Archangel

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The Battle of Heaven

Published August 15, 2013 by RowanMeir Films

You are my war club, my weapon for battle–with you I shatter horse and rider, with you I shatter chariot and driver. So will the rebellious ones sink to rise no more because of the disaster you will bring upon them. And these angels…will…fall. Michael rises, and behind the powerful archangel stand a mighty legion of warrior angels. Their eyes are afire, fueled by the flame of fury at the sight of Lucifer‘s rebel army rising up over the battlefield.

(Excerpt from The Father of Lights © Copyright 2013. Property of NeverMore Publications, LLC.)

The Morning Star - Artwork by Stefan Gutierrez. Property of RowanMeir Films.

The Morning Star – Artwork by Stefan Gutierrez. Property of RowanMeir Films.

The great irony in writing Archangels: Book I was that I was attempting to utilize many of the scenes written in the screenplay version–the most epic of which was the Battle of Heaven. After attempting various perspectives, subtext, narratives and the like, I finally came to the conclusion: it simply didn’t work. And of course, I chucked the whole adaptation of that one particular scene. Oh, how it haunted me as I entertained such various attempts to dismantle this roadblock and weave something fine, coming to it again and again. Until one day, a most outlandish thought crept into my mind, “Take it out.”

“But I can’t!” I said. “This scene is most beloved in my eyes, it HAS to be in there!”

“Take it out.”

And take it out I did. Once removed, the story worked and the book was done. BAM. Just like that. But now, as I come to Book II: The Father of Lights, the horror of former days haunts me once again as the realization of what is needed comes taunting me, “Put it back in.”

“But if I put it back into Book II, I’m still in the same boat as I was before…”

“Put it back in.”

And so I have.  For you see, The Father of Lights is more of a prequel than a sequel as it explores the idea and asks the question: who were the angels before the fallen ones...fell? Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Beelzebub, Lucifer. They were all together once, shrouded in God‘s light. What were they like before shadow crept into the hearts of the immortal beings? What led many into darkness? And what kept most in the light? There is no answer to such an inquiry, only clues to incorporate the nature of angels from the Old Testament and the New:

Revelation 12:9 – And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Mentions of the legend of the Nephilim that bore the Philistine giants:

Genesis 6:1-22 – And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them…

A glimpse into the great war in heaven:

Revelation 12:7-9 – And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels…

Tidbits of angels and their roles in such apocryphal books such as the Book of Jubilees:

And He said to the angel of the presence: Write for Moses from the beginning of creation till My sanctuary has been built among them for all eternity. (1:26)

What to discard? What to imagine? What to build upon? The book is nearly done–all except…that one particular scene. Odd how the beauty of the screenplay stumps me in the literary voice as I try to weave the virtues and the vices in the hearts of these angels. And with all the research done before for the screenplay, there is still so much more one can do in the book. The more one can do, the less of an excuse one can find in doing what couldn’t be done before–fix the Battle of Heaven scene. Oh, the irony indeed, for you see…

Artwork by Stefan Gutierrez. Property of RowanMeir Films.

Artwork by Stefan Gutierrez. Property of RowanMeir Films.

…it’s my favorite scene, and it shouldn’t be this hard.

Michael yells to the rebellious angels with of a voice of thunder,  “Bringer of the Seven! You come against us with sword, spear and javelin, but we come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the true armies of heaven, whom you have defied! At the end of this war, the Lord will place you in my power, Lucifer, and you will be struck down. All of heaven will know that there is only one God; for the battle is the Father’s, and He will give you and your army into our hands!”

 Lucifer gives Beelzebub his final command, “Let not the archer string his bow. Do not spare a single angel. Completely destroy their army.”

(Excerpt from The Father of Lights © Copyright 2013. Property of NeverMore Publications, LLC)

Written by: #CorinaMarie

(Corina Marie Zurcher is an actress, producer and screenwriter.)

(Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble)

(Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble)

 

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The Archangel Raphael

Published July 1, 2013 by RowanMeir Films

Writing the character of Raphael in Archangels was one I looked forward to every time I picked up pen to paper. When I began the rigorous journey of conducting research on the nine divisions of angels written about, philosophized upon, and debated over and why, the ninth division of angels: the archangels–the warrior angels made up of seven Seraphim–didn’t have equal amount of information on all seven angels as I had originally thought would exist. Michael and Gabriel dominated the research I poured over through the three main religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Uriel was pretty dominant in Kaballa; Sariel, Raguel and Jeremiel had very little information; while Raphael, however, popped up solely in the Book of Tobit–one of the Deuterocanonical books that was originally in the official Greek translation of the Old Testament, but was eventually left out over time.

“So the prayers of them both [Sara and Tobit] were heard before the majesty of the great God…and Raphael was sent to heal them both, that is, to scale away the whiteness of Tobit’s eyes [for he was blind], and to give Sara the daughter of Raguel for a wife to Tobias the son of Tobit, and to bind Asmodeus the evil spirit….”

– Book of Tobit (3:16-17)

While reading the Book of Tobit, I quickly jotted down notes as to how to utilize the tidbits of information revealed about Raphael and how he could be recreated in both the screenplay (and later the book) to be someone “relate-able.” I didn’t have to dig too deep since Raphael made himself relate-able to mankind in this book by transforming himself into human form:

“And Tobias left and ‘went to seek a man, he found Raphael that was an angel, but he knew not.'”

