Mark Reads ‘American Gods’: Chapter 9

In the ninth chapter of American Gods, Shadow learns more about Wednesday’s con artist past, and is then sent to a distant apartment to await his next assignment. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read American Gods.

CHAPTER NINE

Wednesday sure doesn’t have a lot of answers for Shadow, does he? I get that it’s part of Shadow’s job to not ask questions (and Wednesday certainly takes the time to point this out to Shadow), but after what he just went through, I expected that Wednesday might open up more to him. I’m thinking there’s a specific reason why he does this. What’s he hiding from Shadow? The man just suffered through being kidnapped, escaped, and then traveled all the way to Cairo, Illinois in order to stay safe. But the nature of this war that Wednesday is trying to wage seems to justify keeping silent. Wednesday confirms that a few other gods came to his side, but refuses to tell Shadow how they escaped the other gods. It’s kind of annoying, but this is just what Wednesday does.

Even if it happens a whole day later, Wednesday distracts the conversation away from anything recent or relevant. He really does seem like he enjoys talking, especially about himself and the past, and another familiar topic: young women. I’m starting to understand the context of it all, even if it is a tad bit creepy, as Wednesday’s character is actually fleshed out a lot in chapter nine. On Christmas day, he and Shadow eat lunch at a large family restaurant in Wisconsin, and it’s there that he hits on a very young waitress. A lot. Like…excessively. What’s so bizarre about it is not the fact that he’s hitting on her as much as how he does it. Wednesday does possess a form of charm, but it seems archaic to me. It would never work on my own attraction in a million years, but he seems to be aiming for some sort of gentlemanly sense of chivalry to appeal to young women.

AND IT WORKS. Like every time. Does he possess powers of seduction or something???

The bulk of the first half of chapter nine goes into great detail to introduce us to some of the con methods that Wednesday has used in his past. I’m beginning to understand the idea that all of these gods who exist in the fringes of America find their own ways to survive. Many chapters ago, Wednesday made it clear that he’s been getting by through some less-than-moral ways. He cons people. He cheats them and steals from them and he does it with a smile on his face and in his voice. He is not at all concerned about the ramifications of his actions, and that doesn’t just apply to the outcomes of his thieving. After explaining both the Fiddle Game and the Bishop Game to Shadow (all while continuing to hit on the waitress with more and more tenacity), Shadow wonders aloud if it’s prudent for Wednesday to sleep around so much. Even then, he cares not about diseases (which he says he doesn’t catch??? WHAT), nor about infidelity, nor about ruining relationships, nor about getting a girl pregnant. Wednesday’s real pleasant, isn’t he?

I also think that this may have helped me figure out one of Wednesday’s secrets. Before he and Shadow part ways, Shadow asks the Norse god if he ever had a partner, since all the grafts he described required two men, not him alone. Wednesday acknowledges that he did, but says the days have since passed. I don’t think he’s lying, nor have I figured out who that second man was, but I’m willing to go out on a limb and guess that Shadow is now his second man. They already conned that bank out of thousands and thousands of dollars, but is Shadow acting a part in a long con that he has no idea he is involved in? I think part of Wednesday’s need of this man is to pull off something else. Perhaps against the “bad guys,” whomever they might be?

Regardless, I was surprised to see the two part so soon after being reunited. Shadow takes on the identity of someone named Mike Ainsel. Was Ainsel a real person at one point or was the identity conceived out of nothing? I don’t know why Wednesday is forcing Shadow to go off on his own after he just spent a week with Jacquel and Ibis. That seems…not like a good idea? Shadow hasn’t really had much luck on his own, and Wednesday is purposely keeping him dark. That is a bad combination, if you ask me. But it’s the way things are, and after getting his own apartment, a new identity, and a Christmas bonus, Shadow does as he is told.

On the Greyhound bus to Lakeside, Wisconsin, Shadow has yet another dream with buffalo-head-god in it. I found this particularly striking from the dream:

“Well, Shadow? Do you believe yet?”

“I don’t know,” said Shadow. His mouth had not moved either, he observed. Whatever words were passing between the two of them were not being spoken, not in any way that Shadow understood speech. “Are you real?”

“Believe,” said the buffalo man.

