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->''Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained [[TropeNamer angels unaware]]s.''
-->-- '''[[Literature/TheBible Hebrews 13:2, KJV]]'''

A character or entity that is implied to be, but never explicitly described or defined as, an angelic being or divine messenger. Sometimes [[GodWasMyCopilot revealed as such]] in the end of the story, but not always, leaving open the question of MaybeMagicMaybeMundane. All in all, a good reason to be [[SacredHospitality nice to your guests]], and BewareTheNiceOnes. If the characters GaveUpTooSoon, [[DramaticIrony only the audience will know]].

Often used to underscore the importance of SacredHospitality, as in the {{Trope Nam|er}}ing page quote.

See also GodWasMyCopilot, where the supernatural aspect is revealed after a long period of appearing normal.

Compare KingIncognito. SubTrope of SecretIdentity. Also compare DamselErrant and ManicPixieDreamGirl. SuperTrope to GodWasMyCopilot and LouisCypher.

If the ''angel'' [[IThoughtItMeant is unaware that they are an angel]], it falls under IAmWho

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/TheBigO''. Subverted in that while [[MeaningfulName she's called Angel]] and even has two scars on her back where there were once wings, she's not exactly an angel.
* ''Anime/ElCazadorDeLaBruja''. In the middle of Mexico/South of Mexico, there is an inn run by an old man; he stops the villains chasing the heroines for a day or two so that they can have some character development. This includes a TykeBomb and witch with magic powers, who he stops simply by looking at them. Apparently is really the Hopi Fertility Deity Kokopelli. He takes the form of a white author who died 3 years prior to the plot.
* In a somewhat... different example of this trope, [[spoiler: Rei Ayanami]] of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' is implied - but never outright stated - to be a somewhat different breed of "Angel". And while you are chewing on that and that infamous ending and movie sequel, somehow Anno manages to sneak in a little piece of information that [[spoiler: everybody is an angel, since humanity descended from the second angel, Lilith, just like all the other angels descend from Adam.]]
** In the Director's Cut version of Episode 24, Kaworu Nagisa spills the beans more explicitly. [[spoiler: He states that Rei Ayanami is the same as him, and that they have "both taken the forms of the Lilin (humans) on this planet". Kaworu is revealed to be the 17th Angel, and the Seele monoliths state that he is the vessel of the soul of Adam, the first Angel. Misato in End of Evangelion finds out that human life comes from an Angel called Lilith, just like Adam. Putting two and two together, Rei, the only one of her series of clones to have a soul, was an Angel with Lilith's soul.]]
* ''BlackButler:'' [[spoiler:Angela Blanc]] turns out to be this. So is [[spoiler: Ash Landers.]] They are also both very [[spoiler:evil]] and perverse.
* ''Manga/ChronoCrusade:'' [[spoiler: Ewan Remington]] eventually confesses he's one of these. In the English dub, he doesn't outright say it, but hints are still there.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The "dangerous lady" in the film version of ''Film/APrairieHomeCompanion''.
* In ''LoveActually'', Creator/RowanAtkinson's character is an angel, though it was more explicit in the original script. The only thing that was altered in his 'storyline' is a shot of him fading away as he walks off at the end.
* In ''Film/VanHelsing'' the title character is implied to be one of these. He is in the service of God, is apparently immortal (he remembers fighting Romans at Masada, and was Dracula's murderer hundreds of years prior to the movie), and in the novelisation of the film he is said to have two scars on his back where wings [[FallenAngel may have once been]]. Furthermore, Dracula repeatedly refers to him as [[spoiler: "[[ArchangelGabriel Gabriel]]" and "The Left Hand of God".]]
* The [[NoNamegiven hospitaller]] in ''Film/KingdomOfHeaven'' is implied to be this in the extended cut. According to the DVDCommentary, he may even be [[GodInHumanForm God himself]]. There are a number of hints throughout the movie, such a bush catching on fire just as he appears, and telling Balian that if God has a purpose for him, he will keep him safe--right after which Balian is the only one to survive a shipwreck. It's never explicitly stated, and the filmmakers even kept it secret from the actor who portrayed him, although they admit he probably figured it out anyway. The character is also a mouthpiece for a more modern and tolerant depiction of Christianity than the bloodthirsty bigots that make up most of the cast, including much that would have been considered hugely heretical at the time.
