Towards the very end of Pratchett and Gaiman's Good Omens,

after Adam has decided not to destroy the world after all, and the moment of the destined battle has passed without incident,

his father, the Devil himself, is on his way up to the surface:

The ground began to shake. The noise was like a subway train, but not one passing under. It was more like the sound of one coming up.

Crowley fumbled madly with the gear shift.

“That's not Beelzebub!” he shouted, above the noise of the wind. “That's Him. His Father! This isn't Armageddon, this is personal. Start, you bloody thing!”

Aziraphale, Crowley, and Shadwell march forth to face Him, but Adam does ... something:

Adam looked around. He looked down. His face took on an expression of calculated innocence.

There was a moment of conflict.

But Adam was on his own ground.

Always, and ultimately, on his own ground.

He moved one hand around in a blurred half circle.

... Aziraphale and Crowley felt the world change.

There was no noise. There were no cracks. There was just that where there had been the beginnings of a volcano of Satanic power, there was just clearing smoke, and a car drawing slowly to a halt, its engine loud in the evening hush.

Apart from an absolutely cringemaking overuse of the word "there" in a single sentence and paragraph ... what actually happened here? Adam's biological father, the Devil, is coming up from Hell, then

suddenly it's only his adoptive father, Mr Young. Did Adam somehow transform the Devil into a human? That seems unlikely. Did Adam dismiss the Devil, and it's only coincidence that Mr Young turned up exactly there and then? I think there's something I'm missing.

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    I believe the use of anaphora was quite deliberate, by the way. Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


The answer is in something Crowley said earlier.

He actually mentioned this regarding young Warlock, who at the time, he still thought was the Antichrist.

"Nobody's going to notice anything out of the ordinary. It's reality, angel. And young Warlock can do what he wants to that, whether he knows it or not."

Adam has, of course, been unconciously rewriting reality to hilarious effect for most of the book. Probably the most obvious demonstration is this:

Where the reactor should have been was an empty space. You could have had quite a nice game of squash in it.

Right at the bottom, all alone in the center of the bright cold floor, was a lemon drop.

Outside in the cavernous turbine hall the machines roared on.

The power plant is still running, you'll note. Cause and effect officially took a flying leap off a cliff. This is what he's capable of without actually intending to do anything.

So Adam faced a reality where his father (full-on flaming Satan) was coming to have a stern word with him. Except... now he has full awareness of what he can do. He shut down the Apocalypse without even relying on that, just with the right words and friends. And well... he's standing in reality, isn't he?

But Adam was on his own ground. Always, and ultimately, on his own ground.

So he rewrites reality... to one where his father was coming to have a stern word with him.

The symmetry might even have appealed to him, even if he wouldn't actually know it. Aziraphale and Crowley have a fair bit of chat about his sense of humor in other minor changes like Aziraphale's bookshop being restored. I imagine Satan was terribly surprised at no longer being about to erupt onto the Earth... and that probably also had the intended message to not try it again. But he's not that important to the story in the long run.

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    In addition to your answer, Adam was also called "Prince of THIS World". Satan can rule in Hell all he wants, but this world is Adam's and his alone. His ground. It is strangely poetic. The world as is now is not ruled by angels or demons; they are not the apex predator here. It is ruled by humans, from North to South pole, from the depth of ocean to heights of space, you will find humans, changing their environment, for good or bad. And Adam is not good or bad. He is not on the side or heaven or hell, he is human, on the side of humanity.
    – jo1storm
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 9:54
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    There's a secondary plotline where Ronald P. Tyler (out walking his dog) encounters Mr Young and informs him that he saw Them heading up to the airbase on their bikes, that's what causes Mr Young to also be arriving at the airbase to have a stern word.
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 13:10
  • @Separatrix But that might also have been part of Adam's rewriting of reality.
    – Zev Spitz
    Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 19:50
  • @ZevSpitz, consider it as both fathers being on their way, the clash of natural and supernatural lives, Adam chooses which path to follow. A large part of the previous scene applies to both options, most of the book really builds to that moment of his choosing. It's talked about as him choosing heaven or hell, but it's really about him choosing human or supernatural.
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jan 17, 2023 at 8:13

It's not in the book canon, but in the serie just released in Amazon Prime Video.

When Satan arrive on earth, Adam said to Lucifer :

Adam You're not my dad. Dads don't wait until you're 11 to say hello, and then turn up to tell you off. (...) If I'm in trouble with my dad, then it won't be you. It's going to be the dad who was there.

Lucifer What did you say ?

Adam You're not my dad. You never were.

Then Adam proceed to "change" Lucifer into his real dad. As Neil Gaiman is involved in the creation of the book and the serie, we could say that the serie clarify this part of the book (that I didn't read).

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    Nah, that's nothing like the book. Satan doesn't even make it to the surface in the book. Gaiman, being the author is able to take liberties with the story for the sake of television.
    – Separatrix
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 13:07

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