ARGH WHY HAVEN’T I FIGURED OUT WHO BUFFALO MAN IS YET? I am trying to avoid Googling any of this because spoilers like to hide where we least expect it on Google. Look, it’s very true. But even if I don’t know who this god is supposed to me, perhaps these dreams are meant to create belief in Shadow so that he can give power to these forgotten gods. I MEAN WOULDN’T THAT BE COOL. Shadow could have an army of forgotten gods at his disposal! To…I don’t know? Punch bullies? I guess that theory isn’t thought out very well, but it’s a neat idea. Plus, the buffalo man even says, “This is not a land for gods.” Okay, so what is it? I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS.

“This land was brought up from the depths of the ocean by a diver,” said the fire. “It was spun from its own substance by a spider. It was shat by a raven. It is the body of a fallen father, whose bones are mountains, whose eyes are lakes.

“This is a land of dreams and fire,” said the flame.”

So, Anansi? Odin’s ravens? Yeah, this is total nonsense to me. WHAT IS THIS. But then the chapter heads straight for the absurd and…look, I have nothing witty or insightful to say about Shadow’s dream journey through the hole in the earth to the surface. To me, it does seem like birth, as if this “land of dreams and fire” has sent Shadow through this process in order to rebirth him anew. But…I feel like that’s a stretch, if anything, and I don’t know what it actually means. He offers up himself to the earth, but what does that entail?

“Soon,” said the crackling voice of the flame, coming from behind him, “they will fall. Soon they will fall and the star people will meet the earth people. There will be heroes among them, and men who will slay monsters and bring knowledge, but none of them will be gods. This is a poor place for gods.”

WHERE IS THIS PLACE? I have never felt like I understood so little about a book. What is going on?

I would be lying if I didn’t admit how grateful I was for Shadow to come back to “reality,” not only because I could understand things again, but because Hinzelmann is glorious. I am beginning to adore the side characters that Gaiman introduces in the book because they’re all so full of life. With Hinzelmann specifically, there’s nothing ironic about his personality, nor his interest in the world around him. I’m the kind of person who loves the history of the things around me because I want context and I want to know even the most banal minutia about my neighborhood or the historic buildings that were all erected around me. And sometimes that history is entirely anecdotal as well, like the oral history that Hinzelmann gives Shadow as he drives the scenic route around town. But it also highlights this absurd nature of small American cities (and not just in the United States) built mostly by a single person (or at least orchestrated that way) and how they remain connected to one person’s design or vision. There were large swaths of Riverside, the town I grew up in, that were still staunchly made in the style that the city’s founder, John W. North, wanted for the city. (HE IS LIKE GOD THERE TO SOME PEOPLE. It’s really weird to me! He didn’t even really live there that long! Oh god, small cities/towns are SO BIZARRE.)

I had this idea that Hinzelmann might be one of Wednesday’s plants, a god of some sort to help him out, but by the time he drops Shadow off at his new apartment, I think he’s just an ordinary guy who loves the town he lives in. There’s no strangeness to him, no ambiguous statements, no clues or hints to something beyond what Shadow has known about the world to this point. That being said, I might be biased because in comparison to what happens next, Hinzelmann is just…plain. He’s quite every day. It’s not every day that a man is able to remotely view what is happening to other people. Is this a result of that dream birth thing that happened to him? He’s not dreaming when he is able to see Laura, or to see Wednesday having sex, so I’m sure it’s really happening. omg did he get special powers THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.

Meanwhile. A Conversation.

Samantha Black Crow, you are my favorite and I am so glad you are back, if even for two pages, so we can get more of your flawless sassiness. Because no shame in this:

“Otherwise, you’ll have to introduce me to your friends Mister Thumbscrews and Mister Pentothal?”

Seriously. She is fantastic.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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110 Responses to Mark Reads ‘American Gods’: Chapter 9

  1. hansfish says:

    Funny story: this chapter is the sole reason I understood the con in one episode of Leverage while it was in progress. (I never understand them until the very, very end. It made me feel kind of intelligent for once.)

    Ohg vg nyfb uvtuyvtugf guvf nofheq angher bs fznyy Nzrevpna pvgvrf (naq abg whfg va gur Havgrq Fgngrf) ohvyg zbfgyl ol n fvatyr crefba (be ng yrnfg bepurfgengrq gung jnl) naq ubj gurl erznva pbaarpgrq gb bar crefba’f qrfvta be ivfvba. … UR VF YVXR TBQ GURER GB FBZR CRBCYR.

