Angels and Demons
Aziraphale (An Angel, and part-time rare book dealer)
The angel who guarded the gates of Eden with a flaming sword, Aziraphale has lived among humans for thousands of years, and has become quite fond of them as a result. Due to his friendship with Crowley and all those years among free-willed mortals, he's not quite as pure-hearted as he should be.
- Asexuality: The way it's phrased is a little ambiguous, but the implication is that being sexless unless he really wants to make an effort means he doesn't normally have a sex drive or the parts to act on it with.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: With Crowley at the end. Nothing comes of it, though.
- Badass Bookworm: Owns a bookstore, and while that's what he truly enjoys, he is still a soldier of Heaven and expected to fight in the coming Apocalypse.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Technically, angels and demons don't need to breathe.
- Being Good Sucks: His Chronic Hero Syndrome often inconveniences him.
- Beware the Nice Ones: See Mugging the Monster below.
- Collector of the Strange: Bibles with interesting misprints.
- Cosmic Plaything: Ineffably so. He and Crowley spend most of the novel attempting to avert the Apocalypse, but when it comes down to it, the most significant work in stopping it was that of Anathema, Newton, and the Them. In the epilogue, Aziraphale and Crowley speculate that the last few days' events had been the actual divine plan all along.
- Demonic Possession: Angelic possession, rather. He body surfs to a few people attuned to be mediums, hijacking their bodies for a time.
- Disco Dan: Unlike Crowley, he doesn't try very hard to keep up with trends throughout history. His wardrobe is from the fifties, he refers to The Velvet Underground as "be-bop", and the narration mentions that he only ever learned one dance (the gavotte) and was very disappointed when it went out of style a few decades later.
- The Empath: Aziraphale, when they're trying to find The Anti-Christ, is puzzled when he doesn't detect any evil in the area; the only thing he senses is pure love.
- Flaming Sword: Well, briefly. He gave it away to Adam and Eve after they were banished from Eden, because they were defenseless and cold and he wanted to help keep them warm. It becomes a Running Gag that he keeps telling his superiors that he "misplaced it". Becomes a Chekhov's Gun later on when War receives it, and eventually The Them use it to defeat three of the horsemen (well, bikepeople).25 And the Lord spake unto the Angel that guarded the eastern gate, saying 'Where is the flaming sword that was given unto thee?'//26 And the Angel said, 'I had it here only a moment ago, I must have put it down some where, forget my own head next.'//27 And the Lord did not ask him again.
- Friendly Enemy: With Crowley. They're basically enemies in name only.
- Friend to All Living Things: Rather, he tries to be.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: An angel frequently having meals, getting drunk with, and all around hanging out with a demon.
- Going Native: Like Crowley, after spending most of creation on Earth, he winds up liking it more than the alternative.
- Good Is Not Nice: He's aligned with the forces of good, but also perfectly willing to do some quite unscrupulous and unpleasant things if it's needed to save humanity. And don't threaten to burn his shop. The most notable is that he's totally willing to shoot a living human child in the face to stop the apocalypse and not as a last resort or because it's necessary, but because it's the easiest way of ending everything. He's only stopped by the resistance of the human woman he's currently sharing a body with.
- Gosh Darn It to Heck!: He doesn't swear. Well, he does. Twice.
- Healing Hands: "Lord, heal this bike."
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Crowley. (Although "non-sexual" might be a more accurate term, since the narrative makes it clear that neither of them even have a technical gender, let alone sexual orientation.)
- I Can't Dance: The only dance he knows is the gavotte. Being immortal, he doesn't bother trying to keep up with the modern dances.
- Innocent Bigot: Despite all evidence to the contrary, and despite basically considering him a friend, he's still convinced that Crowley is incapable of feeling love or loyalty, simply because he's a demon. To him, it's not prejudice, it's just a fact. In complete fairness, it's supposed to be, but Crowley's been around humans too long.
- I Resemble That Remark!: Shadwell calls him a southern pansy. Aziraphale later asserts that he is not just a southern pansy, he is The Southern Pansy.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He can snark with the best of them.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: Tries to convince Heaven to stop the war once, but quickly realizes there's no point.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: After the events of the climax, like most characters in the book, he forgets what happened.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: The Flaming Sword. "Once you learn, you never really forget how." Aziraphale's Moment of Awesome.
- Light Is Not Good: See Not So Different.
- Mind over Matter: He is capable of changing reality with his thoughts (for instance, his repair of Anathema's bike), though he is often rather bashful about it if someone points out that he's done so.
- Mistaken for Gay: It's stated that pretty much everyone's first impression of Aziraphale, among other things, is that he's "gayer than a treeful of monkeys on nitrous oxide". Him hanging around with Crowley all the time certainly doesn't help.
- Mugging the Monster: Members of The Mafia who threaten his bookstore mysteriously fail to do so again. He probably doesn't harm them, but there's always that ambiguous little possibility...
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Maybe. "Wouldn't it be better to just..."
- National Stereotypes: The posh British gentleman. He is not, in fact, British, but it just seems to rub off.
- No Biological Sex: Angels are sexless unless they feel like making an effort. He's male by appearances, though.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Even Gaiman and Pratchett fell victim to this.Pratchett: It should be Azz-ear-raf-AE-el, but we got into the habit of pronouncing it Azz-ear-raf-ail, so I guess that's the right way now.
- Odd Friendship: With Crowley. Stuffy angel and stylish demon.
- Pet the Dog: Yes, from an angel, and one he feels vaguely guilty about - he "lost" his flaming sword because he gave it to Adam and Eve, feeling sorry for them.
- Playing with Fire: Aziraphale makes a traffic ticket spontaneously combust. Not to mention his original weapon, a flaming sword.
- Precision F-Strike: He swears twice in one chapter, which the book points out is something he hasn't done in six thousand years.
- Punch-Clock Hero: Not doing a lot to actually destroy the forces of Hell. He even agrees with Crowley, if Heaven wins, things would be boring.
