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Unnamed God
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The only reason there is still discussion on this topic is that Neil has decided not to confirm that the unnamed god is Hades.

There's been a lot of interesting discussion about various possibilities, but really nothing fits as well, and Hades fits perfectly.

However, people will continue to have their own theories and that's fine. It's not essential to the story who it is, so every reader can have their own view, and possibly change it on re-reading the book.

Which come to think of, I haven't done in a bit, so I'll be offski.

-- Still waiting for the mythical never-gonna-happen '668' to get written.
Posts: 27 | Location: Denver, USA | Registered: September 02, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Seems like a very easy question to answer :

The unnamed god is Lucifer :

Let me please introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste...

Please to meet you, hope you guess my name...

Charcoal colored suit : Sure is hot in hell...

Vegas, please where else would the Devil himself hangout...

Devils own luck?

I could go on and on. For me this one had no mystery...
Posts: 2 | Registered: December 02, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Guys, don't bash me if such idea has been proposed around here, but how about Memory (or, on the other hand, Oblivion)? OK, I know Memory isn't any kind of god, and I see the plausibility of the entity being Lucifer or Hades. Still, consider this:

People pray for better memory, especially in cases of certain memory-loss diseases. People pray for forgetfulness on numerous occassions.

Depending on a situation, either one can be regarded as a great wealth.

I'm not saying my little theory is well grounded, but in all the other posts (that is, if I am saying something new here) there is not one convincing reason why Shadow could not remember the deity. Well, maybe in the one above me. That would be a good joke, too. I love the song, by the way.

Posts: 6 | Location: Poland | Registered: November 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I doubt anyone get's bashed on this board. Until Neil Gaiman says something is wrong I think everyone is presumed to be correct...
Posts: 2 | Registered: December 02, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've always thought that the unnamed god was Spider from Anansi Boys. He's Nancy's son, so that would explain why he was with them, and in Anansi Boys I believe there are a couple times he makes people forget. He made his brother run around an entire night trying to find his way home, which even a taxi driver was unable to find (which Fat Charlie could've easily done any other time). He made everyone believe that he was actually Fat Charlie. Although its been awhile since I read it.
Posts: 1 | Location: Here. | Registered: January 18, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hey Guys Ive been keeping this to myself for a couple of years but anyway im not going to explain my reasoning you can do that yourselves but the unnamed god is money/wealth. Hope i was a help
Posts: 1 | Registered: February 04, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was wondering if anyone's considered the Urnfield Culture as a source for this unnamed god? Early Scottish customs have been shown to have come to America throughout "American Gods."

In the Urnfield culture, hoards of treasure were assembled and buried underground (like the treasure room in vegas).

Corpses were burnt, put in urns, and then buried in bogs (the body-in-bog taste of the scotch).

The names of the gods are forgotten, but up until the 18th century (well after immigration to America started), small groups of Scots were still practicing the rituals to nameless gods.

Problems: It doesn't explain who the "She" is.
Posts: 1 | Registered: March 14, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I haven't gone through all the posts so please forgive me if I reapeat something that's already been covered.
I was wodering if "The Unnamed God", if Hades, would then also be the god of Loss. There is a passage about people coming to Las Vegas, not to win but to loose. In las Vegas you certainly can loose your money but you can loose more than that, like family and friends and possibly even your idetity, even though you're not technically dead. You may also end up very dead, too of course. We see happyness, however garish, we see through the loosers. I may be influenced by Neverwhere in this thought.

I also wanted to direct your attention to the Wikipediea page for "Brain Fart" , as our beloved Shadow thinks he suffers a one of those during the second time he is introduced to " The Unnamed God".
It is funny but I am also adding it because I am born and bred in Bergen, Norway, where a group of scientists, at the University of Bergen, gave the brain fart (although universial) its sceintific name. :-)

PS. : The rest of Norway doesn't consider people from Bergen to be true Norwegians. Even if that may be a joke, to be accepted as a true Bergensian is not. You have to have a long line of ancestors,from the City, and preforably some with danish or german surnames. I am a mutt, as my mother hails from a city an 8 hour's drive North.
Wednesday ( = Ondsdag, Odins' day) says there are no Americans and we know, genetically speaking, there's only 6 links between oneself and someone on the other side of the globe. Perhaps one is even less likely to have something in common with an "old neighbour" than a person many days travel away, even with airplanes that land and take off on schedule:-)