    V guvax fbzrbar zragvbarq n juvyr ntb gung gurl jrer fbzrgvzrf jbeevrq Znex jnf whfg shpxvat jvgu hf? … lrnu, nobhg gung.

    • cait0716 says:

      Frevbhfyl. V guvax ur whfg xabjf zber guna ur ernyvmrf. Nyy gubfr cvrprf ner gurer va uvf oenva, ur whfg unfa'g chg gurz gbtrgure lrg. Juvpu jvyy cebonoyl znxr gur erirny bs uvamryznaa n jubyr ybg zber njrfbzr.

      • V cerqvpg xrlfznfuvat, cbffvoyl jvgu obyqsnpr.

      • Shiroikami says:

        Vg whfg ernyyl ohtf zr orpnhfr ur QBRF unir nyy gur cvrprf, naq ABOBQL PNA GRYY UVZ GUNG UR'F EVTUG!!!

        Nyfb, ur xrrcf ersreevat gb Uvamryznaa naq Fnz nf "fvqr punenpgref"… ohg V xabj gung gurl'er abg. Abg ernyyl. Orpnhfr Tnvzna arire znxrf n punenpgre vagrerfgvat vs ur qbrfa'g vagraq gurz gb or vzcbegnag.

    • nanceoir says:

      Yeah, the con names were totally making me think of Leverage. Luckily Wednesday didn't have someone sitting there saying that, no, that's called this other thing, and the Bishop Game is a completely different grift.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      You're right, I hadn't thought of it that way.

      I think it clicked for me a little bit earlier- I knew something was off, but I was just a bit slow on the uptake.

  2. Ryan Lohner says:

    I was really hit hard by Laura looking in on her family, wanting to be part of their lives again. Up until now I'd been thinking she'll end up being allowed to move into the afterlife as her own victory, but now I actually want her to live again, even with all the screwy logistics of everyone knowing full well that she died. Still in the air over whether that will happen, though.

  3. Nicki says:

    Long time reader, first time poster. It's awesome you chose to do the extended version of American Gods because I got it for my kindle, I'm reading each chapter a day at a time in sync with you 😀 Though I've read American Gods before this. Question: did you read the introduction? There's nothing terribly spoiling in there, but I think it gives a good context into understanding the book as you go along. It might also help clear up some questions you have about Gaiman's intent, storywise. Just a thought.

  4. cait0716 says:

    I love Hinzelmann so much. His story about the deer jumping out of it's own skin is just perfect. I remember so many times sitting around a campfire when I was younger and hearing all those tall tales presented as truth.

    I can't think of a talking fire without thinking of Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle, which means that entire bit of dialogue was in Billy Crystal's voice in my head. It kind of undercut the scene a bit.

  5. pennylane27 says:

    Wednesday picking up girls is really creepy to me. I would never ever fall for those lines. Reading about the cons was somehow very entertaining, even though you know, you're stealing from people.

    Once again, I understand nothing from the dreams. I did think of birth too, but I really don't know. And that buffalo man is starting to irritate me. Will you stop talking in riddles please?

    Oh Hinzelmann, as soon as you started talking about bookstores and libraries you had my heart. I really like this man.

    I don't understand Shadow's sudden ability to see what other people are doing either. Seriously, I have no idea what's going on. That's just fine, I'll manage to understand the book at some point, I'm sure. 😉

    I fucking love Sam. But you aren't my friends. You can call me Miz Black Crow. Yes. I love her.

    • la.donna.pietra says:

      I had a mental image of Wednesday as Ian McKellan the entire time I read the book. Which is to say, those lines would work on me if they were coming from Sir Ian.

      • Zozo says:

        Wednesday is Donald Sutherland to me. Gruff and charming but a total douchebag not-so-deeply under the surface.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Un, gur zragny vzntr bs Vna ZpXryyra nf Jrqarfqnl ernyyl jbexf sbe zr, orpnhfr vfa'g Tnaqnys cnegvnyyl onfrq ba gur jnaqrevat Bqva gung Funqbj vzntvarf va guvf puncgre? Znex vf ernqvat Gbyxvra arkg, fb guvf vf yvxr n unaql Abefr zlgubybtl cevzre!

