Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
(Redirected from Muggle)
Why shouldn't they be happy? They're just like All of the Other Reindeer.
"Sell them a key that keeps shrinking to nothing so they can never find it when they need it... Of course, it's very hard to convict anyone because no Muggle would admit their key keeps shrinking - they'll insist they just keep losing it. Bless them, they'll go to any lengths to ignore magic, even if it's staring them in the face..."

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary tells us that muggles (plural "muggles") are refrigerated cargo vehicles.

J. K. Rowling tells us that muggles are ordinary people with no meta-human abilities at all.

Guess which one caught on — the dictionary definition or the casual mention in a Young Adult book series...

Muggles are Ordinary People. Those who are not special, like the favored of the plot. Mundane folk who are only aware of their own small section of reality. The source from which most characters spring.

They're the "normal" for those who crave it and those who would hate it if it happened. Ironically, Muggles often treat these extraordinary people like crap, because Muggles are All of the Other Reindeer — although sometimes this happens the other way around, more cynical super-people looking down on them as Innocent Bystanders — a pathetically bland, underdeveloped species.

The Secret Identity pretends to be this.

They are the ones who the Masquerade is used to hide from. Who nobody (not even the heroes) mind if they get their memories wiped of supernatural events. Sometimes reality itself conspires to hide the plot from their minds, in ways like Somebody Else's Problem, Weirdness Censor, and Invisible to Normals. Then again, they may just not want to know because Apathy Killed the Cat.

They are the Victim of the Week eaten by the Monster of the Week.

It's often convenient to remove them from the picture if their kids are the heroes.

A few of them might actually have been Born Of Mages. In fact, those might be the only kind.

Those Two Guys are friendly Muggles. The Badass Normal is physically one, but their temperament and experiences set them apart. The Unfazed Everyman is functionally a muggle, but as a central character and audience surrogate has the distinction of witnessing all sorts of crazy action firsthand. Muggle Foster Parents are... well, they are what it says on the can.

Muggles are to be protected, avoided, manipulated, or abused by the characters or the plot—often all four, one way or another.

Expect the Red Shirts to be muggles since non-muggles are usually too plot-valuable to waste. Even muggles with characterization need to watch it: they could be Mauve Shirts. More rarely, Muggles Do It Better comes in to play: mundane people with mundane technology have a real fighting chance in works featuring this trope (often the reason why the Masquerade exists, otherwise the supernatural would get its butt handed over by Badass Normal hunters).

Not to be confused with Moogles. And certainly not to be confused with The Legend of Rah and the Muggles. (It also has nothing to do with marijuana unless you're reading vintage crime fiction.)

Examples of Muggles include:

Anime and Manga

  • In UC Continuity Mobile Suit Gundam, regular humans are sometimes referred to as "Oldtypes", as distinct from the "Newtypes" that represent the next stage of humanity's evolution. Rather to the point, some people who believe Newtypes are the next stage of evolution will use "Oldtype" as a Fantastic Slur against those who would get in the way of that evolution.
    • In Gundam Seed we have Coordinators (those with genetic modifications) and Naturals (those without). What starts of as An Aesop about racial equality quickly becomes a Broken Aesop, as the only characters to ever do anything of merit in the show are Coordinators. Reinforced by the fact that only one Natural ever exhibits the show's Super Mode, but this scene was quietly retconned out of existence in the compilation movies.
      • One particular character, who is considered a "Natural" throughout the series, actually shows signs of being a Newtype. He also happens to be the most dangerous character in the series, hinting that Coordinators might still be muggles by comparison.
    • Played with in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, where Celestial Being's Tieria Erde and Manipulative Bastard Ribbons Almarck are revealed to be Innovators, artificial humans who Ribbons claims were intended by Aeolia Schenberg to rule over humankind. The classic scenario is inverted, however, when Tieria discovers the truth: the "Innovators" are in fact nothing of the sort, and were meant instead to help humankind reach its potential as the true Innovators.
    • Subverted in Gundam X, the main character is not a Newtype yet time after time he is forced to go up against them in combat, and must contend with his Girlfriend's increasingly disastrous predictions of the future. Yet he never gives up hope and was recognized by the First Newtype as living proof that one can not predict the future. Not bad for a kid who spent the first fifteen years of his life as an orphan in a Crapsack World,
  • Gamu of Kokoro, who lacks Genre Blindness, calls out the mage society on their use of "norm", as well as their championing of the Masquerade and Laser-Guided Amnesia. Admirable if not for the fact that the formerly cool-headed spy girl is willing to take on The Omniscient Council of Vagueness to try and change the world. (Then again, if you had a couple million people out for your head, you might figure that there's nothing to lose, too.)
  • Naruto partially subverts this as non-shinobi are the ninja villages' customers.
  • All humans (save for the few who can actually use their chi) in Dragonball Z are muggles, all with a very strong Weirdness Censor.
  • The normal students Usagi used to be friends with before she found her super hero posse. They're probably better off. When they hung out with Usagi they had a huge likelihood of becoming the Victim of the Week.