* The Man In White in ''PiratesOfTheGreatSaltLake''. He's assumed to be a MagicalNativeAmerican, at least until FridgeBrilliance sets in.
* In ''AlmostAnAngel'', former bank robber Terry Dean is convinced that he's died and been sent back to earth as an angel. Most of the other characters think he's just a eccentric, but accept him since he's a pretty nice guy despite the crazy. The last few minutes of the movie reveal that, indeed, he's an angel for real.
* ''Film/MaryPoppins'': She's seen ''putting her makeup on while sitting waist-deep in a cloudbank'', for [[{{Pun}} heaven's]] sake.
* The titular character in ''Film/TheLegendOfBaggerVance'' is subtly hinted to be one of these. The most overt example is when he says there's a storm coming on a perfectly clear day, which later develops a storm that prevents the hero from running out of town.
* ''PaleRider'': The "Preacher" rides out of the mountains on a pale horse as Megan prays for help against Lahood's men, and there are heavy implications that [[spoiler:he is a dead gunfighter sent back to Earth]].
* John Coffey in ''Film/TheGreenMile'' may or may not be an angel (if he isn't Christ).
* ''{{Film/Constantine}}'' provides some backstory about the rules of the cold war between Heaven and Hell. Neither side is able to set foot in the real world, but "half breeds" on either side are able to. They don't do much directly, instead influencing mortals to act on their behalf. With a whispered word they could give someone endless HeroicResolve, or drive them straight over the DespairEventHorizon. TheStinger implies that [[spoiler: Chaz was one all along.]]
* The DTV movies "Call Me Mrs Miracle" and "Mrs Miracle In Manhattan" don't say it, but the sweet old lady who fixes people's problems with common sense and sensitivity and just a tiny bit of magic is called Mrs Miracle, and at the end of both movies she walks into the distance, fades, and we look up and see a star twinkle in the sky.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Lani, from ''What Happened to Lani Garver'' is a MagicalQueer come to help the protagonist sort out her life, and who may or may not actually be an angel.
* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' The Wizards appear to be Men, but have magical powers and are very, very old and mysterious. Pippin at one point wonders just what Gandalf is, but gets distracted. The five Wizards are the Istari, a group of Maiar sent to help the peoples of Middle-earth; they are angels of the same order as Sauron. Three are Gandalf, Radagast and Saurman. The remaining two are the Blue Wizards (either Alatar and Pallando or Morinehtar and Romest) who disappeared into the east to combat Sauron by inciting rebellion. Learning this information requires digging through the appendices, Silmarillion,''Literature/{{Unfinished Tales|of Numenor and Middleearth}}'', ''Literature/HistoryOfMiddleEarth'' and Tolkien's letters.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', a literal angel in human form ([[spoiler:specifically, the Archangel Uriel]]) makes a brief appearance as [[AlmightyJanitor Jake the janitor]].
** And that literal angel's own words imply that Mouse is also this trope, albeit in dogasaurus-form rather than human and an Asian version, namely a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_guardian_lions foo dog]].
** Apparently, Halloween was an attempt to prevent mortals dying during a particularly powerful time of the year magically, when immortals come to feed. But, if everyone is wearing a mask, there's a strong possibility that you're about to try and eat someone your own psychic size. ''Hilarious!''
* The eponymous ''Literature/{{Skellig}}'' is definitely some sort of WingedHumanoid, but what exactly he is is ambiguous.
* Mr. Jingles from ''Literature/TheGreenMile''. The narrator doesn't think so, but there's definitely room for doubt.