      • Dent D says:

        Ohhhh, no, I can't ever imagine dear Sir Ian McKellan as Mr Wednesday. Even as Magneto he never gave off an aura of douchebaggery that I feel exudes from Wednesday. Plus I think Wednesday was described as having a wide craggy face? Sir McKellan's face is a bit on the narrow side, no?

        Although yeah, if the voice of McKellan was trying to seduce me (and I happened to be a young waitress in Small Town, America serving bad diner pie) I would probably fall for it too! 😀

  6. pennylane27 says:

    Also, I forgot, but we get to know what Shadow did to land him in prison! Almost killed his partners in crime with his hands. Awesome. And there's the word loot. Double awesome.

    • cait0716 says:

      I kind of love the juxtaposition of the guy claiming that guys like that should be locked up forever with our own knowledge that Shadow is completely reformed. Or maybe reformed isn't the right word, as he made one mistake, recognizes that it was a mistake, and learned from it. It's a nice, subtle, little argument for rehabilitation.

      • pennylane27 says:

        Ugh, I know. It really pissed me off that he would actually say that. How can anyone pass judgement without knowing the case is beyond my comprehension.

        • Kit says:

          I think in this case it's not so much something that Town believes as it's something he thinks the character he's playing would believe.

  7. knut_knut says:

    What was with the runes Wednesday was drawing in the salt? Does this help him pick up women? I know and understand nothing!

    “Black Crow. It's Miz Black Crow. My friends call me Sam.”

    “Got it, Sam. Now about this man-”

    “But you aren't my friends. You can call me Miz Black Crow.”

    I love you, Sam, please never change! <3

    • Vikinhaw says:

      What was with the runes Wednesday was drawing in the salt? Does this help him pick up women? I know and understand nothing!

      I'm guessing the runes must be magic of some sort that makes the woman like him? I don't think he's picking her up purely due to non-magic charms. It feels so creepy and rapey.

      • pica_scribit says:

        Yeah, gods don't generally tend to worry about the rapey aspect.

        • cait0716 says:

          Yeah. I'm able to excuse a lot of Wednesday's behavior by going, "well, he's a god". They really don't care about humans unless they can get something from them. It seems pointless to subject them to a human standard of behavior

          • John Small Berries says:

            "It seems pointless to subject them to a human standard of behavior"

            Unless a claim about them being the source of objective morality comes into play. (Because if their morality is genuinely objective, they can be judged by it; if they are exempted from it, then it is not truly objective.) But I don't believe the concept of "objective morality" was a part of Wednesday's followers' belief system, was it?

            • cait0716 says:

              I doubt it was. They seemed more like beings you don't want to piss off than beings you can trust to judge you fairly and be merciful. Even the Abrahamic God doesn't seem entirely subject to the morality he imposes on humans, at least in the parts of the bible I've read, which mostly consists of the Old Testament. God/The gods made the rules and humans have to follow them or beware H/his/her wrath. I've always viewed morality as a very human thing.

            • FlameRaven says:

              I think a lot of the older pantheons considered gods to be very powerful beings that managed the universe, but not the source of any sort of morality. You just prayed that they would help you out and hoped they didn't take too keen an interest in you, because that pretty much never ends well for mortals. But in general, I think most gods are considered to be above or beyond human morals rather than the source of them.

          • Elexus Calcearius says:

            Gods don't really get a free pass for me- I can't say "its allrgith, they're a God". Except i understand. They're gods. They're all incredibly rude, self-centered, controlling…they're human egos, made larger than life and given all the power.

  8. pica_scribit says:

    I'm just going to sit here and chortle quietly to myself.

    Ainsel, by the way, is a Scots word. "My ainsel" means "myself".

    Oh, and I love that Wednesday chooses the name "Emerson Borson". Odin's father was Bor, and his father was Ymir.

    • clodia_risa says:

      While I knew “My Ainsel”, I don’t know enough about Norse mythology to pick up Emerson Borson. Thank you, that is super cool!

      • Sorrows Solace says:

        Totally forgot about the Bor's Son thing!

        Yeah I went off into a peal of mental laughter too, can't wait for Mark to keep reading 😀

    • roguebelle says:

      THANK you! The Ainsel bit was in the back of my head somewhere, but it was making me crazy that I couldn't remember it.

    • Dent D says:

      Thanks for the explanation on the names! I've actually never picked up on the fact that the cover names would have some deeper/hidden meaning. Brilliant!