- Real Name as an Alias/Steven Ulysses Perhero/Sue Donym: Ezra Fell and A. Ziraphale
- Really 700 Years Old: Only a tiny bit older than the earth itself.
- Samaritan Syndrome: Comes with being an angel. He can't help but help people he passes.
- Screw Destiny: As an angel, he's supposed to be working towards Armageddon. He has other ideas.
- Spell My Name with an "S": He's called "Azraphel" in a 2007 Italian translation.
- Staying Alive: Well, he's not mortal, so he can't die - he just gets discorporeated.
- Sweet Tooth: He seems to like hot chocolate as much as he likes liquor.
Crowley (An Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards)
Crowley was the Serpent who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. Having lived on Earth for past six thousand years, he's become rather fond of humanity. His friendship with Aziraphale means he's not quite as evil as a demon should be, though he was never very evil to begin with.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: With Aziraphale.
- Badass in a Nice Suit/Man of Wealth and Taste: His taste in his human persona.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: As mentioned above, angels and demons technically don't need to breathe.
- Blow You Away: Crowley toys with the idea of conjuring up a hurricane to eliminate rival job applicants.
- Care-Bear Stare: When filling in Aziraphale's job, which he does sometimes to maintain the status quo.
- Catchphrase: "Ciao!"
- Cool Car: The Bentley.
- Cool Shades: Which he wears all the time. It emphasizes his shady nature.
- Cosmic Plaything: Applies equally to Crowley as it does to Aziraphale.
- Crazy-Prepared: Kept a container of incredibly deadly holy water just in case.
- Dark Is Not Evil: See Not So Different.
- Deadly Prank: The bucket over the door filled with holy water trick. Subverted when he turns the paintball ammunition into actual bullets, because he also uses his powers to ensure that no one actually dies as a result. Apart from his entry in the Dramatis Personae, this is one of the earliest hints in the novel that he's really not particularly evil.
- Death Glare: when deployed by Crowley reality tends to realign accordingly.
- The Determinator: He manages to hold his flaming wreckage of a Bentley intact through sheer force of will in the climax.
- Drives Like Crazy: Something of a speed demon. He never actually hits anyone, except Anathema, which is plot-important, but it's really not for lack of opportunity.
- Energy Beings: Converts to energy to travel through a phone line.
- Even Evil Has Standards: After getting praise from downstairs for his work in Spain, despite not having worked there recently, he went there to find out about this thing called the Spanish Inquisition that the humans created all by themselves without any hellish influence. After finding out, he drank himself into a stupor.
- Evil Is Petty: The type of evil he likes to inspire in people; nasty, petty, small-minded little cruelties fueled by bad tempers and off days. It doesn't require much work on his part to get to thousands in this way, and — in his opinion, the best part — people will come up with the evil themselves. People are so much more creative than demons.
- FaceHeel Turn: Crowley is said to be one of the fallen angels, but it turns out that he's not really evil per se. It's less that he became evil, and more that he just hung out with the wrong people. It's right there in the Dramatis Personae introduction:Crowley (An Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards)
- Felony Misdemeanor: Crowley's reaction to his immediate superiors being rather underwhelmed by his demonic influences (i.e. traffic jams and telemarketers) on the mortal world. It's something of an example of quality vs. quantity, with his superiors focusing on the former and Crowley the latter because Crowley believes the former is outmoded.
- Friend to All Living Things: He seems to switch between idly resurrecting suffocated doves and trying to drown ducks. Note that he only really tries to drown ducks when Aziraphale is around to tell him he has to stop. This seems to run on the same sort of logic of "well, if we go out to dinner together, we're both technically stopping the other from doing good/evil deeds, and therefore doing our jobs"
- Friendly Enemy: With Az. They're closer to friends than enemies, but on paper are still foes.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: He's the only really good demon shown. On the other hand, the narration also notes that most other demons resemble Crowley more than they resemble Hastur and Ligur, who are the only two demons besides Crowley to feature significantly in the narrative.
- Glamour Failure: His Hellish Pupils, his snakeskin boots that might be his feet and his tendency to hiss when he forgets himself.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: When he's using his demonic power.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: All things aside, he and Aziraphale really are quite good friends.
- Going Native: After living on earth for thousands of years, humanity has started to rub off on him.
- Guile Hero: Neutralizes two much more powerful demons by outwitting them, the latter with a ploy he made up on the spot.
- Healing Hands: Breathes life back into a squashed dove.
- Hellish Pupils: Quite literally. They burn when he's using his demonic power.
- Heroic Resolve: He holds his burning car together through sheer force of will.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Aziraphale. (Again, "non-sexual" is more accurate, since neither of them is technically straight.)
- Holy Burns Evil: Although holy water would destroy him in a very nasty and painful manner, he keeps a flask of it in his apartment (in a very large safe, the kind designed to keep nuclear material secure). It proves useful in defending himself against Hastur and Ligur, when they come to "collect" him.
- I Gave My Word: A demon of his word. Hell is pretty proverbial for enforcing its agreements.
- Indy Ploy: Does this when the Dukes of Hell are after him.Plan A had worked; Plan B had failed. It was time for Plan C. The problem was that he had only ever planned as far as Plan B.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: When he was contacted by his superiors and complimented on The Spanish Inquisition, he went to Spain to try to figure out exactly what it was he was taking credit for. He then came back and spent a solid week either drinking or passed out.
- Improvised Weapon: Occasionally uses a tire iron to good effect.
- In with the In Crowd: His Start of Darkness. It's stated that Crowley "...didn't so much fall as saunter vaguely downwards.", and that he only really picked up with Lucifer's rebellion because his friends did and he didn't really have anywhere else to go.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's in very deep denial for most of the book about actually being a kind of sweetheart.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Like Aziraphale, he's quite sarcastic.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Like most of the characters in the book, he doesn't remember the events after the resolution.
- Laser-Guided Karma: His beloved car ends up totaled when he has to drive it through the M25... after said highway starts emanating a bizarre and dangerous energy field. Which he set it up to do.
