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Celestial Paragons and Archangels

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"The Seven Archangels in Adoration of the Trinity" by Federico Zuccari, c1600
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. They're pretty much always the officers when The Armies of Heaven show up. They also frequently possess powers of light and/or holiness to smite evil.

As to be expected from angels, they frequently act as representatives of God that the protagonists can interact with without dying or causing out-of-universe backlash, with the added benefit of representing God's omnipotence better than weaker angels. How favorably these paragons and archangels are portrayed is generally a good barometer to tell if the work is saying God Is Good or not. However, there are examples that don't serve God, but rather a fantasy pantheon or a specific, generally good member of said pantheon; alternatively, they may just run a Council of Angels absent any higher deity.

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 Azrael, Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel, Archangel Raphael, Archangel Uriel, and (possibly) the Fallen Angel version in Archangel Lucifer. Metatron may also be present as an archangel in some works.

The Trope Namer is Dungeons & Dragons, where paragons and archangels are thought to be the most powerful "celestials" and direct counterpart to demon lords and archdevils.

See also Our Angels Are Different, Our Gods Are Different, Council of Angels, Celestial Bureaucracy, Divine Ranks, Fantasy Pantheon and its Inverted Trope, Demon Lords and Archdevils.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • High School Dx D: Michael, Gabriel (a woman here), Raphael (has yet to fully appear), and Uriel are the Four Great Seraphim who rule heaven, with Michael as the overall leader of the Four and Heaven. They're considered top-tier in terms of firepower, only losing to the Gods, Heavenly Dragons, Ophis, and Great Red. They rule Heaven because God Is Dead in the story.
  • Queen's Blade: The archangel is shown to be second to God in terms of authority, with six pairs of wings in comparison to a normal angel's one. She is often found disciplining Nanael for her rather unholy acts being a rather large embarrassment to the rest of her angelic comrades.
  • Seven Mortal Sins makes reference to their heavenly counterparts, the Seven Heavenly Virtues. Lucifer was their leader prior to being cast down to Hell, and later discovers that Michael has taken over the group in her absence. Michael serves as the Final Boss of the series, making this a subversion because God has declared mankind a failed experiment and ordered the Virtues to purge them. Lucifer was cast down for arguing against discarding the universe. After taking over the Sins, she declares they will defeat God and free humanity.
  • The Digimon series features a full angel hierarchy, with popular Digimon such as Angewomon and Magnaangemon being akin to archangels, and Ophanimon, Seraphimon and Cherubimon taking their namesakes from angelic ranks in the bible. Holy Digimon are also all identified by Holy Rings featuring in their design. Often the more Holy Rings the higher the Digimons ranking amongst other Holy Digimon, although this rule is played pretty loosely. Demon digimon, such as Devimon and Ladydevimon for example, are considered Fallen Angel versions of Angemon and Angewomon respectively, within lore.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: The Four Archangels are the most powerful warriors of the Goddess Clan. They are the counterparts to the Ten Commandments of the Demon Clan and fought against them 3000 years ago. Despite technically being the good guys, the three of them that are shown were more than willing to commit heinous atrocities during the war that horrified even the Commandments if it meant destroying the demons. Like the rest of the Goddess Clan, they lost their bodies and were sealed away at the end of the war, but were eventually unsealed so they could once again oppose the remaining Commandments now led by Meliodas. While they're still called the Four Archangels, there are actually only three of them by the time they return. The fourth Archangel, Mael, was killed by Estarossa during the first war against the demons... or rather, that's what everyone thinks due to a mass hypnotic spell. In reality, Mael is Estarossa, whose own memories were altered as part of a massive gambit to put an end to the first war.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, the highest ranked angels known as the Seraphim, many of whom were personal agents and warriors of Veldanava, serve as this. Dino and his two angel companions used to be among their number before they became Fallen Angels. They're also the major and final antagonists of the series, as they're trying to bring Veldanava back...while also trying to completely wipe out the mortals due to their role in Veldanava's death, and the few not on board with the second part don't have much choice in the matter.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has a couple of examples.
    • The leader of the Boros Legion of Ravinica, and especially of the numerous angels within it, has always been an angel. For most of the guild's history, this spot was filled by the archangel Razia, although after her death it was taken over by Feather, who was then ousted by the much more warlike Aurelia.
    • In Innistrad, there is Avacyn, the Angel of Hope, ruler of the angels, master of all of the plane's White mana, and central figure of the local humans' Crystal Dragon Jesus religion, as well as her three lieutenants, who each guide one of the plane's three flights of angels — Gisela, overseeing the warrior angels of the Flight of Goldnight; Bruna, overseeing the Flight of Alabaster that watches over the spirits of the dead, and Sigarda, guiding the monster-hunters of the Flight of Herons. There was also a fourth lesser archangel, who believed in learning from monsters in order to fight them and was destroyed and Unpersoned for allying with a demon lord. This lasted until Avacyn was corrupted and driven mad by Emrakul, dragging Bruna, Gisella and most of their flights down with her; the fallen angels ultimately had to be wiped out, leaving Sigarda as the last archangel in Innistrad. In the Innistrad: Midnight Hunt storyline, a botched summoning ritual for the demon lord allows the return of the forgotten archangel, Liesa, Shroud of Dusk, to the living world.

