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Children of superparents get superpowers... except when they don't.

If you're a protagonist, this is no problem, you'll usually become a Badass Normal or at least an Unfazed Everyman. But if you're a Mauve Shirt... you'll probably become this.

This trope is a character who's in on The Masquerade, and was born into their world. Unfortunately for him, he's normal. No, not Badass Normal, totally, completely and 100% normal. He's just as ineffectual in adventuring as any other Muggle, maybe even more, which is why he usually has some grunt-work position in the world of the masquerade, such as a janitor, secretary, or The Igor. He may be nice-if-pathetic or mean-spirited, but whatever the case, his bitterness and regret over not being a super is a major character trait.

It may ultimately turn out that this person is actually a Power Nullifier, though this might not be noticed immediately. If this is common in the setting, it may be that characters are completely Randomly-Gifted, so powers aren't always inherited and may spontaneously manifest to children Muggle parents.

Contrast Almighty Janitor, Badass Normal. Compare Un-Sorcerer and Unfazed Everyman. A Subversion of Lamarck Was Right.

Examples of Muggle Born of Mages include:

Anime and Manga

  • Takamichi T. Takahata of Mahou Sensei Negima was born unable to cast spells, but, as a member of Ala Rubra, is still one of the most powerful fighters of the magic world, in part because he can use the powerful kanka technique.
  • In My Hero Academia, Midoria started out as this, his father has a fire-based quirk and his mother is a low level telekinetic yet he was born quirkless until he inherited One-for-all from Allmight.
  • Shinji Matou from Fate Stay Night. Shinji doesn't have even magic cicuits. And he became a Complete Monster because his envy to his adopted sister, Sakura, abusing and raping her, just because she is a magus.
  • Yuzu from Bleach: while her other siblings can fight hollows [1] and her father who was a shinigami, she can only see the outline of the ghosts.
  • Sairaorg Baal in High School DxD did not inherit any of his parents powers when he was born. So instead, he underwent Training From Hell, something high-class devils do not do, and became so strong he doesn't even need the power of destruction.
  • Meiling of Cardcaptor Sakura. It's implied everyone in the Li family has magical powers but her.


  • PS238‍'‍s Tyler Marlocke, son of Ultima and Sovereign Powers who are two of the most powerful meta-humans on Earth. He's currently a Badass Normal in training due to being the closest thing the series has to a main character, and is perfectly happy with not having superpowers.
    • "Perfectly happy" in that he's okay with not having them, except that he knows that puts him in a lot more danger, and since his parents are convinced that he's about to develop powers any day now, he's a little bit afraid- or he was- of a rejection of sorts, if/when they ever realize he's unlikely to.
  • X-Men: Mutant supervillains Mystique and Victor Creed/Sabertooth had a child together, Graydon Creed, who turned out to be a normal human (for those two, must be karma), which is rare for two mutants. He went on to become an anti-mutant extremist out of jealousy and his parents' rejection.
    • There was Quicksilver and Crystal's child, Luna, who was an Inhuman rather than a mutant. Apparently the mutant gene and the Inhuman genetics canceled each other out and Luna was effectively a normal human until her crazy father exposed her to a rather high amount of Terrigen Mist to empower her — this was extremely risky since Terrigen Mist exposure can have unpleasant effects on anyone who isn't a pure Inhuman.
  • Joel Kent in Superman & Batman: Generations was exposed to Gold Kryptonite in the womb making him the muggle son of Superman. It doesn't help that his younger sister Kara got to keep her powers. Eventually, Lex Luthor uses his jealousy and an unstable repowering formula as part of a revenge plot against the Man of Steel.
  • Wally West's son. He had powers till the Flash Rebirth storyline but was sharing an unstable link with his sister. When it stabilized, it all ended up in her.

Fan Fiction

  • The Harry Potter fanfic Wish Carefully has Squibs pop up with alarming frequency in a Purebloods only society. It's eventually revealed that a Squib is the result of too much inbreeding.


  • Ron Wilson, bus driver, the bus driver, of course, from Sky High is the nice-if-pathetic version of this trope. He also got Character Development and Took a Level In Badass at the very end. In the Where Are They Now? Epilogue, it mentioned he had a toxic waste accident and got his wish to be a super.
  • Jack-Jack in The Incredibles. Though it was subverted by the end. He was just a late bloomer. Incredibles 2 has the family deal with his powers.
  • Up, Up, and Away; a 2000 Disney Channel Original Movie; centered around normal teenager born from a family of superheroes and his struggles with the fact that he may never develop any powers of his own. He also doesn't have his family's weakness to aluminum foil. At the end, his best friend suggests that he become a superhero without powers.
  • In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Emperor Palpatine's cloned son, Rey's father, didn't inherit his father's Force sensitivity. Justified by the Star Wars Expanded Universe which establishes that cloning a Force sensitive never transfers the high midichlorian count to the offspring. Though Palpatine's grandchild got the powers.
  • Mirabel Madrigal in Encanto is the only child of her family's bloodline to not be gifted with a magical power for some unknown reason.


