Ideas about angels vary widely throughout mythology, religious doctrine, and popular media. The Bible (in its many versions) describes everything from the winged variety (six wings each, to be exact) to fantastical beings that look like wheels with eyes embedded all around their rims. In artistic works, angels are essentially depicted as winged humans. In literature and the movies (or on television), they run the gamut from robed and white-winged, residing in a celestial paradise, to wingless and ever-present among humans. So what is the common factor? Is there a common factor?
In most instances, angels are portrayed as having been sent to aid humans in some way, whether it’s to protect us against an imminent threat (the movies Legend and Constantine) or as messengers sent to help us see the error of our ways (movies Michael, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story). Essentially, angels – with the exception of the fallen ones – have existed solely to lend a helping hand and there has always been a clear delineation between the “good” ones and the “bad” ones.
I did a tremendous amount of research into angel mythology while building the world for Sins of the Angels and Sins of the Son, and the same four questions kept recurring in my writerly brain. (1) What if angels were never supposed to interact with our world at all, except to maintain some kind of status quo where the fallen angels were concerned? (2) If the line between good and bad can become blurred for humans, why not in angels, too? (4) What if they had free will? And (3), if humans had been created in the image of God and we turned out to be less than perfect, who was to say angels weren’t equally so?
Ultimately this translated into one lovely, potential-filled question: What if you took imperfect angels, forced their interaction in a world that was never supposed to know of their existence, returned their free will to them, and then placed impossible choices in their paths? For one Toronto homicide detective, the answer is the unraveling of her entire life…and a race to prevent Armageddon itself.
I do so love what if questions… :)