    Comic Books 
  • Shade, the Changing Man: The angels 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.
  • Afterlife Inc: There are billions of angels of varying power levels. The seven archangels, however, are a different breed, and are seven immensely powerful beings that once ruled the afterlife. The archangels were wiped out by a mysterious event known only as the Calamity, leaving Anahel as the last surviving member of his brethren. Thankfully, despite being the most powerful being in the afterlife, he's happier just to be left alone.
  • Marvel Comics:
  • DC Comics:
    • The Sandman (1989) stoyline "Season of Mist" introduces the archangels Remiel, He Who is Set Over Those to Rise, and Duma, Angel of Silence, who are (unwillingly) made the rulers of Hell when Morpheus is asked to choose a replacement for the retiring Lucifer, and who go on to appear in Lucifer.
    • JLA (1997): Each of the four Hosts of the Pax Dei (Lion, Eagle, Human and Bull) have "King-Angels" who appear to come just below Archangels in the heavenly heirarchy. The only one named has been Asmodel, King-Angel of the Bull Host, who almost immediately becomes a Fallen Angel.

  • Astral Dawn: The Aash Ra have served in this role on numerous worlds throughout the multiverse. They once openly ruled Averya until they left when they noticed the spirits evolving during a period they called the Astral Dawn.
  • Deryni: Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, and Uriel are invoked by name during rituals. They variously manifest as pillars of light, or elements (earth, air, fire and water), or 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 killijálay 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.
  • Domina: The angels have Names based on some of the traditional Archangels (including Lucifer, though it's mentioned that they should have used Samael instead). The Arch-Saints, the leaders of the angels, are named after the Dungeons & Dragons Celestial Paragons, with Zaphkiel the Watcher at the top in Chronias.
  • The Dresden Files: The Archangels and the ever-elusive Almighty, 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, but they're if anything 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.
  • His Dark Materials: Played with — there are good angels and bad angels. The "lead" angel has usurped God and rides around in his floating fortress.
  • 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.
  • Prospero's Daughter: Miranda is quite shocked to learn that one of the beings that Mephisto can summon is Uriel. At the end, he gives instructions to Astreus, who had been rather high-ranking himself.
  • The Silmarillion: The Valar, the most powerful beings in existence behind Eru, straddle the line between these and little-g gods. Thematically and visually they're based more on polytheistic deities than anything else, but they're also imperfect, created beings who were called into existence by Eru and watch over the physical world on His behalf, and need to consult with Him before making any drastic decisions. Additionally, the setting's Satanic Archetype Morgoth (Sauron's boss) happened to be the most powerful of them until he rebelled against his maker.
  • Young Wizards: 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 Michael). S/He only rarely intervenes directly, since fully manifesting strains the fabric of reality almost to the breaking point, but when s/he 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Supernatural: Archangels have showed up, particularly in seasons 5-6 and 11 onwards. There are only four of themnote , and they were originally made by God to help him in his fight against The Anti-God. The later angels are much weaker than the archangels as a result of this, to the point where an archangel can effortlessly wipe out an entire angel garrison with a Badass Fingersnap. The only Archangels remaining in heaven are Michael and Raphael. Lucifer retained his celestial nature after his fall, but is obviously no longer part of the Heavenly Host. Gabriel went missing too because he couldn't stand the in-fighting between Lucifer and Michael. Interestingly, Uriel is present, but is not an Archangel. It's implied that they have a full celestial hierarchy, theoretically reaching to God himself, but he's actually been missing for eons and Michael took up the slab in his absence. 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.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • Judaic/Christianic lore found in the Old and New Testaments was both the Trope Codifier and half the Trope Namer. Traditional Christian theology recognises nine ranks of angels. The names and purposes of these ranks are viewed as the following:
    • The Seraphs, who have the greatest perception of God's love and light the love for God in people's hearts.
    • The Cherubs, who have the greatest perception of God's wisdom and bring wisdom to people.
    • The Thrones, who have the greatest perception of God as Lord and inspire people to glorify Him.
    • The Dominions, who have the greatest perception of God's Providence, teach people avoid temptation, and regulate the duties of the lower angelic ranks.
    • The Virtues, who have the greatest perception of God's miracles and assist holy wonderworkers.
    • The Powers, who have the greatest perception of God's might and drive evil spirits away from people.
    • The Principalities, who oversee the works of nature and are the guardian angels of communities, cities and countries.
    • The Archangels are the messengers of God's greatest mysteries and revelations. Many theologians believe Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel, Archangel Raphael and several other named archangels are actually from the rank of the Seraphs and are only called "archangels" in the literal sense of the word, as in, "chief angels". The confusion arises from the fact that "angel", too, is the name both of all the bodiless powers of Heaven and of their lowest rank.
    • The Angels are the ones closest to people and most involved in their lives. Every person's Guardian Angel comes from this rank.
  • Specific archangels — meaning, in this case, "chief angels" presiding over the rest of the Host — are often assigned names and specific areas of guardianship and duty in Abrahamic faiths:
    • Michael is usually considered the chiefest and highest of all angels, the leader of God's armies, and the foe of Satan. He is considered to be a patron of warriors and the protector of God's people — in practice, many major faiths and denominations thereof view his as their personal patron.
    • Gabriel is often depicted as God's main messenger, sent to give prophecies, commands and revelations to His followers — for instance, Christianity credits him with foretelling the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, and Islam with dictating The Qur'an to Mohammad. As such, he's often considered the patron of communications, messengers and diplomats.
    • Raphael is mainly associated with healing and medical workers; Islam views him as the angel who will sound a trumpet to announce the the Day of Resurrection.
    • Uriel is associated with knowledge, wisdom, science, poetry, man-made beauty, and art. He is also sometimes identified with the angel that guards the gates of Eden with a flaming sword.
    • Azrael, the angel of death, is said to be the one who comes to the dead and takes their souls to by judged by God.
    • Selaphiel is considered — mainly by Christian denominations from Eastern Europe and the Middle East — to be the angel who relays the prayers of humans to God, and as such as the patron of prayer and worship.
    • Raguel, recognized primarily in Jewish tradition and some African churches, is described as the archangel of justice, retribution, and fairness. His duties are essentially those of a cosmic sheriff of sorts, and more so than interacting with mortals he is charged with punishing fallen angels and other wicked beings.
    • Notably, few Abrahamic traditions recognize the same archangels or give them the same roles and attributes, although a few remain fairly stable.
      • Catholicism only recognizes Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael as canonical, although Uriel is also mentioned in many not-strictly-canon texts and consequently is also fairly important. The Church used to recognize more, but decanonized most archangels when public reverence for them became uncomfortably close to angel-worship.
      • The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates eight archangels by name — Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jegudiel, Barachiel, and Jerahmeel. Each angel is traditionally assigned a specific symbolic depiction in artnote  and Mondays are dedicated to them in the liturgical calendar.
      • The Seventh-day Adventist church notably equates Michael with Jesus, viewing the latter as an archangel in the sense that He is literally the supreme leader of the angels.
      • Islam typically names and mentions four archangels — Michael (Mikail, the angel of mercy and bringer of rain), Gabriel (Jibrail or Jibril, who brings God's revelations to prophets), Raphael (Israfil or Rafail), and Azrael (Azra'il).
  • There's an article about the folktales shared by homeless children in Miami (and presumably in some other places) in which this type of angels are frequently mentioned.
  • The Zoroastrian Amesha Spenta are seven divine entities shaped by Ahura Mazda, the creator, from aspects of himself. Each is associated with a specific virtue of the creator and an aspect of the created world (humans, animals, fire and light, metals and minerals, earth, water, and plants). In modern scholarship, this concept is believed to have played an important formative role in the development of belief in angels and their relationship with God and the world in Judaism and its descendant faiths.
  • Yazidism, an enthnoreligion descended from pre-Zoroastrian Iranian polytheism, is in the modern day a monotheistic faith that shares a non-inconsiderable amount of concepts and terminology with the Abrahamic religions, including a belief in angels. The Seven Angels are viewed as having been created by God from his own light and charged with overseeing the world. Melek Taûs, the Peacock Angel, is their leader; the others are named Cibrayîl, Ezrayîl, Mîkayîl, Şifqayîl, Derdayîl, Ezafîl, and Ezazîl.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons is the Trope Namer. 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.
  • In Nomine: The Archangels. 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.
  • Exalted: The Solars take a very similar role in their cosmology, being incredibly powerful agents charged with ruling over Creation in the name of the Unconquered Sun and enacting his will upon the world, complete with "fallen" Solars in the form of the Abyssals and Infernals who fulfill the same role for the more malicious powers of the world. Alas, unlike most examples of this trope, the Solars are far from impeccable and infallible...
  • KULT has the Archons, incredibly powerful heavenly principles that the Demiurge created to govern the angels and organise his creation. This being KULT, they're naturally complete and total bastards.
  • Nobilis: The Angels are the Imperators of Heaven, though in a case of Light Is Not (Exactly) Good — rather, 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.
  • Pathfinder:
    • The Empyreal Lords are demigods representing the good outsider races (archons, angels, agathions, and azatas). Unlike the various archfiends, which are strictly divided among the devils, daemons and demons, demigod-level celestials are largely considered the same sort of beings and cooperate in a loose shared structure, rather than only concerning themselves with their specific race and plane.
    • More broadly, other Good-aligned races of celestials have their own associated demigods, such as the Seven Kumaras of the manasaputras.
  • 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... although not necessarily something 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.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • As the Space Marines are often considered to be the God-Emperor's Angels of Death, his twenty 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...
    • The Living Saints can be considered to be the Emperor's actual Archangels. This is especially blatant with Celestine, whose Power Armor includes a large set of mechanical angelic wings.

