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Shadow is not Balder
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I haven't read the Legends 2, but why would he be called Balder Moon? I mean, Odin is neither a sun nor a moon god. In fact, it was Loki's son, Fenrir, who was to swallow the moon at Ragnarok. But assuming Shadow's name is Balder, this may be gong out on a limb, but what if ALL of Odin's sons are names Balder? You could make the argument that that would make them all the smae person, but still differant. Oh, come to think of it, I viewed the multiple Odins as really differant facets of the same god. What if Shadow is just one of the facets of the multi-faced Balder? Urrr.... brain hurting now. This is why I'm very happy if the Neil would just swoop in and give an answer....? Damn.
 
Posts: 14 | Registered: April 09, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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One subtle thing is Laura's name. We know that Shadow's last name was Moon because the newspaper mentioned "Laura Moon," but we never see it applied to Shadow directly, so it's really her property. Baldr's wife was Nanna, the moon maid. On the other side of that equation, the original Laura was a fling of Apollo's, and Apollo was of course a sun deity, like Baldr. Also, Shadow's dreams resonate with Baldr's.

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In the depths of my heart I can't help being convinced that my dear fellow men, with a few exceptions, are worthless.
-- Sigmund Freud
 
Posts: 26 | Registered: May 02, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We do know that Laura got the name Moon when she married Shadow though, because her family's name was McCabe.


try it, you'll like it--www.theautumns.com
 
Posts: 160 | Registered: May 02, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ooooh, good point, Anna! Attention to detail always helps with this stuff.

- Cho


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
You are a Confectioner. Who can take a sunrise and sprinkle it with dew? Actually, that's Bob The Enchanter, two doors down on the left. But you make delectable treats, which is no simple feat considering Oompa Loompas won't be invented for three centuries. Not only do you delight with your sweets, but you've paved the way for a new profession: dentistry!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
the blog thing: From an Ayewards World ...
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Takoma Park, MD, USA | Registered: June 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Could someone please point out to me where all these references to names are? I think I'm seeing other books mentioned, but I'm not sure! AAH!
 
Posts: 495 | Location: Louisiana (soon to be VA), USA | Registered: December 18, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Cheesus-

It could be argued that the end of the world has already happened- for the Norse, anyway. Often "the world" refers specifically to that portion of the world inhabited by the originating culture, particularly their way of life, values, customs, etc.

F'rinstance, the date given for the end of the world in one of the Mayan temples- Tikal, I think it was, but I might just be saying that because I like the name- is in a sense accurate, because a dam under construction right now will flood the place by the time the due-date's up.

(Personally, I like to think that the world ends every year, day, moment, and is reborn again the next moment... my version of the dying/reborn god, I guess.)

Anyway, if at least some of the prerequisites were filled, you could say that Ragnoroc had happened, therefore Baulder could be reborn. I got the feeling that the almost-battle in this book was not the first war between various gods-think of what would have happened when the conquering Romans first started, well, conquering... and after that, when the Romans co-opted Christianity and certain people just wouldn't give up the old ways...


-Natalie
----*-*-*-*----
I have heard the Languages of Apocalypse,
and now I shall embrace the silence.
 
Posts: 2775 | Location: The bottom of a small bowl of imaginary winged serpents | Registered: March 11, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have only one comment to add to this debate.

Baldur was never a god.He just gained the favour of a vast number of them and with there help became far more than a mere human.
 
Posts: 6 | Registered: October 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Shadow was able to summon snow, and counter-act Hinzelmann's control over Mulligan. It seemed to me Shadow possesed powers not available to mortal men, Balder or not.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: November 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Shadow isn't the reincarnation of Balder. Odin in the book isn't the father of Balder either, Balder is the son of the Odin in Europe. At the end of the book we meet one of the other Odins and he says he isn't Shadows father. So yes he's Odin's son and has some godlike powers, but it doesn't mean he's the reincarnation of someone else.
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: January 25, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Before I introduce something new to the argument, I'd like to point out that at one point Wednesday does say something about how gods can die and "if people still believe in them, something very much like them comes along." whereas they just go poof when people forget about them. When people did believe in Balder they believed in a dead Balder, and he's long forgotten now... so...

