This bit is about Crowley and Aziraphale's joint effort in "Good Omens", And though I read the book many times I've never been sure what is being suggested here. What kind of temptation would he be going for in Hull exactly?

...it made sense to nip across the city and carry out a standard brief moment of divine ecstasy. It'd get done anyway, and being sensible about it gave everyone more free time and cut down on expenses.

From the divine ecstasy bit I imagined it was a drug or sex thing, but then angel and demon choreographing a hook up together seemed weird. Or should it be interpreted as every kind of temptation entailing a certain kind of ecstacy?

  • Plus, of course, everyone knows that "The road to Hull* is paved with good intentions" *otherwise known as the M62.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


Both the 'quick temptation' and 'divine ecstasy' are being used in this passage as shorthand for the angelic and demonic activities expected of Aziraphale and Crowley respectively.

Pratchett/Gaiman are explaining how the 'Arrangement' between these two works in practice. As in many covert and antagonistic situations the demon and the angel have found out that they have a lot more in common with each other than with the distant superiors who set their agendas.

They thus cover for each other on a regular basis and avoid making each other look too bad in front of their bosses. So if evil has been doing too well recently, Crowley might commit an angelic act of inspiring 'divine ecstacy' in Hull when he is there anyway to do his demonic duty of inciting a human to wickedly abuse a 'quick temptation'. This means everything stays roughly balanced.

Humorously this pragmatic moral relativism leads to situations where neither agent knows whether a certain phenomena is meant to be good or evil (e.g. traffic wardens).

  • 2
    You might also want to mention that this is about time-saving. If he gives someone a moment of divine ecstasy (showing them a glorious sunset, for example), it saves Aziraphale from having to go to Hull at all. Hull is quite far from London (where they're both based) so this is as much about saving effort as it is about creating balance.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 9:55
  • 5
    You might also want to give an example of the sort of temptation that he might undertake ""Hastur cleared his throat. I have tempted a priest," he said. "As he walked down the street and saw the pretty girls in the sun, I put Doubt into his mind. He would have been a saint, but within a decade we shall have him."
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 9:56
  • 1
    "As in many covert and antagonistic situations..." [citation needed]
    – Zommuter
    Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 11:33

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