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Mr. Wednesday

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Mr. Wednesday: "What's today?"
Shadow: "Wednesday."
Mr. Wednesday: "Today's
my day."

American Gods Trailer

Mr. Wednesday is the leader of the Old Gods in their war against the New Gods. In America, he works as a con artist. He meets Shadow on an airplane after Shadow's release from prison and hires him on as a bodyguard.

Background Edit

Mr. Wednesday is responsible for recruiting gods to help fight his war. He hires Shadow to help him as well as be a bodyguard. He is often unsuccessful in recruiting gods who claim to be happy in the amount of worship they are currently getting. It is Mr. Wednesday's relationship with Shadow that is responsible for the bulk of the events in the narrative.

Significance in series Edit

The Bone Orchard

While Shadow is waiting for his flight at the airport, a man walks up to the counter, requesting a first class ticket. He seems confused and senile, causing the Airline Attendant to hurry him to first class anyway. Shadow boards the flight and discovers his seat is already taken by someone with the same seat assignment. The only seat left available is in first class, next to the old man who is now coherent and clear-headed, having scammed his way to a first class ticket. He greets Shadow with a Jack and Coke.

They strike up a conversation and the man knows that Shadow had just gotten out of prison. He introduces himself as Mr. Wednesday and asks what was Shadow's downfall. Shadow reveals to him it was small-time casinos and does a coin trick for him. Wednesday tells him he uses people's faith to con them. He passes Shadow a first class toiletries bag and offers Shadow a job. Shadow declines because Robbie is holding a job for him at his gym.

Shadow has arrived at Jack's Crocodile Bar and heads to the bathroom where Mr. Wednesday appears from a bathroom stall. He is still offering him a job and he passes Shadow a newspaper with an article on the car crash. He tells Shadow that Robbie had also died in the accident that killed Laura.

Shadow admits to Wednesday that he is broke and jobless but he'll only work for Wednesday based on the flip of a coin. Wednesday calls Heads and Shadow is surprised to discover it is Heads when he rigged the toss. Wednesday goes to the bar for drinks and Mad Sweeney approaches Shadow to warn him about Wednesday.

Wednesday returns with three shots of mead for Shadow to drink. Shadow takes the first shot and Wednesday tells him the mead seals their bargain. Shadow will be his driver and bodyguard and will hold his vigil upon Wednesday's death. Shadow agrees to $2000 a week on the condition that he won't hurt anyone for fun or profit and that he will quit if Wednesday pisses him off. Shadow drinks the second shot to seal the deal and the third shot as the "charm." Wednesday spits on his hand and they shake.

Sweeney starts pulling real gold coins out from everywhere and Shadow asks how he does the trick. Sweeney tells him it's the easiest trick in the world to just pluck them out of the air. Shadow asks again and Sweeney challenges him to a fight for the answer. Shadow declines, yet Sweeney keeps egging him on. He starts to insult Laura and Shadow punches him in the face. While Wednesday watches, they begin brawling, tearing up Jack's bar and fighting until Shadow blacks out.

Shadow wakes up in the back of Mr. Wednesday's car on their way to Eagle Point. He finds Mad Sweeney's gold coin and Wednesday says Sweeney taught him the coin trick. He cleans up in a gas station bathroom before dropping Wednesday off at a motel and taking Betty, Wednesday's car, to the church for Laura's funeral.

The Secret of Spoons

Shadow returns to the motel and pounds on Wednesday's door, disrupting him with a young, blonde woman. He tells Wednesday how Technical Boy hijacked him and tried to kill him. Wednesday offers him occupational hazard pay and doubles his salary. Wednesday promises that he is angry about Technical Boy and has a plan.

The next day, Wednesday arrives at Laura's house after Shadow has finished packing up all their belongings. He asks Shadow if he'll miss Eagle Point. Shadow says no because it was Laura's town. Wednesday tells Shadow that he only gets to be upset for so long because Laura was cheating on him.

They take off in Wednesday's car, Betty, and start driving. Wednesday informs Shadow they won't ever take the highway and will take back roads to recruit various people to attend a meeting in one of the most sacred places in America. Their first stop is Chicago to get Wednesday's hammer.

They stop at a diner where Wednesday is meeting someone. He gives Shadow a list and sends him shopping. After Shadow is finished shopping, he returns to the diner, passing by the man Wednesday was meeting with. Shadow tells Wednesday that Lucy was talking to him from the TV and he thinks he's going insane. Wednesday gives Shadow the choice of either fighting the strangeness or accepting it; either the world is crazy or Shadow is. Shadow asks if this is part of them "reprogramming reality" and Wednesday says that going mad is not the biggest sacrifice to make.

