The Mead Ritual

After Shadow meets Wednesday he is asked to drink three glasses of mead that Wednesday gives him. Afterwards, Wednesday declares that a pact has been sealed between them, binding Shadow to Wednesday’s service. This may be a reference to Odin’s quest for a “magical mead” which would make the drinker a scholar and a poet. The mead is made from the blood of the god Kvasir. Odin procures it over three days, in three draughts. These three draughts could be the same as those given to Shadow. While they do not make him a scholar or a poet, they do represent the pact made by Odin with Suttung, the possessor of the mead at the time. Odin promised to work for Suttung in return for the mead. By accepting the mead and drinking it, Shadow agreed to work for Odin.

This is also where Odin’s symbol, the Valknut, may have originated. It represents Odin’s three horns, or the drinking horns which stored the three draughts of mead.

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Odin and Yggdrasil

American Gods is centered around the god Wednesday or Odin who controls and organizes each event as it plays out and who most influences Shadow, the main character.  Odin is most associated with the World Tree or Yggdrasil, a tree that connects all of the worlds in the Universe including those belonging to the gods. One of Yggdrasil’s branches is Midgard or Middle Earth or the home of the human race.  It supplies the populations of both Niflheim and Valhalla.

Odin: God of the Gallows

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