  • Known as Squibs in Harry Potter. They do have some magical sensitivity but not enough to actually cast a spell. According to Ron, they're rather rare and are usually sent to the Muggle world as it's the best life they can manage, being a stigma to have one in your family. Ron specifically mentions having a second-cousin on his mother's side who is an accountant that even he's embarrassed talking about. Squibs mating with Muggle lines eventually produces a magical offspring, like Hermione, somewhere down the line.
    • Argus Filch, the Hogwarts caretaker (essentially a janitor), is the mean-spirited version of this trope.
    • Also Mrs. Figg, who's much more friendly, if still batty and weird. Her job was to keep an eye on Harry.
  • Quinn Gaither from the Gone series is one of a large number of characters without super powers and shows subtle signs of both hatred and jealousy towards his empowered peers.
  • Kyja of Farworld lives in a world where even the cows have magic. not only does she have none, magic doesn't even work on her. Later on it's revealed that she was born on Earth from ordinary parents and was switched at birth with a boy from Farworld who actually does have magic.
  • In World Weavers, Thea is the seventh child of two seventh children...and she doesn't have any of the normal magics. (She gets a cool power later, but it's not magic.) At one point, it says that children around the country send her mail — when she's just days old — about how powerful she is... sucks to be her.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Granta Omega is the normal son of Xanatos, a former Jedi. However, while he isn't Force-sensitive, he does have the ability to slip past any being's senses, even a Jedi's.
    • Emperor Palpatine has a powerless, illegitimate son. While Palpatine was disappointed, he decided to let him live because his son has night terrors in which he screams out horrifying things. The descriptions are used as inspirations for The Empire's war machines and torture devices, meaning that Palpatine literally figured out how to weaponize Nightmare Fuel.
  • The fundamental problem of Tavi in the Codex Alera. He lives in a world where every human has access to elemental spirits known as "furies" that give them various powers. Tavi, however, is the only human who doesn't have these abilities, and they cause him extensive problems, forcing him to think and adapt rather than use magic. To give you some idea of how much of a handicap this is, Tavi effectively can't even turn on the lights on his own. Eventually, he learns the cause of his condition: his biological mother stunted his growth to hide his true age and thus his true lineage, and as a result he did not gain access to his furies at the same age as other humans. Once he does, however, things change.
  • In Once a Witch, Tamsin was born to witches but has no powers. Subverted because it turns out her power is that she can take others powers and stop them from using it against them. Double subverted in the sequel Always a Witch because she loses her powers.
  • Joram, protagonist of The Darksword Trilogy, was born "Dead," without Magic in a world where Magic is Life.
  • This is the norm for the Others in the Watch books by Sergey Lukyanenko. It's extremely rare for a child of two Others to be an Other (about the same chances as an Other being born to Muggle parents), which is why many Other couples avoid having children, so as not to have to watch them grow old and die. The exceptions are the vampires and the werewolves, who usually turn their children at a young age. Kostya Saushkin is notable as being a vampire who resents his father for turning him. One of the novels has a story arc dealing with a plot by Geser and Olga to turn their Muggle son into an Other. Anton and Svetlana are exceptions in that they were foreseen to have a child who was an extremely-powerful Other (Svetlana is already a very powerful Light sorceress; Anton reaches Svetlana's level thanks to the Fuaran text).
  • Bink, protagonist of A Spell for Chameleon, the first book in the Xanth series, is thought to be this when he shows no magic talent in a land where everyone must have a magic talent by law. Subverted - it turns out that he did have a magic talent all along: he cannot be harmed by magic.

Live Action Television

  • Nathan Petrelli from Heroes is the only member of his immediate family who was born without powers. His parents injected him with Super Serum to make up for this "deficiency".

Tabletop Games

  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Kinfolk are humans or wolves with werewolf blood, immunity to the Delirium, at least loose connections to werewolf society, and nothing else. No shapeshifting and only low-level Gifts for you, sorry! Also, you're a huge disappointment to your werewolf relatives useful only as breeding stock and the driver of the getaway car.
    • The New World of Darkness's Werewolf: The Forsaken has the functionally wolf-blooded who get at least a little more respect than their spiritual ancestors. One of the splatbooks gave them their own share of abilities.
    • Mage: The Awakening has Proximi, who are dynastic hereditary Sleepwalkers: Sleepers who do not have the supernal power of mages, but can witness it without the threat of Paradox. A Proximus, unlike a normal Sleepwalker, is born into an established family of mages and other Proximi, and can use limited supernal magic. Mages also believe Proximi are more likely to Awaken than other Sleepers.

Video Games

  • Florian Greenheart in Overlord II was the only Elf who couldn't use magic. The disaster that sparked Fantastic Racism against all magical beings was triggered by his first attempt to fix this, and the magic hating Glorious Empire he founded is his second attempt.
  • Carver Hawke from Dragon Age II, one of the PC's two siblings who become mutually exclusive early on. A key part of Carver's story-arc is his inferiority complex stemming from the fact that both his elder sibling and his twin sister were born with magic, causing the family to move frequently to avoid the Templars and have their father spend more time with them to teach them to control their powers. Depending on your choices, he may even end up joining the Templar Order out of a mix of resentment and a desire to be "more than just your brother."
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, Jedi Grandmaster Satele Shan's son Theron is not Force-sensitive. Virtually all Sith Purebloods are Force-sensitive because those who are not are traditionally slain as infants.
  • The main character in Black Sigil seems to fall under this initially.

Web Comics

  • The Dark Knight in Harry Potter Comics is a squib and can't use wands or magic on his own. But he's highly practiced as a magical artificer, welding magic into everyday objects, including his own battle armor (kevlar-lined full plate) that makes him highly resistant to bullets, swords, AND magic attacks.
  • Battlefield Babysitter features Kat, whose parents and brothers all have superpowers. She has... pink hair. She also has experience in ballet, gymnastics and karate from when her parents tried to prepare her for potential powers. She also has the experience of being around other heroes so that she is uniquely qualified to babysit for other heroes superpowered kids.
  • Atomic Laundromat owner David is actually an aversion. He may be the son of an alien empress and earth's greatest super hero and the only one of his siblings without powers, but he firmly believes that one doesn't need powers to make a difference in the world so he's not the least bit bitter about it. Nor is he pathetic. If anything, he's frustrated that most people seem to expect him to be bitter or pathetic.

Western Animation

  1. Karin against weak hollow nonetheless