Comic Books

  • Used occasionally in DC comics. Those who aren't "in the know" with the superhero community are often referred to as "civilians". It's not really a derogatory term, simply describes those who don't know any superheroes/villains or secrets.
  • In the X-Men universe, mutant supremacists, mostly those less erudite than Magneto, call non-mutants "flatscans" (while referring to themselves as "spikes"). Also used by Neo Warclan to refer to other, less highly-powered mutants, vis-a-vis Domina et. al.
  • In the Fables universe, the Fables characters refer to normal humans as "Mundanes" and Earth outside Fabletown or the Farm as the "Mundy".
    • With the plots for Sons of Empire and War and Pieces, the tricks Fabletown has learned from the Mundy world show that Muggles simply do it better.
  • In a particularly interesting example, Gail Simone's Secret Six features a conversation between Catman and Deadshot in which they refer to "Norms," people who possess a normal sense of morality (conscience) as opposed to their own semi-to-full sociopathy. Since the main cast of the series is entirely composed of supervillains with an extremely... warped view of morality... this is a rather chilling use of the trope.

Fan Works

  • Two examples in With Strings Attached:
    • The Idris in Ketafa derisively refer to civilians as “streetfodder,” “cityfodder,” or just plain “fodder.”
    • The tirin in Baravada, except that they're almost as mean and annoying as the skahs, and occasionally nearly as dangerous, as George can attest during his quickie with Ma'ar. They're also happier and far more content with their lot. One of the minor advantages the four have is that they are classified as outworlder tirin and are expected to behave as such, when they actually fit into neither category and thus do unexpected things. The best Grunnel can describe them is “They're not skahs, but they're not tirin either.”
  • Humans in contrast to unicorns in The Son of the Emperor. They posses no magical abilites and tend to be afraid of unicorn magic or consider it unnatural. This eventually led to them banning the practice of magic.


  • People who are still plugged into The Matrix, unaware of its virtual nature, are known as "Coppertops" (in reference to a battery) or, later, "bluepills", whether they've been offered the pills or not. Morpheus makes the borderline psychopathic observation that they're either directly (as vessels for Agents) or indirectly (as soldiers, cops, etc.) tools of the system, and thus expendable if necessary, leading to their wholesale slaughter by the heroes at the climax of the first film.
    • One of the biggest criticisms of the sequel is that there were no Muggles (almost), reducing the previously mindblowing Matrix to a high-stakes video game.
  • In the original Star Wars trilogy, Han Solo despite his Badass Normal credentials fills this role with his skepticism of the Force and desire to stay out of the fight between the Empire and Rebellion. He gets better.
  • The townspeople of Derry in IT, whose apathy towards the fact that their town has a Serious Problem allows Pennywise to operate freely.