    • notemily says:

      Thanks for the background on Emerson Borson! I had no idea.

  9. @sab39 says:

    Anyone else think that Sam Black Crow is somehow the same person as Sam Puckett from iCarly?

  10. clodia_risa says:

    I want to say these things, but I’m afraid that they’d be considered spoilers, so ROT13! V srry yvxr gurl’er ynvq bhg cerggl boivbhfyl va guvf puncgre, ohg V’q engure ree ba gur fvqr bs pnhgvba ng nyy gvzrf. Naq ol boivbhfyl V zrna vs lbh’ir ernq gur obbx svir gvzrf naq xabj n ohapu bs zlgubybtl, bs pbhefr.

    Nyy bs gur perngvba zlguf ner Angvir Nzrevpna. Gur enira, gur fcvqre, rgp.

    Gur eharf ner gur “gurer’f punez, naq gura gurer’f punez” gung Jrqarfqnl zragvbarq rneyvre. Lnl zlfgvpnyyl vaqhprq encr. Htu.

    Naq nf sbe rirelguvat ryfr: NUNUNUNUNUNUNNNN!

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Zlfgvpnyyl rqhprq encr shagvzrf!

      'Course, this is one of the cases when the author wants a character portrayed like that, and its not a good thing, so I don't mind.

  11. @GalFawkes says:

    Ugh yes, Wednesday's behavior towards women is beyond disgusting. But how did that girl not get *uncomfortable* rather than flattered? Maybe it's the fact that Wednesday has the god powers of Odin? And it's perfectly plausible that gods don't get STIs nor can they get mortals pregnant, I suppose, but even that aside, his behavior makes me feel so scuzzy. If a guy said stuff like that to me, I'd be terrified and uncomfortable, not seduced. And there's his whole casual racism too…

    And two for you, Sam.

  12. ARGH WHY HAVEN’T I FIGURED OUT WHO BUFFALO MAN IS YET? I am trying to avoid Googling any of this because spoilers like to hide where we least expect it on Google.
    The first Google hit is a character from an anime.

    The second is Jamiroquai.

    I feel comfortable in asserting that neither of these is correct.

  13. arctic_hare says:

    Wednesday’s real pleasant, isn’t he?

    Old gods: not really the nicest people you could ever meet. (Understatement.) Wednesday's a real creep. Doesn't surprise me, though, considering who he is. Also, maybe this is an unpopular opinion, but I fucking hate that Little Drummer Boy song. I don't know why. I just do. It grates on my last nerve.

    Hinzelmann is awesome and I wish to subscribe to his newsletter. Minute he said that a town isn't a town unless it has a bookstore, he won me over and I knew we were gonna be best friends. Because fuck yes books. <3

    Sam continues to be flawless, I want more of her. <3 <3 <3

    • barnswallowkate says:

      I fucking hate that Little Drummer Boy song

      YES ME TOO why does it exist??

      • knut_knut says:

        better than Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer

      • arctic_hare says:

        There are some Christmas songs I like. Most I'm indifferent to. And then there's the ones I just cannot stand. Little Drummer Boy is one of the ones that falls into that last category.

      • FlameRaven says:

        I enjoy some versions of the Little Drummer Boy. The one that makes me flip off the station every time is "Christmas Shoes," which unfortunately since I live in the Midwest is played several times an hour. Ugh.

        • quenstalof says:

          Ugh that song. I always forget about it until about halfway through the chorus. And my the time i realize it its too late and I get sad anyway.

          • affableevil says:

            I can't even get sad about that song because I feel it's so ridiculously melodramatic that I can't empathize. It's just trying too hard to pull at my heartstrings.

        • arctic_hare says:

          I've never heard that one, I don't think. I feel I should probably be glad.

        • monkeybutter says:

          I've thankfully never had to hear "Christmas Shoes," but I know of it. I feel bad for you.

        • barnswallowkate says:

          A radio station here makes their underlings sing it before they go on break every Christmas so now it's just hilarious to me.

      • Depending on the version, it can be really fun to sing (especially with a quarter of the choir going "Piddly pum piddly pum").

        So that's why pretty much. Choirs are inflicting it on you because it is a blast to sing.

    • episkey825 says:

      This just reminded me that Little Drummer Boy is Angela's favorite song on The Office and I had to laugh. I agree though. Worst Christmas song ever!