- The Legions of Hell: Works for Hell. Not the average worker, though.
- Lovable Rogue:
- Lovable Traitor: He's a traitor to the forces of Hell. For which most of the rest of the characters in the book would be quite thankful, if they knew who he was.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: Scares off the paint-balling corporate commando by turning into something dreadful... "I think the maggots were a bit over the top, myself."
- Meaningful Name: Crowley, a reference to occultist Aleister Crowley. It also references his original role as the serpent ("Crawly") that tempted Adam and Eve. For a large part of the book, it's insinuated that Crowley actually is Aleister Crowley. It turns out the initial "A." actually stands for "Anthony".
- Mind over Matter: When he needs his Bentley to drive, it drives, even if it happens to be a burnt-out ruin at the time.
- Minion with an F in Evil: More like a Minion who's actively trying to fail the Evil class. He's good at his job, but doesn't want to be too good because he likes being on Earth.
- More Than Mind Control: Temptation. In his own words, he looks into people's minds and gives them what they really want. If people wants such dreadful things so often, well, is that his fault?
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Doesn't see eye to eye with the rest of the demons.
- Nerves of Steel: Given that he can keep driving his Bentley while it's on fire. Which, we might note, requires his psychic powers for him to continue doing.
- Noble Demon: A literal example, from one standpoint. However, despite being a demon, he's not actually a villainous character.
- Only Sane Employee: He's seemingly the only demon who considers planning in the long-term, believes subtle acts of mass-corruption are the way forward and thinks that the Apocalypse is a bad idea for business. He also tried to introduce technology to Hell, thinking it would be a better way to contact him. Unfortunately, instead of adopting telephones like he'd wanted, they instead decided to contact him through his car radio, satanically twisting whatever he was listening to at the time.
- Partial Transformation: Despite being an accomplished shapeshifter, even when he's in human form he likes to retain Hellish Pupils and it's implied that his trademark snakeskin boots are actually just his feet. Demons not being able to disguise their feet is actually a common trope in Jewish Folklore.
- Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: "He never meant to fall, he just ran with the wrong crowd."
- The Philosopher: "The point is...the point is...dolphins".
- Poke the Poodle: He's a merciless, ruthless taskmaster who likes to make an example... of his houseplants, when they don't grow fast enough.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Punch Clock Demon: He does his best to cause chaos and corrupt souls, but is more fond of the earth and humans than just about every other demon.
- Real Name as an Alias/Steven Ulysses Perhero/Sue Donym
- Really 700 Years Old: The same age as Aziraphale.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When he's pissed off.
- Red Right Hand: Crowley has snake eyes, a forked tongue he can do weird things with, and snake skin boots that may or may not be actual boots.
- Rip Van Winkle: Slept through most of the 19th Century. Hey, he is sort of a snake.
- Screw Destiny: Like Aziraphale, he's supposed to be working towards Armageddon (but on the other side), but has other ideas.
- Snakes Are Sexy: He's indicated to be the snake that tempted Eve.
- Speech Impediment: Crowley tends to hiss when agitated.
- Staying Alive: With the exception of holy water, nothing can kill him.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: A lot more sarcastic than his angelic friend.
- That Poor Plant: Crowley is one of the premier window gardeners in the world... because he keeps his plants in a state of perpetual fear of him. His favourite motivational tool is to flush one down the toilet in front of its peers.
- Unusual Euphemism/Goshdang It To Heck: "Oh for Go- Sa- Somebody's sake!" Also uses "Bless!" instead of "Damn!", or at least tries to. Alternately, "Manchester!"
Duke Hastur (A Fallen Angel and Duke of Hell)
A Duke of Hell and a nasty piece of work.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: As mentioned above, angels and demons technically don't need to breathe.
- Energy Beings: Converts into energy in order to travel through phone lines.
- Holy Burns Evil: Holy water could and would have totally destroyed Hastur, if any had splashed off Ligur when it destroyed him.
- Properly Paranoid: At one point, it's mentioned that Hastur is paranoid, which is in fact a very reasonable thing since as he is a denizen of Hell where everyone really is out to get you.
- Sophisticated as Hell: While threatening Crowley, he finds the language of Hell not adequate to the task of illustrating how doomed Crowley will be, and has to resort to human euphemisms.You're going to get taken to the bloody cleaners!
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Like all angels and demons, "size, and shape, and composition, are simply options." He's able to shrink down small enough to zip along a telephone line, get stuck in an answering machine tape, and then emerge from a telemarketer's headset as an eldritch horror:"But then something climbed out of the earpiece. Something very big, and very angry.It looked a little like a maggot. A huge, angry maggot made out of thousands and thousands of tiny little maggots, all writhing and screaming, millions of little maggot mouths opening and shutting in fury, and every one of them was screaming 'Crowley.'It stopped screaming. Swayed blindly, seemed to be taking stock of where it was.Then it went to pieces.The thing split into thousands of thousands of writhing gray maggots. They flowed over the carpet, up over the desks, over Lisa Morrow and her nine colleagues; they flowed into their mouths, up their nostrils, into their lungs; they burrowed into flesh and eyes and brains and lights, reproducing wildly as they went, filling the room with a towering mess of writhing flesh and gunk. The whole began to flow together, to coagulate into one huge entity that filled the room from floor to ceiling, pulsing gently.A mouth opened in the mass of flesh, strands of something wet and sticky adhering to each of the not-exactly lips, and Hastur said:'I needed that.'"
- Weaksauce Weakness: Holy water is exceedingly dangerous to him, like all demons.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: After escaping from Crowley's answering machine and snacking on Morrow and associates, we never see him again.
Duke Ligur (Likewise a Fallen Angel and Duke of Hell)
Likewise a Duke of Hell, and an equally nasty piece of work.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: As mentioned above, angels and demons technically don't need to breathe.
