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In Supernatural the "Book of the Damned" Castiel managed to

retrieve his grace, although we can see that his wings are broken.

However, Castiel lost his grace before Metatron expelled all of the angels from heaven, so when all of the angels had their wings irreparably damaged, Castiel was already human?

So what happened to make his wings like that? Or was it not necessarily the drop to Earth that damaged the angels, or the spell itself that Metatron cast? Or am I just wrong in assuming his wings looked broken?

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  • I honestly think that the writers are just really bad with consistency and making sense and remembering the events of previous episodes. I mean, look at what they did in season 9 with suddenly saying that reapers are a type of angel, something that had never even been hinted at before. Jan 13, 2017 at 11:08

10 Answers 10

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The question presumes that ANY angel still has the ability to fly or teleport after the events of the Second Fall from Heaven in Season 8, Episode #23: Sacrifice. After Metatron uses the angel tablet and part of Castiel's grace, all of the angels fell from Heaven and were, for a time, rendered flightless and forced to take vessels living as humans.

Castiel

  • When we first met Castiel his wings were powerful and robust and his powers were completely intact. He moved everywhere via teleportation and had no use for vehicles of any kind, leaving and entering them without warning or notice.

  • Almost all angels moved this way and could only be prevented using Enochian symbols.

We are making the assumption that Castiel, once he lost his grace, his wings became frayed and he lost the bulk of his angelic abilities.

  • While he may have lost his abilities, are we certain his wings became frayed because of the loss of his grace?

  • Or could his wings have suffered the same fate when Metatron used the angel tablet. Just because he was residing in a human body didn't mean the spell didn't affect the angelic aspect of him just the same.

    Castiel with broken wings

Once Metatron cast the spell forcing the angels out of Heaven, we weren't privy to images of any other angel's wings for comparison, so we aren't sure if their wings have been damaged.

  • We have not been told whether the spell that Metatron cast has been reversed. We know the angels have returned to Heaven but not whether they are able to leave it via their previous powers of instant teleportation.

  • We have not been told whether angels can fly or teleport since angels have returned to heaven. Any time we have seen them since their Return, they use the gate in the park to get to or from Heaven. Is that because the Winchesters are limited to how they can get to Heaven or is this how everyone moves around?

  • I would say we are not privy to sufficient information to know for certain if the angels as a whole have lost their previous level of mobility and until its confirmed they have, we may be forced to assume NO angel except Metatron have their previous level of mobility.

In which case, while we could assume Castiel has lost his mobility due to a part of his grace having been used for the Heaven-affecting spell, it is more likely no angel has the ability to get around like they used to, which remains to Metatron's benefit.

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Remember, in the bar when Gadreel was in Sam, his wings were broken and same with all the angels that were a part of the Fall. All the angels lost the power to teleport. If you remember, the angels falling is permanent. They are still currently fallen; they just found a way to climb up instead of teleport like they used to do.

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  • True enough. Can you clarify how this applies to the situation with Castiel, though?
    – Adamant
    Oct 9, 2016 at 6:45
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I think it might be because he only got part of his grace back; as Metatron said in the last episode, there was "still a little bit left" when Sam was about to shoot him, meaning that Cas didn't get all of his grace back- hence the frail wings!

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Metatron said early in season 10 that there was "not a lot, but enough" of his grace left to return Cas to full power. Presumably that means he would return to his full power as a seraph, as we'd seen him since the end of "Swan Song."

All through season 10, whenever we saw Cas do something that involved angelic power, it always seemed to exert him. Remember when he blew in the door in the bunker to stop Metatron's interrogation, if you watch him closely just after the door explodes, he tipped forward a little as if he'd just greatly exerted himself, and then again a few episodes later when he blew in the door to the bedroom to rescue Claire. Prior to "Sacrifice," he never seemed to exert himself no matter what he was doing. I'll also add that when he healed Gadreel at the end of season 9, that also seemed to require effort on his part. I attribute all of this to the fact of him using the (stolen) grace of a regular angel, which as we've seen is less powerful than a seraph.

Compare that to the one display of angelic power we've seen from Cas since his original grace was restored, when he healed Charlie. That seemed to require no effort at all.

I'll also note that since Cas lost his grace, anytime we've heard the angel wail (that high-pitched sound we the audience hear when something angelic is happening), it was always low in pitch. In the moment when he was displaying his wings in "Book of the Damned" though, the sound was notably higher in pitch, possibly hinting at being "pure" again. (That's 100% speculation on my part and could possibly just be me reading too much into it.)

Then let's talk about spells. As a seraph, one would think that Cas would be invulnerable to any spell that could be cast by a human. Enter into that Rowena, who was introduced in season 10 as a witch whose powers were weak and imperfect. Even with access to the Book of the Damned, I have a very hard time accepting that as a seraph again, Cas would be affected by the attack-dog spell. It suggests the same inconsistency that we saw as Dean beat him to a bloody pulp in the penultimate episode; if bullets wouldn't make him bleed even as a regular angel when he was first introduced, why would mere fists bloody him now? Moreover, when using stolen grace earlier in the season, we saw him trap Demon Dean with nothing but his hands--but in "The Prisoner," when he tries that, Dean broke the grip seemingly effortlessly.

