Granted, I'm not entirely conviced that Shadow is THE American version of Baldr. I think he's a new son of Odin and the thing about Loki putting mistletoe in his eye was just a reference to his brother. But, if he really is Baldr, then his mother has to be Frigg,. So, let's examine what the book says about Shadow's mom and see if there's evidence.
Shadow's mom was an American diplomat to Norway. Being a queen, Frigg would be well-versed in diplomatic relations. Norway is one of the Norse countries.
She's most likely the American incarnation of Frigg, which explains her speech and her life cycle. I don't think many people in America believe in her as much so she began to age and then she began to die.
Wednesday mentioned that interbreeding is unlikely to unimaginable these days. So, being Wednesday's wife, he might have tried to knock up an unwilling Frigg a few times. Frigg was mad at Wednesday. Maybe because she disapproves of his scams. But it's safe to say that Wednesday and the American Frigg were no longer on speaking terms.
That's all I have. She may be Frigg. Of course, she may also be just a normal human. But that should mean that Shadow is Shadow and not an incarnation of Baldr.
What do you think?
-Exactly! Avada Kedavra!!
I don't even remember mention of Shadow's mother, but from the sounds of it they straight-up say it's Frigg.
I need to brush up on my Norse mythology....
"Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten."
The book never really went into full detail about the identity of Shadow's mother. In fact, when looked on at face value, it suggests that Shadow's mother was indeed a normal human. All I'm saying is that IF Shadow is the American version of Baldr, then his mother MUST be Frigg or Freya or even a combination thereof because Frigg and Freya get so confused these days that most people think they're the same goddess! In fact, even in the days when the Norse faith had many adherants, some Norse peoples actually did consider Frigg and Freya the same goddess. Maybe Shadow's mom's name was Miss Friday like Odin was Mr. Wednesday. Hehe! Because like Wednesday is Wotan(Odin)'s day, Friday is Freya's or Frige's (Frigg) day. (going off subject I know)
-Exactly! Avada Kedavra!!
I was curious about this too. Re-reading this time around, I noticed the bit where Wednesday talks about interbreeding being unlikely, and how (not the exact quote) "people like me mostly fire blanks." And I wondered about the identity of Shadow's mum. Gods and mortals can clearly have sex, it happens several times in the book. But I guess Gods can only *breed* with Gods, and mortals with mortals...?
I thought that the shadows mom being mortal was a major part of the story. This is what allows him not to be tied down to the land like other gods and continue to exist without worship. Shadow is Balder but he is not tied to the "story" as much.
I don't think that Shadow's mother needed to be a god for Shadow to be a god himself. From the book I gather the gods have been born and reborn. Their ages seem to be relevant to human years. Czernobog talks of coming to Chicago and working as a knocker (and he says it like "when I got to Chicago" which I think means when this incarnation was born in Chicago, but I digress) He said 'then in the 50's they gave us guns', so if he was young the and old now, say 20 in the 50's and now in the 2000's he'd be in his 70's. Which is consistent with his description in the book. Thus he was born around the 30's, (give or take 10 years for all of this (like born in the 20's, 30's as a knocker and 80 present time) but did he have to be born to a god? That'd be impossible for the gods to be born to each other. That's the way I see it.
As far as i remember,there are more gods in the book with sons, and they are not necessarily a god. I think most of the references are on purpose, but to create a better contrast between the fact that shadow is a human, despite being the son of a god, and having a god name. Shadow feels ill on the backstage as a human should, he does age (although is mentioned often how young he appears to be, when his age is revealed).
That being said, i'm not sure how he perform certain acts on the book. Also, during the book, it is said that "being a god is being the concept people believe in, etc" (not exactly those words), so maybe he just chose not to.
There are many stories of gods/ immortals being reborn in cycles, either similar or the same. Its also interesting that the original story of Baldr says he will be released from Hell and reborn on Ragnarok, but this I think makes it less likely as the book makes little mention of it. Baldr is also supposed to be the god of light, which suggests Shadow is his opposite?
Just found this from a website- "Being an Ase, Baldr will probably be able to force a more direct reincarnation rather than the usual case of a partial passing of might and main. Likewise with Hoðr. This would account for the lore of their return from Hel following Ragnarok - being reborn into the family of the gods as descendants once again, of their fathers."
but isn`t shadow`s mother at least part native american? hence whiskey jack askng him what tribe he was from, and shadow having coffee and cream skin? unless frigg was reincarnated, but i don`t think that was part of the norse beliefs... of course, i am no expert.
I'm a bit late to the party, but I'd like to put in my two cents on the matter.
I don't believe that Shadow is Baldur, and (even if he is) I don't believe his mother was Frigg.
Mostly, I believe his mother was a "normal" human of (partial) African descent (and possible Native American descent) as the book mentions her suffering from sickle cell disease. I know that sickle cell can affect any myriad of people with African, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern descent, but it is most commonly associated with African Americans. I don't know that Gaiman would've used sickle cell as the disease Shadow's mother suffered from if he didn't intend to have people draw a connection to it.
I also believe his mother to be of African descent because of Shadow's strong connection with the Egyptian pantheon gods-- notably that Horus understands how critical of a role Shadow will play, and that Shadow goes to the Egyptian underworld because those gods "believed in him."
I could be very, very wrong-- but that's how I interpreted that information. c:
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