Also, I think the REAL answer to this question lies in what Shadow found in the Afterlife. He saw Wednesday and his mother dancing under a disco ball. Balder was, very obviously, not concieved in the disco era. Also, he saw WEDNESDAY, not ODIN. Gaiman describes the scene in detail. Shadow is the son of a specific incarnation of Odin.
Now, while that could make him an incarnation of Balder, different incarnations of the same god share certain things. Both Wednesday and the European Odin hung from the tree "a sacrifice of myself to myself." From what I've been able to figure out, they share the things that came from the myths.
It is, therefore, interesting to note that they do NOT share Shadow. The European Odin is not reminded of his son by Shadow, but rather of the act of hanging from the World Tree.

Wednesday probably named Shadow after Baldur. And Loki's quote was probably saying that he was going to kill the second one just like he'd killed the first.
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: March 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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sorry, just wanted to point out one more thing. I think there's reason Shadow has to be human, as in non-mythological.
Wednesday had the con planned from the beginning. He had his own death planned since before he got on the plane where he met Shadow. It all goes back to the quote about how gods can die, but when people believe "something very much like them comes along."
I think Shadow has to be human because if a human hadn't believed in Wednesday enough to give his own life, Wednesday would have died for ever.
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: March 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think it's quite clear that he isn't. Why? Unless the author made some reference I didn't pick up on there's nothing to suggest that his mother was also a god.

However, Balder did survive Ragnarock, but there again there was no end of the world.

Odin just took a human to have his kids, unless there is a plot line that wasn't fleshed out. Odin said he was infertile with humans. So, unless his mother was Frigga this doesn't fit into the mythos.

Of course, this book is post modern and you can fit things in what you believe to be true!

http://www.answers.com/topic/sons-of-odin
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: April 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Shadow's name is Balder (I just finished Monarch of the Glen), so that we can't possibly argue about. As to the rest...
Well, in Monarch of the Glen, Jenny says to Shadow "You are not a man." I always thought that she said it, because through Wednesday Shadow had some aspects of a god. That he is not entirely human, at least not anymore (not after his death on the tree).
In American Gods, when Shadow is under the earth for the first time, the Buffalo Man tells him, that he is "where the forgotten wait" and later Laura tells him, that sometimes she felt like he was not there, even so he was in the same room... Well, that got me thinking: The "real" Baldur is dead, right? He returns after the end of the world... From where? Wouldn't he wait somewhere? It would kind of fit with being (a) shadow. Laura accuses Shadow more or less of being not really alive...
It would fit. Even if Shadow isn't the Baldur (like he says himself in Monarch!), at least he's pretty close...
Does this make any sense at all?


" 'A lovers' spat',(...)'Boy meets girl, girl wants boy dead. An everyday story really.'" - D. Gemmell
 
Posts: 175 | Location: Still here | Registered: May 21, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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i just remembered at some point in an article somewhere maybe, neil saying something about how he loved a book called, i think, "votan", which was about the greek man who would become odin. i may be misremembering, because its been well over a year since i've read AG, but was there something about shadow's mom being greek or something?

with all the of his dark features, it seems to me that shadow looks more like odin (or at least my idea of odin) and so much throughout the book (hanging from the tree, primarily) paralleled odin just as much as baldr.



all i can think of is that baldr is the god of purity, right? could it perhaps be that shadow, as the "american baldr" is like a more pure, close to the original version of odin than wednesday.


i dont know if that made any sense, but i hope it did because its an awesome idea in my head where it all made sense.
 
Posts: 38 | Location: connecticut | Registered: December 04, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by brent:
i just remembered at some point in an article somewhere maybe, neil saying something about how he loved a book called, i think, "votan", which was about the greek man who would become odin. i may be misremembering, because its been well over a year since i've read AG, but was there something about shadow's mom being greek or something?