- Holy Burns Evil: Ligur is destroyed (not just "inconveniently discorporated") when Crowley's bucket-of-holy-water-over-the-door-prank catches him on his way into Crowley's flat:"The bucket teetered, then fell neatly on Ligur's head.Drop a lump of sodium in water. Watch it flame and burn and spin around crazily, flaring and sputtering. This was like that; just nastier.The demon peeled and flared and flickered. Oily brown smoke oozed from it, and it screamed and it screamed and it screamed. Then it crumpled, folded in on itself, and what was left lay glistening on the burnt and blackened circle of carpet, looking like a handful of mashed slugs."
The Four Bikers of the Apocalypse
Death a.k.a. Azrael
The greatest and leader of the Horsemen.
- Badass Biker: The most badass of the Horsemen, and like the rest, has changed to a bike rather than a horse.
- Bold Inflation: He speaks IN ALL CAPS, WITH NO QUOTATION MARKS.
- Celestial Body: His wings are described as black holes cut out of space with a scattering of lights gleaming in the darkness, which might be stars or might be something else entirely.
- Don't Fear the Reaper: He's not as kindly as other personifications of death created by the same authors, but he's not truly malicious or destructive, and only seems to be going through with the apocalypse because he must be there. Once the other three are defeated, he leaves without putting up any fight. In the epilogue, he's briefly seen feeding ducks in the park.
- The Dreaded: The other Bikers feel unnerved around him, comparing it to workers hanging out with the boss - they like him, but he's not exactly the sort of person you'd go down the pub with either.
- Expy: Of Death from Pratchett's Discworld series. They're practically the same character and even use the same manner of speech, except that the Good Omens death is less benevolent than the Discworld version (though still not actually evil, unlike the other three Horsepersons).
- The Faceless: The only member of the Horsemen who keeps his helmet on, hiding his face until the climax.
- The Grim Reaper: He's the Anthropomorphic Personification of death.
- Horsemen of the Apocalypse: He's one of the Four Horsemen, Death. He's referred to as the Pale Rider, but much more obliquely than the others.
- Skull for a Head: Under his helmet.
- Token Good Teammate: He's more in touch with humanity than his comrades and by many leagues the most powerful. The evils of War, Famine, Pestilence and Pollution might someday come to an end, but Death has always walked in the footsteps of life and always will. The others are always a little wary of him.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: When the bikers gather, Death is busy playing a trivia game he had been winning, until he refuses to answer one specific question, which he knows is inaccurate.I don't care what it says, I never laid a finger on him.
War a.k.a. Carmine Zuigiber a.k.a. Scarlett.
The only female member of the Horsemen.
- Badass Biker: Like all the horsemen, now uses a motorcycle rather than a horse.
- Blood Knight: She pretty much lives for violence (or perhaps the other way around — violence exists because she lives). Her reaction to receiving her sword was ecstatic.
- Conflict Ball: She generates them. A small, isolated little town with no prior history of serious violence will, within a few days of her being there, become a war-torn hell hole.
- Cool Sword: Not fancy, but it looks well-designed for the sort of thing that swords do, which is killing a very large number of people. And it's not just any sword, it's the one Aziraphale gave away. You hand a divine weapon to the two first humans, you don't go expecting a personification of peace to wind up wielding it, do you?
- Dark Action Girl: As deadly as she is beautiful.
- Evil Redhead: She's a redhead and she's the Anthropomorphic Personification of war.
- Femme Fatale: She uses her seductiveness to incite men to fight.
- Finger-Lickin' Evil: Carmine ends the slaughter of a bar full of rebels on a war-torn tropical island by licking blood off her fingers.
- Horsemen of the Apocalypse: She's the Red Rider, War, for crying out loud.
- Intrepid Reporter : Her day job is a (terrible) journalist who does work on war stories.
- Male Gaze: Inasmuch as is possible in a print medium; see below. As the personification of conflict and violence, she would naturally be alluring and seductive until you get too close.
- Meaningful Name: The names she uses in human form, (Carmine and Scarlett) are both shades of red.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: She has red eyes, and she's very dangerous.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: In her guise as Carmine Zuigiber, she's a war correspondent for a trashy newspaper, envied by all the prestigious war correspondents for her ability to always be where the fighting is. However, her writing is actually pretty terrible, but her employers never actually print most of what she writes, merely cashing her ridiculous expense claims.
- She's Got Legs: Which are mentioned rather frequently, usually with an adjective such as "long".
- Slasher Smile: As her human façade cracks, War's teeth start to gleam "like beautiful bullets."
- The Smurfette Principle: She's the only female of the horsemen.
Famine a.k.a. Dr. Raven Sable
The Horseman who has proven most adept at blending in with humanity, in the worst way.
- And a Diet Coke: He's observed this in his restaurants, and indeed supports it.
- Badass Biker: Like the other Horsemen, he now rides a bike instead of a horse.
- Bad Boss: Resolves to have one of his employees fired for singing while on the job.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: He's shown a love for the finer things, like exquisite suits.
- Beard of Evil: A stylish goatee.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Though there's no sign his business practices themselves are more than typically evil, the products sold are designed more for inflicting suffering than turning a profit, although he may be the only one to realize it.
- Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Well, Biker of the Apocalypse. He's the Black Rider, AKA Famine.
- Louis Cypher: The Black Rider using two words for "black" as his human alias.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Actually, he never had a doctorate. He's much older than doctors. Knows enough to fake one anyway.
- Number of the Beast: His street address is spelled out in giant red numbers on his building. The number actually has no significance to him at all, but he finds it amusing to be reminded of the meaning humans assign to perfectly ordinary numbers.
The Horseman who retired following the invention of Penicillin.
- Bit Character: Doesn't actually appear, with his retirement before the novel's events serving to explain Pollution's presence.
- Light Is Not Good: The "White" Rider before Pollution. It's unknown if Conquest ever existed in this mythology.
- The Pete Best: In-Universe. Left the Horsemen before the Apocalypse actually happened.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Quit being a member of the Horsepeople in 1936, "muttering about penicillin". Pollution thinks he gave up too early, but doesn't mind taking his place.
