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Zorya

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"Zorya Vechernyaya is doing shopping," she said. "She will be soon back."
"We met her downstairs," said Shadow. "She says she tells fortunes."
"Yes," said her sister. "In the twilight, that is the time for lies. I do not tell good lies, so I am a poor fortune-teller. And our sister, Zorya Polunochnaya, she can tell no lies at all."

Zorya Utrennyaya and Shadow, Chapter Four

The Zorya sisters are part of the Old Gods and come from Slavic mythology. They live in a brownstone in Chicago that they share with Czernobog. There are three sisters introduced in American Gods:

Significance in narrative Edit

Chapter Four Edit

Shadow and Wednesday arrive in Chicago and meet Zorya Vechernyaya, a Russian Slav, outside her brownstone. She tells Shadow about his name that "when the shadows are long, that is my time. And you are the long shadow." She is on her way to buy groceries and Mr. Wednesday gives her an additional $40 to help feed him and Shadow. Mr. Wednesday and Shadow proceed to the apartment where Czernobog answers the door. Zorya Utrennyaya sends them into the sitting room while she gets them coffee. Zorya Utrennyaya returns with their coffee and Shadow excuses himself to the bathroom. When he returns, Czernobog tells Shadow to play him a game of Checkers.

Zorya Utrennyaya and Zorya Vechernyaya serve up dinner and then tell Mr. Wednesday and Shadow they can stay in their home. Mr. Wednesday pays Zorya Vechernyaya $45 for them to spend the night. Shadow sleeps on the couch in the sitting room and has nightmares of explosions and dying. He wakes up to see the third sister, Zorya Polunochnaya, awake and standing at the window, star-gazing. She invites Shadow to join her on the roof and he follows her out to the fire escape and up to the roof. She tells Shadow that he was given protection once before but gave it away. She will give him protection again but it won't be as strong as before and tells him to take the moon out of the sky. He doesn't understand so she does it for him and seems to pluck the moon from the sky and gives to him a silver dollar, telling him to keep this one. The next morning, Shadow wakes up to realize there is no fire escape outside the window, yet in his pocket is the silver dollar.

Chapter Five Edit

Shadow and Mr. Wednesday leave Czernobog's brownstone, saying goodbye to Zorya Utrennyaya. Shadow starts to do coin tricks with the coin Zorya Polunochnaya gave to him and drops it. Wednesday picks it up and gives it back to him, telling him to not be so "careless with people's gifts."

Chapter Six Edit

When Shadow is locked up by the Spookshow, he dreams of his mother dying while trying to tell him something important. He briefly wakes before falling back asleep, clutching his Liberty dollar. He dreams of the coin, Zorya Polunochnaya, and the moon as he rides a silver beam up to the heavens and away from the pain.

Chapter Sixteen Edit

Zorya Polunochnaya greets Shadow as he enters the Underworld and asks for his true name and the silver coin she had given him.

Chapter Twenty Edit

Shadow arrives in Chicago and is greeted at the brownstone by Zorya Utrennyaya who promptly tries to get him to leave again, telling him that he doesn't want to see Czernobog. They're in the middle of spring cleaning and Shadow helps Zorya Vechernyaya turn a mattress in Bielebog's room. They keep trying to get him to leave but he sits and waits for Czernobog to come back.

Significance in mythology Edit

The Zorya sisters are based on two guardian goddesses of Slavic mythology. The two goddesses represent the Auroras, watching over the doomsday hound, Simargl. Zorja Utrennjaja is the Morning Star and associated with Venus while Zorja Vechernjaja is the Evening Star and associated with Mercury. A third sister is described in some versions of the myth, however, Zorya Polunochnaya was created specifically by Neil Gaiman for the novel.

Notes and trivia Edit

  • Zorya Polunochnaya gives Shadow a 1922 liberty-head silver dollar.

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