Shadow's mom is African-American, or at least has African ancestry--she dies of complications of sickle-cell anemia. It's the only hint we have about his ethnicity besides the scene at the beginning of the book in which the prison official baits him about his race.

quote:

all i can think of is that baldr is the god of purity, right? could it perhaps be that shadow, as the "american baldr" is like a more pure, close to the original version of odin than wednesday.


I kind of like him as an American Everyman, whose ethnic identity is blurred. There is the scene in which Sam Black Crow asks him if he is an American Indian--and in fact he does get visits from American Indian gods. Then there's the whole trope of the gods arriving to America on earlier waves of immigration than their believers, which you get spelled out by Mr. Ibis in Shadow's sojourn in Cairo.

I basically came here to find out whether I missed something about his first name. I am kind of bummed out that the only way to find out his original first name before he was nicknamed Shadow is to read another story.

Is this meant to be like Moby Dick or something, where the POV character has a nickname and that's it?
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: May 27, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nah. With a few exceptions, sons of Gods by human women grow up to be heroes. Greeks like Herakles and Perseus provide the best examples.
Shadow is very much a hero in the mythological sense, the way I see it. And it's true that these heroes do tend to have godlike qualities.

On the other hand, in MONARCH OF THE GLEN, it's made very clear that Shadow is not human. At the end, he's certainly not human enough to satisfy any mystical definitions or requirements.
 
Posts: 57 | Registered: June 22, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Well, there were a few Demi Gods in Norse, Gods being born from human kind and what not. However, it is made very clear that Shadow is pure human, as we see when he dies and is judged as a human in death, not as a God. So here's my theory:
In Shadow's dream, he sees the skulls of his former selves, so the idea would be that he is a reincanation. It is also made clear in the original myth that he "may be brought back" after his death, whcih furthers my point. There is the fact, of course, that Shadow is a fighter, which Baldur was basically the antithesis of, but you've also got to think about the symbolism of his name. I think that it represents him being a Shadow of his former glory, perhaps tainted by his humanity. That's why he is so unhappy, why Laura says that he was empty during their marriage.
After his name is taken from him (I'm guessing Shadow was the name taken, not Baldur) he is able to resolve the battle peacefully, and one of the things Baldur was a God of was reconcilliation. So I think the name thing represented him becoming Baldur again.
I can't remember who now, but someone says they want to stab him in the eye with mistletoe, which is the only thing that can kill him in the original myth.
So simply put: He is Baldur, but a reincarnated version of himself (as the original myth suggests might happen), in the form of a man, one of his many forms, but his humanity has tainted him with imperfection and made him a "shadow" of himself. Boom.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: December 17, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Why is it claimed that Baldur was not a warrior? Yes he was acclaimed as the noblest and most just, but were is he identified as a non-warrior?

My memory is dim, but some interpretations of his name include the "bright one", the "bold one" and "lord of warriors" per wiki (which is admittedly not the best source).
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: January 22, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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wow okay.

This is kind of a late reply to a random forum I just stumbled upon.

But this was bothering me so I felt like giving the answer:

Steve Moss, Baldur isn't a warrior because when he died he went to Hel, not to Valhalla.

Only warriors can go to Valhalla.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: July 10, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sorry to bring up an old topic that's untouched for a while, but I stumbled across here while trying to find out about the Unnamed God, but anyway...

It's given to us that at the start of American Gods, Shadow is a man. He might have certain abilities when he's shown them (taking the coins from the trove, for example), but is otherwise unremarkable. Shadow is, at all times, shown to be human (at least by nature) - he makes human mistakes, has human reactions to events, and can die like any other human.

By the end of the book, after all the revelations, and the spirit of the land essentially "choosing" him as it's representative, he becomes something more - if gods exist because humans believe in them, what does a human become when the gods believe in them? It's the belief from the gods themselves that elevates Shadow to something else. He's still human enough to represent "man" in the "man vs monsters" battle in Monarch of the Glen, but it's the belief that the gods themselves give him (the old and the new - he was exactly in the middle when he stopped the war) that has elevated him to "something more".

That's my theory anyway - that belief works both ways, and it's the gods' belief in Shadow that gives rise to his abilities.
 
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