Assumed Name: Anthony J. Crowley
True Name: Unknown, although it is written as a "complex, wiggly sigil" (page 10) and glows red when he writes it.
Rejected Former Name: Crawly.
Assumed Age: Unknown. Young-ish. Young enough to get away with always wearing sunglasses, at least.
True Age: Unknown, but older than the Earth at least, which puts him at more than six thousand years old (according to the cosmology of the novel, in which the Earth was created in 4004 BC).
Gender: Male. Sort of. He has the physical appearance of a human male, which would seem to settle the matter... Except that one passage about Aziraphale notes that "angels are sexless unless they really want to make an effort" (page 147). And since just about everything that the book says about angels applies to demons (originally fallen angels) as well, we can guess that the same applies to Crowley. Since neither Crowley nor Aziraphale ever show any inclination that they want to make any sort of effort, that means that we don't really *know* what's going on beneath the trousers of Aziraphale and Crowley, if anything at all.
Occupation: Demon. More specifically, his job seems to be hanging around on Earth and tempting people to do evil, although he does whatever he can to increase the net amount of evil in the world, whenever opportunity presents itself. Or, as Adam sums it up so succinctly, Crowley's job is "to mess people around" (page 333).
Place of Residence: Nowhere really, although Crowley does own an awfully stylin' flat in London, and spends most of his time messing around with the lives of the British. Thus it would be most accurate to say that his "home" on Earth is London.
Hobbies: Gardening, buying expensive gadgets and technology, driving his black Bentley very very fast. Also thinking too hard about the true nature of the universe. And enjoying life's finer culinary delights in the company of Aziraphale. And drinking... a lot. And sleeping, which he doesn't really need to do, but seems to enjoy nonetheless.
Strengths: Being clever and cunning, being a bastard, being evil. Usually being able to maintain cheerful optimism even in the face of Apocalyptic doom.
Weaknesses: Liking the Earth and humankind a bit too much for a demon... Failing at consistent attempts to commit vehicular homicide... Letting most of his intelligence and cunning go to waste by consistently failing to think very far ahead into the future of most of his deeds.
Personal Relationships: His only friend is Aziraphale, an angel.
Enemies: Demons generally don't trust each other, so I guess that makes just about everyone Below into Crowley's enemy, although he seems to have a particular distaste for Hastur and Ligur, two Dukes of Hell. It doesn't help things when much later in the novel, Crowley kills Ligur and *righteously* pisses off Hastur. Crowley also seems to be terrified of Beezlebub, the Prince of Hell, and of course, of Lucifer himself.
Crowley Up Close
In brief: Once a demon named Crawly who was known as the famous serpent in the Garden of Eden, Anthony Crowley is now (and has been ever since) a human-shaped demon on Earth, who specializes in, well, making life difficult and nasty for human beings. His home base is in London, England. He wears dark sunglasses all the time, and drives a vintage 1926 black Bentley. Well, that's Crowley in a nutshell, at least.
Crowley's image is inextricably intertwined with that of a serpent, especially considering how many of the other characters in the book address him as such. Hastur calls him a "bloody snake," Agnes Nutter writes of him as "the Serpente," and even Aziraphale calls him "you old serpent" at one point. And then there's the additional details of his hissing voice, snake-like eyes, and snakeskin "shoes," but that's saved for another page.
Crowley has adapted so well to life on Earth that, as Ligur puts it, he's practically "gone native." He embraces all current technology, fashion, and fads; he utilizes modern technology especially as a source of evil and frustration to use against the humans who invented it. Crowley's speech tends to be filled with slang, and his attitude is usually stylish and cool. And, after living for six thousand years among human beings, Crowley begins to absorb and emulate some particularly human qualities - a tendency towards vanity, for example, or a nasty habit of pondering some unsettling questions about both Heaven, Hell, and the great ineffability of God.
On the surface, Crowley is everything that you would expect a demon to be: mean-spirited, cunning, greedy, selfish, and possessed of a certain insidious intelligence. However, the real Crowley is far more complicated than meets the eye. For one thing, six thousand years of living on Earth has affected Crowley's outlook dramatically - he's fascinated by the world and by human beings, and even grows to - dare I say it - love the world, or at least like it enough so that he doesn't want to see it destroyed. Crowley seems to equally dislike both Heaven and Hell, and doesn't look forward to *either* side winning out over the other after Armageddon. And finally, although it takes him three hundred pages to admit it, Crowley does form a genuine friendship with one other being, the angel Aziraphale. Crowley isn't entirely selfish or self-absorbed either; at the climax of the novel, he's even willing to make a hopeless stand against Lucifer himself in order to protect the lives of a handful of humans (and because Aziraphale convinces him that by this point, he has nothing left to lose anyway).
Despite the fact that Crowley disobeys his superiors in Hell and absolutely screws up the Apocalypse, he still survives with his scaly skin intact at the end of the novel. The ending of Good Omens leaves much of Crowley's future as a big glaring question mark, although it does ultimately appear that things have gone reasonably back to normal. Crowley and Aziraphale share a bottle of victory wine, feed the ducks in St. James Park together, and then do lunch at the Ritz. The End? Maybe so, although I personally finished the book with the feeling that Crowley would never go about his job as a demon in quite the same way again, just as Aziraphale would never be quite the same angelic being that he once was. Both characters come to understand that just as Heaven and Hell aren't exactly synonymous with Good and Evil, Crowley and Aziraphale themselves are a bit more complicated than they even understood themselves to be.
That's the beauty of Good Omens. Earth, Heaven, and Hell are rendered in moral shades of gray; and Crowley, a character who should by all means be demonic and evil and absolutely despicable, defies expectations and is portrayed as one of the most complicated, sympathetic, and likeable characters in the book. It's no wonder that Crowley often acts as the philosophical voice of the novel. Crowley's wicked and wonderful personality is a synthesis of everything that the book stands for.
Important Note: Page numbers in reference to quotations from the book refer to the 1996 Ace mass-market paperback edition. Disclaimer: Crowley, Aziraphale, and Good Omens are owned and copyrighted by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Excerpts and quotes from the novel Good Omens used throughout this site are reproduced without legal permission, for which I can only hang my head sheepishly and apologize. However, this is a FANSITE, meant in the name of fun, and not intended to make a profit. The lovely model in this site's header graphic is an endangered Eastern Indigo Snake, in a photograph courtesy of SeaWorld.org. Brushes used in the header graphic are courtesy of Paper Flowers.