Good Omens Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:
Good Omens is the story of an angel and a demon who are both trying to do their jobs that are part of the Great Plan. Although Aziraphale and Crowley are adversaries by nature and profession, their relationship develops into a friendship merely because of the time spent together over thousands of years. In this unlikely pairing, compromises are made between the two of them so that they can both appear to be accomplishing their missions without overcoming the other too much. When the birth of the Antichrist occurs, they agree to work together and try to see if their influences on the child have any effect. By the time they locate the correct child, it is almost too late as Armageddon is about to begin. Events unfold and the world is saved. At the end, Aziraphale and Crowley wonder if their involvement had any effect.
From the beginning, it is clear that Aziraphale and Crowley are both instigators in their own way; their instigations having an enormous effect on the course of events in the world. After the birth of the Antichrist, Crowley convinces Aziraphale that they should do what they need to in order to influence the child's upbringing. They appear in the child's life as the nanny and the gardener, as well as other characters that will place them near the child. Panic sets in, however, as they discover they have been influencing the wrong child. Due to a baby-switch gone awry when the Antichrist arrived at the hospital eleven years prior, they have been spending their time and energies on the wrong child.
Meanwhile, young Adam and his friends are enjoying the summer as normal eleven-year-olds would. Through an interesting turn of events, Adam meets his neighbor, Anathema, who is a self-proclaimed witch. When she passes magazines along to him, his nighttime reading creates real-life havoc. It is these strange events that catch the watchful eye of Newt Pulsifer, a Witchfinder Detective in Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell's Witchfinder Army. As Newt investigates the strange goings-on, he decides to pay a visit to Tadfield, which seems to have its own unusual story: perfect weather all year round. After a minor car accident brings him to Anathema's doorstep, he is further pulled into the realm of the supernatural. Anathema explains about Agnes Nutter's Prophecies and how the end of the world is about to happen.
Bent on preventing Armageddon, everyone converges at the Tadfield Air Base. Adam, who has some unusual issues going on within his own mind, convinces his friends to get their bikes and pedal along with him. Crowley speeds along in his Bentley while Aziraphale possesses the body of Madame Tracy. With Shadwell in tow, she makes the journey on her moped. Newt and Anathema follow Agnes Nutter's Prophecies and also follow suit. Once they are all there, Adam surprises everyone present by saying that he sees no reason why the world needs to be blown up again only to have the same cycle repeat itself. Somewhat disappointed, the Four Horsemen/Bikers of the Apocalypse, as well as the Metatron and Beelzebub, and Anathema depart. Everyone else breathes a huge sigh of relief.
The next day, no one is able to recall clearly the events of the previous evening. Even as Aziraphale and Crowley debate whether or not the events were part of the divine plan or not, their memories are wiped out as well. They continue on as they had before the Antichrist entered the picture.
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Good Omens is a comedic novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. The plot focuses primarily on the attempts of Heaven and Hell to bring about the Apocalypse and the efforts of two characters—an angel named Aziraphale and a demon named Crowley—to thwart such attempts. Aziraphale and Crowley have both lived among humans for several thousand years and have grown fond of humanity and their lives on Earth. Therefore, despite representing opposing divine parties, the two know each other well and interact often—to Crowley, Aziraphale is “an enemy for six thousand years now, which made him sort of a friend.
It is also because of their common fondness for Earth and the human race that the two work together to prevent the coming of the End Times. Their collaboration results in the planning and execution of comically ridiculous schemes: most notably, the plan to switch the son of Satan (a.k.a the Antichrist) with another, normal baby to hinder the role Satan’s son was meant to play in bringing about the Apocalypse.
Good Omens presents the stories of many other characters as well. After the execution of Aziraphale and Crowley’s scheme to switch the babies, the novel continues to follow the story of the son of Satan—Adam Young—as he grows up with a group of normal children and a normal family. Adam ends up developing and realizing his divine powers nevertheless, which causes a series of events essential to the conclusion of the novel.
Also involved are the Apocalyptic Horsepersons: War, Famine, Pollution, and Death. The Horsepersons join together in the form of an apocalyptic motorcycle gang and work to bring about the Apocalypse by bringing chaos to humanity in the forms their names represent. While they do not owe their allegiance to Heaven nor Hell, they are intended by both divine parties to be the means through which the End Times will be initiated.
The story of Anathema Device and Newt Pulsifer is another major plot arc in the novel. Anathema is a descendant of a witch named Agnes Nutter, and organizes her life around a book by her ancestor called “The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.” The book contains detailed predictions about the End Times which Anathema believes wholeheartedly. She later encounters Newt Pulsifer, a descendant of witchfinder Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer, when he crashes his car and she brings him into her cottage until he regains consciousness. The two remain together and collaborate over the course of the rest of the novel, developing a romantic interest in each other.