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All coins have two sides. And for the rulers of Hell/The Underworld/a bad place who call themselves Demon Lords and Archdevils, there are these guys.

They're the top angels (or angel-like beings) around and can usually be found as the heads of a Council of Angels. The one thing they have in common is that they can kick a whole lot of ass and are usually the Big Goods of the setting.

Although it's best to keep in mind, as with the case of an Ascended Demon, you may have a few of the Fallen Angel version of these running around, which is bad news for the heroes. They might also suffer from The Gods Must Be Lazy as well, or be Jerkass Gods for the really unhelpful ones.

See the most famous examples in Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel, Archangel Raphael, and (possibly) the Fallen Angel version in Archangel Lucifer.

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

Also of note, this trope is to Big Good/God as Demon Lords and Archdevils is to Big Bad/Satan.

Examples of Celestial Paragons and Archangels include:


Comic Books

  • The angels in Shade the Changing Man are smug, brute-force manipulators who don't even bother attempting to appeal to morality or necessity. They brought Shade back to life but also made him crazier by taking a piece of his mind to control him with. They resurrected Kathy and withheld the Mind Rape memories so intense they killed her, then extorted her with them to make her keep Shade under control. They're such Jerkass Gods that they make a bargain with an Faux Affably Evil Devil seem sane by comparison.
  • The Black Hosts and the Archangels they work for are good guys in Ghost Rider comics. They rarely show up and even more rarely do they do anything, unless there is no other way to stop a Downer Ending or if they have Fallen Angel, but those who fall are considered "former". Some of the arch angels get away with a lot of Jerkass activity without losing their rank but most of them seem to be pretty nice. Archangels are also responsible for appointing the angels of death.
    • Angels are also affiliated with the Asuras(probably meant ahura), embodiments of goodness which stand guard at the gates of heaven and the spirits of vengeance, the ones most likely to appear and act on panel.

Live Action TV

  • Archangels have showed up in Supernatural, particularly in the last few seasons.
    • It's implied that they have a full celestial hierarchy; Castiel works for Zachariah and Anna refers to having been his superior.
      • Not quite a full hierarchy.
  • Eternal Law has angels in disguise - mostly - as lawyers.


Literature

  • Classic Judaic/Christianic lore found in the old and new testaments obviously has nothing to do with this, at all.
  • The Archangels and the ever-elusive Almighty in The Dresden Files, who prefer to work In Mysterious Ways so far. Non-religious Harry identifies them as "powerful beings of Nevernever", on par with the Faerie Queens and beyond.
    • Stronger. Harry reckons that Uriel could wipe out all life one earth with very little effort. Justified as he is (sort of) the angel of death, being the angel who killed the firstborn of Egypt. And it is suggested by Mab, the Winter Queen, that he is the most dangerous of all the Archangels, and definitely the stealthiest.
  • In the Young Wizards series there's the Winged Defender, a.k.a. the One's Champion (a.k.a. Thor, a.k.a. Athena, a.k.a. the archangel Micheal). S/He only rarely intervenes directly, since fully manifesting strains the fabric of reality almost to the breaking point, but when does s/he has no problem kicking the ass of the Lone Power. In addition to occasionally kicking the ass of the Big Bad, his/her responsibilities include granting the titular wizards their power (which was the inspiration for the legend of Prometheus), and also keeping the True Name of God in several separate pieces, since the sheer power radiated by God's whole name would destroy entire universes.
  • Tolkien's The Silmarillion features the Valar, the most powerful beings in existence behind Eru. Morgoth (Sauron's boss), happened to be the most powerful of them, and rebelled against his maker.
  • Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, and Uriel are invoked by name during rituals in the Deryni novels. They variously manifest as pillars of light, or elements (earth, air, fire and water), or a luminous beings that seem to have wings.
  • A rare subversion in His Dark Materials - the angels are actually the bad guys.
    • The archangels, yes. There are "good" angels, though: Zaphania, Balthamos, and Baruch, for instance.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter, Miranda is quite shocked to learn that one being Mephisto can summon is Uriel. At the end, he gives instructions to Astreus, who had been rather high-ranking himself.
  • In Good Omens, these are Aziraphael's bosses.


Tabletop RPG

  • Dungeons and Dragons, obviously. Specifically, we have:
    • The Celestial Hebdomad for the Lawful Good archons. These seven, one for each of the Seven Heavens of Celestia, most closely resemble the traditional Christian concept of archangels.
    • Talisid and the Five Companions, paragons of the Neutral Good guardinals.
    • The Court of Stars, leaders of the Chaotic Good eladrins. They're more like fairy lords than angels, but embody Chaotic Good all the same.
  • The Archangels in In Nomine. They are much more powerful than regular angels, but are Word-bound (forced to operate in accordance with their descriptive Word) and thus limited in thought and action.
  • The Angels are the Imperators of Heaven in Nobilis- though in a case of Light Is Not (Exactly) Good, they are just above all else. The schism that resulted in the Fallen Angels existing (at least in third edition) was that some of the angels loved everyone, even the corrupt... and for this, they were cast into Hell.
  • Considering the Space Marines of Warhammer 40000 are often considered to be the God-Emperor's Angels of Death, it would logically dictate that his 20 Physical God sons that were the genetic templates for the Space Marine Legions would be his Archangels (and It's especially evident with Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels, who happens to be a Winged Humanoid). Of course, once Chaos had come about in the Horus Heresy, half of them went the other route...
    • If the Space Marines are considered to be Angels, then the Living Saints can be considered to be the Emperor's actual Archangels.
  • Promethean: The Created features qashmallim, who are not-quite-but-maybe angels serving a cosmic Principle. There are arch-qashmal as well, and when they show up, something big happens... though not necessarily nice. The book lists an example of an entire city convening to build an edifice before leaping off of it, and one adventure features an arch-qashmal about to irradiate all of Detroit unless the Prometheans make a sacrifice.

Video Games

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