They start driving again and Wednesday discovers a cell phone in the bag of stuff Shadow bought. He tosses Shadow's cell phone and the one Shadow bought for him out the car window, saying, "no cell phones." He tells Shadow his secret to attracting the young blonde women is with "charm." He taps his fingers along the dashboard and the radio turns on.

Shadow and Wednesday arrive at an apartment in Chicago. Zorya Vechernyaya tells Wednesday that Czernobog, who is currently in a field killing a cow with a bolt pistol, will not be happy to see them. She brings them into the apartment and Wednesday presents her with the vodka, romance novels, and binoculars that Shadow picked up from the store. Zorya Vechernyaya downs the entire bottle of vodka before calling for Zorya Utrennyaya to come to the kitchen. She explains that their other sister, Zorya Polunochnaya, is asleep. Wednesday passes Zorya Utrennyaya the books and sets the binoculars down in front of Zorya Polunochnaya's door.

Zorya Utrennyaya makes coffee for Wednesday and Shadow and Zorya Vechernyaya offers to read Shadow's fortune. Shadow heads for the bathroom just as Czernobog returns home. He is not pleased to see Wednesday and throws a lamp at him. Wednesday offers him the cigarettes and herb Havarti but Czernobog still wants him to leave. Zorya Vechernyaya tells Czernobog she already invited them to dinner.

From the living room, Czernobog becomes upset with Wednesday and raising his voice. Zorya Utrennyaya hurries in to shush him so he doesn't wake up Zorya Polunochnaya. Wednesday is trying to get Czernobog to come to the meeting because everyone else will be there and will think Czernobog is weak if he doesn't show. Czernobog tells Wednesday he wants his brother, Bielebog, not him.

They sit down to a terrible dinner of tough meat and soft potatoes, which Wednesday enthusiastically enjoys. Czernobog asks Shadow if he is Black. Where he is from, everyone is the same color so everyone fights over shades. Bielebog has light hair where Czernobog has black hair so everyone thought Bielebog was the good one and it turned Czernobog into the bad one. They are both gray now so there is no longer a way to tell who is light and who is dark.

Czernobog shares how they first arrived in New York and it wasn't so bad but then they came to Chicago and it's not so great. He had to get a job in the slaughterhouse and became a "knocker" on the killing floor. Zorya Vechernyaya opposes him telling cow killing stories at dinner but he continues anyway. He explains how it takes strength and skill to artfully kill a cow properly with a sledgehammer. If not done properly, the cow becomes angry and angry meat tastes bad. He complains about the ease of the bolt gun that makes it so anyone can kill cows now. He asks Shadow if he plays checkers and invites him to a checkers game after dinner and Shadow agrees.

After dinner, Czernobog sets up the checkers board, playing black and they begin their game. Czernobog asks if Shadow wants to see his killing hammer and retrieves it from over the mantle. He explains how blood feeds the hammer, giving it shine, with sunrise blood being the best. Now, his hammer is red with rust but Shadow sees blood pouring off it from the 10,000 kills Czernobog made. They continue playing checkers and Czernobog offers to make a wager. If he loses, then he will go with Shadow and Wednesday to meet with the others. If he wins, then he gets to hit Shadow in the middle of the forehead with his hammer.

Wednesday tells Shadow it's his decision if he wants to make the wager. Shadow considers all the crazy things he has seen in the last few days and what is real and what is not. He agrees to Czernobog's wager and they keep playing checkers. Czernobog starts singing an old song about bitter coffee and a spoon that makes it sweet as he gets more and more of Shadow's pieces off the board. Shadow loses the game and Czernobog declares that at sunrise, Shadow will willingly go down on his knees for him to knock his brains out.

Head Full of Snow

Mr. Wednesday enters Zorya Vechernyaya's bedroom where she is getting ready for bed. He comments on how she has learned to live with less but she is deserving of better. He pours his coffee grounds onto his saucer and asks her to read his fortune. She tells him that whatever he is trying to do, he will lose. They go outside for a walk in the night and Zorya Vechernyaya warns Wednesday that what he is doing will kill him this time. He gives her a kiss to remind her of when they were young. Zorya Vechernyaya pulls away just as it starts raining and asks him angrily what he has done. Wednesday responds with "war."

