Good Omens Characters

There are a lot of characters in Pratchett and Gaiman's "Good Omens"—it is a book containing several subplots in addition to the main plot, each with its own cast of players. Perhaps the key characters, however, are the following.

  • Aziraphale is an angel, always well dressed and rather flamboyant, who owns a bookshop in Soho, London. Aziraphale's supposed role is to keep an eye on humanity and make sure they do good, rather than evil.
  • Crowley is a demon, and a close friend of Aziraphale's, although both would deny it. Where Aziraphale tries to convince humans to do good, Crowley tempts them to do bad things. He is always dressed in black and wears sunglasses.
  • Warlock is an eleven-year-old boy believed to be the Antichrist foretold in the prophecies of Agnes Nutter, a witch who was burned at the stake.
  • Adam is the boy who is actually the Antichrist—due to a mishap at the hospital, the two babies were confused for each other. Adam is prophesied to cause the apocalypse; however, ultimately he decides against it.
  • Three of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are War, Famine, and Pollution.
  • Anathema Device is the great granddaughter of the witch, Agnes Nutter, who works with Aziraphale, Crowley, and Adam to stop the apocalypse.
  • Satan is Adam's father, who is determined to bring about the Apocalypse in defiance of those on earth who oppose it.

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Anthony Crowley

Originally known as Crawly, Crowley is the demonic serpent who tempted Adam and Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. After the Fall of Man, he began living on Earth as a demonic agent. After living among humans for 6,000 years, he has grown fond of Earth and is dismayed after learning about the upcoming apocalypse. In an effort to postpone it, he teams up with his longtime enemy and reluctant friend, the angel Aziraphale. The two ensure that Warlock, the child they believe to be the antichrist, is raised perfectly balanced between good and evil. However, on Warlock’s 11th birthday, Crowley discovers that there was a mistake and that the real antichrist is missing.

Crowley considers himself different from other demons, because he did not so much “fall” from grace as “saunter vaguely downwards.” He has been a free thinker since before the Fall of Man, going so far as to question whether humans having knowledge of good and evil was truly so bad. He wears modern clothes, drives a car, and frequently uses technology. He looks down on more traditional demons like Hastur and Ligur for “being stuck in the 14th century.” His friendship with Aziraphale is largely a result of their mutual appreciation for Earth and human ingenuity. Their efforts to halt the apocalypse stem from this appreciation, and in rebelling against heaven and hell, Crowley exhibits free will, something that demons and angels are not supposed to have.

Crowley, along with Aziraphale, represents the idea that good and evil are only ideological constructs and that free will is both humanity’s greatest strength and greatest weakness. Though he is supposedly an emissary of evil, Crowley is an optimist at heart who firmly believes in the importance of choice. As opposed to individually corrupting souls, Crowley minorly inconveniences large numbers of people and then allows them to spread the negativity and hatred resulting from their annoyance to others. He is particularly proud of telemarketers, London traffic, and game shows. Unlike other demons, who focus on corrupting individual souls through trickery and temptation, Crowley allows humans to create and spread their own evil.

Aziraphale

Aziraphale, once the Angel of the Eastern Gate of Eden, is one of heaven’s emissaries on Earth and a part-time rare book dealer. After having spent 6,000 years working opposite Crowley on Earth, the two became reluctant friends, bonding over a mutual affection for humans. When Aziraphale learns about the upcoming apocalypse, he is initially ambivalent. However, after Crowley reminds him of everything that he will lose once Earth is gone, he agrees to help avert armageddon.

Much like Crowley, Aziraphale has always been different from the other angels. When Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, Aziraphale gave them his flaming sword to help them stay warm in the wilderness, in defiance of God’s decree. He and Crowley bonded over their shared empathy towards humankind, forming an arrangement during their time on Earth where they occasionally help one another out. Aziraphale’s decision to help Crowley stop the apocalypse represents an act of free will, which angels are not supposed to have. Thematically, this reinforces the humanist message of the novel: after being exposed to humans, Aziraphale not only believes in their essential goodness, but actually emulates them.