Pollution (a.k.a. Chalky, Mr. White, etc.)
The replacement for Pestilence.
- Affably Evil: He's wistful and a bit cheery to pretty much everybody.
- Cool Crown: His delivery. A few seconds on his head, and it's tarnished completely black.
- Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Well, Biker of the Apocalypse. He's the replacement for Pestilence.
- Insult Backfire: There's no point in telling him off about littering, because he loves it when people drop garbage all over the place.
- Light Is Not Good: The White Rider. His purpose is to bring the world's end.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Unsurprisingly. He considers a garbage-choked river "so damn beautiful," and waxes lyrical about the biochemical weapons that will get involved once the Horsepeople set off Armageddon.
- Perception Filter: He has an ability to make people forget about their presence, which makes it fairly easy for him to get away with their heinous acts of pollution.
- The Pig-Pen: Anything he touches becomes encrusted with corrosion and filth. Even signing for a package causes the pen to break and spill ink everywhere.
- Pretty Boy: Described as looking like a beautiful, tragic Victorian Romantic poet before the tuberculosis really starts setting in.
- The Reveal: For whatever reason, the fact that he's Pollution and not Pestilence is made intentionally ambiguous until the big confrontation. For example, when he signs for the parcel containing his crown, it's noted that his signature is so messy that, while it definitely starts with "P", it's difficult to tell whether it ends in "-ence" or "-tion".
- Tagalong Kid: The youngest of the horsepersons. Pestilence retired after the invention of antibiotics.
- Technopath: One of his special gifts is making machines do just what he wants them to do, regardless of fail-safe interlocks or foolproof backups. What the machines do isn't even that consequential, usually, unless you discover they're the other end of a long chain of such inconsequential events that lead to toxic waste disasters and oil spills.
- Walking Wasteland: Garbage and filth follow him wherever him goes.
- White Hair, Black Heart: His hair is almost fantastically white, and he basically exists to destroy the world.
Agnes Nutter (A Prophetess)
An exceedingly powerful prophet who lived centuries ago, her prophecies drive much of the plot.
- Awesome, but Impractical: She was the only perfectly accurate prophet in all of history. However... she can only see the things that happen to her descendants. Not only is this pretty useless to everyone else (for example, on 22 November 1963, she predicted a house in the British countryside collapsing, not the JFK assassination... her descendants could've been near that house, but they'd be nowhere near Dallas), it's also pretty useless to her descendants because the predictions generally have very little context. There's also the problem of her almost indecipherable wording choices, which lead to a high number of prophecies only being figured out after they happen.
- Because Destiny Says So: Happily hops up onto the stake because she knew she was going to die.
- The Cassandra: No one believed her in her own time, even though she was perfectly accurate.
- Good Is Not Nice: Even Anathema thinks she was a ornery old hag with a nasty sense of humor.
- Psychic Powers: She was capable of predicting things that would happen seven hundred years later. Her family just gets the interpretations wrong.
- Taking You with Me: When the Medieval Morons decide to Burn the Witch!, it doesn't go as planned... she turned herself into a nail-bomb and took out the entire village when they set her to the torch.
- Thanatos Gambit: She knew of her impending death, took it in stride (and took out those who killed her), and left her prophecies so her descendants will be happy.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: She leaves very personalized notes for the various lawyers who get custodianship of her bequest to Anathema, threatening to reveal their darkest secrets if they peek.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Parodied. Her descendants often can't decipher her prophecies because of her language.
Newton Pulsifer (Wages Clerk and Witchfinder Private)
The most junior member of the Witchfinders (as well as second most senior), he sort of stumbled upon the job.
- Birds of a Feather: Him and Anathema both name their modes of transportation.
- Chekhov's Skill: Or lack thereof. To prevent the Apocalypse through destruction of a computer, the way he manages to make it cease to function is to attempt to make it work better.
- Dating Catwoman: With Anathema. A witch's descendant and a witchfinder.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: About the only thing he's sure of is that his job as a wages clerk may be the most boring in the world. He's gone through several major religions hoping for the "flash of blue light" and didn't have the rock-hard unbelief required to be a real atheist, and only joined the WA because he mistook it for a legitimate home guard.Newton Pulsifer had never had a cause in his life. Nor had he, as far as he knew, ever believed in anything. It had been embarrassing, because he quite wanted to believe in something, since he recognized that belief was the lifebelt that got most people through the choppy waters of Life. He'd have liked to believe in a supreme God, although he'd have preferred a half-hour's chat with Him before committing himself, to clear up one or two points. He'd sat in all sorts of churches, waiting for that single flash of blue light, and it hadn't come. And then he'd tried to become an official Atheist and hadn't got the rock-hard, self-satisfied strength of belief even for that. And every single political party had seemed to him equally dishonest. And he'd given up on ecology when the ecology magazine he'd been subscribing to had shown its readers a plan of a self-sufficient garden, and had drawn the ecological goat tethered within three feet of the ecological beehive. Newt had spent a lot of time at his grandmother's house in the country and thought he knew something about the habits of both goats and bees, and concluded therefore that the magazine was run by a bunch of bib-overalled maniacs. Besides, it used the word "community" too often; Newt had always suspected that people who regularly used the word "community" were using it in a very specific sense that excluded him and everyone he knew.
Then he'd tried believing in the Universe, which seemed sound enough until he'd innocently started reading new books with words like Chaos and Time and Quantum in the titles. He'd found that even the people whose job of work was, so to speak, the Universe, didn't really believe in it and were actually quite proud of not knowing what it really was or even if it could theoretically exist.
To Newt's straightforward mind this was intolerable.
- Doom It Yourself: As a Walking Techbane, anything he attempts to fix will end up working worse. As mentioned below, he ends up using this to his advantage.
- Epic Fail: Newt once tried to assemble a joke electrical non-working thingy designed for the most hamhanded tech-deficient beginner; if hitting the on-switch does absolutely nothing, that means it's "working". When Newt finished it and turned it on, it picked up Radio Moscow.
