"I am become hope. Savior of worlds."
There are many ways this could happen. For example:
- The character willingly abandons their previous life and physical form in order to ascend to a higher plane of existence.
- The character killed the previous incarnation of the abstract concept, so they must take its place as an Anthropomorphic Personification.
- The character obtains this in a metaphorical sense through purity of action. For example, a Big Bad is so evil and so spiteful that it becomes a being of pure hate.
Often overlaps with:
- Anthropomorphic Personification, if the character becomes an Anthropomorphic Personification of an abstract concept.
- Ascended to A Higher Plane of Existence, when the form the character takes on in the "higher plane" is an abstract concept in the mundane world.
- Deity of Human Origin, if the character becomes the deity of an abstract concept, or if in becoming an abstract concept, they gain powers equivalent to a Physical God.
This trope is different from God Job because the ascended character doesn't hold a cosmic office, but becomes a cosmic principle in itself. Sometimes this can mean that the character is no longer sentient by human standards.
This trope is as Old As Mythology itself. Every religion/myth gives some form to a radical concept that cannot be described in simple words. As an example, Satan is often considered the embodiment of hate, despair, etc., after he fell from the heavens. The hate itself transformed him from angel of good into a devil of pure evil.
Quite often invokes "I Am the Trope." Contrast Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, Omnicidal Maniac, and Nietzsche Wannabe. Contrast or compare Pure Is Not Good and Made of Evil, the latter of which can overlap depending on the context.
Anime and Manga
- Princess Tutu: This is a Magical Girl and Duck prima donna who is said to be hope itself.
- The concept of La Persona Superiore a Dio (The Person Higher Than God) in A Certain Magical Index is temporarily achieved by Fiamma of the Right in Volume 22.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica is the former Trope Namer and gave us the Alternative Title: Becoming Hope. Explanation is a spoiler for all the series: Madoka's wish makes her become Ultimate (Goddess) Madoka, the abstract concept of hope which exists beyond time and space. She erases all witches (past, present, and future, including her own) from existence, thus preventing magical girls from becoming Witches.
- However, it's made apparent that Mami is being merely poetic, as Madoka becomes closer to a physical law of the universe or some sort of deity than anything else, especially after Rebellion.
- In the Infinity Gauntlet saga of Marvel comics, Thanos was defeated when he abandoned his body and became/replaced Eternity at the head of the Cosmic Beings... and failed to realize that the Gauntlet itself, which sustained his new existence, was still on his lifeless body's hand and within easy reach of vengeful relatives.
- In The Sandman, there is an... odd version of this trope. Morpheus challenges a demon to a duel, and the demon chooses the weapon/setting as "reality", meaning that each doesn't quite become the thing they describe, but it's close. One line:
Morpheus: I am hope.
- Morpheus is also the brother of Despair (who, according to Destiny, should encompass Hope).
- A more straightforward example occurs at the end of The Kindly Ones, when Morpheus dies and Daniel becomes the new Dream.
- It is mentioned that Despair was killed at some point a long time ago, and replaced by a new Despair, but there are no details whether or not the new one was a person who turned into Despair or something else completely.
- An example (or six) is demonstrated in the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic fanfiction 'The Light Never Goes Out'. After a couple of decades it becomes clear what bonding to concepts such as laughter, honesty, loyalty, generosity, kindness, and magic would actually do to mortal ponies. Now it is the bicentennial of Luna's return....
- Discworld, Thief of Time: Lobsang becomes the personification of Time, taking over from his mother.
- Near the end of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Vin takes up the mantle of Preservation, a shard of Adonalsium (essentially, she becomes a God), and ends up locked in opposition to her much more experienced counterpart Ruin.
- Many of Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere works seem to incorporate this in some way, with the Shards of Adonalsium.
- Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality. Each of the first five books features a mortal who becomes an Anthropomorphic Personification (Death, Time, War, Fate and Nature).
- The titular character in Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy is called Lady Hope by the people of the Realms, as she represents the hope that magic of the Realms will be returned to them and shared.
- In the Brazilian book The Battle of the Apocalypse, God becomes the spark of free will and evolution within all human souls.
- This is a major element in Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light:
Godhood is more than a name. It is a condition of being.... Being a god is the quality of being able to be yourself to such an extent that your passions correspond with the forces of the universe, so that those who look upon you know this without hearing your name spoken.... One rules through one's ruling passion. Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, "He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love."
- In Kamen Rider Decade the movie All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker, it is hinted that at one point all Kamen Rider would become this kind of existence.
Garagaranda: Didn't you guys die?
- This is further explored in the Let's Go Kamen Riders movie.