    • affableevil says:

      My least favorite Christmas song is still "Santa Baby". Ye gods do I hate that song. And it feels like anything in my area that plays music ever adores it.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Gaaaaaaaaaah. Yes. I also don't care much for "Let it Snow". It's not terrible, I guess, but it's been so overplayed for me that I want to run screaming whenever I hear it.

        • affableevil says:

          While we're at it, can we talk about how incredibly creepy "Baby It's Cold Outside" is? I've tried pointing it out to my family but they just laugh it off but it's seriously creeptastic YOU GUYS HE BADGERS HER INTO STAYING AND AT ONE POINT SHE ASKS "HEY WHAT'S IN THIS DRINK" AND I GET ALL SKEEVED OUT

          Edit: I just googled the lyrics out of morbid curiosity and it's even worse than I remember 🙁
          IRL if a guy ever acted that way around me I would be fleeing in terror no I don't care that there are no cabs I will sprint home

          • arctic_hare says:

            YOU ARE NOT ALONE THAT IS A HORRIBLE AND DEEPLY DISTURBING SONG

            Seriously. For years I'd only heard the title portion of the lyrics, and then I heard the whole thing and was all OMGWTFBBQ EW GTFO. 😡

            • affableevil says:

              At one point she even says "The answer is no" and he just steamrollers right over that. Not enough DNW in the world.

              • arctic_hare says:

                WORST CHRISTMAS SONG EVER.

                • affableevil says:

                  Aw man now I'm looking up "Santa Baby" to reacquaint myself with why I have problems with it and now I'm not sure which I dislike more ><

                  • arctic_hare says:

                    Argh. Yeah. I think I need to go listen to the ones I DO like after this. 😡

                    • affableevil says:

                      Frosty The Snowman usually cheers me up!

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      I've got this going right now and it always puts a huge grin on my face. 😀 Frosty is good too!

                    • affableevil says:

                      It's funny because I'm an atheist but I still love Christmas (which is just as well, because I'm pretty sure my grandmother would be hugely pissed off if she realized I don't believe and that's a conversation I'd rather avoid).

                      Bah, it was originally a pagan holiday anyways, and I find thinking up thoughtful gift ideas fun, so I just roll with it. Who says I have to believe Jesus is real to enjoy the season, right?

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      Are you me? xD Cause that describes me perfectly: athiest, my family doesn't know, still digs Christmas and Christmas music, like the pagan roots, etc. Plus I love winter as a season, so that helps!

                    • affableevil says:

                      Haha well my parents know. They subscribe to a more vague, nebulous Christianity, and none of us have been inside a church in years, excepting funerals and maybe a wedding. But they believe and we celebrate the major holidays. All three of their spawn ended up staunchly atheist though 😀

                      Lol I accidentally outed my sister about a month ago. I was driving somewhere with my mother and casually referenced my sister's atheism, because it's been a good five years at least that I've known, and I was sure my mom already knew. Luckily my parents are understanding so there was just some mild disappointment and then they accepted it.

                      Fuck yeah loving Christmas even if you kind of totally forget about any of the religious bits!
                      <img src="http://i51.tinypic.com/1tlvkm.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

                      PS the food at my family's yearly Christmas gathering is always AMAZING. Every year I have a love affair with the potatoes.

        • notemily says:

          I have a Christmas mix playlist called "Songs I'm Not Sick Of Yet," and if I get sick of a song, I take it off and put something else on. It's the only way I can tolerate Christmas music.

  14. kristinc says:

    "ohg vf Funqbj npgvat n cneg va n ybat pba gung ur unf ab vqrn ur vf vaibyirq va?"

    Gung jbhyq pheeragyl or gur cneg xabja nf "cvtrba".

  15. Ahhhhh, Wednesday mentions the Spanish Prisoner. Which is a fantastic movie everyone should see, if only for Steve Martin's best dramatic work ever.

    That poor waitress. The whole time I was reading that section, my skin was crawling off my body, and I wanted to stab a fork through Wednesday's creepy rape-runing hand, Guinan-style. Fuck off, sir.

  16. NopeJustMe says:

    Um. So. Hinzelmann. Am I the only one who read that bit and went "Did…did Shadow just meet Santa Claus?"