" There will always be another reality to make fiction of the Truth we think we've arrived at" Christopher Fry
Posts: 4 | Registered: March 19, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think the unnamed god is Bhaga!
1 Bhaga is the god of a god of wealth and marriage in Hinduism. His name mean Good fortune, happiness and luck. Bhaga is the god who supervises the distribution of goods and destiny to each man corresponding to his merits. So a god of luck, wealth a distribution would find Las Vegas as good a place and any in America to feel at home, which is where Wednesday meets with him.
2 It also shows the wealth and distribution aspects in the line "In his mind the movement of money forms a fine latticework, a three dimensional cat's cradle of light and motion."
3 He takes pity on the waitress (whom Wednesday didn't pay) and tells her about the oncologist who will win $40,000 which falls under the distribution of goods and destiny to each man corresponding to his merits aspect.
4 He drinks Laphroaig (an expensive Scottish whisky) and water, and he appreciates its "marshy" taste. He is from a boggy region, Baga Creek which is a tidal estuary in the state of Goa, India located near the town of Baga. Baga is also his Persian name and is the name of a people who inhabit a swampy coastal region.
5 He is looking for a "she" who, according to Wednesday, has "not been seen for two hundred years. If she isn't dead she's taken herself out of the picture." A god of marriage must have had a wife. This may not be anymore a part of the "real" mythology than Thor killing himself is. It might just be there to show how the gods, particularly a marriage god, have fallen.
6 His deal with Wednesday is sealed with a bottle of Soma, which is a divine drink of Hindu mythology.
7 And, of course, no one seems to be able to remember talking to him, or even hearing about him, moments after it happens. (Except for Wednesday, who has the charm of knowing the names of all the gods) Bhaga was eventually blinded broken by Vīrabhadra, Shivas hero/monster.
Well thats my theroy at least and it seems to fit. I know a lot of you favor Hades but I thought I read that gaiman said he had no Greek Gods in it so that would rule him out.
Posts: 1 | Registered: August 04, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hmm, an interesting thread!

Being a Classist at uni in england I'm not sure I favour Hades (and lets face it the author has quashed that one too...). Doesn't fi for many many reasons.

I can see why people are discussing Luck but this certainly wouldn't be a new god, even the relatively late Roman pantheon resurrected older mediterranean/asiatic deities and called her 'Fortuna'. It ties in with his ability to refer the waitress with her hopefully life changing meeting with the Oncologist. The fact that we see potentially a god of Luck at Vegas is, of course fitting.

Another thought occurs to me in that Shadow meets the Indian elephant headed god Ganesh elsewhere in the book and they both play coin tricks ('its in the trunk' being the pre-laid strand leading Shadow to discover Hinzelmann's annual sacrifice in the klunker at Lakeside).

I mention it because Ganesh (the Remover of Obstacles) as a deity represents prosperity and wealth, with many Indian families today having a household image magnetising good fortune into their homes.

So does the fact that we meet his deity later in AGs have any correlation to the Vegas god? Im not sure, but it's decent point of discussion?

Great topics people!
Posts: 3 | Registered: November 27, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I believe that the forgotten god is the Welsh God, Math. You can read about Math at http://www.joellessacredgrove....ltic/deitiesl-m.html
Math meets all the implications from American Gods:
1) Drinking expensive Scotch - Math was a king in the northern British Isles
2) Understanding money - "Math" means "coin" or "money", and he brought wealth to Wales
3) Searching for a woman and not memorable - To rule, Math needed to have his feet in his wife's lap. Since the unnamed god has been searching for a woman for 200 years, we can deduce that his wife, Goewyn, had gone missing in some way, which resulted in Math being unable to rule as a god, which is why nobody could remember him.
4) Wednesday consults with the unnamed god - Math is described in other sources as an excellent strategist in war, which would make him important and valuable in preparation for the war the Wednesday was fomenting.
5) The unnamed god comments on the "marshy" flavor of the scotch - Math brought pigs to Wales, which would mean that Math would be familiar with marshes.

This is the only god that makes sense to me. Hades fits in some ways, but I think that Math is a much better fit. Thoughts, anyone?
Posts: 2 | Location: USA | Registered: December 26, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Only sounds like Keith Flint
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This might sound silly but another idea I had was that he could be the dying baldur that shadow replaces. When shadow becomes full on gpod he gives sam flowers but she forgets instantly. The god gets forgotten because he's a shadow.
Posts: 2193 | Location: LA... sort of. | Registered: April 20, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think its Goibniu

Goibniu is part of the irish pantheon , he's the smith god (1 of 3) for the tuatha da nan.

Why him ?
smiths of that time used "bog iron" bog-iron and bog-gold were the primary source of iron back in those days. Look it up.
So as Gobniu is a blacksmith, so he would be dirty/charcoal colored from the fires/smelting.

Goibniu is familiar with bogs -- due to bog iron. Also familiar with gold for the same reason. There are bacteria on bogs that extract the oxides from the rivulets -- hences streams of gold/iron/knowledge.

Gobniu also forged spear heads.

Gobniu brewed mead (and other magic ale) that conveyed immortality.

