A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 1: Fantasy Squad – Angels


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?

45 thoughts on “A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 1: Fantasy Squad – Angels

  1. Cassie says:

    Interesting topic! I enjoy reading JR. Ward and her Fallen Angel series. I had started an idea around Nephelims, although I threw it to the waist side until I felt I had become a better writer & had a better story (typical writer anxiety I suppose).
    I enjoy that Angel dichotomy of good, evil, hero & antihero. What I like best is the idea of beyond and greater meanings which Angels represent in many faiths. It’s fun in fiction to walk that tight rope, ie, many of your examples above. Hum, makes me want to pull out that old story of mine – although must finish current projects first! 😉

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      I say go for it! Finish off your projects and dust off those notes! You can’t beat a good fantasy world to get lost in 😉 I’d forgotten about JR. Ward – I enjoyed the first book. Haven’t got round to the second one yet.

  2. Natasha Duncan-Drake says:

    I love the idea of the loveable rogue angel :). I remember reading about the chap who plays the angel of death on Touched by An Angel having trouble flying because people thought they were all going to die if he was on a plane. I have to say my fav angel you mentioned for sheer difference and portrayal is Tilda Swinton’s Gabriel – she’s amazing in Constantine.
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      I agree – Tilda did an excellent job 🙂 I never thought about the consequences for actors when playing angels – that’s a whole new set of posts right there! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. callummclaughlin says:

    Great post! I think my favourite angels are the ones portrayed as a little darker than we may have normally expected. The idea that there is no purely good or evil and that the lines can so easily blur is fascinating, I think.

    I recently read ‘The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender’ by Leslye Walton, about an otherwise normal girl who is born with wings. It offered so much more than I expected and the writing is knock out. I definitely recommend giving that one a look.

  4. Patricia Lynne (@plynne_writes) says:

    I remember seeing the movie Michael and loving it. City of Angels too, but it made me cry so I don’t rewatch that much. Angels are fun to write because even though you a creature that is supposed to be good, you can take it a lot of ways and present some great challenges.

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      Agreed 🙂 You know I love the brothers, and that has a lot to do with their humanity. But I love it when angels are represented as multifaceted creatures – they are fascinating. A definite must in a Fantasy Squad!

  5. somberscribbler says:

    I used to enjoy the Touched By An Angel series. Like you said, it was definitely a “feel-good” kind of show. I like the idea of Nephelim, like those created by Cassandra Clare. They are guardians and warriors.

  6. Hannah G says:

    I’m a sucker for fallen angels. Anything with Good Guy Lucifer (or even Not All That Bad Guy Lucifer). I’m a heathen, yes, but I also just think it’s fascinating to have people who are supposed to be totally evil who are actually part of the Super Duper Good Guy species…

  7. Corina says:

    I like Clarence, the bumbling probationary angel who helped George Bailey, thus earning his wings. I think I like him because he didn’t know it all, yet he did steer George in the right direction so that George was able to see that his life had value and that he didn’t want to die.

  8. Kay Kauffman says:

    I’m so glad someone else remembers the show Teen Angel! I loved that show and was mightily disappointed when it was cancelled. And Dogma is one of my favorite movies ever. 🙂

  9. S. R. Carrillo says:

    For what Nalini did for the angel/vampire dichotomy, she is the only author out there who writes angels that gets my heart. I’ve always loved angels and vampire together, much more so than angels and demons (says the one who wrote a book about angels and demons – but a vampiric demon, so I think I get a free pass on that one :P). I’ll have to check out some of these other angel-centric shows and such.

  10. CompGeekDavid says:

    My Angels of Choice lately have been Clockwork Angels… there’s the album by Rush, the novelisation of the album by Neil Peart and Kevin J. Anderson, and the awesomely thematic ones in my Warmachine army – the very reason I chose the one I did 🙂 Painting is going slow on them as I want to get it right…

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      First off – the novelisation sounds absolutely fantastic and I have just this second downloaded it on audible! Second, the clockwork angels army look amazing – I would spend hours on the detailing too 🙂

      1. CompGeekDavid says:

        The novelisation was a lot of fun. It’s an entirely new take on the utopian project, and how a protagonist interacts with it… also, it’s an album adaptation to novel, how cool is that? I loved it, but I think the best audience would be someone young – but how would they find it? Through their love of a 40-year-old band?

        Who I am seeing live this summer? 😀

        Sharing some clockwork angels love 🙂 That’s how people will find it!

  11. jazzfeathers says:

    Hi there 🙂
    I discovered your blog from Sabina’s AtoZ Post-Challange Party and since you had a fantasy theme I thought I really shoudl check you out. Pity I didn’t find you during the challenge, but hey, now I can follow you at my leasure 😉

    I’m not particularly fond of the figure of angels in stories, but you found a few pretty intersting ones here.

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      Thanks, I’m glad you stopped by. Your blog was recommended to me, so I’ll definitely be checking out your theme. I love that we can continue to explore, now we’ve reached the end of the journey 🙂

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