* ''The Raven's Knot'' by Creator/RobinJarvis has a man who believed himself to have been saved by angels in WWII, but realizes eventually that he is one, trapped in human form since he descended. Oh, and angels look like [[OurAngelsAreDifferent giant two-headed dragons that breathe holy light]].
* Valentine Michael Smith from ''Literature/StrangerInAStrangeLand'' by Robert Heinlein is strongly implied to be the ArchangelMichael of the Bible. (It's never quite stated outright, but the ''particular'' way in which we never see both at the same time -- with the angel Michael being mysteriously absent from what we see of Heaven for most of the book -- strongly suggests the connection. Or else a ''suspiciously'' plot-convenient coincidence, of course.)
** In Heinlein's ''Literature/MagicInc'' it gradually becomes clearer and clearer that the witch in the story is no mere witch but the Earth Mother[=/=]Gaia herself.
* [[{{Dragonlance}} Reorx]] often walks Krynn disguised as a rather fashionable dwarf named Dugan Redhammer, often revealing himself at the end of the story.
* There is a short story by Creator/IsaacAsimov, where a character is revealed to be the ''Devil'' in the end - and it is unclear whether ''he'' is aware of that.
* Inverted in JohnCWright's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfChaos'': the protagonist is this to a minor character who gives her a lift. She and her friends later repay the favor by curing his DrivenToMadness relative.
* Implied with Scylla from ''Literature/TheDarkswordTrilogy''. She says she's a secret agent, but always flashes her ID card too fast for anyone to see exactly which agency she's an agent of. Later, it is said that the only ones who can use Time magic, as Scylla has done in the story, are Agents of God. (Or the [[CrystalDragonJesus Almin]], as the series' God is known).
* {{Inverted}} [[ParanoiaFuel in the most disturbing way]] in ''CthulhuMythos''. A recurring character, Nyarlathotep, often appears as a likeable (if somewhat... off) stranger to the main characters. The problem is that Nyarlathotep is an EldritchAbomination (more powerful than Cthulhu, at that), and his hobby is "screwing with people's lives".
* All through Creator/DanSimmons' ''Literature/HyperionCantos'', [[spoiler:A Bettik, the last surviving android in the galaxy]] is ordered about by every human in the series. It's only at the end of the final book that he is revealed to be [[spoiler:an observer created by the entities who had been driving events from their home in hyperspace]].
* Occurs in one of the stories in the children's book ''TheTenTalesOfShellover'' - an old man finds a starving cat in the snow and takes her in. She eats all his bread, milk and meat, and makes him use up all his logs, but he doesn't throw her out. In the end, she leaves, and his milk, bread, meat and logs never run out from that day forth. Interestingly, he may suspect that she isn't an ordinary cat when she asks him why he doesn't drive her away and leaves no footprints.
* This is the theme in Leo Tolstoy's short story "Where Love is, There God is Also." Martin, a poor cobbler who lost his son years ago, has a vision one day that he would be visited by Jesus Christ in course of the day. In the course of that day, he is visited by a number of people in unfortunate circumstances whom he treats kindly. At the end of the day, he realizes that he has been visited by Jesus after all.
* ''Literature/TheMortalInstruments'':
** [[spoiler:Clary unintentional, as Valentine didn't know Jocelyn was pregnant when he experimented on her with angel's blood]].
** [[spoiler:Jace intentionally as the angel's blood that Valentine used to experiment on him with gave him certain characteristics (such as the ability to jump supernaturally high)]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Mr. Roarke on ''FantasyIsland.''
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'':
** It's implied that the hallucinatory guides of multiple characters are something like this. They are visible to whoever they want and corporeal whenever they want. In the end, [[spoiler:as Virtual Six and Virtual Baltar talk, Six says they work for God and Baltar says the entity they work for does not care for that name. Which basically means it's either the/a god with a sense of humor, or a sufficiently advanced alien being/machine/whatever that some of these "virtual beings" deify.]]
** [[spoiler: Starbuck turned out to be a corporeal version.]]
* ''Series/TouchedByAnAngel'' centered around this trope, taking the point of view of the angels who are WalkingTheEarth helping people. The finale, however, cranks it UpToEleven when it's revealed that [[spoiler: Monica has been helping ''[[JesusWasWayCool Jesus]]'' unawares.]]