Aziraphale’s default catchphrase regarding the “ineffability” of God’s will further reinforces the humanist message of the novel. If God’s plan is unknownable even to other divine beings, then humans have no hope of understanding it. As a result, Gaiman and Pratchett posit that humanity ought to not waste time looking for divine guidance or meaning and...

(This entire section contains 2816 words.)

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should instead look after itself.

Adam Young

Adam Young is the antichrist, who possesses the power to bend reality to his will. However, after a mix-up at the hospital, he ends up being raised as a completely normal child without any divine or devilish influences. Instead, Adam spends his days having fun and causing mischief with his friends, a gang collectively known as “the Them.” Adam loves Tadfield, and this results in him subconsciously creating a protective barrier around it and carefully preventing anything about it from drastically changing.

On Adam’s 11th birthday, hell sends him a hellhound, which receives its purpose based on the name that Adam gives it. Adam names it “Dog,” thereby transforming the hellhound into a loyal and un-satanic companion. Soon after, Adam meets Anathem Device, a newcomer in town, and she lends him some of her occult magazines. Fascinated by the conspiracy theories they contain, Adam’s latent antichrist powers begin manifesting as the strange phenomena he reads about in the magazines.

As his powers grow, a voice begins urging Adam to destroy the world and remake it in his own image. The idea at first appeals to Adam, but then his friends remind him that if he destroys the world, he will not be able to play with them in Lower Tadfield. Adam’s love for Tadfield and desire to please his friends brings him back to his senses, and he commits to stopping the apocalypse.

Though he is fated to bring about the end of the world, Adam rejects his destiny and instead embraces free will, reinforcing the theme of humanism. His love for the people in his life and the town he grew up in overwhelms his satanic impulses, suggesting that the human capacity for love is stronger than any power of heaven or hell.

Anathema Device

Anathema Device is a young witch and the descendant of Agnes Nutter, the only entirely accurate prophetess in history. Anathema’s family has oriented itself around Agnes’s prophecies for generations, and Anathema views herself as the descendant most similar to Agnes. She carries Agnes’s book of prophecies around obsessively, carefully tracking the prophecies as they occur.

Anathema meets Aziraphale and Crowley as she is tracking the ley lines in Lower Tadfield. After they offer her a ride back to town in Crowley’s car, she accidentally leaves behind Agnes’s book. This distresses her, but her family has kept itemized notes about the prophecies and Anathema herself has memorized them. While living in Lower Tadfield, she becomes friends with Adam Young, lending him the occult magazines that inspire the awakening of his powers.

When the apocalypse begins, Anathema welcomes Newt, who, according to Agnes’s prophecies, will become her lover. The two work together to help counteract armageddon. After the apocalypse is averted, Anathema is at first lost without Agnes’s prophecies to guide her. However, Newt encourages her to live her life like a normal human, rejecting fate in favor of free will.

Newton Pulsifer

Newton Pulsifer is one of the two remaining members of the Witchfinder Army, led by Sergeant Shadwell. Originally employed as a wage clerk, he joined the Witchfinders in the hopes of finding more excitement. He is initially discouraged by Shadwell’s gruff manner and Madame Tracy’s eccentricities, but Newt comes to regard both of them fondly. Though he joins the Witchfinders on a whim, Newt is the descendant of Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer, the Witchfinder who burned Agnes Nutter at the stake.

Newt journeys to Lower Tadfield soon after the start of apocalypse and meets Anathema Device. Newt then assists Anathema in deciphering her family’s notes about Agnes’s prophecies in the hopes of averting the apocalypse.

After the showdown at the Tadfield Airforce Base, Newt stays the night with Anathema. The next morning, a package arrives for him containing a second book of Agnes Nutter’s prophecies. Newt dissuades Anathema from opening it, instead encouraging her to embrace free will and discover her own identity.