As for the issue of the angels' wings, to me that's actually fairly straightforward. When Metatron cast his spell in "Sacrifice," it cast the angels out of heaven, and caused their wings to disintegrate, thus preventing them from returning to heaven. The spell also sealed heaven's gates, trapping souls in the Veil. Although Metatron has been stopped and imprisoned (or had been until the end of "Book of the Damned"), the spell still hasn't been reversed, meaning the angels' wings are still broken and heaven's gates are still sealed.

Consider: - as someone else pointed out, we've only seen them coming and going via the gate in the park - we've also seen Cas continue to drive his car - none of the other angels are seen teleporting and they all have to use cars and/or the gate - Crowley explicitly referred to Cas' wings as still broken in the season 10 finale - instead of zapping straight to Crowley, Cas had to use a summoning spell - instead of zapping around to gather the ingredients for the spell, like he did in season 6, Cas had to get Crowley to help him, since Crowley can still teleport

I had hoped that they'd spend some time this season focusing on reversing Metatron's spell and fixing both heaven and the angels' wings. It's enough for me that they at least gave Cas his grace back--and since it took two seasons for even that much to happen, maybe fixing heaven is on the agenda for next year. From my chair it's still an open question, since the only time it was said to be irreversible was when Crowley said it...and as Sam pointed out at the time, Crowley isn't exactly reliable. I'm waiting for either Cas or one of the angels to say definitively that the spell cannot be reversed before I can let the plot point go.

To tell the truth, when the teaser came up that included Metatron in the playground saying "It worked before," I was hoping that meant they'd finally address this problem. (I thought it meant that while he and Cas were down on earth, another angel had taken over heaven and locked the gate closed, meaning that to get home Metatron and Cas would have to reverse the expulsion spell.)

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Whether it was the effects of Metatron's spell or only getting part of his grace back (in 10.18), we still don't have confirmation, but we do know Castiel's wings no longer function.

In 11.04 The Vessel, Casifer poses a plan to send the boys back in time to retrieve a Hand of God - to which Sam responds immediately with confusion:

"Without wings? Cas, you can't even teleport."

Casifer then claims that time-travel uses a "different system" and doesn't require wings, though it's clearly a ploy to keep the boys off Lucifer's trail (he's one of the few angels whose wings remain undamaged since he never fell - not because of Metatron, anyway - and we see him spread them in 12.15). Later in 11.14, Cas comfirms to Sam that he can't time-travel.

Lucifer's wings in 12.15

But there are still gaps in the lore, as mentioned. We don't know if an angel's wings can be repaired - by spellcraft, by Chuck, or perhaps by a nephilim, all we know is the angels can't use their own power to mend them, otherwise they wouldn't be walking and driving everywhere. Perhaps wing-repair will be something explored in season 13.

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Now in Season 13 we can see that Lucifer, Gabriel and Michael all have intact wings and their powers are pretty much undamaged. What links them? They’re archangels. It seems archangels are powerful enough to withstand falling (- probably why even though Lucifer fell in the beginning, he still needs to be kept inside the cage). Castiel apparently is regaining his powers like ability to hear long distance and heal. Whilst this is very sudden and kind of inconsistent on the writers part, I think the angels are gradually healing.

However, their wings are a manifestations of their grace, just as fan fiction depicts, so they’re hardest to heal. Maybe smaller powers can be regained at the same rate as wings, but Castiel hasn’t returned to heaven to use their power and speed up the process? Or maybe his powers will come back but his wings need a miracle? Personally, I would love some confirmation from the writers that Castiel is healing (maybe a concerned remark from Dean).

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    Welcome to SFF! We are a Q/A site and not a discussion forum so I have removed the discussion part of your answer out.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Jun 7, 2018 at 10:59
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Castiel has all his grace back, but we need to remember, that part of it was used to cast a spell.

However, when he took his grace back, he spreads his wings and those look fine. Maybe there wasn't enough grace to repair his wings or broken wings are just irreparable? We don't have enough "lore" to answer that question, unless we will see Castiel without car.

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  1. The gates to heaven are still sealed and the only way to enter the heaven is the portal at the sandbox. That's why Castiel fell again as the women of the letters used an enochian symbol to send Cas' back to heaven (12.01) The heaven's gates are sealed so he fell again.

  2. Yes, the broken wings are caused by the fall. That's also why Lucifer has intact wings.

But that's all just a theory.

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So here’s a theory I was building ever since the end of season 13 and the beginning of season 14 when the boys were trying to save Jack. See, since Jack is close to an equivalent of either God or Death (no true confirmation of who’s strongest of the two) but I kinda always figured that Gabriel, Raphael or Lucifer wouldn’t cut it in jump starting his powers. I always knew it would take someone stronger than the Angel who sired the nephilim, as according to the lore “A nephilim will grow stronger than the angel who sired them.”

Now the theory can be that only the grace of an Angel of the same class can completely restore an angel who lost or is at low levels of grace. Kinda like Lucifer’s cannibalism moment on how he tried to recharge his grace. Now of course, same can be said about human souls of being an alternative charger for grace. After all, one soul is enough to give life to our solar system.

There is however a moment in season 15 towards the end when Jack learned how to

turn the soul into Grace and create new angels,

something no archangel has ever done before, and God hasn’t done since the beginning of time. The fact is if he can do that, Jack can in fact restore the Angels wings. I mean, in the womb he managed to level up Castiel temporarily as well, when Cas killed Dagon.

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I think that the wings will regrow and he will have to heal like Gadreel did in season 9. Once he had healed after the fall he was able to teleport.

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