You've never been to Norway have you?? People do very, very seldom name their children after old gods in this country!!
|Smiter of the Stupid|
That would have been really cool, even as a joke, to post that with 'Heimdall' or 'Freya' as a signature... hehehe.
-=- Saint NÃ³ttGangamaÃ°urinn -=-
this may be old info concerning Wisakedjak(Whiskey Jack) but i recently found it in _The Mythology of North America_. he is a (surviving) twin hero/ "trickster-provider" of the Sauk, Cree, Fox, Kickapoo and Potawatomi Nations. he has a gruesome beginning- his father cuts up his mother-and the twin boys run away. wisakedjak leaves his brother to go on some adventures only to return and find his brother slain by serpents. he kills their leader, who in turn floods the world, but Whiskey Jack is saved and sends off a bird to find land.......there seem to be other stories based on his adventures.....................
[This message has been edited by patrizia (edited 09-04-2001).]
I agree: Baldur Moon is surely one of his names, or aspects, but that comes nowhere near explaining his identity. Many of you are acting as though some big puzzle's been figured out, while it's ultimately a trick question. Is Shadow Jesus too? Yeah, why not--in a way. Is he Neil Gaiman? Yeah, why not--in a way. Same can be said for "Baldur Moon" or "Thor" or [insert heavenly son figure who connects earthly man to diety here]. Gaiman's too open-ended for such simplicities.
I would agree with those who say that Shadow is both Balder and Thor etc, except that reports from the signing say that Neil Gaiman told questioners, "Yes, he is Balder," and "No, he is not Thor." So I think he was trying to make a specific point about who Balder is.
Yeah, I think he's *more* Baldur than Thor, if you get my drift. Gaiman's comments at signings should be suspect: why give away such vital and enigmatic information as though it were the solution to some video game? Plus, he might say, yes, Shadow's *name* is Baldur Moon ... but, as Shakespeare pointed out, what's in a name?
A couple of thoughts here:
Baldur would not have existed in America before, because he had to have been born of Odin. In other words, wednesday had to father him. And Wednesday specifically says how difficult it is for one of 'his kind' to get someone pregnant. And here is a particularly relevant and explanatory passage from near the end of the book: "we couldn't have done it without you," said wednesday, from the corner of shadow's eye. "I'd been with so many women..."
"you needed a son," said shadow.
wednesday's ghost-voice echoed. "I needed you, my boy. Yes..."
Another point...The dream Shadow had of the skulls and firebirds. He is climbing the mountain of skulls...HIS skulls. He states that they all belonged to him. That would fall in line with the thought that the gods exist in many forms, in many places. For example, the Odin Shadow comes across at the end of the book. He and Wednesday are two faces of the same archetype. Well, Shadow would have been one more face of Baldur, thus all the skulls which were him, but not HIM.
Did that make any sense?
Also, the fact that Shadow's life didn't mirror exactly the Baldur myth means nothing. After all, NONE of the gods we are introduced to are playing out the age old myths that created them (or where created about them.) They have all adapted to this new land, and created different lives for themselves.
Does anyone think the cover art might be a clue (lightning...Thor?), or am I just grabbing at straws?
I don't think the lightning on the cover is supposed to signify anything related to the protagonist. I think it is just meant to signify, if anything, the coming storm and whatnot. Fair warning, though, as I am biased. I thought that Shadow was Thor before learning of Baldur (my norse mythology is sadly lacking), but once I had I fully agreed that Shadow==Baldur. My reasoning on this is more fully explained in the annotations newsgroup, but the one incontrovertible bit of evidence, to my mind, is the mistletoe comment. No other god that I know of has a weakness of mistletoe, but for Baldur it is an intrinsic part of the mythology. That, along with the various and sundry clues (Horus saying they were both the sun and so on), combined with NG's comment at the posting, lead me to believe that Shadow is Baldur.
Um, ok, I lost the actual post but some one made mention of Shadow's coloring versus his Norweigian?Norse?Scandanavian background. Sure, Mr. Gaiman may have intended the hero to have Native American undertones, but I wold like to point out that not all Scandanavians are blond and fair. My Grandfather was Norwieian, my mother and sister "look" Norwegian, but I am dark. However, people I have met fom Europe have repeatedly guessed my family background correctly at first glance and say a lot of people over there look just like me..... and Shadow (Big, dark haired, olive or dark skin).
(hey, this is a BEEF of mine, ok?)
I think I know why the god Baldur, or Balder in norwegian, isn't in America. (By the way I'm from norway.) Baldur was killed by a blind god named Hod, he was tricked by Loke to shoot an arrow made of misteltoe at Baldur. And since misteltoe was the only thing in the world wich had not sworn to do no harm to Baldur, he died. Sidenote the god Baldur is one of Odin's sons.
Strike that, I just saw that someone had said it.
[This message has been edited by Khephnes (edited 09-25-2001).]
|Companion to owls|
Sorry to bring back the topic...
Shadow's name is Balder Moon, ok, but I dont think he necesarily IS Balder. I think that's just his name.
As I see it, the Norse gods existed and behaved exactly in the way we know from mythology. Then, the people went to America and carried the gods with them, transformed them, and became Wednesday, Low Key, etc. Maybe Balder went too, and by the time Of the events in the books had already been forgotten, maybe he didn't even came in the first place. After all, there are lots of other gods who are not mentioned in the book, presumably not all the gods were brought or lived so long.