The next morning, Wednesday asks Shadow if he wants some coffee before they go rob a bank. Shadow and Mr. Wednesday arrive at the bank they're going to rob. Shadow is incredulous and doesn't want to enter but Wednesday drags him along, promising him he won't get in trouble. Shadow notices all the cameras in the building as Wednesday tries to avoid having his face captured. Wednesday grabs a pile of deposit slips and they leave the bank. They walk across the street and Wednesday has Shadow write down the number of a payphone. He brings Shadow a hot chocolate and tells him to "think snow" to concentrate his mind. They head to a photocopy shop as Shadow thinks about snow. While they wait for service, they chat about the many versions of Jesus. Wednesday tells Shadow to keep thinking snow while he makes business cards and posters. Shadow zones out again while thinking about snow before Wednesday startles him, telling him to stop because it's snowing enough now and they don't want to immobilize the city.

They sit down for some lunch as Shadow questions Wednesday about the snow, wanting to know how it happened when the weather was supposed to be clear. Mad Sweeney abruptly shows up, demanding his gold coin back from Shadow because he gave him the wrong coin. Shadow asks him how he did the coin trick before he'll tell him what he did with the coin. Sweeney once again claims that he plucked the coin out of thin air. Shadow says Sweeney can find the coin on Laura's grave back in Eagle Point. Sweeney leaves, telling Wednesday he'll see him in Wisconsin.

Shadow and Wednesday arrive at the bank with Wednesday dressed in a security uniform. He passes a business card to Shadow, reading "A1 Securities" with the name A. Haddock on the card. Wednesday will pretend to be Jimmy O'Gorman. He tells Shadow to do a bit of shopping at the grocery store and wait by the pay phone before he heads across the street to the bank. He places out of order signs on the ATM and night deposit slot and begins collecting night deposits and providing fake receipts to unsuspecting bank customers. The cops pull up and question Wednesday who hands them a business card. The pay phone rings and Shadow answers it as Andy Haddock, Jimmy O'Gorman's boss. They are calling to check up on Jimmy and Shadow reassures them he is supposed to be there, going so far as offering them a job with his security company. The police leave Wednesday to continue with his business.

Shadow is driving while Wednesday counts out the money from the bank scam, paying Shadow his salary. They continue driving back-roads out of Chicago as Wednesday presses Shadow about him pretending that he "cannot believe in impossible things." A wolf crosses the road in front of them, causing Shadow to slam on his breaks. Shadow asks Wednesday directly if he made it snow. Wednesday offers him the choice of either believing he did or acknowledging he is delusional. They go on to discuss Shadow's belief in love and Wednesday's fear of being forgotten.

Physical appearance Edit

  • He has a glass right eye.

Notes and trivia Edit

  • Mr. Wednesday is Odin, the All-Father and most prominent god of the Norse pantheon, the god of wisdom and war.
  • The weekday names in English are derived from Anglo-Saxon names for gods in Germanic mythology. Odin, or Woden, is the supreme deity after whom Wednesday is named. The other days of the week being Tyr, or Tiw for Tuesday, Thor or Thunor for Thursday, Frigg   for Friday, and Saturn the Roman god representing Saturday.

References Edit

"Do you know me, Shadow?" said Wednesday. He rode his wolf with his head high. His right eye glittered and flashed, his left eye was dull. He wore a cloak, with a deep, monk-like cowl, and his face stared out from the shadows. "I told you I would tell you my names. This is what they call me. I am called Glad-of-War, Grim, Raider, and Third. I am One-eyed. I am Called Highest, and True-Guesser. I am Grimnir, and I am the Hooded One. I am All-Father, and I am Gondlir Wand-bearer. I have as many names as there are winds, as many titles as there are ways to die. My ravens are Thought and Memory; my wolves are Freki and Geri; my horse is the gallows." Two ghostly--gray ravens, like transparent skins of birds, landed on Wednesday's shoulders, pushed their beaks into the side of Wednesday's head as if tasting his mind, and flapped out into the world once more.

Chapter Seven

Mr. Wednesday is the leader of the Old Gods in their war against the New Gods. He is Odin, the All-Father and most prominent god of the Norse pantheon, god of wisdom. In America, he works as a con artist. He meets Shadow on an airplane after Shadow's release from prison and hires him on as a bodyguard.

