Today, let’s get celestial and talk about a theme that’s been fluttering around in fantasy fiction for ages. Do you see we’re I’m headed? Angels! Angels, with their wings and halos, have been a mainstay in fantasy literature, soaring through numerous pages and captivating readers’ hearts. Let’s delve into the divine and often complex realm of angels in fantasy fiction.
Our journey begins in the 18th century with the rise of Gothic literature. Although not exactly fantasy in the modern sense, Gothic literature incorporated supernatural elements, including angels. The hallmark example would have to be Paradise Lost by John Milton, where angels weren’t merely heavenly messengers, but protagonists in a celestial drama. They had personalities, ambitions, and even the capacity for rebellion.
Moving into the 19th century, we saw angels being represented with more complexity and often a darker edge. Take Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, where Heathcliff is described as a “diabolical angel” by Nelly Dean. Brontë uses angelic imagery to underline the dual nature of her characters, symbolizing both purity and passion, sanctity and sin.
Fast forward to the 20th and 21st centuries, the role of angels in fantasy took a dramatic turn. Instead of being relegated to the background or utilized as symbols, they became main characters. Authors began to play with the trope, creating angelic characters that were far from the traditional, untouchable divine figures.
Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, co-authored with Terry Pratchett, gives us the unforgettable duo of Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon. They challenge stereotypical depictions, showing us angels can be fussy book-lovers and demons can have a soft spot for houseplants. Together, they defy their divine and diabolical destinies to save the world in their own quirky way.
In the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor, we meet Akiva, a seraph with a warrior’s heart and a love for a chimaera, beings he’s supposed to despise and destroy. Akiva’s internal struggle reflects the battle between duty and desire, a theme many of us can relate to.
Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series offers a more adult perspective on angels, exploring themes of power, romance, and corruption. In Singh’s universe, angels rule over humans and vampires, embodying a fascinating blend of allure and terror.
Lastly, let’s not forget Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. Here, angels are ancestors of the Shadowhunters, providing them with the power to protect the world from demons. This divine lineage introduces intricate dynamics of power, legacy, and duty that resonate throughout the series.
It’s apparent that angels have evolved from mere messengers to complex beings with their own struggles and triumphs. They embody humanity’s hopes, fears, and contradictions, proving that these celestial beings are more than their wings and halos.
So, next time you pick up a fantasy novel featuring these heavenly beings, take a moment to appreciate how far they’ve come. Who knows? You might find that you relate more to these celestial creatures than you’d have thought.
Until next time, keep your imagination soaring high, just like our beloved angels. Happy reading!