** ''Series/HighwayToHeaven'' uses the same premise, only it's one male angel (played by Michael Landon) instead of two female angels. He's been sent to Earth to do enough good to "earn his wings"
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** Anna spent some time in mental institutions as a schizophrenic patient. She fell to become human, was born as a baby and grew up, then regained her own grace.
** ArchangelGabriel, who had been hiding as [[spoiler: The Trickster]] since ''seasons'' prior. He has been hiding on Earth for millenia and done such a good job of it that other magical beings and even non-Christian gods do not realize that he is an angel and not one of them.
** The season 5 finale: [[spoiler: [[AuthorAvatar Chuck]] finishes writing his story and vanishes with a knowing smile on his face. Debate is raging in the fandom about whether this means the writer was literally God.]]
** An episode in season 7 reveals [[TraumaInducedAmnesia an amnesiac]] [[spoiler:Castiel]].
* The homeless girl in the episode "So-Called Angels" of ''MySoCalledLife''. Probably.
* In the finale of ''AshesToAshes'', [[spoiler: Gene Hunt is revealed as a deceased human who, although having no conscious knowledge of it, has acted as a guide and protector of the other cops stumbling across him in cop purgatory. He fully and knowingly takes up the mantle by series' end]].
* There's a recurring homeless woman who might be this in ''SonsOfAnarchy'' if [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane she's not just crazy]].
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'' had an episode where Brennan talks, late at night while alone in the lab, with a janitor named Micah. Considering that this character never appeared on the show before or after, no one seemed to see him except Brennan, and the name does refer to a Biblical prophet, there was some speculation about him.
* ''Series/TheMessengers'': Vera, Erin, Joshua, Peter and Raul. They themselves don't know what this at first.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster's song "I Could be an Angle" is based on the [[RougeAnglesOfSatin misspelled]] sign of a beggar who was trying to invoke this trope.
* This idea is the main theme of Michael W. Smith's "Angels Unaware," undoubtedly inspired by the TropeNamer:
-->Maybe there is more than meets the eye\\
Who's that stranger there beside you?\\
Don't be smug and don't be cruel\\
Maybe we are entertaining angels unaware.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]
* In Myth/NorseMythology, Odin was known to wander around as an old traveler. He tended to wear a blue cloak and a hat that was pulled down to hide his missing eye. This avatar, Grimnir, is often considered to be the origin of the [[RobeAndWizardHat classic image of the wizard]]. Some examples from Old Norse literature:
** In ''Literature/VolsungaSaga'', Odin in disguise visits Sigurd repeatedly to give him valuable advice.
** In ''Literature/HrolfKrakisSaga'', a magically skilled, one-eyed Swedish farmer called Hrani gives advice to Hrolf Kraki and his champions that helps them overcome their opponent King Adils. On their way home, Hrani wants to present them weapons, yet they decline. Only afterwards it dawns on them that Hrani was Odin.
* In Myth/ClassicalMythology, Baucis and Philemon (as told in ''Literature/TheMetamorphoses'') received with glad hospitality two weary travellers whom their neighbors had driven off. Since these were Zeus and Hermes, their neighbors' village got transformed into a lake, and them into fish, while Baucis and Philemon received their wish: [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming that they should die at the same moment so neither of them had to live widowed.]] And their bodies were transformed into two trees with entwined branches.
** You must appreciate exactly how often this sort of thing happens in Greek and Roman tradition. Even the fact that Evander treated Heracles nicely as a stranger was treated as a throw away line in the ''Literature/{{Aeneid}}''.
* Literature/TheBible quote above refers to the hospitality that Abraham offered angels, making this OlderThanFeudalism. (Literature/{{Genesis}} 18:2-16).
** According to the Book of Acts, Paul and Silas were taken to be Zeus and Hermes in disguise during their travels. Denying it got them in a LOT of trouble.
