Celestial Paragons and Archangels
All coins have two sides. And for the rulers of Hell
/a bad place who call themselves Demon Lords And Arch Devils
, there are these guys.
They're the top angels
(or angel-like beings) around and can usually be found as the heads of a Council of Angels
. The one thing they have in common is that they can kick a whole lot of ass
and are usually the Big Goods
of the setting.
Although it's best to keep in mind, as with the case of an Ascended Demon
, you may have a few of the Fallen Angel
version of these running around, which is bad news for the heroes. They might also suffer from The Gods Must Be Lazy
as well, or be Jerkass Gods
for the really unhelpful ones.
See the most famous examples in Archangel Michael
, Archangel Gabriel
, Archangel Raphael
, Archangel Uriel
, and (possibly) the Fallen Angel
version in Archangel Lucifer
See also Our Angels Are Different
, Our Gods Are Greater
, Council of Angels
, Celestial Bureaucracy
, Divine Ranks
, Fantasy Pantheon
and it's Inverted Trope
, Demon Lords And Arch Devils
Also of note, this trope is to Big Good
as Demon Lords And Arch Devils
is to Big Bad
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- The angels in Shade, the Changing Man are smug, brute-force manipulators who don't even bother attempting to appeal to morality or necessity. They brought Shade back to life but also made him crazier by taking a piece of his mind to control him with. They resurrected Kathy and withheld the Mind Rape memories so intense they killed her, then extorted her with them to make her keep Shade under control. They're such Jerkass Gods that they make a bargain with an Faux Affably Evil Devil seem sane by comparison.
- The Black Hosts and the Archangels they work for are good guys in Ghost Rider comics. They rarely show up and even more rarely do they do anything, unless there is no other way to stop a Downer Ending or if they have Fallen, but those who fall are considered "former". Some of the arch angels get away with a lot of Jerk Ass activity without losing their rank but most of them seem to be pretty nice. Archangels are also responsible for appointing the angels of death.
- Archangels have showed up in Supernatural, particularly in seasons 5-6. The only resident Archangels are Archangel Michael and Archangel Raphael. Lucifer is still one even after his fall, but is no longer part of the Heavenly Host. Archangel Gabriel went missing too. Interestingly, Uriel is present, but is not an Archangel. It's implied that they have a full celestial hierarchy except for the missing God. Castiel works for Zachariah and Anna refers to having been his superior, while Zachariah works for the Archangels, Michael in particular.
- Eternal Law has angels in disguise - mostly - as lawyers.
- The Aash Ra are these in Astral Dawn.
- Tolkien's The Silmarillion features the Valar, the most powerful beings in existence behind Eru. Morgoth (Sauron's boss), happened to be the most powerful of them, and rebelled against his maker.
- Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, and Uriel are invoked by name during rituals in the Deryni novels. They variously manifest as pillars of light, or elements (earth, air, fire and water), or a luminous beings that seem to have wings. They are identified with compass points or the Four Winds as well as the Four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water):
- Raphael is associated with Air, the east, and the colour gold. When Deryni conjure a ritual circle, they start and end with his position. He's also associated with healing, so he gets particular mention when Rhys and Evaine dedicate their newborn Healer son Tieg in the short story "Healer's Song".
- Gabriel is associated with Water, the west and the colour blue. His patron is the Virgin Mary, because he delivered the news that she would bear the Son of God. Kelson takes Gabriel's position in Liam's killijŠlay in King Kelson's Bride.
- Michael is associated with Fire, the south and the colour red. He is the patron and namesake of the Michaelines, a militant religious order that functioned like a cross between the Jesuits and the Templars. Kelson summons Michael by name to destroy Sidana's ring in King Kelson's Bride.
- Uriel is associated with Earth, the north, and the colour green. When King Cinhil dies during a ritual, Uriel is seen escorting his soul from the circle to join the souls of his deceased wife and son.
- The Archangels and the ever-elusive Almighty in The Dresden Files, who prefer to work In Mysterious Ways so far. Non-religious Harry identifies them as "powerful beings of Nevernever", on par with the Faerie Queens and beyond.
- Stronger. Uriel is powerful enough to destroy entire galaxies, though it's not not clear if the other Archangels are at his level of power. It is suggested by Mab, the Winter Queen, that he is the most dangerous of all the Archangels, primarily because he's the craftiest. Possibly worth noting is that even among the Archangels, there is a hierarchy, or at least defined roles. Uriel is the protector of Freewill and will do anything in his power and limits to complete this duty. It has led him to be their wetworks guy.
