“If you ask me,” Crowley said to his counterpart, “he’s too bloody normal.”
— p. 69
Warlock is the biological child of Mr and Mrs Young of Lower Tadfield, but grows up as the child of American Cultural Attaché Thaddeus J. and Harriet Dowling. Like the Antichrist and Greasy Johnson, he has blond hair.
He is born at the hospital of the Chattering Order of Saint Beryl in Tadfield (28). The demon Crowley intends to replace the Attaché’s son (Baby B) with the Antichrist, but Sister Mary Loquacious switches the Antichrist with the Youngs’ son (Baby A) instead, by mistake. Believing that the Youngs’ son is the Antichrist, the nuns smuggle him in to the hospital room of the Attaché’s wife, Harriet Dowling, under the eyes of the Secret Service men posted in her room (39). Thus, the Youngs’ biological son ends up as Warlock Dowling, the Dowlings’ biological son ends up as Greasy Johnson (128-129), and the Antichrist ends up as Adam Young.
Sister Faith Prolix attempts to persuade Mrs. Dowling to name the boy Warlock, which she agrees to after a phone call to her husband, currently on urgent business in Washington (66). The definition of a warlock is a sorcerer or a conjurer, a man who practices black arts, which does not fit with Warlock’s more placid nature.
Believing Warlock is the Antichrist, Crowley and the angel Aziraphale each insert their own influences in his life. Nanny Ashtoreth represents Evil, and urges Warlock to crush all life under his heel, while Brother Francis, the gardener, teaches Warlock to love all living things (66). Nanny Ashtoreth “[buys] the child a little tricycle, but [can] never persuade him to ride it inside the house. And he [is] scared of [her dog] Rover” (68).
When Warlock is six years old, the nanny and the gardener quit their jobs, and two tutors come in their stead. Mr Harrison talks about the evildoers in history, while Mr Cortese talks about the good people. Both read a lot from the Book of Revelation, although Warlock shows a “regrettable tendency to be good at maths” (68-69).
At ten years old, Warlock has a broad range of interests: “he like[s] baseball; he like[s] plastic toys that transfor[m] into other plastic toys indistinguishable from the first set of plastic toys except to the trained eye; he like[s] his stamp collection; he like[s] banana-flavour bubble gum; he like[s] comics and cartoons and his BMX bike” (69).
Crowley tells Aziraphale that Warlock will get a hell-hound for his eleventh birthday. He has to name it himself (70). The dog, however, goes to the true Antichrist, Adam Young (83).
At his eleventh birthday, Warlock has twenty small boys and seventeen small girls as guests, and Aziraphale entertains with sleights of hand. After Aziraphale performs an unsuccessful trick, Warlock gets his hands on a guard’s gun. Aziraphale turns it into a water pistol before Warlock can fire (77-78).
Warlock makes a brief comeback in the end of the book. His father has been called to the Middle East, and Warlock is now going to the States, though he might have preferred to go to England (377-378).
“Definition of warlock.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Accessed 20 May 2007. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warlock>.
Edition referenced in this article: UK Corgi paperback (1991)
Written by Tone