American Gods: Gods in disguise

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American Gods: Gods in disguise

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mar 10, 2014, 12:04 pm

American Gods is littered with deities from various pantheons. While we're given the "real" names of some gods right away, others are only hinted at/revealed later. Which gods did you recognize right away? Which ones surprised you with their true identities later?

mar 10, 2014, 12:50 pm

I certainly had a different idea of who Wednesday was . . . (not Odin).

mar 10, 2014, 2:13 pm

I had to look up a few. Like the Russian ones, I'd never heard of those before. It seems that Neil Gaiman actually made up an extra sister...

Redigerat: mar 10, 2014, 4:18 pm

Apparently there might have been a third Zorya, but she didn't have a name until American Gods? Seem to remember reading that somewhere. Zorya U. is the Morning Star, Zorya V. the Evening Star, and Zorya P. was the addition.

ETA: I picked up on Odin right away, but, oddly enough, didn't catch Loki/Low Key until much later. Definitely felt pretty dense when I finally sorted that one out.

mar 10, 2014, 4:39 pm

>4 lorannen: I was the same way with Loki and Odin when I first read the book over decade ago. When I was a kid I spent a couple years very interested in mythology, so I knew Wednesday was Odin's day, and it wasn't much of a jump to see that Wednesday was Odin. I just wasn't expecting Shadow's cellmate to be a god, so Low Key being Loki surprised me. If I'd first read the book now, with all the movies that have Loki in them being popular, I might have picked it up sooner, I don't know.

mar 10, 2014, 7:19 pm

I hit myself on the head when Low Key was revealed by the Hummer. I hadn't tumbled to that and I had been looking for him all the way through knowing how the whole Odin/Loki mythology went. Grrr.

Yes, Odin was easy to tumble to, and I know all about the Easter/Ishtar thing and the Egyptian mythology. But I know nothing of the Russian or Eastern European gods. Recognized many of the others at the gathering in a vague way.

I never did figure out who the god is that no one remembers his name. Has to do with money and such. I haven't gone searching though.

mar 10, 2014, 7:25 pm

In case others haven't found this list/description of the Gods:

I know less about "mythological" Gods than about Christian mythology/symbolism . . . so I saw lots of God/Jesus in the Wednesday/Shadow relationship and descriptions . . .

mar 10, 2014, 7:32 pm

Reading through the list of Gods on the frowl website, I'm now realizing why Nordic/Slavic Gods are appropriate to a book set in the Midwest . . . I'm a transplant to the Midwest, so didn't grow up with these stories . . . I'm more familiar with the Greek/Roman versions, so now that I see the translations/comparisons/parallels some of them make more sense to me.

mar 11, 2014, 7:08 am

I recognized Wednesday as Odin as soon as it was mentioned that he only had one eye he could see with.

mar 12, 2014, 2:40 pm

Yeah, I didn't catch the punning on the names until so late! Too late to be examining each name as it appeared, at any rate. One of the fun things about the book!

mar 12, 2014, 7:35 pm

I didn't play the "which God is this?" game at all. I recognized early on that it was one way to read the book, but I was more interested in what the God/Human interactions were saying about humans and their beliefs. (And to me, the "Gods play games with human lives" story is so old and well-worn as to be boring . . . there's not much difference in the game no matter who the gods are . . .) And frankly, I didn't want to interrupt my reading to go look things up . . .

mar 13, 2014, 2:56 pm

>7 LucindaLibri: so I saw lots of God/Jesus in the Wednesday/Shadow relationship and descriptions . . .

For as far as I saw that, I figured it just meant that there are lots of similarities between all religions. One of the main things I noticed was the spear thing related to hanging on the tree. Shadow himself is pierced by a spear and I think I remember something about Odin himself also being speared? Now I wonder if that is a part of Odin legends or if some Christian themes were introduced here by Gaiman (Jesus was also speared in the side). Does anyone know? I tried to google a bit, but I couldn't find any mention of people hanging from the world tree being speared.

mar 15, 2014, 4:28 am

I know practically nothing of gods and mythology, this could be one of the main reasons I can't say I liked the book. The other reason would be that it wrapped up very conveniently and unconvincingly for me .

Redigerat: mar 16, 2014, 3:08 pm

I got some of the gods connections right away - like Mr. Wednesday/Odin. It took me much longer to think of Shadow as Baldar. Like somebody above I did not catch the Low-key connection until later as well.

Strangely, I got the Zorya right off. The reason - I read William Vollman's Europe Central (one of the worst books to ever win the National Book Award - IMO) and Zorya has a role in that book. I was puzzled and looked it up at that time. Therefore, when she appeared in this book I knew who she was and then could guess about Chernabog. I was also familiar with the concept of Ragnorak and the destruction of Valhalla so the ending did not come as a surprise to me.

I found these connections as well and at the time wondered if perhaps I was so into the book that I was reading too much into it? Now, I am not so sure. Perhaps those connections are there?

mar 26, 2014, 3:28 pm

>7 LucindaLibri: Oh how I wish I had know about this list when I read the book a while back. I am not very familiar with mythology and I even commented in my review that an index of the gods would have been helpful.

mar 26, 2014, 4:21 pm

I didn't know anything about Anansi. I kept thinking there were entertaining things about his character that I might be missing out on, but like LucindaLibri, I didn't want to interrupt myself to go looking something up.

mar 26, 2014, 9:34 pm

I grew up reading stories about Anansi, so I got him right away.
I got the Egyptian gods too (I was obsessed with Ancient Egypt as a kid).