Owner: Even if Rider history changes, it seemed the memories people have of Riders don't changed. People's memories create time. In other word, as long as people's memory exist Kamen Riders will endlessly revived.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "Skin of Evil", after Ascending to A Higher Plane of Existence, an alien race left behind Armus, a personification of the evil of their former existence.
- In Star Trek: Voyager, Kes essentially does this in "The Gift" when she leaves the crew, but not before giving the morales of her crewmates a literal boost by sending Voyager nearly 10,000 light years closer to home.
- There's a theory in the Doctor Who fandom since they utilised a variation on the myth of Pandora's Box in the form of the Pandorica -all the dark and scary things that were let out of the box were represented by the Doctor. Pandora herself can be symbolised by Amy, and the person who remained with the box for over two thousand years was Rory: hope. At the very least he was elevated to a mythical figure.
- But this Pandora's Box was being used by the Evil Alliance, so it makes sense that what was being let out of the box is considered evil and scary to them - ie. good to everyone else including the viewers.
- In the Kamigawa cycle in Magic: The Gathering, Michiko Konda fuses with her spirit world counterpart to become a living embodiment of the barrier between the mortal world and the spirit world, ending the spirit war in the process.
- In Planescape, the souls of the dead can be reborn as the Exclusively Evil Tanar'ri, the always lawful evil Baatezu, etc.
- Further, when such a being dies in its native plane, they merge with the plane itself. The Abyss is pure chaotic evil because it's forged from the countless evils of every soul that has ever gone there, while Mount Celestia is built, stone by stone, from the lawful goodness of every soul that ended up there, and so on.
- The most powerful of the gods in Scion are unique in their ability to assume "Purview Avatars", temporarily becoming intelligent manifestations of a certain aspect of reality with unlimited power. A god can literally turn into The Glory, The Abyss, or The Reaper.
- This is the whole point of Nobilis - one day, a being of cosmic power sticks Hope in your soul. What are you going to do about it?
- Exalted: this is the nature of Primordials - they're an embodiment of a concept, such as Hierarchy and the Rules (She Who Lives In Her Name) or Backstabbing Dickery (the Ebon Dragon). Which means that when an Infernal takes (Yozi) Cosmic Principle, this happens to him. (He can also create his own embodied concept, but he can't truly become it in the same way due to the Charms required to do so.)
- Ironically, it's by averting this trope that the Devil Tiger path allows the Infernals to become more than their predecessors. By remaining an embodiment of themselves, rather than a concept, they avoid the Primordial's Crippling Overspecialization.
- Hazama in BlazBlue is really Terumi, the Big Bad of the series. Who died roughly 100 years before after failing to doublecross his "companions" and seems to have become a being of pure hate (and the poster child for As Long as There Is Evil). He basically feeds on his own Kick the Dog moments.
- In God of War Ares wanted Kratos to become death itself by becoming the ultimate warrior. To accomplish this, Ares tried to remove his humanity by tricking Kratos into killing his family. Unfortunately for Ares, all this did was piss Kratos off.
- In 3 it's hinted that Athena has become something higher that a god, following the explanation of why the gods became evil between 1 and 2 it can be guessed that Athena has become Greed itself
- In Persona 3, the Main Character sacrifices his/her life to become the Great Seal, the final barrier between Nyx, Death itself, and Erebus, the Anthropomorphic Personification of humanity's self-destructive unconscious desires, thus becoming the ultimate representation of hope in the Persona universe, and visualized as a massive golden gate with the protagonist's soul keeping it closed.
- Persona 4 has a metaphorical example: Goddess Izanami wants to test mankind's potential, so she gives three people power and names them embodiments of a concept - Hope, Despair, and Emptiness - with the intention of acting based on which representative has the most success.
- In Final Fantasy IV, Zeromus (the trope namer for As Long as There Is Evil) ends up the living embodiment of hate, born from the sheer hate of the slain Zemus.
- In Adventure Quest, the player character literally becomes the avatar of Hope during the last chapter of the Devourer Saga.
- Live-A-Live has Odio's various incarnations, all embodiments of hatred.
- At the end of book six of Fans, Lord Feral becomes the alphabet itself, succeeding the inventor of phonetic writing.
- Lord Kyran of Emergency Exit, also known as Lord Hate. To this Troper's memory, the idea is never fully explained, but he seems to personify and subsist on the hate of all beings.
- From Eight Bit Theater, Black Mage, after being killed by Lich, descended into hell, took it over and became the embodiment of all mortal evils. Then he was resurrected so they could kick him out of hell.
- not to mention after half the mane cast had gotten married and started families