Gobniu healed the other gods via a magic spring that his sister had.

Gobniu pledged to fix any magic spears used in battle (to Lugh).

See sacred texts .org

Can't wait to read the 10 year anniversary version.
Posts: 1 | Registered: March 25, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Personally, I don't believe for one second that the Unnamed God is stems from any religious source, but from a modern source such as the Internet kid and the other modern deities.

Considering the huge amount of literature that was referenced in the novel, it being a novel that touches on a variety of archaic literature sources, and the fact that it is a novel, it would be safe to assume that a deity would be created in regards to the huge impact that literature has on the modern world, and how the world came to be what it is. If the Internet can have a deity, why shouldn't Literature have a deity as well?

There is a huge amount of literature in the world, and that could be one of the reasons that the god is unnamed, as there really is no way to put a name to a character from literature, and the extreme variety of forms of literature and stories available to the world could give insight into the reason why nobody can remember his name. We also know that Shadow is able to recognize him and remember him a little bit, and that Odin knows the name. This could be because of their extreme literacy, as we can see from the Odin's runes, as well as Shadow's quoting of literature.

Personally, I believe that the Unnamed God was based off of 'The Director' in Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World". This is a character that quite literally plays God with the lives of an entire civilization, and is himself the father of John the Savage, a character obsessed with religion. Soma is a central point of the futuristic society, as is money, and the Director has access to great stores of both, as well as controls the flow of both in his civilization. We never get to know the Director's name either, another similarity that is seen in the Unnamed God. The woman that the Unnamed God references is also a key point to the life of the Director, as his downfall is directly related to her discovery.

In Brave New World, it is through John's act of self sacrifice inspired by religion that the civilizations he has been a part of can come to an end and rebirth themselves. This gives us yet another shared feature that we can see Shadow exhibiting through his own experiences with the many Gods in his own civilization.

For these reasons, and others, I believe that the Unnamed God is a representation of "literature" whose form was based from a god-like figure found in one of the masterpieces from last century, "Brave New World". Both of the novels share many similar features and motifs, and therefore it becomes quite easy to perceive how one could influence the other.
Posts: 2 | Registered: July 23, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Posts: 20 | Registered: November 26, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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One theory that I haven't heard posited yet is that the forgotten god is a new god. I personally think that Gaiman has used the forgotten god to convey his beliefs of America in general. The forgotten god is some incarnation of the American dream, American idealism, America in general. The lady that he searches for could be Liberty or Columbia. The fact that she has been missing for about 200 years is indicative of where Gaiman may think that America began losing its way.

The new gods are conveyed as the "bad" guys. If he is the "American dream", he would probably be against these gods of technology and excess. He drinks soma to help him maintain some semblance of existence due to a lack of belief from Americans suffering from financial uncertainty and near recession (book was published in mid 2001).

He lives in Las Vegas and has expensive tastes to convey wealth and power, but also a propensity to be almost careless or carefree about making or losing wealth.

I think that the forgotten god is the original American god, the original belief that all Americans had. He is now the forgotten god because of the implied opinion of Gaiman that no one believes in the American dream any more and no one recognizes him in the age of technology and excess.
Posts: 1 | Registered: September 03, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm pretty sure who is the unnamed god is the Ganesha, the god of good luck, he have a elephant head, yes, the same one who appears suddenly from nothing when shadow is in the yggdrasil tree and say "you could summon me before and avoid some problems", the luck answer why he live in las vegas, and why not odin would not want the luck on his side? but well, this not answer why they keep forggetin him i guess (i dont know much about ganesha) but is one of the goods one to be the unnmed god
Posts: 1 | Registered: April 10, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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So I still think it's baldr. Much the way that Daniel and Morpheus are both dream, Shadow and this guy are both Baldr.

I'm curious though. Do you think we will find out for site who it is during the course of the new tv show? Or the comic?

I still don't know who Keith Flint is
Posts: 8 | Registered: May 02, 2017Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by rkneppe:
One theory that I haven't heard posited yet is that the forgotten god is a new god.

I don’t think so as it really doesn’t fit with anything else.

There’s been a lot of interesting theories over the years, but I have seen nothing so far to convince me that the forgotten/unnamed god is not Hades/Pluto, and short of Neil telling me I’m wrong directly, I;m not likely to be dissuaded.

And I might still argue the point with Neil Himself. Smile
Posts: 27 | Location: Denver, USA | Registered: September 02, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't know if this theory has been mentioned before, I'll just throw it out into discussion.

Could it be the sun deity of Egyptian mythology, Ra? Ra has a secret name that gives him divine powers, and nobody knows his true name except Isis and Horus. This could perhaps contribute his unnamed identity in Shadow's mind.

With all due respect,
Posts: 3 | Registered: June 13, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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