** In the story of Lot, two angels visit the city of Sodom and are put up for the night by Lot and his family, who protects his divine guests when his neighbors wanted to ''rape'' them. Lot refuses to let the mob do so and sends out his own daughters instead, but the mob is relentless. (Genesis 19:1-11) Lot offering his daughters in exchange isn't seen all that favorably by many people.
** See also the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, which involved him traveling around with Raphael, one of the archangels. When he first appears, the Archangel Raphael is disguised as Azarias, the son of the great Ananias, and is seen traveling with Tobias. After traveling a bit, Raphael proceeds to show him how to drive off the demon Asmodeus, who had killed the seven men Tobias' bride Sarah had married before, after which he (Raphael) bound the demon. He also showed Tobias’ how to cure his father’s (Tobit’s) blindness, before revealing himself as the Archangel.
** Jacob/Israel had a wrestling match with an angel.
** And in the New Testament we have the two men discussing Jesus' death and rumors of his resurrection while walking to Emmaus. A third man joins them and explains the whole deal...guess who he was?
* Jewish tradition has the prophet Elijah loving to pull this one, going in disguise as a beggar or traveler of some sort. Treat him nice and you'll be rewarded umpteen times over. The [[AnAesop Aesop]] of all the stories is basically "be nice to strangers and help those in need". Good Aesop.
** Jewish tradition also has that Elijah was human back in Biblical days, but according to legend, he never died and ascended to heaven while still alive. To this day, it is believed he [[WalkingTheEarth turns up on Earth sometimes to deliver unexpected help]].
** According to some traditions, he became Sandalphon, an angel associated with prayer and children.
* In Hawaiian Mythology, Pele tests people on their SacredHospitality using this method. She frequently will appear as [[BewareOfHitchhikingGhosts a hitchhiker on the side of the road]] (either as an old woman in a white dress or a younger woman in a red dress, and sometimes accompanied by a small dog). If the traveler picks her up, they often will be rewarded somehow...but if they don't, they run into some type of misfortune. She also is said in some stories to go to people's houses disguised as an old woman seeking food or lodging.
* The "Three Nephites" of Mormon religion are this in practice, if not technically.
* In some variants of the legend of [[Myth/SaintGeorge St. George and the Dragon]], George kills the dragon ''after'' his martyrdom, having been sent back from Heaven for this purpose. In a Muslim interpretation of the same legend, the knight who called himself George was actually Al-Khidr, an angelic immortal who travels the world in disguise and aids good people in need.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The ''Qashmallim'', from ''TabletopGame/PrometheanTheCreated'' roleplaying game line. Interesting in that these entities, while unquestionably powerful and apparently representatives of a higher power, might not be actual ''angels'' as such. Their presentation, however, is very much angelic (often in the more inhuman "wheels with wings and eyes" vein).
** There are also, in a case of this trope being a two-edged sword, the True Fae Charlatans from ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheLost'', [[TheFairFolk very, very nasty and amoral fairies]] that have gone into the human world and lost all of their power and forgotten whom they are.
* The case for most background [=NPCs=] in ''TabletopGame/InNomine''.
** The case for a lot of [=PCs=], for that matter.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' both the Brettonian Green Knight and Grombrindal, the White Dwarf could possibly be this; the Green Knight may be the founder of Brettonia, while there are a ''lot'' of theories on the White Dwarf, again including the possibility that he's the founder of the Dwarven nation.
** And in 40k, The God Emperor loved doing this to people. Specifically when he's recruting his sons the Primarch's.
* In ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' the god Bahamut sometimes [[WalkingTheEarth walks the material plane]] in the form of an elderly man who is accompanied by seven trained canaries.
** In some versions, these seven canaries are actually seven ancient gold dragons in disguise. Do not mess with this guy. Even if it looks like [[CirclingBirdies he's just been hit and is an easy target.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* In ''AnInspectorCalls'' it is heavily implied that the inspector is not what he seems, although it is not explicit.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Videogames]]
* In ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'', Sonic's amnesiac new friend [[spoiler: Chip, is revealed to be Light Gaia, the opposite of the final boss]].