  • In The Hollows, There are no muggles. Magic came out of the closet before the books started, when 4 species weren't affected by a disease that killed 2/3 people on the planet, and scarred the rest. This removed enough humans that revealing magic became a viable option, as the levels were around equal now
  • In The Bartimaeus Trilogy, ordinary people (i.e. non-magicians) are looked at with distaste and referred to as "commoners." A bit subverted, in that the wizards are shown to be corrupt aristocrats oppressing the commoners, and one of the main characters is an Anti-Hero trying to overthrow the current regime.
    • Strangely there doesn't seem to be anything actually stopping commoners from learning magic, they just don't get picked for training (which makes sense, since those picked must have very high IQs and parents willing to give up all parental rights).
      • Magicians do not try to stop commoners from learning magic because they hide their real sources of power, which are spirits they summon. Also, any commoners who do manage to learn magic immediately become targets of other magicians, which pretty much spells their doom.
  • Inverted in the Codex Alera series where almost everyone in Alera (think Roman-style nation) can summon at least one type of fury (an elemental spirit of earth, air, water, fire or metal) and gains pseudo-magical abilities from them (flight, influencing emotions, healing are some of them). The protagonist, Tavi, is the only person without one. He survives on his wits and courage.
  • Played with in Margaret Weis Death Gate Cycle series. Mensch is a derogatory term used by the two demigod races to refer to humans, elves and dwarves who used to live on Earth before it was sundered into its four classical elements. Played straight on the worlds of fire and water where they're tormented and slaughtered by ancient monstrosities, averted on the world of air where humans regularly charm dragons into doing their bidding. The demigods themselves look down on them for being lessers and are in turn scorned for being tyrants and jerkasses.
  • The trope name (with a capital M) comes from the name for non-magical people in the Harry Potter universe. Amusingly, this is also a slang term for marijuana, used by Louis Armstrong. See The Other Wiki for details. It's not known if there is any deliberate connection; Rowling says she took it from the word "mug" meaning "fool", which is possibly derived from the Irish mug, "slave".
  • The Dresden Files takes an approach almost opposite the Harry Potter universe's: while most people are either unwilling or unaware of magic, a surprising number of them have actually dealt with it (werewolves running amok, hiring a wizard, cops shooting vampires). And many of the Muggles (or "straights" or "vanillas" as Harry calls them) are almost as formidable as the supernaturals. Marcone, Murphy and Hendricks are among the Muggles who nevertheless are smart, savvy, and can hold their own among wizards and other such. In fact, one of the reasons there's a masquerade going on is because any conflict between generic humans and supernaturals favoured the humans, if only because of sheer numbers, though nowadays the numbers are supplemented by guns and other nasty weapons.
    • An excellent example of muggles seriously kicking ass in this series comes at the end of White Night, where John Marcone and a small squad of human mercenaries take on a horde of uber-ghouls with nothing but assault rifles and discipline, and more than hold their own.
      • Harry compares bringing mortal authorities into a supernatural conflict to dropping a nuke; it's something you don't do, because it fucks up life for everyone no matter what side you're on. Torch and pitchfork wielding mobs were dangerous to supernaturals even in the past—with modern technology, it only makes humans more dangerous.
      • The White Night example becomes arguable in retrospect at least for the squad of mercenaries, as a number of them (it is implied most, if not all) are revealed in Changes to be Einherjar. This would make them a) already dead and b) potentially quasi-immortal thereafter. Marcone and Hendrix are still badass though.
  • In the Xanth books, non-magical... pretty much everything, but mostly humans, are referred to as "Mundanes" (As in from "drear, drear Mundania" {Read: outside of Xanth).
    • Interestingly, "mundanes" is how human telepaths - particularly Psi Cops - refer to non-telepaths in Babylon 5.
      • Both of these uses are inspired by the earlier Fandom use of the term to describe those who are not science fiction or fantasy fans.
      • Other examples of the term "mundane" being used are in System Shock 2 by the OSA recording to refer to the non-psi talented, and in Ultima VII: Serpent Isle, where the mages of Moonshade refer to non-mages as such. As soon as you get a new spellbook though, they seem to forget they ever called you a mundane.
    • In Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, all those who are not connected to magic are also called "mundanes."
    • 'Mundane' (commonly abrieviated to "Mundies") is also the term for non-fairy tale folk in the comic series Fables.
    • The tabletop RPG In Nomine also uses "mundane" to refer to normal humans that don't possess Symphonic Awareness and thus the ability to consciously use Essence.
    • Mundane was essentially the standard term for this trope up until Harry Potter decided to invent a brand new word to describe something that had been perfectly well described by a real, existing word for years.
  • The Night Watch series is a fairly dark take on this trope. Because of their magic abilities, the Others have formed their own societies, with negative results in how they relate to normal humans. The Dark Others have massive Lack of Empathy but the Light Others aren't much better. There are many comments about how because they've seen human evil so often, and because of creating their own society, while Light Others are supposed to be protectors of humanity, they have difficulty identifying with the ones they are supposed to be protecting. In one of the latter stories it's admitted plain and simple that the Others actively hinder the development of humans, else the Others would be exposed and exterminated.
  • In Cinda Williams Chima's Heir trilogy, humans without some form of magic are called "anaweir". Since they are extremely vulnerable to control by magic, they are treated as pawns or kept in the dark throughout the books, until very late in the third, when some of them are finally told about the magical war going on in their town.
  • Twilight: A lot of strange things happened around Forks and Phoenix (Vampires, werewolves, vampire's wars...) and the humans in the book never realized anything out of the ordinary, the worst they though it was just normal daily murders. Neither of them gets to do anything special or contributes to the plot not even by accident. Till this day if you ask any of them about Bella Swan they will say something along the lines: "Bella? The daughter of Chief Swan, Nice girl, a little weird, lived here short time, liked to hang around the Quilletes make good friends with the weird Cullen kids and married right out of high school to one of them...she was probably pregnant." If they actually remember her at all.
  • Everyone without a power in theGone (novel) series.
  • Mundanes in the Mortal Instruments series. Anyone who has no knowledge of Downworlders or Shaddowhunters is a mundane or a "mundie". Clary is included in this because even though she is a Shaddowhunter, she knows nothing about their world.
  • Mortals in the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series. Anyone who is (surprise surprise) mortal can't see through the Mist and doesn't really know about most of the events described in the novel because of this. There are some exceptions, most notably Percy's mother and Rachel Elizabeth Dare, who later becomes the oracle of Delphi. Being able to see through the mist is related to her powers of prophecy.

