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Good Omens
 
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990) is a novel written by the English authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s a comedy, a quasi-parody of the Omen films (as well as other similar genre films), concerning the Anti-Christ, the coming of the apocalypse, an angel Aziraphale and a demon Crowley. As Supernatural is known for drawing ideas from multiple sources, the parallels between the two characters have cause many to speculate whether this novel was the basis for the character of Crowley.   The similarities are there, and while Kripke & Co. weave their own tales, maybe comparing the two would give us a sort of sneak peek into what our Crowley might do. 
 
In Good Omens, Anthony Crowley is a demon, but not your flaming eyed, demonic-trappings demon. He’s more a pesky nuisance, described online as ‘the kind of demon who would inflict mobile phone network outages’. He prefers to bring a large number of souls a little closer to Satan, than to consume one person completely. In the book, he was a representative of Satan on earth, and the serpent who tempted Eve in the Garden (Then he was known as Crawly, but changed his name shortly after that ’unfortunate incident’.)  
 
Crowley is British upper crust. He is at least 6000 years old, and has been subverting history for millennia (or 4004BC, anyway) but is most prominent at the time of the ‘almost’ apocalypse. He dresses in expensive tailor-made black suits, and has yellow serpentine eyes behind sunglasses, which he wears most of the time. (Certainly he would be a character who would be very upset if someone ’ate his tailor’.)   When Crowley finds it necessary to change form to a human, he states he "hates having to do that "because he's "afraid he'll forget how to change back".   However he develops a fondness for his human body, and grows quite attached to his current state of being.
 
 
 
He lives in a posh, pristine flat in London's district of Mayfair, which he has populated with houseplants, "the most luxurious, verdant, and beautiful in London". He has decorated it with very expensive furniture, white leather to be exact, and an overpriced home entertainment system (Crowley has a love for gadgets). He would certainly care about the value of the rug the boys destroyed in Abandon All Hope (5.10). He only drinks good wines, and drives a 1926 black Bentley, which he adores, to the extent that he continues to drive it even while it's on fire. Any tape left in the car for more than two weeks turns into a Best of Queen anthology. It will be interesting to see if Crowley’s Bentley shows up in Supernatural.   Another classic car would be neat!
 
Crowley feels that Hell could learn a lot from humans, and his best friend, despite being polar opposites, is the angel Aziraphale, who was the angel of the Garden of Eden during Adam and Eve’s time. Once Crowley and Aziraphale discovered that the process of thwarting each other, and just basically getting under each other's feet, was not productive, they realize they have quite a lot in common. They agree to a tacit ‘non-interference’ pact in certain of each other's activities. So while neither really won, neither really lost, and both were able to demonstrate to their superiors the great strides they were making against each other.    In fact, as they are both "of angel stock," they even find it reasonable to cover for each other on occasion. Dining at the Ritz is a favorite activity for this unlikely duo, as is keeping the back room of Aziraphale's bookshop stocked with wine for the purpose of getting utterly blitzed when things don't go according to plan. Both of them have a fondness for classical music and therefore keep it handy, although imprisonment in the Bentley is very often the cause of a good Tchaikovsky tape gone bad.
 
The apocalypse comes as bad news to them, as they've actually gotten quite used to living their cozy, comfortable lives and, in a perverse way, actually have taken a liking to humanity. They decide to work together to avert the End of Times by keeping an eye on the Antichrist, and thus ensure he grows up in a way that means he can never decide between Good and Evil and, therefore, postpone the end of the world.   Only problem is, the world has misplaced the Anti-Christ. Seems he is not who he is supposed to be, so the race to find him is on. (This sounds a bit like Jessie from I Believe the Children Are Our Future (5.06) to me.)
 
In the matter of Crowley's demonic achievements on earth, only one thing is entirely certain: he doesn't have the stomach for the sort of cruelties that other demons are capable, or that humans are capable of either. The Spanish Inquisition drove Crowley to drink for a week straight. In Crowley's opinion, humans are far better at causing each other misery than Hell is because "they've got imagination... and electricity, of course".  According to Crowley, “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here -- seeking asylum”. The summary in the dust jacket described Crowley as "Hell's most approachable demon." 
 
I think you can see a lot of similarities between the personalities. Supernatural’s Crowley (expertly played by Mark Shepherd) is not fan of Satan, or the impending apocalypse. Like the novel, he is urbane and sophisticated, wears a suit, and drinks fine wines.    It’s very apparent Crowley wants his ‘posh’ existence to continue on earth, and Satan is a big obstacle here. Not being of a ‘higher’ order of demon himself, he would need help to keep his status quo; and like in Good Omens, making an arrangement with the other side is a perfectly logical thing to do….and the Winchesters, Bobby and Cass (especially Cass) are certainly the ‘other’ side.  
 
However, unlike "Hell's most approachable demon", this Crowley is no stranger to violence and death. In the Real Ghostbusters (5.09), Becky tells Sam, Crowley was Lilith’s right hand man. Also seems he is quite capable of taking on a whole nest of demons (The Devil You Know, 5.20) single handedly too….certainly not a demon to get upset over the Spanish Inquisition.   And unlike his namesake in Good Omen, quite the statistician too. He seems to be quite well connected, having a large base for certain information and intelligence not available to other demons. He also didn’t change forms as in the novel, but is wearing a ‘moderately successful literary agent out of New York’.
 