* At the end of ''VideoGame/TheGranstreamSaga'', [[spoiler: Arcia]] turns out to have been a celestial being all along. Considering that this character is also one of the worst [[PuritySue Purity Sues]] in video game history, this realization probably drove her past the point of likability for ''many'' players.
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'':
** [[spoiler:Joshua]] displays an assortment of clearly divine powers before later being revealed as [[spoiler:[[PhysicalGod the Composer]]]].
** And then, once you start getting the secret reports, you learn that [[spoiler:Mr. H is ''literally'' an Angel. As well as Joshua's boss. Wings and everything, in the secret ending.]]
* ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'' contains the Stranger side-missions "I Know You" where a well dressed stranger from John's past meets up with him three times in each of the game's main locations. (New Austin, Nuevo Paraíso, and West Elizabeth/)The final meeting is the most notable, as [[spoiler: John, finally fed up with not getting any answers from this guy, shoots him three times as he's walking away. The bullets apparently pass right through the guy, but leave no evidence that they even touched him. When John looks away for a moment, he's gone.]]
** The man calls the last place that they meet "a fine spot." [[spoiler: That same area is where John, his wife, [[AndZoidberg and Uncle]] are eventually buried.]]
--> '''John:''' [[spoiler: Damn you!]]
--> '''The Strange Man:''' [[spoiler: Yes, many have.]]
** ''[[VideoGame/RedDeadRedemptionUndeadNightmare Undead Nightmare]]'' has a hispanic woman who appears as a background extra in many of the game's cutscenes. Since attention is never drawn to her most players don't even notice, or if they do, they chalk it up to a reused model. At the end of the game, however, it's revealed that this woman is actually [[spoiler: Ayauhtéotl, an Aztec goddess who has been quietly guiding John towards the source of the undead plague: An ancient mask stolen from it's crypt by Abraham Reyes.]]
* The InteractiveFiction game ''{{Vespers}}'' begins with the Biblical quote, and begins as the characters, Medieval monks, grant a place to stay to an almost-dead, beautiful girl that arrives at their gates. [[spoiler:It's a subversion: she's a ''demon''.]]
* It is very heavily implied (though not ''quite'' confirmed,) that the gravedigger in ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'' is Zeus or one of the others gods in disguise.
* The Mysterious Stranger and Miss Fortune in the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' series are often interpreted as such.
* In in-universe example occurs in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', where until the moment they absorbed Mirmulnir's soul and gained the ability to use the Thu'um, the [[CrystalDragonJesus Dragonborn]] spent most of their life believing themselves to be (and actually being) merely a normal person. Even afterwards, they are as much in their dark about their true nature as everyone else until the Greybeards explain it to them.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''Webcomic/NoRestForTheWicked'', [[http://www.forthewicked.net/archive/03-02.html the innkeeper asks whether Perrault is the sort of fairy who goes about testing people and rewarding the kind and generous]]. Perrault thinks it makes it too easy, but assures him that a fairy would never tell in advance.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'':
** Dr. Clef is heavily implied, but never confirmed, to be {{Satan}}. WordOfGod is that he is, but not in the way you think. What exactly this means is unclear.
** [[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-343 SCP-343]] claims that he's {{God}}, but it's unknown if he really is or if he's just a powerful RealityWarper with a God complex.
** [[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/dr-clef-s-proposal Dr. Clef's SCP-001]] is all but outright stated to be the angel tasked with guarding the Garden of Eden.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Subverted in the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "Freak City". Finn secretly hopes a beggar is a disguised wizard or elf, and gives him food. The beggar reveals himself as "Magic Man" and rewards Finn with "a mystical magical favor" — turning him into [[BlessedWithSuck a giant foot]].
* ''TheSimpsons'' plays with this with social worker Gabriel, who Homer is [[WrongGenreSavvy convinced is actually a messenger of a higher power.]]
[[/folder]]

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