Live Action TV

  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, pretty much the entire population of Sunnydale aside from the main cast and the bad guys could counted as muggles. People are aware that Sunnydale is a dangerous place but never seem willing or able to make the leap to accept that it's because the town attracts all manner of supernatural beasties. Lampshaded in one episode where a football player tells his friend that they could go to state this year "as long as we don't have as many mysterious horrible deaths." Although some later episodes imply that people are halfway aware of Sunnydale's unusual nature, and that Buffy helps keep them safe; but they don't (want to) know any specifics.
    • Buffy's graduating high school class probably knows, considering they all fought a giant demon snake and his army of vampires on graduation day.
  • The Changelings from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine call all those who cannot shape-shift "solids" and consider them low- value. This extends even to those who are not part of the Dominion.
  • In The Tomorrow People, homo sapiens are frequently called "Saps". In Britain, the use of "sap" as an insult is rare, and "homo sapiens" is pronounced "homo SAP-iens" rather than homo SAPE-iens." In consequence, hardly anyone let in on this secret takes offense at the term.
  • A club of psychics on That's So Raven call them "Normies", as do the members the "The Beautiful People Club" on Family Guy.
  • Babylon 5's Psi Corps uses the term "mundane" for the non-telepathic population; its usage varies from slightly offensive to virtually spat out as an insult (generally by Psi Cops). The "mundanes" themselves tend to use the term "normal," and good if not perfect way of divining a telepath's support or antipathy for the Psi Corps is knowing which term they use in conversation with other telepaths.
  • The Bennet family's dog is named Mr. Muggles, likely a reference to this and the fact that, with one exception, the family is normal. Well, two exceptions.
  • Normal people often referred to like this in Doctor Who. An example, in the 1996 movie when a newscast explains away recent strange events occurring because of the Doctor's adventure as "normal" weather events, the Doctor remarks something close to "I love humans, always seeing patterns that aren't there"
    • Of course, a recurring theme in Doctor Who is that there are no real muggles. Anyone who's smart or brave can help the world. This is why 90% of the Doctor's companions are otherwise normal people whose meeting and travels with the Time Lord lets them achieve extraordinary things, even after they've parted company.
    • On the whole, there are far less muggles, in the sense of people with no-idea what's going on, after the masquerade officially broke. Now aliens existing is just a fact of life for planet Earth... that is, until Big Bang Two came along, which apparently rewrote all of the events that lead to the masquerade being broken as never having happened. So the Muggles are back to being Muggles.