- The Glasses Gotta Go: Subverted. When he takes his glasses off, he ends up looking less handsome because he keeps running into things and ends up covered in bruises and bandages.
- In the Blood: Newt's ancestor was the one who laid the torch to Agnes Nutter (who was, in turn, Anathema's ancestor).
- Occult Detective: He's one of two remaining Witchfinders in England.
- Odd Couple: Him and Anathema. She's a witch, he's a witch hunter. She also knows exactly how her life is going to go, while he's never had conviction in much of anything.
- Unfazed Everyman: As things get crazy and crazier, he seems to stop caring.
- Unlucky Everydude: Probably the most normal of the cast, and hilariously unlucky until the end, where he and Anathema become an Official Couple.
- Walking Techbane: To a truly spectacular extent. He's obsessed with electricity, machines and computers and desperately wants to be an expert — but his destiny has something different in store.
Anathema Device (Practical Occultist and Professional Descendant)
The last descendant of Agnes Nutter, Anathema is a witch, hippie, and all around New Age liberal, who makes quite an impression on young Adam. She's also one of the few people with any chance of sorting through the prophecies her ancestress left behind.
- Aura Vision: An offshoot of her psychic powers. It's somewhat troubling for her when she can't see a certain person's aura.
- Birds of a Feather: She gives her bike a name, just like how Newt names his car.
- Because Destiny Says So: Lives much of her life by this, since Agnes' prophecies lay out a fair amount of her life.
- Eureka Moment: When Newt confesses that he's actually Walking Techbane, Anathema tells him to make the computer systems in the base run better, rather than continue his futile efforts to switch them off. It works.
- In the Blood: The narration notes that she is as close to actually being Agnes Nutter reincarnated as genetically possible.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Like most of the other characters, she has no recollection of the novel's oddest supernatural events in the epilogue.
- Odd Couple: With Newton. Unlike him, she goes through life with absolute certainty, because it's been nicely and accurately predicted by Agnes.
- Prophecy Twist: The world doesn't end because there are no more prophecies, there's just another book out there.
- Psychic Powers: Some prophetic, some Aura Vision. But it's there.
- Screw Destiny: While it's not explicitly stated, Offscreen Inertia strongly implies that, despite the existence of a second book of prophecies, she ultimately decides not to pay attention to it because, as Newton argues, "Do you really want to be a descendant for the rest of your life?" Of course, Fridge Logic suggests that Agnes would have known this as well, so it's likely to end up being useful to someone, or else she wouldn't have gone to all the trouble of writing it and then making sure it would end up in Anathema's possession.
- Superpowerful Genetics: A witch, and psychic by inheritance.
Shadwell (Witchfinder Sergeant)
The ranking officer of the Witchfinder Army, due largely to being the only officer in the army.
- Badass Normal: Old, delusional and with a tendency to ramble, but still more than willing to go toe-to-toe with the forces of Hell armed with a Bible, Bell and Candle... or, for that matter, a Ronson lighter, a doorbell and a paperback novel.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Touched upon, "I never used to dream when I was a kid..."
- Dating Catwoman: With Mme. Tracy at the end of the book.
- The Fundamentalist: Almost-but-not-quite Played for Laughs.
- Funetik Aksent: His grumblings are transliterated quite precisely.
- Hates Everyone Equally: He's a racist, a sexist, what have you, but no one's really offended—they even find it endearing—since he obviously hates everyone and when he makes his hatred known, it is cartoonishly over-the-top, but otherwise harmless. Best exemplified by the following line:Shadwell hated all Southernors, and by inference was standing at the North Pole.
- Heel Realization: When he has a dream vision of Agnes Nutter's execution, he is at first satisfied because the burning of witches is right and proper, but then he realizes that she is really going to die, and burning to death is a horrible way to go.
- Last-Name Basis: If Shadwell has any other name than Shadwell, it's never so much as hinted at.
- Mysterious Past: And probably a tragic one at that.
- The Remnant: For a time, the last of the Witchfinders.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Madame Tracy, bordering on Belligerent on his end. The end of the novel highly implies that it will soon be resolved, however.
- Violent Glaswegian: Sort of. Who knows where he's from.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Shadwell doesn't have an accent. Rather, he ping-pongs between all British accents stereotypically associated with unpleasant and mean old men, seemingly at random.
- Would Not Hurt A Child: He is utterly horrified to learn that the Antichrist he was hired to destroy is an eleven-year-old boy.
Madame Tracy (Painted Jezebel [mornings only, Thursdays by arrangement] and Medium) (Real Name Marjorie Potts)
A fake psychic who works down the hall from the Witchfinders.
- Dating Catwoman: Winds up dating the highest ranked Witchfinder in England (granted, there are only two).
- The Ditz: She's not terribly bright.
- Dominatrix: Implied to be one of her jobs.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Invoked, she decorates her flat this way because she believes it's how people think a girl's place should be.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Semi-retired these days, since her clients are the same age she is and tend to prefer a spot of tea or her services as a psychic, but still maintains it as a sideline. No shame about it whatsoever — actually likes it when Shadwell calls her a "harlot" at the top of his lungs, since she considers it free advertising.
- Not-So-Phony Psychic: She has a few moments of genuine prophecy when Aziraphale is around. And apparently is a suitable vessel for possession.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Shadwell, as mentioned above.
Sister Mary "Loquacious" Hodges (A Satanic Nun of the Chattering Order of St. Beryl)
A Satanic nun who participated in switching the babies to ensure the Antichrist ended up in properly evil hands.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: While, as mentioned below, her airheadedness results in the Antichrist being misplaced for eleven years, she ultimately ends up being extremely competent at business, as described under Dumbass No More. Her second appearance doesn't last long enough to make it clear if this is one specific area of competency for her or whether she's become more competent all around.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Her first appearance definitely qualifies, given her cooing over the baby Antichrist's teensy-weensy little hoofikins (which he hasn't got) and various quirks of her internal monologue. By the time of her second appearance, she has become substantially more grounded in reality, however.