- In the Young Wizards series there's the Winged Defender, a.k.a. the One's Champion (a.k.a. Thor, a.k.a. Athena, a.k.a. the archangel Micheal). S/He only rarely intervenes directly, since fully manifesting strains the fabric of reality almost to the breaking point, but when does s/he has no problem kicking the ass of the Lone Power. In addition to occasionally kicking the ass of the Big Bad, his/her responsibilities include granting the titular wizards their power (which was the inspiration for the legend of Prometheus), and also keeping the True Name of God in several separate pieces, since the sheer power radiated by God's whole name would destroy entire universes.
- Played with in His Dark Materials - there's good angels and bad angels. The 'lead' angel has usurped god and rides around in his floating fortress.
- In L Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter, Miranda is quite shocked to learn that one being Mephisto can summon is Uriel. At the end, he gives instructions to Astreus, who had been rather high-ranking himself.
- In Good Omens, these are Aziraphale's bosses.
- The Mortal Instruments features Raziel, who created the Shadowhunters. Also, Michael, Gabriel and many others are mentioned but do not appear. Raziel explicitly states that God exists, but what degree of direct interest He takes in earthly affairs is ambiguous.
- Dungeons & Dragons, obviously. Specifically, we have:
- The Celestial Hebdomad for the Lawful Good archons. These seven, one for each of the Seven Heavens of Celestia, most closely resemble the traditional Christian concept of archangels.
- Talisid and the Five Companions, paragons of the Neutral Good guardinals. Their beast-like forms seem inspired by totemic or shamanistic 'spirit guides'.
- The Court of Stars, leaders of the Chaotic Good eladrins. They're more like fairy lords than angels, but embody Chaotic Good all the same.
- The Archangels in In Nomine. They are much more powerful than regular angels, but are Word-bound (forced to operate in accordance with their descriptive Word) and thus limited in thought and action.
- The Angels are the Imperators of Heaven in Nobilis- though in a case of Light Is Not (Exactly) Good, they are just above all else. The schism that resulted in the Fallen Angels existing (at least in third edition) was that some of the angels loved everyone, even the corrupt... and for this, they were cast into Hell.
- Considering the Space Marines of Warhammer 40,000 are often considered to be the God Emperor's Angels of Death, it would logically dictate that his 20 Physical God sons that were the genetic templates for the Space Marine Legions would be his Archangels (and It's especially evident with Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels, who happens to be a Winged Humanoid). Of course, once Chaos had come about in the Horus Heresy, half of them went the other route...
- If the Space Marines are considered to be Angels, then the Living Saints can be considered to be the Emperor's actual Archangels.
- Promethean: The Created features qashmallim, who are not-quite-but-maybe angels serving a cosmic Principle. There are arch-qashmal as well, and when they show up, something big happens... though not necessarily nice. The book lists an example of an entire city convening to build an edifice before leaping off of it, and one adventure features an arch-qashmal about to irradiate all of Detroit unless the Prometheans make a sacrifice.
- The Exalted, Celestials in general and Solars in particular, were this during the First Age. Sort of. And in the Age of Sorrows, the golden Chosen also come in nihilist black and hellfire green...
- Bayonetta has the angels acting as the antagonists. Each angel even has its own page to tell us where in the hierarchy it rests.
- Abbadon and Azrael in Darksiders.
- A staple in Shin Megami Tensei series. Whether they mean well for humans varies between games.
- Most notably, the Archangel Gabriel and Remiel are often presented as the only sane guys in the Law faction. Most other angels are utterly subsumed to God's will, and either are demented Knight Templars of the worst kind, outright despise every living being with free will, or both.
- Touhou. The Big Bad of Scarlet Weather Rhapsody is a Celestial Paragon who cause disasters For the Evulz, out of boredom. But then Tenshi is kinda different...
- The Angiris Council of the Diablo universe rules the High Heavens.
- Imperius is the Archangel of Valor, who believes in "blood for blood" when it comes to demons, and is probably the biggest jerk on the council, especially when it comes to humans.
- Tyrael is the Archangel of Justice, and one of the only angels who actually gives a damn about humanity, to the point that he becomes one in III to aid humanity directly against Hell.
- Auriel is the Archangel of Hope, and the other main proponent for humanity. Without Malthael, she's the one tasked with keeping the Angiris Council together.
- Itherael is the Archangel of Fate, who is in charge of angelic records and divining the future of Sanctuary.
- Malthael, the Archangel of Wisdom and once the leader of the Angiris Council. He disappeared soon after the Worldstone did, and his whereabouts were unknown until he resurfaced as the Angel of Death in Reaper of Souls, having gone evil and seeking to destroy humanity and the Nephalem.
- Lineage 2 has angels as a monsters. They are God's servants, but they look down on lesser races (including all P Cs) and will attack them for insolence when approached. Epic Boss Baium spawns with several angels attacking him. They are almost invincible and need to be controlled. If they are not dealt with, Baium attacks more randomly and loot from him can be severely decreased.