  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy mentions the Hagunennons, a "super-evolutionary" species that constantly evolves into different shapes. Hagunennons look down on other species, calling them "Filthy rotten stinking samelings".

Tabletop RPG

  • In the White Wolf roleplaying game Aberrant, regular humans (those without superpowers) are referred to as "baselines," often in a derogatory fashion by the more arrogant of the superpowered Novas.
    • Those Novas who subscribe to the Nova-supremacist Teragen philosophy prefer to call them "zips," which is always a Fantastic Slur.
    • In Trinity, Aberrant's sequel, people without psychic powers are known as "neutrals".
  • Unknown Armies has all people who aren't in the Occult Underground being this way. Use of Magick, or Avatar powers, in front of them... well, the core rulebook talks about 'waking a sleeping tiger'. Let's just say it's never, never pretty. But then, not much is in UA, so.
  • In Mage: The Ascension and Mage: The Awakening, the Muggles are called "Sleepers", and actually make magic more dangerous when present because of their normality. The reason why differs between the two games:
    • In Ascension, belief defines reality, and Sleepers are the majority. While "coincidental magick" can be passed off as luck or accident, using "vulgar magick"—magic that obviously defies the consensus definition of "reality"—causes dangerous Paradox as reality tries to snap back to obeying physics. Meanwhile, in Awakening, when Atlantis fell and the Abyss was formed, Quiescence worked its way into the minds of mortals. Unless one is directly confronted with the true nature of the universe, any faint evidence of magic will feed the Lie, and thus the Abyss. And Paradox is how the Abyss enforces the Lie.
      • Changeling: The Dreaming used a similar concept though the Banality mechanic. It is apparently not enough to just be a mundane, non-magical muggle in a Crapsack World filled with monsters that view you as commodity as best and speed bump at worst, your muggleness itself ensures nothing could ever be done to possibly make things better.
      • In the New World of Darkness game Promethean: The Created, Prometheans (golem/Frankenstein/artificial creations) possess a life force that ... annoys Muggles. Stay in one place too long, and the Muggles get out the pitchforks and torches. So the Promethean has to hide and move a lot to keep all the normals around him from erupting into riots.
    • Vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem tend to refer to mortals as "kine", an archaic word meaning "cattle". Masquerade vampires sometimes used the phrase "Children of Seth" if they were feeling poetic (in that setting, vampires descended from Caine, humans from Seth).
    • In Genius: The Transgression, "mortals" are often the bane of Geniuses, as they can cause Wonders to go horribly wrong by trying to use them. For Geniuses, The Masquerade is enforced by the circumstances of their powers rather than an organisation, since the things they make generally can't be recreated and don't quite run on scientific principles.
      • It's gotten a bit better for Geniuses. It used to be that Havoc could be caused simply by 'mere mortals' looking at them. Now it mortals have to touch or analyse the Wonder to cause Havoc. Geniuses are now free to walk in broad daylight with a death ray and start zapping the crap out of people. The Masquerade is still up though because a large-scale revelation of just the mere existance of Genii would cause widespread Inspiration and since none of the Genii organisations would be able to deal with that number, it would lead to massive amounts of Unmada and Illuminated walking the earth. And that would almost certainly mean the end of the human race as a whole.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has special, low-powered, "NPC classes" for people who are explicitly not heroes; the weakest of these, the Commoner class, can easily be outmatched by a normal housecat. But then by the rules, a lot of things can be outmatched by a housecat.
  • Warhammer 40,000, has the vast majority of humanity believing that the very real threats out in the universe, the aliens, the daemons, the traitor legions, are fairy tales made up by the church.
  • Continuum has the vast majority of humanity (and pre-human civilisations) made up of Levellers (as opposed to Spanners/Spinners for those with the capacity for Time Travel). No mention is made in the rulebook about the potential confusion with a 17th century English political movement, or a late Capricorn-era folk-punk band, although they do discuss the implications of their own name as used as an insult.