  17. ChronicReader91 says:

    Wednesday is pissing me off big-time with his attitude towards women and creepy-ass seduction techniques. That’s actuaaly a good thing, or I would have a hard time buying him as a god. He’s several thousand years old, the product of a very patriarchal society, and as we’ve seen, has a knack for deceiving people. It wouldn’t make sense for him *not* to be a lecherous creep.

    On a happier note, I could fill up an entire post with nothing but quotes from Hinzelman and Sam.

    "Do you guys just see things and pick names? 'Oh, you be Mister Sidewalk, he's Mister Carpet, say hello to Mister Airplane'?"

    "… I'm going to say 'Buh-bye now' and close the door and I figure you two are going to go and get into Mister Car and drive away."

    <3

    • arctic_hare says:

      Yeah, as much as Wednesday seriously skeeves me out, I wouldn't want him any other way. I'd call serious bullshit on an Odin that was a paragon of virtue or some shit. Just wouldn't be right, cause the one I read about was an asshole and, as you say, product of a patriarchal society.

  18. SorrowsSolace says:

    I'm doing a chapter-by day read for the first time here. American Gods is my favourite book and it's really a nice change of pace to read a chapter a day and catch things I miss and recall questions that I still have about parts of the book.

    Sam's a wonderful character, she's both older then her years and right at the proper age (I forget how old she's supposed to be)

    Hinzelmann is great here, he's welcoming, proud of the small town he lives in and one of those people that seems to know every little thing about where he lives. Canada has some similarities to the US, the small towns with the random little slogans, the blink and you'll miss it place and some of the shifts in geography. I still have very vivid details of the trip I made to B.C (going through the US) though and that was probably over 12 years ago now.

  19. Julezyme says:

    AND IT WORKS. Like every time. Does he possess powers of seduction or something??

    Yep. Remember him tracing runes in the spilled salt?

  20. Pyrrhic says:

    The world being shat out by a raven has nothing to do with Odin. It was discussed earlier in the novel. Odin killed his father Ymir and crafted the world from his remains. His blood is the ocean, his bones the mountains, et cetera.

    • Robin says:

      It's a Chuckchi story, but I wouldn't be surprised if it comes up among other northern groups.

  21. @ladylately says:

    Those are all Native American creation myths, they've got nothing to do with foreign gods.

  22. episkey825 says:

    The really dangerous people believe that they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.

    Loved this!

    I will also second everyone's love of Hinzelmann's "a town isn't a town without a bookstore".

    I'm not going to lie. I was kind of under the impression that Wednesday needed to have sex with that girl to stay alive??

    I don't really know what is going on. You don't understand how bad i want to un-rot13 all of your comments.

  23. pennylane27 says:

    I totally understand. rot13 is ruining my life and self-control.

  24. Marie the Bookwyrm says:

    What was with the runes Wednesday was drawing in the salt? Does this help him pick up women? I know and understand nothing!

    In an earlier chapter Wednesday said something about owing his success with women to charm. Shadow said not everybody had charm, and Wednesday replied that charms can be learned. So, yeah, I think he was using magic to get the girl into bed..

  25. notemily says:

    Yay, we're finally at Lakeside! Lakeside might be my favorite part of this book. I don't know why. Something about a small town in Northern Wisconsin speaks to my heart. And the cold, the bitter cold. I need to get the hell out of Wisconsin one of these days, before I freeze to death.

    Christmas is so sad when you're out in the cold.

    I love Sam making fun of the dudes' names. Mister Thumbscrew and Mister Pentothal! Classic.

    Wednesday hitting on young girls is super creepy. I got the impression he was doing some mojo on her, especially when he pulled out the salt and started making "rune-like shapes" in it.

  26. Derek says:

    ++AND IT WORKS. Like every time. Does he possess powers of seduction or something???++

    Yes. They're called Charms. As you may recall, Odin sacrificed himelf to himself in order to get the runes. In chapter three we are told the tale of how he learned "nine names, and nine runes, and twice-nine charms." His skill in seduction is aided by the charms he learned.

  27. kmkat says:

    One thing I picked up in the scene where Wednesday flirts with the waitress is that he put salt on the back of her hand. I thought this was rather like putting salt on a bird's tail to catch it. Something similar happened when Wednesday seduced Shadow's mother; there is a reference to salt on her hand, "…maybe they had been drinking margaritas…"

    'Tis a small thing, but mine own.

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