Crowley is certainly no pesky imp as in the novel, but to a certain extent does like humans, at least over demons. He is suave, sophisticated and dangerous, whether or not he is actually being TOTALLY honest with the boys, only Kripke knows, but his alliance with the boys right now is real. They have a common enemy in Lucifer and while there has never been any reason to believe Crowley is trustworthy, the boys have few options. It would be easy to imagine with Lucifer back in his cell and Lilith dead, Crowley could be the boy’s worse nightmare. But with the myth arc ending, another demon foe is not in the cards for season 6.  
 
For me, Crowley is charismatically evil and his ways and personality are fun to see. Maybe his likeness from the book actually is more than just character traits. Maybe Kripke is sending another message. That Crowley actually IS a good omen for the boys, apocalypse-wise that is, and with only two episodes to go, the Winchesters can use all the good omens they can get!
 
 

Comments  

Jasminka
# Jasminka 2010-05-06 12:50
Sablegreen, hey, I don’t know that book, so thank you so much for pointing that out and giving me another hint for what I need to read in the near future.
Apart from that – ha! – thanks for a great article!

I love Crowley in the sense that he’s a great and charismatic baddie – but I don’t trust him within an inch of my life… I am still not convinced that there might be something as a good demon, and that might be just racist…

He has his agenda, I believe, but he plays his cards in a wonderful manner, it’s a delight to see. I hope to find him around longer than this season, and should he actually turn out to be an ally to the brothers, it might not be bad to have an agent on the demonic side of this world…

Love Jas
Matilda Jean
# Matilda Jean 2010-05-06 19:24
Enjoyed your article Sable. Sounds like an excellent book. Always enjoy reading what you have to say. Keep up the good work.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-05-07 10:15
Hi Jas, Matilda and Leslie92708...W ell Crowley certainly seemed like a good omen last night, at least for Bobby. As a crossroads demon he seems different. He didn't have to agree to give Bobby his soul back, and he didn't have to amend Bobby's deal to allow him to walk again, but so glad he did. And tipping the boys to Pestilence's scheme seemed out of character for a demon too. Like Leslie92708, I'm sure he has his own agenda, it just doesn't seem to be so bad right now. I really do like him, for some reason. Too bad he won't be around next season.
Freebird
# Freebird 2010-05-07 20:02
Hi Sablegreen,
very interesting article, thank you for sharing! Didn't know about that book, and this was an interesting comparison.
I agree, that Mark Shepherd plays the baddie expertly, I enjoy his performance very much. He is so convincing, yet don't trust him a bit.
I was wondering what is going on with Jessie the anti-christ though, he hasn't come up again ever since that one and only episode.
Randal
# Randal 2010-05-08 15:37
I love everything by Gaiman that I've read (go, Sandman, go) but I've never read this. I'm certainly going to now, especially given its Supernatural-es que overtones.

The enemy of my enemy is a friend of Bobby, apparently. 8-)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-05-08 19:06
Hi Freebird and Randal, thanks for reading the article. Freebird, I've wondered about Jessie too. I always thought he would return to aid the boys, (like with defeating the horseman), but no such luck. Guess it just wasn't in the budget. Really would have been neat to see his powers again. Really some seriously missed opportunities in season 5, for me anyway. If he doesn't show up next week, likely we won't see him anymore. No myth arc in season 6.

Randal, you will love the book! I highly recommend it!
Crowley is really an imp, even to Aziraphale. :lol:
ErikaLWH
# ErikaLWH 2010-05-09 00:25
Thank goodness someone else has finally mentioned this! While there are a lot of differences, there are enough similarities to make one wonder! I'm just glad that after asking and asking I've found someone else who has read the book and made the connection! :-)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-05-10 10:35
ErikalWH if you've read the book, it’s hard not to make the connection. Really this was very well done and a lot of fun...and gave the literary world two great characters. Anyone who hasn't read it should.

Leslie92708, I don’t Jessie helping the boys wouldn’t get them off the hook, anymore than Crowley has. Just give the show more depth, and wrap up a very big loose end.
Suze
# Suze 2010-05-10 13:50
Glad someone else spotted this, it can't be a coincidence! I loved Crowley in the book (specially the bit about terrifying his house plants) and rather hope the SPN version turns out the same way ... He's too good to lose ... I think Cas is a bit dour for Aziraphale, though, can't see him mending anyone's bike with natty tartan accesories ... ;-)
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-05-10 16:03
Suze, I completely forgot about terrifying his house plants! That was a riot! He is quite the character. Too bad they didn't have him in more epsidoes this season. I'm pretty sure, he won't be in season 6.
Brenna Alyn Walters
# Brenna Alyn Walters 2011-03-09 02:46
I've been reading and re-reading "Good Omens" since the early 90's, and I found another similarity. In the episode "The Devil You Know" a demon gives Crowley a speech warning that "you will suffer as no others have suffered" at the hands of Lucifer's camp. This is VERY similar to a part of Good Omens in which a demon warns Crowley that he will suffer more than anyone else. The demon eventually gives up on figuring out how to express it, and adds "you're gonna get taken to the bloody cleaners, pal!"