Okay, I may be going out on a limb here, but what about Charon, the god who ferried the dead across the River of Forgetfulness to the land of the dead and accepted coins for their passage in Greek mythology?
Hi. I would be very dubious of the idea that the nameless god is the Judeo-Christian deity. I have a few reasons for this. While the name of God (I'm going to use that from now on. Seeing as I believe in God it makes sense. You of course don't have to if you don't want to.) has been lost it was once known. The consonants remain in the form of YHWH. The taboo against naming God applied and applies to this. Obviously with God's true name lost to time the danger is somewhat small. This would point to the nameless god theory at first but keep in mind that the name was once known. In the days of the temple there was a ceremony every year where one of the priestly type class would go through an elaborate purification process and say God's name. Not that nobody knew it but that they didn't want to say it. So the name is knowable. It's just that no one knows it right now. Also on a more general front God in the old testament seems to me to deal more with fertility and gain than loss of money. While loss in the form of sacrifice is practiced it is predominantly animal sacrifice and when money is sacrificed these days it usually goes to a worthy cause. Plus the really early stuff paints God as a sort of wind sky kind of God as I see it. But if I'm remembering correctly (which I might not be) that was back before there was even really a Jewish tribe when the proto idea of God went by a different name. But I did a lot of this looking a long time ago so I may be somewhat off.
And now that I've gone on and on and bored you to death putting an extra nail in a coffin that was likely heading into the ground alreadyÂ… a few thoughts I had on the subject while reading: Neil seems to me to be really fond of unnamed gods. In a way that is what the endless are aren't they? They are the gods who are never worshiped but are essential to the workings of the universe. But where does this really go? Luck, chance, and chaos all have gods available. Pure greed? Well I can't think of any offhand. Feel free to point one out. Anyhow I figured it was the byproduct of countless money hungry monotheists. No name but still in a way worshiped. That being said I think Ketu is the best bet so far.
First of all - what an incredibly well-mythed crew you all are - I just finished the book last night (had it for a month w/o picking it up - yesterday was the first day I had seven straight hours to devote to it) and I too wondered about many things - including the no name god in Vegas w/ sympathy for waitstaff (didn't Shawdow also show that same feeling in San Fran w/ kitty-killing girl?)
I like the Hindu god idea very much - all the ideas are great - perhaps they are all true? But my one question - if Shawdow is (we think) Baldur, wouldn't he have been able to know another god the way Wednesday did? Or was Wednesday the only one to see him of all the gods gathered - really see him and talk to him and know him?
Many thanks for all the wonderful discussion.
Posts: 1 | Location: Atlanta, GA, USA | Registered: August 27, 2001
There's a superstition that a mortal can never remember the name the devil gives that mortal. That always stuck in my head when I would read those passages. Don't know what that means, but maybe those that are more well-versed in this business could help me make the correlation?
quote:Originally posted by dihall: But my one question - if Shawdow is (we think) Baldur, wouldn't he have been able to know another god the way Wednesday did? Or was Wednesday the only one to see him of all the gods gathered - really see him and talk to him and know him?
Odin was the only of the Aesir who knew the runes for that. He gained them when he sacrified himself to himself. It was the fourteenth rune he learned; to know the names of Aesir and Alfar. It's in the Poetic Edda, Havamal. Gaiman has expanded this to a knowledge of all gods.
So the conclusion is: no, Shadow would not be able to know the names of the gods.
Posts: 31 | Location: Linkoping, Sweden | Registered: August 27, 2001
Part of a post I had written over in "Shadow's Real Name Confirmed" has been partially deleted (some think Mr. Punch is the culprit) so since it actually incorporates both topics i will post here and expand upon it... I did anagrams of the name Mike Ainsel, My Ainsel and M. Ainsel to try to come up with something-anything -that made sense. ( "Who's Mike Ainsel?" "You are. Merry Christmas.") Man lies, name is like OR how about: IS LIKE AMEN ? This fits with LIKE FATHER LIKE SON which is the theory i've had for a while- the forgettable god IS Shadow's father. think about who physically and by action is he most like. dihall's post above brings up how they both feel sympathetic to the waitresses and what about samantha not remembering her encounter with him near the end of _AG_? Or Laura saying she could enter a room and not know he was there...i know, i know, maybe this is all my imagination But retrace Shadow's steps in the underworld the path gets twisted and he drinks from Styx or the River of Forgetting...when he "sees" his mom and Wednesday, i think it is "fine lies",and, soon Bast tells him ,"That's why all revelations are suspect." I could bring up more, but this is long.(and lots of fun) Someone else?
Posts: 16 | Location: ohio usa | Registered: August 19, 2001
"Mike Ainsel" comes from an old folk tale (I think German ... not sure) about a little boy who refused to go to sleep, even though his mother told him brownies would come and do bad things to him because of it. He stayed up and, lo and behold, a brownie came along. KNowing names had power, the brownie said his name was "Ainsel," which means "self." The boy, also smart, replied that his name was "My Ainsel," or "My Self." After the boy accidently hurts the brownie, the brownie goes to his mother, a bigshot sorta meanie fairy, and rats him out. Luckily for the boy, the brownie could only say "my self hurt me," and thus his mother scolded him instead. Interesting, huh?
thanks..now i feel kind of silly, but i did ask the german teacher next door if ainsel meant anything and he said "no" and then he found ain as a root word in japanese (ainu, you know). but i still think the forgettable god may be amen and may be shadow's father. (another anagram was " mike as neil"- so i did have fun with it-maybe a little too much....)
