In the final part of Saturday, it’s time to save the world. Or end it. Or delay something. Or maybe just sit back and let it all happen? OH GOD. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Good Omens.
Saturday, Part V
[So, we're starting on page 340 of the paperback edition, beginning at the sentence, "Newt did not smoke… " We end at the end of the chapter! PARTY! - Mark]
Oh, lord, I was NOT expecting this. WHO KNEW THAT ONE WORD USED RATHER LIBERALLY THROUGHOUT THIS BOOK WAS THE KEY TO EVERYTHING? Well, y’all knew. I did not.
I know that there’s another “chapter” after this, but I am already quite satisfied with how this was resolved. Again, I’m biased. I used to be Catholic. Do you know how badly I want my old Sunday School teachers to read this book??? Well, they won’t, since it’s blasphemous, but still.
Anyway, it is to great credit of these writers how chaotic these final moments are, but aside from one moment that took a second reading to understand, I never felt lost. I felt empowered reading about those four kids standing up to the Four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse. I cheered when Nate un-fixed the mechanism that would have started up Armageddon. I laughed every time Shadwell threatened to take someone down with his hand. And my god, when Adam stands up to Death, it’s just PERFECT.
There’s certainly a lot to discuss here, but I really wanted to focus on the theological implications of the conversation that Adam has with Death. For me, it’s the real crux of this book, and I don’t think it could exist without it. This whole time, I have been thinking about how the Apocalypse is an absurd notion, one that is a logistical nightmare once you think about it. Now, Gaiman and Pratchett have taken plenty of liberties with Revelations, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near enough to distort the point that Adam makes when he speaks to his Horsepeople. (I WILL NEVER TIRE OF TYPING OF HORSEPEOPLE.)
And oh boy, the shit Adam says. First of all, he makes one whopper of a point: he hasn’t experienced everything the world has to offer, so no, he’s not going to destroy it right now. Like, what a life-affirming bit of logic that is. And isn’t it great that he starts out this war between Heaven and Hell in such a beautifully selfish way? The Antichrist has agency. Never in my entire life did I think that I would type that fucking sentence, so bravo to Gaiman and Pratchett.
But even after the Them defeat War, Famine, and Pollution, even after Death leaves in a huff, it’s not over. BECAUSE METATRON AND BEELZEBUB SHOW UP. OH MY GOD. I can’t. I CAN’T! The very messengers of both sides show up, and I can’t imagine a more SHIT JUST GOT REAL moment than this. I love that Crowley’s and Aziraphale’s reactions are both like children who know they’ve done something wrong, and now their parents just showed up.
But bless you, Adam. Because even in the face of the Voice of God and the Prince of Demons, Adam doesn’t falter. He says no. He says no to two of the most powerful, all-knowing metaphysical beings ever. (Shows how much they truly know, right?) He tells them their plan is horrible. Why destroy everything for some sort of cosmic pissing contest? They’re going to destroy all of creation just to… well, what for? And does that mean that there’s no free will afterwards? Because Adam makes one hell of a point: isn’t this just going to keep happening over and over again? Doesn’t Heaven need evil to persist? Doesn’t Satan need Heaven to tempt?
(Aside: LOL AT CROWLEY AND AZIRAPHALE TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT “SECT” THE JOHNSONITES ARE. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.)
“I don’t see what’s so triffic about creating people as people and then gettin’ upset ‘cos they act like people,” said Adam severely.
“Anyway, if you stopped tellin’ people it’s all sorted out after they’re dead, they might try sorting it all out while they’re alive.”
“If I was in charge, I’d try makin’ people live a lot longer, like ole Methuselah. It’d be a lot more interestin’ and they might start thinkin’ about the sort of things they’re doing to all the enviroment and ecology, because they’ll still be around in a hundred years’ time.”
I can’t. I CAN’T. This is so perfect. I love you forever, Adam Young. And everything he says later to Madame Tracy fits perfectly with this, too. He actively chooses not to use his power to correct the ills of humanity. Humanity has got to figure that shit out for themselves. (His “save the whales” analogy works well to explain this.)
I also like that the Battle For The End Of The World ends because Aziraphale understands how to use the word ineffable.
Oh, and I like that there’s this huge, terrifying moment where Aziraphale and Crowley unfurl their gorgeous wings, ready to face whatever last twist this day has in store for them, and I find out that it’s all just Adam’s father coming to get him. So, okay, does that mean Mr. Young is the Devil? I don’t know why this was unclear to me, but either way, it didn’t detract from the humor of the situation.
So what does this mean for Crowley and Aziraphale? Are they going to have to answer to their superiors? How will they be affected by Adam’s condemnation of their constant involvement in mankind? Oh god, now I’m worried about them, especially since I’m pretty sure this is the chapter that I completely fell in love with them. I couldn’t find a way to fit that into my narrative above, but that moment when the two bid goodbye to one another for what they think might be the last time is really heartbreaking. I can imagine that it also spawned a quarter million fics as well. Right? Like, how could you not ship these two?
Okay, let me go finish this so I can write lots of thinky thoughts about this lovely book.
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