Unless it's metaphoric -- "sickle" as in Death's reaper, and "cell" as in the prison from which Shadow must free himself. In sum, death and imprisonment = mortality, an aspect of Shadow's humanity, his biological nature.
Yes, I'm an English major, so please disregard that.
It wasn't too difficult to figure it out. Mr. Wednesday was acting as an estranged father figure to Shadow almost immediately. As for Wednesday being Odin; that was almost a dead give away. Asgard give away "m'boy, boy, was one of the constat ways Oddin referred to his two sons Thor and Baldur the Brave (not including Loki). If you know the ackground of Baldur the Brave you would see similarities throughout the story. The piece de resistance was the miseltoe coment from Loki towards the end. That being the only thing between Asgard and the known Universe to be able to harm Baldur.
On another note I think that this was one of the best books that I have read in a long time. It was very hard to pick a stopping point when it came time for work and sleep and play.
My bad. Baldur the Brave is spelled B-A-L-D-E-R not with an U. Even though he is referred to the Native American aspect I still believe that he is Balder or some reincarnation there of.
I wonder if Mr.Gaiman found a source of power from all of his searching on the various Gods in this one. It is said that those who seek will find power in knowledge alone. this book gave off several serges of energy in certain paths. I feel akin in some ways. Or it could have been the meade I was partaking during some nights of reading! Who is to tell? A funny note. I have been called Shadow Walker for as long as I can remember, go figure? Ya' think?
i haven't read all of the posts, so i may be stepping on a subject already covered, but i wanted to mention that, as i recall, Shadow's mother met Wednesday overseas. how did the "American version" of Wednesday meet his mother in another foreign land, when it seems the original Odin version was stuck in HIS homeland?
if i'm mistaken or misquoting at all, i apologize. apparently i'll have to go into another reading of the book, especially since i haven't figured out for *myself* what Shadow's true name may be..
|is currently hovering somewhere near Saturn|
just a quick point, but does it actually say anywhere that Laura took Shadow's name when they married. I know this is accepted protocol, but more and more women are refusing to do this. Could her surname be just coincidence?
hey, thanks for all the info on shadow, but i have one thing, did anyone thing that whiskey jack saying to shadow "have you found your tribe" refers to maybe his pantheon of gods,to me tribe means more like a group of people you belong with and family, he does find his tribe.
OK so where can i find a whole bunch of background info on Odin and Balder the Brave?
No, she went overseas after she met Wednesday. That's why he and Loki didn't find Shadow until he was already grown (and locked) up.
I couldn't get that link to work that was posted on page 1, by the way. (It just goes to the main neilgaiman.com page.) I think I get where the Baldur clues came from, after reading this thread, but what about the Moon part? Where were the clues to that?
I just wanted to point out that Norse mythology ISN'T something unique for Norway, but for entire Scandinavia. It has a huge part of my ancestor's culture, and I wouldn't like you all to think that "Baldur was born in Norway" and so on.
I don't think I noticed anyone else bring this up in the thread, so I thought I would.
What's to say that the "mistletoe" reference is actually saying that it's the only thing that will hurt Shadow? The other gods certainly think that Shadow is in danger from the tree, and Czernobog obviously thinks he will kill Shadow with a sledgehammer. These gods know that Shadow is something more than he realizes, but don't accord him the aspects associated with Baldur?
Personally I think that Loki's "mistletoe" comment could just mean, "Yes, I should go down there and have him killed as I did with Baldur." That's at least a possibility, in which case Loki would be referring to the act of killing one of Wednesday's sons instead of specifically repeating the act on Baldur himself. We pretty much know that he's Wednesday's son, and obviously Baldur was Odin's son. But what's preventing Shadow from being a NEW son of Wednesday? None of the other gods had to be conceived in order to appear in this country, and then there are all those references that have nothing at all in common with Baldur.
As for the other arguments, the one about the sun is just silly. Someone giving Shadow a coin that he only possessed for a short period of time DOES NOT mean that he was associated with the aspect of the sun anymore than having the other coin gave him the aspect of the moon. Furthermore, being liked is not evidence of anything. In regards to Laura talking about Shadow not being alive, my memory is foggy, but doesn't she correct that later on? Couldn't it just mean that he was drifting without purpose, but then found one? Or it could just mean that he was special, which he would be since he's a son of Wednesday.
The ONLY thing I see that would conclusively show that Shadow is Baldur, is if Gaiman actually says so. Apparently multiple people are claiming he told them that, and if enough people say it, it must be true. If that's the case, then clearly the issue is closed. I just think it's being assumed here from clues that say nothing of the sort. The very fact that people are making such desperate reaches as being liked and having held a golden coin for a day, shows just how flimsy the argument is.