Sergeant Shadwell

A gruff and ornery old man, Sergeant Shadwell is one of the two remaining members of the Witchfinder Army. Despite the dwindling ranks, Shadwell keep a meticulous (fake) record that suggests that there are closer to 500 members so as to keep the army funded. He spends his days drinking condensed milk, harassing his neighbor Madame Tracy, and hunting down suspected witches. However, Shadwell’s understanding of witchcraft is narrow and often amounts to counting the number of nipples that someone has. After helping to avert the apocalypse, Shadwell considers retiring as a Witchfinder and moving into a bungalow with Madame Tracy.

Madame Tracy

Madame Tracy is a self-described medium and courtesan who lives in the same building as Sergeant Shadwell. Though Shadwell refers to her as a “painted jezebel,” she still makes him dinner and redirects his phone calls. After Aziraphale is discorporated, he briefly possesses Madame Tracy in order to travel to Lower Tadfield with Shadwell. After the apocalypse is averted, Madame Tracy and Sergeant Shadwell discuss retiring together and moving into a bungalow.

Agnes Nutter

Agnes Nutter is a 17th-century witch and the only person to ever publish a completely accurate book of prophecies, The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. Only one copy exists and it is passed down amongst Agnes’s descendants, the Device family. However, despite their accuracy, Agnes's prophecies are often too specific to make sense of until after the predictions have already come true. Though Agnes has died prior to the start of Good Omens, her descendants structure their lives around her prophecies and meticulously track them.

Towards the end of Good Omens, the manuscript of Agnes’s second book of prophecies, Further Nife and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter Concerning the World That is To Com; Ye Saga Continuef! is delivered to Newt and Anathema. However, after Newt asks Anathema whether she truly wants to be a descendant of Nutter for the rest of her life, it is implied that the two burn the manuscript together. Adam Young later sees Agnes’s spirit laughing as she floats away from Anathema’s cottage, indicating that Agnes’s spirit is free now that Anathema has chosen to live independently.

War

War, also known as Scarlett, Red, or Carmine Zuigiber, is one of the four horsepeople of the apocalypse. Prior to the start of the apocalypse, she works as a war correspondent for a tabloid magazine and always seems to know exactly where conflicts are going to start. When the apocalypse starts, she receives a sword from the International Express Delivery Man. During the showdown at the Lower Tadfield Airforce Base, War is defeated by Pepper. Like Famine and Pollution, War returns back to the “minds of men” after being discorporated.

Famine

Famine, also known as Dr. Raven Sable, is one of the four horsepeople of the apocalypse. Prior to the start of the apocalypse, he works as a celebrity nutritionist, manufacturing unhealthy microwave meals and weight-loss books that promote harmful diets. When the apocalypse starts, he receives a weighing scale from the International Express Delivery Man. During the showdown at the Lower Tadfield Airforce Base, Famine is defeated by Wensleydale. Like War and Pollution, Famine returns back to the “minds of men” after being discorporated.

Pollution

Pollution, also known as White, is one of the four horsepeople of the apocalypse. His predecessor was Pestilence, who retired after humankind discovered penicillin. Unlike War and Famine, Pollution cannot decide on a civilian job and instead has worked in a variety of environmentally destructive fields. When the apocalypse starts, he receives a crown from the International Express Delivery Man. During the showdown at the Lower Tadfield Airforce Base, Pollution is defeated by Brian. Like Famine and War, Pollution returns back to the “minds of men” after being discorporated.

Death

Death is one of the Four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse. Unlike the other four horsepeople, who have civilian counterparts, Death exists both everywhere and nowhere. War, Famine, and Pollution seem to defer to Death as their leader. When the apocalypse begins, Death does not receive an object but instead a message: “Come and see.” This is an allusion to the biblical book of Revelation 6:1-8, which details the release of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. As each horseman is released, they call on John of Patmos to bear witness to the apocalypse.

After Adam Young and his friends defeat War, Famine, and Pollution, Death informs them that he cannot be destroyed in the same way. Death is the shadow of creation, so to destroy death would be to destroy everything. Instead, Death departs peacefully after reminding everyone that War, Famine, and Pollution dwell in the minds of men, and thus are never far away.

