trope is Averted in Kult. But only because God Is Dead.
- Dungeons and Dragons
- 1st Edition
- Under the rules (Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia) it was possible to kill deities, which led to bizarre results. One example was a letter to Dragon magazine in which a PC killed the Norse Mythology god Thor by pushing him off the top of a wall and getting Thor's magical hammer Mjolnir as booty.
- Module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. A high level PC group could could kill Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders, who was a lesser deity under the rules. If they did so her spider ship would cease to exist, but they would be saved and returned to the Prime Material Plane by their deities.
- 2nd Edition
- Legends and Lore supplement. Deities could only be killed by a more powerful deity or any deity using an artifact. Mortals could never kill a deity. Deities sometimes created avatars (lesser versions of themselves) to act on the Prime Material Plane. Avatars could be destroyed by mortals.
- Killing gods were a fairly trivial task (although it's rarely easy) in 3.5e. 4E has a few deities statted up (Bahamut, Tiamat, Torog, Lolth at least), and usually require you meet some special condition to permanently beat them down (either affecting them in some way that violates their portfolio, using something against their iconic material, or getting a bunch of Primordials/Demon Lords and having them gang up on them).
- 1st Edition
- In The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind, you can kill up to three Gods, with two being required to finish the story. They are Vivec, Almalexia in Tribunal (necessary to finish Tribunal's story), and Dagoth Ur (necessary to finish the main game's story).
- Killing Mehrunes Dagon in Oblivion is supposed to be impossible (he's got something like 10,000 HP and can stomp you to death without half-trying), but can be done if you A) abuse the Alchemy and Enchant skills to make a Game Breaking enchanted weapon, or B) get lucky with Wabbajack.
- The endgame of Skyrim subverts this. Alduin is literally unkillable. The best you can do is knock him back into the timestream, putting off The End of the World as We Know It.
- God of War, of course. Kratos goes on a killing spree in Olympus as well as many other legends from Greek Mythology. Of course, killing the gods that govern the elements or the guy that guards the souls of the dead may have small inconveniences, but hey, no plan is perfect!
- The ending of the first and third Silent Hill games.
- One of the branching paths in Guardian Heroes allows you to storm the gates of Heaven and kill God.
- The Shin Megami Tensei series has this alongside Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?, what with being able to fuse gods like Pallas Athena, Vishnu, or Amaterasu and getting them to fight other demons based on deities.
- Shin Megami Tensei II ends with the protagonist slaying YHVH, an egotistical caricature of the Judeo-Christian God. He pays dearly for this after YHVH comes back.
- Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne has the protagonist defeat Kagutsuchi, a mere avatar of YHVH. However, by completing the secret True Demon ending, he ultimately becomes the general of a demonic army aiming to take down YHVH once and for all.
- The Persona series continues this trend, with the main characters fighting Nyarlathotep, Nyx, and Izanami. Of course, it takes two whole games to banish Nyarlathotep, you don't kill Nyx so much as seal her away, and Izanami seems rather pleased to have been defeated.
- Arc Rise Fantasia has the main characters kill the god of their world. Unlike the other examples however, God is most definitely NOT evil, but saving the world means that either they kill her, or she just disappears.
- One ending in Yggdra Union has the eponymous character head to heaven to do just that.
- Sacrifice sees the five gods of the world dropping like flies as the story goes on: Eldred kills at least two in every campaign, and Marduk inevitably kills the rest. It's explained to you that the gods you killed may return with a new name later as long as there are people to believe in the forces they represent, but the process takes centuries at best.
- Pretty much the entire point of Kid Icarus is to go from a weakling cherub to badass so you can kill the goddess of darkness and save the goddesses of light. No wonder it's Nintendo Hard.
- Asura's Wrath has this as well. The Seven Deities started out as Sufficiently Advanced Cyborgs as part of a species known as "demigods" who decided to elevate themselves to full-on godhood by assassinating the emperor and pinning the murder on Asura, then kidnapping his daughter because of her unique ability at controlling Mantra, their power source. Asura is betrayed, his wife is murdered, and he is killed. He comes back, and he is pissed.
- Final Fantasy VI has this, as well. The playable characters' kill the three gods of magic; Goddess, Demon and Fiend, in order to bereave Kefka of his magical powers. However, it turns out after the Warring Triad had been felled that Kefka had drained them of so much of their powers, he was sustaining magic by himself, making him the God of magic.
- And then the playable characters proceed to kill him.
- Later, in Final Fantasy VIII, if you have Odin on your side when you fight Seifer, he up and kills the poor guy right at the get-go. Fortunately, Gilgamesh shows up to finish him off, taking up Odin's sword.
- Record of Agarest War 2 has Weiss, the first generation protagonist who kills a god and now must pay the price. Although he didn't get to actually kill Chaos because the real Weiss has been Dead All Along.