Background Edit

Mr. Wednesday is responsible for recruiting gods to help fight his war. He hires Shadow to help him as well as be a bodyguard. The gods he recruits include Mr. Nancy, Czernobog, Easter, and Mama-ji. He is often unsuccessful in recruiting gods who claim to be happy in the amount of worship they are currently getting. It is Mr. Wednesday who arranges for Shadow's home in Lakeside under the name Mike Ainsel, and his relationship with Shadow is responsible for the bulk of the events in the narrative. Toward the end of the book, it is revealed that the entire plot was a two-man con between Wednesday and Loki, with Shadow acting as a distraction. His son, Thor, is only briefly mentioned in the book as having killed himself in Philadelphia in 1932.

Significance in narrative Edit

Part One Edit

Shadow Moon is released from prison early to attend his wife's funeral. On his journey home, he encounters Mr. Wednesday who offers him a job. Shadow eventually agrees to be Mr. Wednesday's bodyguard after a night of drinking with him and Mad Sweeney.

Mr. Wednesday takes Shadow to Chicago where they meet Czernobog and the Zorya sisters. It is Shadow who entices Czernobog to join Mr. Wednesday's cause by betting on a game of checkers. He loses the first game, allowing Czernobog to smash Shadow's head in with a hammer but wins the second game, meaning Czernobog will have to wait until the war is over.

Shadow and Wednesday rob a bank before leaving Chicago and heading to the House on the Rock in Wisconsin where they meet up with Czernobog and Mr. Nancy. They meet Backstage with several other [[Old Gods], including the forgotten god, Alviss, and Mama-ji, as Wednesday tries to convince them to go to war against the New Gods. After Shadow is capture by the Spooks and escapes with Laura's help, Wednesday sends him to Ibis and Jacquel Funeral Parlor to lay low for a while.

Part Two Edit

Shadow and Mr. Wednesday leave Illinois and travel to Wisconsin. Wednesday sends Shadow to the town of Lakeside under the guise of Mike Ainsel. Mr. Wednesday frequently visits and takes Shadow on trips around the US to recruit more Old Gods for the coming war, including Easter, Whiskey Jack, and John Chapman.

Mr. Wednesday meets on his own with the leader of the New Gods, Mr. World, and is assassinated.

Part Three Edit

Shadow travels with Mr. Nancy and Czernobog to the Center of America to retrieve Mr. Wednesday's body from the New Gods. They take Wednesday's body to the World Tree in Virgina and Shadow climbs onto the tree to hold the nine-day vigil for Wednesday.

Mr. World kills Technical Boy and dedicates his death to Odin, starting the process to bring Mr. Wednesday back from the dead. Shadow discovers that he was in fact not a bodyguard, but a distraction so Wednesday and Low Key could pull off their two-man con: the war. This war would arrange for Odin and Loki to gain power and strength. Shadow arrives in Rock City to stop the war. He reveals to the gods it was all a con between Mr. Wednesday and Mr. World and the gods disband.

Part Four Edit

Shadow visits Iceland where he encounters the Old World version of Mr. Wednesday and returns his glass eye to him.

Physical appearance Edit

Mr. Wednesday is first introduced as a man with grayish-red hair and a stubbly beard that matched. He has mismatched eyes, one of which is glass. He is smaller than Shadow but seems to take up more room with a "craggy, square face with pale gray eyes."

Aliases Edit

  • Wednesday
  • Grimnir, Grimm, Gondlir Wand-Bearer
  • Odin, Bor's son
  • Cargo (by Spooks)
  • "Uncle" Emerson Borson (by Shadow in Lakeside)
  • James O'Gorman
  • All-Father, Oldfather, Olfather
  • Votan (by Czernobog)
  • Glad-of-War, Raider, Third, One-Eyed, Highest, True-Guesser, Hooded-One
  • Lord of Asgard, Lord of the Gallows, Lord of the Aes

Quotes Edit

  • "So you aren't American?" asked Shadow. "Nobody's American," said Wednesday. "Not originally. That's my point."
  • "There has never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. 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."
  • "Information and knowledge: two currencies that have never gone out of style."

Notes and trivia Edit

  • He is Odin, the All-Father and most prominent god of the Norse pantheon, god of wisdom.
  • He has two ravens, Thought and Memory, Huginn and Muninn
  • He had two wolves, Freki and Geri
  • Mad Sweeney calls Wednesday "tree-hanger," a reference to Odin's self-sacrifice on the World Tree, Yggdrasil, which lasted nine days and during which he learned the nine runes, nine secrets, and twice-nine charms. The charms are an important factor in the character of Mr. Wednesday.

References Edit

Note: The pictures are shown in episodic order. To see the order of the episodes, please visit the Episode guide.

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