- Dumbass No More: When Crowley and Aziraphale revisit her eleven years later, she turns out to have discovered herself as a competent manager and to have made the site of her old convent into a successful corporate retreat. Which, somewhat unfortunately for the supernatural duo, means that they have to dodge adrenaline-crazed power-hungry paintball-shooting executives on the way to finding her.
- Minion with an F in Evil: She's not really evil, for a Satanic Nun. And she's really bad at the whole evil plot thing.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Her accidental switching of the babies wound up being the best thing that could happen for humanity.
- Nuns Are Spooky: Subverted. In Crowley's mind Satanic Orders are more annoying than spooky. Mr Young does appear to be rather unsettled by her, however, though he doesn't seem to be able to elucidate why.
- Punch-Clock Villain: The book goes into detail on how most Satanists aren't any more devoted to evil and Satan than Christians are devoted to good and Jesus, with her as the specific example. The narrative also mentions that she is, above all else, a nurse, which substantially restricts the amount of actual evil she can do.
- Spanner in the Works: Her incompetence is what caused the events of the book, as she accidentally gave the Antichrist to the wrong family. Then her competence trips up Aziraphale and Crowley a tad because it gets in the way of them relocating him.
Mr. R. P. Tyler (A Chairman of a Residents' Association)
A very opinionated old man living in Adam's town who encounters its unusual visitors one after another.
- Elephant in the Living Room: Crowley's car when he pulls up to ask for directions.
- Grumpy Old Man: A pensioner with little to do but complain and yell at people he sees.
- Ignore the Disability: Well, one's car being in flames while you're driving it is something of a disability, wouldn't you say? But Tyler's not going to say a word.
- Moral Guardian: Complains about the decline of morals in the youth of today. In one case, those he perceives as "the youth of today" happen to be four harbingers of Armageddon as old as humankind, because they ride motorbikes.
- The Napoleon: About five foot, and prone to blustering at everyone else. He is the archetypal fussy little British man.
- Strongly Worded Letter: Known for sending these to the local paper on pretty much every topic. Including why they aren't printing all his other letters. If he's really worked up on something, he'll be moved to send a letter to the Times.
- Talk About the Weather: When Crowley rolls up to him in his flaming Bentley, this is the only way he finds himself able to react.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: With everything he encounters up until he meets Crowley.
One of the babies switched with the Antichrist. Perfectly ordinary, though due to some confusing winking, everyone thought he was the spawn of Satan.
- Eagle Land: His family (and their bodyguards) are quite trigger-happy.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Apparently his father got talked into it by a Satanic nun.
- Pet the Dog: In an odd way. Adam gives out gifts for everyone when he sets the world to rights. Warlock has no apparent change to his life, because as far as Adam and Them are concerned, just living in America is already the coolest thing in the world.
- Royal Brat: Not royal, but the son of a diplomat. And fairly realistically bratty.
- Switched at Birth: With Adam.
Mr. Young (A Father)
Unknowingly adoptive father of the Antichrist.
- The Comically Serious: He reacts to all the oddness surrounding the Antichrist with the bewilderment you'd expect.
- Standard '50s Father: Enforced, thanks to raising a Reality Warper with traditional notions of what a father figure should be.
- Supernatural-Proof Father: Even after Adam comes into his full powers, he still obeys his father.
The International Express Man
An unusually reliable deliveryman who makes sporadic appearances throughout the novel.
- Back from the Dead: Fortunately, someone (most likely Adam) undoes his death at the end of the novel.
- Badass Normal: There's no clear indication anywhere in the novel that he has any supernatural abilities, but as mentioned under Determinator, he fulfils some particularly demanding jobs without flinching.
- Determinator: He'll do whatever it takes to make his deliveries. Even if that includes travelling through a war zone — or dying.
- No Name Given: He's never given a name, only a job description. Became 'Lesley' or 'Stan' in various media adaptations.
- Stiff Upper Lip: He performs his tasks with typical British stoicism.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: They discuss this, in a way, in one of their Seinfeldian Conversations. They ultimately conclude that if they were to permanently defeat their rival gang, Greasy Johnson's Johnsonites, they'd probably end up fighting each other, and they conclude that even if they could defeat the Johnsonites, they wouldn't want to. The parallel to the actual looming Armageddon is clearly evident.
- Good Counterpart: They are this to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (except arguably Adam, since the novel's Death, as in other works by both of its authors, isn't particularly evil). Specifically, Adam corresponds to Death, Pepper to War, Wensleydale to Famine, and Brian to Pollution.
- Named by Democracy: They tried to give themselves a number of different names over the years, but everyone else always, invariably called them "The Them", so eventually they settled on it too.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: They do this constantly, though it's arguably subverted in that a lot of the seeming nonsense they're discussing ends up being real in the novel's setting. It's strongly implied that this is actually Adam's doing in most, if not all, cases.
- Spell My Name with a "The": It's "the Them", not "Them".
Adam Young (An Antichrist)
The Antichrist, the Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of This World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan, and Lord of Darkness. Also leader of a small gang of ruffians and one of the most human people on the planet.
- Anti Anti Christ: What Aziraphale wants him to be. Ultimately, he does become it, but not in Heaven's name. It's for humanity... which Aziraphale notes may have actually been the idea in the first place.
- The Anti-Christ: He's the son of the Devil, born to lead the Four Horsemen.
- Balance Between Good and Evil: Ultimately, he is perfectly human. Neither good, nor bad, but human.
- The Chosen One: Subverted. He's the chosen one, but got Switched at Birth.
- Dramatic Wind: Happens around Adam when his powers begin to manifest.
- Drunk with Power: Once his powers manifest and he gets mad.