    Video Games 
  • Shin Megami Tensei: A staple. Invariably they are on the side of Law and oppose Chaos, but 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 YHVH's will, and either are demented Knight Templars of the worst kind, outright despise every living being with free will, or both.
    • Interestingly, there are two types of Archangels: The named archangels (Michael, Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael) and the generic demon Archangel. The named archangels are usually endgame or near-endgame in terms of power, while the Archangel is one of the lower-leveled demons.
  • Touhou Hisouten ~ Scarlet Weather Rhapsody: Tenshi Hinanawi, the Big Bad, is a Celestial Paragon who threatened to cause a cataclysmic earthquake out of boredom. Of course, Tenshi is kinda different, even by Celestials' standards... speaking of which, according to supplementary material, the Celestials in general are basically the Upper Class Twits of the universe; elitistic hedonists who were granted a place in Bhava-Agra, a paradise of instant gratifications and endless parties, either because of their own virtues, through attaining enlightenment, or through a Bargain with Heaven. It's also thanks to the Celestial Paragons that the Celestial Bureaucracy is such a mess: No more people are getting into Heaven. The official reason is that they're out of space, but the truth is that there's plenty of it, the Celestials just like hogging enormous areas for themselves.
  • Diablo: The Angiris Council 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 PCs) 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.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, most players will never encounter an archangel. Fortunately. They serve as Optional Bosses for those brave or foolhardy enough to seek out such a challenge, are the strongest things in the game and are powerful enough to survive the might of the lesser angels that, in of themselves, far eclipse all but the greatest of mortals. Their appearances are randomized, as variable as the ineffable natures of the gods that create them. They respawn after every visit too!
  • Granblue Fantasy introduced a variety of angels from different religions, the first generation of whom exist at the top of the primal beast power tier list and are the Big Good's of the setting:
    • Of the first wave of introduced archangels, there's Lucifer, the Supreme Primarch, and the boss of every other angel introduced, Michael, his second in command, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel. Sandalphon is the fifth primarch who was formerly sealed away in Pandemonium for his crimes before he escaped. With the exception of Sandalphon, they're the strongest primal beasts around with Lucifer being the most powerful of their ranks.
    • The sequel event brought in Halluel and Malluel (Called "Harut and Marut" in Japanese). While not as powerful as the above-listed primarchs, they're keepers of vast knowledge of the world as messenger angels, though they have limiters on their intelligence that make them uninterested in the knowledge they hold. It also makes them a bit air-headed and easily distracted.

  • In Holy Bibble, the top angels: Michael, Gabriel, Phanuel, Cassiel, Uriel and Sariel, have superpowers. Jophiel and Raphael might also be included in this list.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: Dr. Clef's SCP-001 Proposal is very likely to be Archangel Uriel, an archangel who is tasked with keeping humanity out of the Garden of Eden. His sword could cut anything including people, drones and even an ICBM. Incidentally, Word of God is that Clef was the one that cast humanity out of Eden, which means if he isn't the serpent that tempted them to sin, then he's Jophiel, which mean Clef proposed himself as SCP-001.


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Seraphimon & Magnadramon

Angemon and Angewoman warp-digivolve to their their Mega-levels to summon the Golden DigiEggs.

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