Warlock Dowling

Warlock is the biological son of the Youngs and the unknowingly adopted son of the American diplomat who was supposed to raise the antichrist. Warlock is initially assumed to be the antichrist, and Crowley and Aziraphale attempt to raise him in such a way that he will be caught between good and evil, thereby postponing the apocalypse. When the promised hellhound does not arrive on Warlock’s 11th birthday, he is revealed to be a normal human child.

Sister Mary Loquacious

Sister Mary Loquacious is a satanist of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl. She is tasked with looking after the antichrist at the hospital. As a result of her scatterbrained nature, Sister Mary accidentally sends the infant antichrist home with the Youngs instead of the American family that he was meant to be raised by.

Eleven years after the mishandling of the infants, Sister Mary—now going by Mary Hodges—has largely renounced her religious affiliations and now hosts corporate trainings.

Pepper

Pepper is the only female member of the Them. Born Pippin Galadriel Moonchild, she resents being treated differently based on her gender and frequently bickers with boys. She helps defeat War during the confrontation at the Tadfield Airforce Base and is symbolically linked to War by her fiery and aggressive personality.

Wensleydale

Wensleydale is a member of the Them. He is intelligent and well-read, and often corrects the other members’ misinformed musings. He helps defeat Famine during the confrontation at the Tadfield Airforce Base and is symbolically linked to Famine by both his hunger for knowledge and the fact that his name is also a type of cheese.

Brian

Brian is a member of the Them. He is constantly dirty and very cynical. He helps defeat Pollution during the confrontation at the Tadfield Airforce Base and is symbolically linked to Pollution by his perpetual filth.

Greasy Johnson

Greasy Johnson is the leader of Lower Tadfield’s only other gang besides the Them, the Johnsonites. He is also the biological son of the American diplomat, having been put up for adoption after the infant swap at the hospital. He is large in stature and frequently antagonizes other children, though he secretly enjoys raising tropical fish.

Mr. Young

Mr. Young is Adam’s human father, an accountant from Lower Tadfield. Mr. Young and his wife, Deirdre, raise Adam completely unaware that he is the antichrist.

The Dowlings

The Dowlings are the American couple chosen to raise the antichrist. However, after a mix-up at the hospital, they end up raising the Youngs’ son, whom the Dowlings name Warlock.

Hastur and Ligur

Hastur and Ligur are dukes of hell. They give the infant antichrist to Crowley and inform him that the apocalypse is coming soon. Eleven years later, after hell realizes that Warlock is not the real antichrist, Hastur and Ligur are sent to retrieve Crowley for questioning. Crowley kills Ligur with holy water and traps Hastur inside of his answering machine long enough to escape.

R. P. Tyler

R. P. Tyler is the chairman of the Lower Tadfield Residents’ Association. He is a curmudgeon who frequently complains to the local newspaper about his neighbors. After providing directions to the Lower Tadfield Airforce Base for a number of characters, R. P. Tyler reports to Mr. Young that Adam is at the airforce base as well.

Four Other Riders of the Apocalypse

The Four Other Riders of the Apocalypse are a group of Hell’s Angels bikers who briefly accompany War, Famine, Pollution, and Death on the way to Lower Tadfield. They are prevented from continuing their journey by a rain of fish from the sky, which kills three of the bikers.

The International Express Delivery Man

The International Express Delivery Man brings the sword, scale, and crown to War, Famine, and Pollution, respectively. After those deliveries are complete, he appears before Death and gives him the message, “Come and See.” Death then kills him. After the Them defeat the Four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse, the delivery man reappears to collect the sword, scale, and crown.

Beelzebub and Metatron

Beelzebub and Metatron are the representative speakers of hell and heaven, respectively. They appear after Adam and the Them defeat War, Famine, and Pollution and question Adam as to why he doesn’t want to destroy the world. Adam tells them that there is no point in having a plan when it comes to humans, since humans are unpredictable. Confused, Metatron and Beelzebub depart to consult with their respective bosses.

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