- Forbidden Fruit: The penultimate scene of his book, in a deliberate Call-Back to the first scene (as well as the Book of Genesis), depicts him stealing apples, indifferent to the impending punishment this will incur, because "there never was an apple, in Adam's opinion, that wasn't worth the trouble you got in for eating it."
- From the Mouths of Babes: There's a lot of wisdom in his words, despite being a kid.
- I Know Your True Name/Meaningful Name: It's made clear with Dog that names influence what a thing becomes. It's more subtle in this case, but maybe if anyone in the book had gone on calling him The Anti-Christ, the Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of This World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan, and Lord of Darkness, instead of Adam (which just means Man) then he wouldn't have turned out so perfectly human.
- Beelzebub addresses him by a word that is described as sounding like "a file dragged down the spine" only for Adam to correct him. Presumably this was Adam's name in a hellish language, and the one that he was never given.
- Ignorant of the Call: He has no idea that the forces of Heaven and Hell are out looking for him.
- The Kid with the Leash: Despite seeming like a normal dog, Dog does still have much of his power.
- Meaningful Name: Adam means "man," and was, of course, the name of the first human according to the Bible. In the end, Adam Young isn't good or evil — he's human.
- Psychoactive Powers: Do not upset the Antichrist.
- Reality Warper: When his powers manifest, he unconsciously makes his beliefs true.
- Screw Destiny: He's supposed to be the catalyst for the Apocalypse. Like Crowley and Aziraphale, he has other ideas.
- Shiny New Australia: Dog has dibs on this section of Earth.
- Slouch of Villainy: He is a prepubescent boy.
- Special Person, Normal Name: Almost averted, as the nuns suggest naming the Antichrist Warlock, a powerful name befitting his station. However, some Switched at Birth shenanigans ensue. It still doubles as a Meaningful Name, since he ultimately winds up a pro-humanity Antichrist.[Mr. Young] stared down at the golden curls of the Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of This World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan, and Lord of Darkness."You know," he concluded, after a while, "I think he actually looks like an Adam."
- Try to Fit THAT on a Business Card!: The Anti-Christ the Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of This World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan, and Lord of Darkness.
- You Will Be Spared: When his powers manifest, Adam decides to destroy and recreate the world, bringing about the apocalypse. However, he affirms that his friends and Dog will be spared, allowing them to each rule a portion of the new world.
Pepper, a.k.a. Pippin Galadriel Moonchild (A Girl)
Daughter of a hippie and angriest of all the boys in town.
- Action Girl: Emphasis on the "girl" part. She's the toughest in her group of kids, and even goes toe to toe with War using nothing but a wooden sword. Of course, having a reality warper backing her helps that.
- Berserk Button: Her real name, being treated like a girl.
- Embarrassing First Name/Embarrassing Middle Name: Pepper's real name is Pippin Galadriel Moonchild. It's also her Berserk Button.
- Fiery Redhead: Redhaired and tomboyish, and quick to start a fight.
- Good Counterpart: She's the good counterpart to War, having red hair, being the only female member of the group, and being quick to start fights.
- Hippie Parents: Her hippie mother lived in a commune and is the reason her name is "Pippin Galadriel Moonchild". Despite or because of this, she's fairly temperamental.
- Improvised Weapon: Wields a handmade "sword" (a pair of twigs tied together) in the final battle.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Like most of the characters at the end of the book, she does not remember what happened earlier.
- One of the Boys: In reaction to her name, she had to grow up to be very tough. One character mentally describes her as "marginally female." It's strongly hinted that when she isn't around the rest of Them she has much girlier interests, which is something she won't admit to having.
- Shout-Out: Her names are references to The Lord of the Rings and The Neverending Story, though the latter is likely also a reference to British occultist Aleister Crowley, after whom the novel's Crowley is named.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female member of the Them.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: She's very tomboyish and has grown up as being One of the Boys, but it's hinted that she secretly has girlier interests that she won't tell the other Them about.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Her interesting name comes from being conceived and birthed while her mom was on a nature kick... which lasted for a few months, and ended permanently shortly thereafter. But Pepper's still left with the name, of which there are only two ways to respond.
- Youthful Freckles: Parodied. Her face is "one big freckle with bits of skin" under it.
Jeremy Wensleydale (A Boy)
One of Adam's friends, who acts more mature than most of the adults in the story.
- Good Counterpart: He's the good counterpart to Famine, having a meticulously neat appearance and being very businesslike in personality.
- Last-Name Basis: Nobody refers to him as Jeremy, not even his parents. (They call him Youngster, in the hope that he'll take the hint.)
- Neat Freak: In contrast to Brian, he's always meticulously tidy.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: "All that separated [him] from chartered accountancy was a matter of time."
Brian (A Boy)
Another of Adam's friends. The smelly one.
Dog (Satanical hellhound and cat-worrier)
A Hellhound sent to Adam on his birthday. Unlike everyone else, he identified his master with perfect accuracy, which is what alerted Aziraphale and Crowley that something had gone wrong.
- A Dog Named "Dog": Which basically causes him to become a dog, rather than a hellhound. A little sort of mongrelly terrier thing.
- Deathbringer the Adorable: He was supposed to be a hellhound, but Adam unwittingly transformed him into a regular dog. Over time, he adjusted to the mundane life of a dog and started to enjoy things like scaring cats and chasing rabbits.
- Good Feels Good: When the Apocalypse begins, Dog finds himself not wanting to be a Hellhound or for the world to end. Dog likes being a normal dog and chasing rabbits and scaring cats.
- Hell Hound: His original form. He gets turned into a regular dog by Adam's reality-warping abilities when he hears Adam musing aloud about what kind of dog he'd like to have.
- I Know Your True Name/Meaningful Name: Adam assigning him a name is what gives him his true purpose. If he had been named Killer, or Walks-by-night, the hound's personality would've changed to match. But then Adam named him Dog, turning him into a fairly normal...dog.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: His name may have been the final nail in the coffin, but the book makes it quite clear that changing his shape to fit Adam's description of his dream pet was the major contributing factor behind Dog's... doggishness.