Personally I think of Shadow as a NEW entity. I think he has aspects of godliness from his father, and humanity. None of the other gods demonstrate that, at least not to the same extent. None of the other gods has such an intimate connection to the "land." If Gaiman says he's Baldur, fine, but he means something altogether different for me.
|Companion to owls|
Interesting post, Collin (have to re-read it when I'm not as tired, though).
Sparker said, and I find he's right, in another thread, that Shadow was that: a shadow upon which multiple things could be cast. So he's just someone who happens to be Wednesday's son (and Wednesday could have had more), but because he is a shadow Baldur's identity/deeds/mission can be cast upon him, and thus _make_ Shadow into Baldur.
Maybe this is already what yu were saying, Collin.
Another thought derived from your post: Shadow's surname is Moon, that is sure; he gets the sun coin and passes it to Laura, like the moon reflects the sun but doesnt have one of it's own.
This is just something I thought up, maybe Shadow-moon and Laura-sun is another field worth exploring... Off-topic, I know.
i agree with Collin.
i never saw a point in the book where Shadow's real name was mentioned.
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Not as common as you might think. I was surprised to see that there were even 15 men in Norway bearing the name Baldur. The proper spelling "Balder" reveals 57 men.
Here's the deal (and I think I've posted this before, but I'm not going to go back and check):
The idea behind the mistletoe in the Baldur myth is that mistletoe is such a pathetically small plant that there was no reason for Freya (if I'm remembering who correctly) to ask it not to hurt him. But she went around to everything else, in the entire world, and got its agreement not to do harm to Baldur. But the mistletoe, it was so small and harmless, so she left it out.
Mistletoe just doesn't matter to anyone else. It's not some super poison for gods, or anything like that. It's Baldur's Achilles' Heel. If someone were possibly the reincarnation of Achilles and possibly not, and you said that you were going to kill him by shooting an arrow in his heel, don't you think that would be a pretty big hint that the person in question was Achilles? After all, there's nothing particularly vulnerable about a heel. You'd do much better just stabbing them in the heart or shooting them in the head or something.
That's why I think it is an aspect of Baldur, becuase the comment would have been foolish for Loki to make otherwise.
Originally posted by Idsartha:
You've never been to Norway have you?? People do very, very seldom name their children after old gods in this country!!
Maybe thats why he goes by Shadow instead of Baldur. I mean, if you were the only one in your country named after a god, you'd probably go by something else, too.
Did Shadow realize who he was named after/represented? Because he didn't find out that Wednesday was his father until after he lost his true name. Just a thought.
'I think he's a new, American God, one with native blood and the strengths and affinities of his father's other sons.'
I think that the whole point of 'American Gods' is that the old Gods don't quite fit the country. Shadow is a 'new' God to fit into a country that is 'not a good place for Gods' - I'm sure that is said in the books. His affinity to the land though the buffalo headed man shows that he is more linked to America than the other Gods who all talk about their 'homelands' and when the were great. However the fact that he can move out of the country is important too. He shows flexibility, the lack of which is one of the reasons that the old gods seem to be dying out. Throughout the book he, like America seems to have done, assimilates knowledge from the Gods of various countries that he meets and at the same time - oh apologies for poncing - transcends what he has been taught. At the end of the book it is stressed that he will return, he has commitments to the land, but he is able to move which is something no God before has been able to do.
I was travelling through America while I was reading the book and I had an outsiders perspective on a land and peoples that are so huge they seem to be so many parts of 7 or 8 jigsaw puzzles and none of them fit together properly. Yet underneath it all the land itself was constant and faithful.
I found it a wonderful book that seemed to show so much hope. A new age was going to come, but not through any of the old ways, bloody scrapping between old Gods barely scratching at the surface of a continent, it would come out of the earth...
But enough moralising and lecturing - sorry for all that... I got a little carried away...
[This message was edited by catnap on September 15, 2002 at 06:14 PM.]
Well, when people start worshipping every Sunday at the First Methodist Church of Dionysus, we'll talk. Until then, it's winner's rules.
"He's good. He's just not *that* good."
Um, going back to Shadow's mother and the sickle cell thing, isn't it one of the real nasties where you only have to have the one gene for it? (haven't done biology in 4 years, may be very very wrong) Because if so, its perfectly possible that she is mixed African/NA/European, making it more likely that Shadow would have a NA look than if he was just African American/European.... And also giving him one hell of a connection to all the mythologiesd prevalent in America.
Hmmm... I could have sworn he was Thor. The mentioning of Thor's death and then when they stated that though the Gods can die they come back. The fact that he was strong. And when Shadow stated that when he became built and strong that people didn't think of him as smart any more but just as some one that could lift a couch from one room to another on his own.
I always thought that the mistletoe comment was just there for those that knew about it and nothing more along with Loki mentioning the scars on his lips.
But I of all people that I knew that read this great book should have connected him with Baldur and that makes me ashamed of myself.
And Orpheus, Frigg is Odin's wife, not Freyja, though he tried to get in bed with her...
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