Anthony Crowley

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Name Anthony Crowley
Race Demon
Age At least 6000 years old
Occupation Demon
Physical appearance Dresses all in expensive black, dark hair, good cheekbones, golden serpentine eyes behind the ever-present sunglasses
Residence London
Marital Status
Books Good Omens

Crowley - known as a serpent called Crawly prior to a name change following an unfortunate incident involving a man, a woman and an unidentified fruit (traditionally long held to be an apple) - is a demon, but not the kind with the Baron of Hell flaming eyes, trident and all the other traditional demonic trappings. Crowley is the kind of demon who would inflict mobile phone network outages, VAT and the M25 London Orbital on the world. In this respect he considers himself more of a "big picture" demon than his peers and superiors, preferring to bring a large number of souls a little closer to Satan than to consume completely one person.

Crowley shows a healthy disdain for the anachronistic methods and narrow-sightedness of his colleagues, particularly in the way they communicate with him (which often involves inserting their words into the vocal track of a Best of Queen tape which hadn't been there a couple of weeks ago). He feels that Hell could learn a lot from humans, specifically their computer warranty agreements (a copy of which he sent to the Immortal Soul department with a note saying "Learn, guys"). As such, his closest confidant and possibly even his friend is a bookshop owner, and angel, called Aziraphale.

Crowley's hand has been subverting history since time immemorial (or 4004BC, anyway) but his most prominent appearance was in Good Omens at around the time of the almost-Apocalypse.

Crowley drives a 1926 Bentley, which he adores, to the extent that he continues to drive it even while it's on fire. Any tape left in the car for more than two weeks turns into a Best of Queen anthology. He wears sunglasses a lot.

Character Annotations

The name is derived from Aleister Crowley, an infamous occultist living in Britain in the early 20th century. The name "Anthony" refers to Anthony Rowley, the frog in one of the many poems and songs in English about a frog wooing a mouse. This is underlined by Pratchett's use of the line "Hey-ho said Anthony Crowley", which is only one letter away from the last line of the song's chorus.

He has a lot in common with another Pratchett emanation from the bowels of Hell, Astfgl (but he'd loudly deny it!).

Also consider The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. First published in 1942, this remains a funny and eminently readable apologia for Christianity and in its thoughful subtle way, knocks the blunt instrument of Narnia into the remaindered bin.

The book takes the form of a series of letters written by the wise old demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood, who is just starting out with his first assignment to tempt, beguile and bedazzle a human soul into Hell. The older demon provides a lot of cynical and devious advice as to how "human vermin" may be diverted from God and brought into the devil's fold. A very Crowley-like attitude to the job seeps out: the most satisfying temptations are the ones done with style and intelligent forward planning, rather than by use of brute force and terror (what the demons in Good Omens think of as old-time craftsmanship).

Indeed, in the postscript, Screwtape Proposes a Toast, the wise and cunning old demon adopts a distinctly Crowley-like position:-

Referring to "Lower Command" and "Our Father Below", Screwtape predicts that our catches will grow ever more numerous... as the great sinners grow fewer and the majority lose all individuality, the great sinners become ever more valuable... every dictator, every demagogue, every film-star, every crooner, will draw tens of thousands with him to us... there will become a time when we may not need to bother about individual tempatation at all, save for the few. Catch the bell-wether, and his whole flock comes after him. Screwtape is echoing Crowley on the world having grown too big, so that you can't pick them off one by one any more: that's craftsmanship, yeah, but not the most effective use of a demon's time. Therefore Hell's resources should be spread, so that the maximum stain adheres to the maximum number. One wonders if Crowley attended Tempter's Training College and learnt from the likes of Slobgub and Screwtape...