– Book of Tobit (5:4-5)

The passage goes on to describe how Raphael appeared to Tobias in the form of a man named Azarias. He travels with Tobias to a town where he meets Sara, his future wife, who had “been married to seven husbands whom Asmodeus the evil spirit had killed, before they had lain with her” (Book of Tobit 3:8). Raphael advises Tobias on how to rid Asmodeus from strangling him on his wedding night, and once he follows Raphael’s instructions:

“Asmodeus fled into the utmost parts of Egypt and the angel [Raphael] bound him.” 

-Book of Tobit (8:3)

Image(Property of RowanMeir Films. Artwork of Asmodeus by Stefan Gutierrez)

So I thought Raphael, who seems to like transforming into human form to perform works for God, could easily do it again. In Archangels, Raphael is a professor in linguistics at Oxford University, conducting research alongside one of the main characters in the story–Rachel Devereaux:

Both Raphael and Rachel share the moderate-sized office at the university, for they are colleagues—professors in linguistics—working jointly on researching the evolution of language amongst common species. He is an extremely handsome man in the classical sense: a paradox of beauty marred by an overly analytical brain that gives him an air of intimidation. And Rachel might have been attracted to him if it weren’t for the fact that his obsessive-compulsive behavior regarding tidiness, efficiency, and his incessant need to organize everything his eyes fell upon, didn’t drive her insane. The current look of horror on his face as he looks around the current state the office is in is confirmation that a love between these two will never be.

(Excerpt from Archangels: Book I © Copyright 2013)

As the friendship between Raphael and Rachel progresses throughout the story, there was a line in the Book of Tobit that was essential to the “great reveal” when Rachel soon discovers that her best friend is not as mortal as she thinks he is:

“I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One.”

– Book of Tobit (12:14-15)

Image

(Property of RowanMeir Films. Artwork of Raphael by Stefan Gutierrez.)

I referenced that line as well when Rachel’s eyes are opened to who Raphael truly is:

“How? How can you possibly read this? You fought that thing. It knew your name!”“No, wait! Wait…you said the scroll was written in angelic language. Yet, somehow, you can read this.” Rachel starts to back away from him until she is at the opposite end of the office from where Raphael stands. Rachel can barely speak. Read the rest of this entry →

I, Gabriel

Published May 5, 2013 by RowanMeir Films

“Whaddayamean Gabriel’s a girl?!?”

That is, without a doubt, the number one reaction I get when discussing the screenplay and book to Archangels: Book I (© Copyright 2013). It reminds me of that line in the movie Roadhouse when Patrick Swayze’s character is often told, “I thought you’d be bigger.” In other words, I have come to expect this response, and I don’t blame a single person for it, for throughout all of history, Gabriel has always been depicted as a man.

The archangel Gabriel—whose name means “strength of God”—is the most well-known angel ever mentioned in scripture. He is the “Great Messenger” often depicted as the angel that will herald the seven plagues of Armageddon with the sound of his trumpet:

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

In the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to interpret his visions. In the text, Gabriel is described as a “man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude” (Daniel 10: 6).

In the New Testament, Gabriel is mentioned several times, first appearing to Zechariah:

“I am Gabriel. I stand n the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell this good news.” (Luke 1:19).

Then to the Virgin Mary:

“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greeting, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” (Luke 1:28).

And finally, to the shepherds:

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them….’Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people…” (Luke 2: 8).

Theologians have also argued that Gabriel was one of the three visitors that appeared to Abraham and Sarah to reveal to them they will bear a son within a year’s time (Genesis 18:2), as well as the angel that visited Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane to comfort him the night of the Passion:

“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22: 43).

But outside of Judaism and Christianity, Gabriel is of extreme importance in Islam. It was the angel Gabriel (Jibril or Jibrail) who recited the Qur’an to the prophet Muhammed in a cave, Hira’a, near Mecca.

Taking into account all the descriptions of Gabriel throughout history, why is he a girl in Archangels?

 Gabriel-SE

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As an actor and writer, it is the relationship between the characters that, in my mind, drives a story and keeps the audience interested in the tale you are trying to tell or in the character you are playing. When writing the screenplay and then the book, the relationship between good versus evil is a dominant theme between the idea of Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil, and free will versus imposing one’s will over another. In order to capture that idea, I felt it was a necessary element to elevate the relationship between Gabriel and Lucifer into one that many people can relate to: that between a man and a woman.

How often have we read, heard or seen stories of mothers weeping over their sons who made horrific choices, or women staying in abusive relationships either with a boyfriend or husband, or even bearing witness to addictions in your brothers or sisters or very best friends? Love is a dominant theme in Christianity, and women have often been the bearers of love in the world. So what happens in a woman’s world when the one they love—whether it be a brother, husband, father, son, boyfriend or friend—makes the wrong choice, the one where you see the doom at the end of the tunnel and you try with everything within you to get that loved one to choose the light instead…and then they don’t? That relationship and understanding could only best be told, in my mind, when looking at the relationship between a male and a female—Lucifer and Gabriel.

May this choice be one others can relate to—as I know it has for me.

-Written by: #CorinaMarie

(Corina Marie Zurcher is an actress, producer and screenwriter.)

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