- The Sinistrals in the Lufia series claim to be gods, and they've got the power to back up that claim. They're also embodiments of evil, so the plot of the games usually revolves around finding the Dual Blade, a sword which can kill gods, and then kicking the Sinistrals' asses with it.
- In Dungeon Crawl, Gods Need Prayer Badly. Gods without intelligent followers will fade away. This makes it possible to kill Jiyva, the god of slime, by killing Royal Jelly, the only slime intelligent enough to worship. The other gods have enough followers to not be suspectible to this.
- In Dark Souls, you end up killing all of the deities mentioned in the opening cutscene. Granted, most of them are in pretty bad shape by the time you actually meet them. A few of the other bosses are minor gods as well, but they can be killed like any other enemy in the game.
- Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer gives you the opportunity to finish off Myrkul with the Spirit-Eater curse. This is also Death by Irony.
- Overlapping with Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?, this is the entire reason the Grey Wardens were created in the Dragon Age 'verse: the archdemons are the slumbering gods of the Tevinter Imperium, awoken by darkspawn. If killed by a normal mortal, they'll come back to life via body surfing to the nearest darkspawn. If a Grey Warden is in proximity, however, it'll jump to the Warden and their souls will mutually annihilate.
- The second half of the plot of Star Ocean Till the End of Time deals with the party trying to stop The Creator from destroying the galaxy. Subverted in that he's actually a computer programmer, but he's still the closest thing to a god that the Star Ocean universe has
- Part of the Lady of Pain's backstory is that she once fought the god of portals for control of Sigil and won by killing him. He was not a minor god, either. She then killed everyone who worshipped him and destroyed all written lore about him, leaving only one priest alive (perhaps as a reminder) and killing anyone who thereafter joined him.
- Attempted twice in Bob and George with the Author, who is essentially the God of the comic's universe. At the end of the first game storyline Dr Wily captures and seemingly kills the Author, erasing the comic from existence. It was quickly established the Author was only injured and recovered (at the time this was done because the Mega Man strips were meant to be filler and the Author did intend to stop them, but then wound up going back to them and they became the main story).
- In the final storyline, Bob attempts the same plan but takes it Up to Eleven by arranging for the Author to get killed in three time periods, ensuring his destruction. When George points out that Wily already tried killing the Author and failed, the Shadowy Author reminds him that since it's already known the comic is coming to an end there's no guarantee Bob's plan will fail this time (it does, but the point is still valid).
- In Penny Arcade Tycho recommends killing the gods of Gabe's ludicrously powerful Dungeons and Dragons group in an attempt to find something to frighten them. Unfortunately...
Gabe: They killed their gods.
Tycho: Why would they do that?
Gabe: To ingest their godseeds.
- A major plot point in Digger, though it doesn't come up until late into the comic's run. Interestingly, it's actually a Mercy Kill; the god in question is not the Big Bad, but its victim and host.
- Sluggy Freelance: The talking sword Chaz can kill just about anything when powered by innocent blood. It claims it could easily kill the Demon King, a God of Evil. We don't get to see this happen, but less direct contact with Chaz does scar the Demon King.
- This article from The Onion: Nasa Completes 52-Year Mission to Find, Kill God.
- Tales of MU gives us Gillian "Gottmorder" Callahan.
Imperial Agent: The charges against you include three counts of attempted deicide...
Callahan: One of those succeeded.
Imperial Agent: We don't have a law that covers successful deicide.
- Perhaps the ultimate example would be The Salvation War series. The first story has humanity go to war with Hell and win so hard that it is later referred to as the Curbstomp War. Then we kill Satan with cruise missiles. The next story, we go to war with Heaven. The only reason that we don't personally kill God there... well... someone beat us to it.
- In the SCP Foundation universe, the Global Occult Coalition (an organization devoted to destroying the supernatural) traces its origin, in part, from a group of German occultists that supposedly killed the biblical God. (The article's more of a Feghoot actually.)
- From Atop the Fourth Wall, Linkara is against the entity which is Missingno, whom is described as an elder God. Linkara acknowledges that conventional combat does not work and only by using a Hannibal Lecture is he able to defeat the entity.
- Admiral Zhao in Avatar: The Last Airbender' declares his ultimate goal to be the death of the Moon Spirit. He does succeed in this, but the Moon Spirit is quickly replaced/resurrected.
- In Hercules, Hades attempts to kill Hercules by forcing him to drink poison that will turn him mortal. Herc ends up drinking all but the last drop, so he keeps one aspect of his immortality.
- In some Transformers continuties, planet Cybertron is either destroyed or rendered uninhabitable because of a war between the Autobots and Decepticons. Keep in mind that Cybertron is actually their god Primus in disguise...