Servant of the Bones Characters
by Anne Rice

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Servant of the Bones Characters

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Azriel, while fascinating historically, is a fairly shallow character, an avenging angel made flesh once again. His faith and the testing of that faith comprise his sole motivation. At each step, he tries to determine what God would want him to do, what more God requires of him, and what steps he must take to reach heaven. As a metaphor, however, Azriel is an excellent illustration of the childlike ideal of faith. He accepts instruction from his masters, and when they betray him, he waits for signs from Yahweh himself. Through his faith he is transformed, freed of the need for a master and from dependence on the Bones. He is sustained by water and his faith in God alone.

Far more complex is the character of Gregory Belkin. A Hasidic prodigy, he turns against his faith and heritage, choosing instead to found a cult to redirect people's faith in God to himself. With cold calculation, he plots the "assassinations" of his stepdaughter, Rachel, and his twin brother Nathan, and through Nathan's death he mimics the resurrection of Christ, transforming himself into a god. Azriel represents Belkin's ultimate temptation: to become a godlike spirit, a creature beyond earthly concerns. It is this ravaging spirit that the witch Asenath would have wanted to become the Servant of the Bones, a creature turned away from God and controllable in its anger and vanity.

For an interviewer, Jonathan (literally, "beloved of God") takes a surprisingly active role in the narrative. To Azriel's story, he brings a sense of the traditions and sufferings of the Jewish people, including a tinge of the Holocaust, to the discussions of the Israelites' various exiles and captivities throughout history. His knowledge of Rachel also gives an unusually human, emotional grounding to an otherwise fantastic tale.