Video Games

  • Although they're not an integral part of F.E.A.R.'s plot, and the game itself makes no distinction, they're of note... for this being perhaps the only time their All of the Other Reindeer status works to the hero's advantage. The main character is the member of a special ops team devoted to response to paranormal incidents. He's teamed with a normal special ops squad that don't take this seriously, and thus send him off on a meaningless errand to open the gate, something which it would've made more sense for one of them to handle... because of this, he's not in the area when the killer ghost hiding on the other side of the gate decides to liquefy the entire squad, leaving only charred skeletons.
    • Then averted with Team Dark Signal in Project Origin. Though they don't know what's going on at first, they very, very quickly catch on to just how serious the supernatural shit they are dealing with really is, and by the middle of the game they're accepting the presence of psychic phenomenon and undead ghosts.
  • They're such a part of Weyard's population that in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn they are mentioned along with the Adept and master-craftsman ancestral races. However, their ancestral name is also an insult, suggesting the other races were Smug Supers during the so-called Golden Age of Man.

Web Comics

  • Bob Smithson spent most his life as a Muggle to the nth power and was quite content being such... until his life took a turn for the peculiar.
  • In Sluggy Freelance Zoe's family and college friends seem to be this, with no supernatural weirdness in their lives except for what follows Zoe around. The subject of Muggledom is used for many laughs during the the Story Arc "Torg Potter and the Giblets with Fiber."
  • A Magical Roommate has a fairly even distribution and variation of muggles, who the author treats with surprising equality to the magical people. They run the whole gamut, from those who deny magic exists to, recently, one who has plans to open a magic school for muggles because there is no reason not to. And that's not counting the difference between nobility and peasantry or the number of Secret Keepers that formed their own little Masquerade around X...
  • Blip is a series starring a muggle—the Masquerade is in full effect, and the protagonist, K, is completely out of the loop. She lives a life that seems completely ordinary; but just out of sight, Heaven and Hell keep constant watch over her, and her best friends have to deal with demons and misguided vampire hunters.
  • The Kingfisher: A vampire webcomic that has no truly important human characters. Fortunately for these muggles, they are often seduced and left alive.

Web Original

  • The Saga of Tuck: At one point Tuck refers to a group of female underclassmen as "Homo Mundanus." Tuck and his (male) friends are extremely contemptuous of most of the people that surround them at school.
  • In the Whateley Universe, those who are not mutants are 'baselines' (or 'normals'). The baselines have far more creative names for the mutants.
  • Fenspace has "'Dane" (short for "mundane"), which it inherited from the Science Fiction fandom which spawned off-earth culture. It also has the derogatory slang term "Dursley", defined as "those 'Danes who are aggressively mundane and reject/attack anything ... that does not fit into their narrow (and often reactionary) definition of 'normal'." (It should come as no surprise that the latter term originated within the Fen subculture/faction based on the Harry Potter books.)

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Sociopaths see themselves as much better and important than everyone else who they see as useless pawns, and might refer to as Empaths.
  • Otherkin, Otakukin, and other similar groups tend to refer to the people who take issue with their claims as "mundanes".
  • Doctor Who fans refer to non-fans as 'the Not We', a reference to the 1982 serial Kinda.
  • Even hackers use the term "Muggle". It has an entry in The Jargon File.
  • Non-SCA folks are called "mundanes" by members. Mundanes are also the clothes you wear in everyday life. (Same goes for Amtgard and (some) Renaissance Faires)
  • People who do not participate in Geocaching are called Muggles by Geocachers. When a geocache disappears, it has been "muggled."
  • Members of the Neopagan/Magickal community will sometimes use this term to describe non-members, replacing the earlier term "Cowan", which has the same meaning. "Mundane" is also used in this context, largely due to the high degree of crossover between the Neopagan community and the SCA.
  • In the Autistic community, the terms "neurotypical" and/or allism are used to refer to the dominant brain type, due to the negative implications of calling nonautists "normal", as that would imply there being something wrong with autism in general. Said terms are sometimes used in a joking fashion in order to demonstrate the silliness of much of the pathologization of autism.
  • In Russia, most youth subcultures such as punks, metalheads, goths, otaku, LARPers etc, use the word "tsivily" ("civilians") for people outside the subcultures.
  • Non-Military, also known as "Civilians."
  • Harry Potter fans will sometimes call Harry Potter haters Muggles.