I'm going through another read of Terry Pratchett's and Neil Gaiman's ever-popular book Good Omens and I was wondering if Adam Young's friends, the Them, collectively, were analogues of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

It's readily available and easy enough to see similarities between Red (War) and Pepper and between White (Pollution) and Brian. It could stand to reason that Adam Young would represent Death but I don't see any connection between the remaining Them member Wensleydale and Sable (7 letters[sic], sounds like examine).

Because of that last detail, it throws the entire assumption into question. I know that sometimes Terry likes to make vague references and sometimes they are a stretch (see: echo-gnomics = reflected sound of underground spirits).

I figured the Them were drawn to Adam just like the Four Horsemen (read Horsepeople) would have been drawn to him and his presence if he were raised with the knowledge of his nature (being the AntiChrist, that is). I see Them as a pale imitation but nevertheless an (ineffable) inevitability as a consequence to his rather normal upbringing.

To clear up that last bit, if Adam was raised with the Satanic family and with full knowledge of his abilities (those to come) and his destiny, he wouldn't have had the Them but would have the actual Four Horsemen.

So, are the Them supposed to represent the members of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

  • They're pretty obvious human parallels, but I don't think that means War would've fooled around with him as a kid - or little American Warlock the actually normal kid would have had much more interesting play companions than just whatever saints or damned souls were on call. – Radhil Jul 27 '16 at 14:36
  • @Radhil I don't think the Horsemen would have played as his friends in the way that the Them were to Adam but I wanted to see if there was any information that would support the claim for or against if the Them were analogues of the Horsemen. – Rincewind Jul 27 '16 at 14:39
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    They are (they match colors, they match personalities, and then the finale they each take on their counterpart), I just don't know any outside confirmation. I'll try to find some a bit later, if someone doesn't beat me to it. – Radhil Jul 27 '16 at 14:53
  • It seems to me is pretty confirmed in-universe, it even says somplace that the comparison with Death kind of failed but they went along eitherway. – Ram Jul 27 '16 at 23:23
  • @Ram Can you elaborate or link to a source? – Rincewind Jul 28 '16 at 0:09

It's not stated but heavily hinted

  • Brian v. Pollution: Brian is plump and always dirty-looking, there's something "ground in" about the grime on his face, hands and knees that resists ordinary soap and water. Brian generally seems the most cynical of the Them. This seems close to Pollution.

  • Wensleydale v. Famine: probably the most scientifically minded of the gang and regularly reads a magazine ("my comic", as he calls it) of the Look and Learn persuasion, full of history and science. Somehow entirely fitting that Wensleydale should be the one who is tasked with facing down and temporarily destroying Famine.

  • Pepper v. War: Has a decidedly peppery temper and savagely bit the first child to mock her name at school. She would also be happy to tussle with her fellow Them. It's also fitting that Pepper should be the one who is tasked with destroying War.

  • Adam v. Death: During the confrontation they just look at each other, they are both probably the most inhuman of them. Neither of them can really be defeated.

Besides the things the Them have in common with the four horsemen, Adam is, as Crowley puts it, "human incarnate" not good or evil. Had he fulfilled what's written the four horsemen would be his gang, instead he chose his friends and even equipped each of them with a symbolic weapon. However, and I think it's somewhat of a point the authors make, that likeness is not that close and it needs to be a little forced. The Them are truly human and not just mindless entities attracted to Adam, they are his friends and the side he chooses.

  • Great answer, very comprehensive. I agree but to a point. Brian\Pollution and Pepper\War would be the "low hanging fruit" (Crawley and the Garden of Eden), however, I just don't see Wensleydale being equated with Famine. Sable operates outside of the realm of forced attrition and relies on self-denial; whereas Wensleydale takes in knowledge like people take in burgers and fries. At this point, I'm thinking its a British cultural reference (I'm a colonial) or it's a small and overlooked trait that ties them together. Just that one thing, for me, throws it off but it's not a big deal. – Rincewind Jul 28 '16 at 4:35
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    Note that Wensleydale is a famous English cheese (see also Wallace and Gromit). Named After Food vs Famine. – Alan Jul 28 '16 at 8:14
  • I think Pepper and War both have red hair as well. – Pixel Jun 28 '17 at 2:43

In the TV show, when they meet Anathema, Wensleydale refuses her offer of food because his parents make him a nutritious dinner and they like him to come home with an appetite. Also when they meet the four horsemen, the camera cuts between the children and their corresponding horseman.

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