It might be an obvious choice, but in terms of a Fantasy Squad, angels are up there with the best of them. Certainly in terms of fictional beings, we have a variety to choose from. We’ve had the good, the bad, and, the devilishly handsome (yes, that’s a reference to Denzel Washington). The characters who stand out, do so because they challenge our preconceptions and, wings or no wings, their appeal shines through like a carefully crafted halo.
Let’s start with television and perhaps one of the most infamous angels, played by Michael Landon in Highway to Heaven. I got to see reruns of the show growing up and fell hook, line and sinker for Michael’s probationary angel. The show was emotionally charged, and dealt with some pretty major issues, but it was the character – the essence of Jonathan that really stayed with me.
Similarly, Touched by an Angel was a show about angels who were assigned to Earth to inspire people – assignments which usually involved a crossroads of sorts. The show had a definite feel good factor, with a strong message and an interesting viewpoint on how angels interact in human form – highlighting their own fears and insecurities.
Sticking with television, Teen Angel was a light hearted comedy following the adventures of Marty, who died after eating a six month old burger, and was assigned as his best friend’s guardian angel. The jokes might have been corny, but it was a lot of fun!
Misha Collins, who plays Castiel in Supernatural, is a popular choice. Not only did he pull Dean Winchester out of Hell, he ultimately chose humanity. He is someone the brothers can rely on, and who fans of the show have grown to love – warts and all!
Turning to film, who can forget John Travolta’s interpretation of an archangel on his last jaunt on Earth. Love him or hate him, Michael – the wise-cracking, cigarette smoking, angel was at least memorable. Then we have Denzel Washington, an angel on a mission in The Preacher’s Wife – did I mention the devilishly handsome part? Angels have been used in a variety of ways. To affect calm in emotional situations (as seen by Nicolas Cage in City of Angels), to intervene, serve or protect. But not all angels are on their best behaviour.
Take, for example, exiled angels, like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (aka Bartleby and Loki), who turned the stereotype on its head in the satire, Dogma. Tilda Swinton made a formidable Gabriel in Constantine, on a mission to ensure we earn the Lord’s love. This was a darker, slightly unhinged interpretation, but a lot of fun.
Edgar Allan Poe used humour in his short piece of fiction The Angel of the Odd. I’ve found the story works best when read aloud, and slightly inebriated doesn’t hurt!
In terms of literature, there is so much to choose from I’d need the entire month to get through it all! Fantasy writers like Nalini Singh and Larissa Ione have produced some truly memorable angels. Nalini uses wings to great effect – she gives each of her angels a unique skill, and has established a world where archangels rule. Perhaps one of the most interesting concepts in the Guild Hunter series is the fact angels are responsible for the creation of vampires. In the Demonica series, Larissa creates a force to be reckoned with in Reaver -Warrior of Heaven.
Indie authors like Patricia Lynne (Patricia Josephine) and Sierra (S.R. Carrillo) have pushed the boundaries and entertained us with angels who carry the burden of great responsibility. They are definitely worth checking out.
But how about you? If we were to create a fantasy squad, what would your angel be like; a guardian, a warrior, lovable rogue, or champion of the Heavens? Which representations stand out for you?