Posts: 16 | Location: ohio usa | Registered: August 19, 2001
Oh, and as far as the "Nameless God" goes, here's my theory: The general consensus among memebers of this board is that he is Hades. Here is why he is the *forgotten* god: this is not Hades, but the Greek god for whom Romans confused with Hades: Plutos. Plutos was the son of Demeter and was the god of material prosperity and wealth. He is said to have been blinded (aha!) by Zeus, because he distributed his attributes unfairly (ie, he was sympathetic to the poor). I think this has thematic tie-ins with the story, explains his character, and also explains in an unsually ironic way (how very Neil Gaiman) why no one can remember him: because his myth or story has been clouded over by the Roman Pluto who people equate with the Greek Hades...no relation to the long-forgotten Plutos (much to his frustration, I'm sure), who we can say has been robbed of his name. Pesky Romans!
i will try the link again, and thanks, again... what you say makes sense, and i guess it doesn't matter much to me if he is amen or pluto- BUT do _you_ think he could be Shadow's father (although he may not know)? c'mon you won't hurt my feelings. Oh, wait- there IS a pyramid "thing" (although subtle) which could be an Egyptian link. The "pyramid" in Las Vegas is mentioned -and- when Shadow is en route to Cairo he asks "Any pyramids?" and Mattie replies, "Not that I know of..." He drives southwest ( following the Mississippi) right by Cahokia, ILL-which has one of the largest concentrations of pyramids anywhere, and Monk's Mound is one of the largest (by volume) in the world. Gaiman is so intelligent and sympathetic to Native America in the book he KNOWS this-and may be making a statement about our disconnectedness to this land and/or the Egyptian heritage of forgettable and Shadow(and/or). pc
[This message has been edited by patrizia (edited 09-09-2001).]
Posts: 16 | Location: ohio usa | Registered: August 19, 2001
I have no suggestions to offer, however in the future I can see some poor Arts grad student writing his Masters thesis on this topic. He'll be surrounded by books on mythology, his pencils will be well chewed, and he'll be displaying signs of premature baldness from where he's pulled his hair out. how sad is that?
Posts: 172 | Location: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: June 17, 2001
quote:Originally posted by Sparker: Oh, and as far as the "Nameless God" goes, here's my theory: The general consensus among memebers of this board is that he is Hades.
I don't think there is any kind of consensus on this topic. I vehemently disagree with the idea that he is Hades. Neil has said on more than one occasion that there are no greek or Roman gods in the book, for two reasons: they are overused, and he coulnd't think of any reason they would be in America (i.e. none of their worshippers ever came to America before being converted to CHristianity.) I also disagree with the possibility that the nameless god is Shadow's father because Wednsday is Shadow's father! Parsival
Posts: 144 | Location: Leeds, UK | Registered: July 23, 2001
I think I've seen "Hadesx" mentioned as a possibility more times than any other...but my opinion was that this is not correct, directly because Gaiman underlines the fact that he didn't use any Olympians or greater Latin dieties. Or, maybe we can say that within this text, Greek/Latin dieties are "forgotten." Yeesh, now I'm really starting to sound like a full-of-wind grad student. I like the Plutos (not Hades or Pluto) theory.
I think I've seen "Hades" mentioned as a possibility more times than any other...but my opinion was that this is not correct, directly because Gaiman underlines the fact that he didn't use any Olympians or greater Latin dieties. Or, maybe we can say that within this text, Greek/Latin dieties are "forgotten." Yeesh, now I'm really starting to sound like a full-of-wind grad student. I like the Plutos (not Hades or Pluto) theory.
I've just read the majority of these postings and have decided to offer my 2 cents. Hades seems to me to be the most likely canidate for the true identity of our immediately forgetable gentlemen in the charcoal gray suit, especially considering this very un precisely quoted snipet of his conversation w/ Wednesday: The man in the charcoal gray suit poses an unheard question and Wednesday responds by saying, " well, she hasn't been heard from in over two hundred years, she must be dead, either that or she has taken her self out of the picture." Now, fitting into the ever popular Hades theory could they be talking about that pommegrante eating lass named Persephone. Huh ???? If indeed the gentlemen is Hades this clue would slide nicely in place sans K-Y /Lubrication into our pulsing orifice of a hypothesis.
Your close reading pays off. I agree that if he isn't Plutos (maybe just a little bit?), then Hades seems quite logical, especially now when we start comparing Shadow to Orpheus and gettin' into all dat Jungian phreshness.
I don't know if this will help or if it will twist things even further... but when reading about the man in the gray suit, there is a particular observation concerning his whereabouts in Vegas It is mentioned that he steps out of the Casino and it is not impressed by the "imitation of New York" to his left. Looking at a map of Las Vegas Strip, there is a hotel across from NEW YORK, exactly to what would be the man's left that might carry some significance; the Luxor. Luxor is the home to the Valley of the Kings and the temple of Hatshepsut ( I recall Mr. Ibis mentioning that there were other Egyptian deities that came along with them....) what I found irresistibly ironic/ funny is that there is a folk song concerning Luxor that translated sort of goes like "Luxor Baladna, home of Thebes Do not forget her" my two cents into the madness :P