And I agree that having your son named Balder is a most ridiculous thing. Then the question is, why did Shadow's mother do it? My guess is that she KNEW who Wednesday was. When Shadow remembers he used to ask his mother about his father, she seems angry, sha doesn't want to tell him.
Now I think, if she thought he was just a guy she'd met, even if she didn't want to tell her son that, she needn't get so angry about it. When I read that part it seemed to me that she really hated Shadow's father. And to hate, you must first know. So I think Shadow's mother somehow knew who Wednesday was, and therefore named his son Balder cause it seemed the right thing to do. But I dont think he and the god are the same one.
And Shadow could never be the real Balder, as Balder was Odin's son, and here we're talking not aof Odin but of Wednesday.
If Balder was a sun god, and Shadow got the 'moon' from his mother, then it is like Shadow is both sun and moon, light and dark, non-american and american gods, maybe even old and new gods. he was the one to pacify both parties, not because he is Wednesday's son, but coz he is who he is.
The important question is, who was Shadow's mother?
I dont know if i make any sense here. It's fucking difficult to explain these things in English!
You are such a trouble maker.
I'm going to have to disagree, to a point. I agree to the point that Shadow is not the perspective of Baldur from Norway, because that Baldur is dead and awaiting Ragnarock. However, I do believe that Shadow is the American version of Baldur, in the same way that Wednesday is the American version of Odin. Remember, Wednesday is Odin, but Odin is not Wednesday. It would be the same with Shadow and Baldur. Shadow is Baldur, but Baldur isn't Shadow.
There's too much in there stating that Shadow is a god, and there's an incontrovertible bit of evidence to state that he is based on Baldur (that being the sprig of mistletoe, which has no special ability to kill in Norse mythology other than for Baldur, due to the nature of the Baldur myth).
As to whether Shadow is more than just Baldur, well, that seems very possible. But I don't think it makes sense to say that Shadow isn't Baldur, that's just his name.
Finally finished reading AG and headed over here to confirm my various suspicions. Yes, i thought he was Baldur based on the mistletoe reference, but i thought that was way too flimsy to stand at that. This discussion has opened my eyes to a lot of the other little relevant details though. The one point i'd like to point out:
The many 'different' versions of gods that came up in the book and were pointed out in this thread (e.g. the Norse Odin, the Indian goddes, etc.) support the Buffalo headed thing's (he wasn't a man and he never admitted to being a god) assertion that it is the land that is supreme. It's the land that decides which gods live or die in the same way that it decides which people live or die. Even though a god can be weak and anemic in a land where people forget him/her, the land is constant, and from it sprout the legends and the stories of the people that live off of it. It's a much more symbiotic relationship than people have with their gods, this book seems to say.
On the Shadow identity flap, i happen to like that he's the new, American Baldur with the Native American mixed in. Wish Neil didn't give straight answers to those questions though as i would've liked to think of Shadow as being a composite of Thor and Baldur since he does possess Thor's powers, size, and affinity for goats and thunder. The one thing that threw me off the Baldur path was that Baldur was the sun of Freya, the highest Norse goddess and Odin's official wife. And it was she that asked all things and creatures of the earth not to harm her son, forgetting only the mistletoe.
Was Shadow's mom, perhaps, a god? And i'm still trying to get the angle at naming him Moon instead of something connected with sun, as Baldur has always been the Norse Sun god. Maybe that duality and mixing of identity is the reason. Dunno though.
Finally, i don't get why Wisakedjak remained powerful and had a bigger part in the whole thing than most other gods. I guess Shadow is Native American then, despite denials of knowledge of being one?
Actually, what I'm really wondering about is: if Neil does a collection of outtakes from this book, will he call it Gods And Sods?
I'm not sure how powerful Wisakedjak is, but he is certainly more content than the others. I am sure that is because he is at one with the land and he knows who his tribe is.
As for Shadow being Native American, well, he definitely is, but I don't know that it's a genetic thing. It's something Neil put throughout the book (from Sam in the car to Wisakedjak asking about his tribe), but it's possible that it's merely because he is a god that is 'native' to America.
Which brings up an interesting point that I didn't think I'd get to until the next reading. None of the other old gods we met were made in america. This makes Shadow somewhat unique. He is a synthesis of the old gods and being a second-generation american (i.e. not having been born in another country).
I sense that the purpose behind Baldur being Baldur Moon is related to what tribe he is. If we can find out, for example, which tribe has maybe a dualistic sun-moon god, then perhaps that will be Baldur's tribe.
The Cheyennes have Macha-Mahaiyu, the Great Mystery, who rules the day by the sun and the night by the moon (according to "The Indians' Book" by Natalie Curtis). That's one line of thought to follow.
Hey! Just had a thought. What do you get when the sun and the moon meet? Hint: think about the word 'shadow'. That's right, an eclipse!
Okay, I don't know what it has to do with anything, but it seems awfully important.
FYI-a day or so after _AG_ was released a major solar eclipse took place- the last one of that sort for nine years(2010, I think).
It seemed cosmically appropriate to be reading about Shadow (etc.) at that time.
How do you think Neil arranged THAT? ( it was a fluke, but.......................) p
Actually you get a pretty nasty collision in which the sun wholly consumes the petty rock we call a moon.
- A Buffalo Soldier in the Heart of America
(sans dreadlock rasta, of course.)
um, did anyone notice that his mom had sickle cell? How many groups are prone to that?
I'm guessing not a NAmerind
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