American Gods Season 1 Book Spoilers Discussion

DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
edited May 2 in Other TV
Not sure if anyone is interested in a book spoilers thread for this show, but I thought I'd create one just in case. 

Thoughts so far about the book in general or the adaptation so far?
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Comments

  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    I haven't started watching but I just read the original version of the book, not knowing there was a longer Gaiman approved version. I thought a lot of the original version I read was Shadown character development and meandering, there was a lot that you could cut IMO if you were just plot focused. On the other hand, I thought a lot of the gods like Czernobog and Mr. Nancy and Loki and the new gods got short shrift, so I'm interested to see if they focus any more on them.
    Elisa
  • I'm so happy that they kept the "Coming to America" segments. I hope every episode has one. 

    I'm also amazed at how faithful this episode was to the books. I'm happy for the accuracy, but I think they'll definitely have to cut a few things from the book to keep the series moving. For example, I think a ton of the Lakeside stuff will have to be cut.
    Elisa
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    I thought a bunch of the Lakeside, hitchhiker girl and wife stuff could have been tightened up in general, personally.
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    edited May 3

    I haven't started watching but I just read the original version of the book, not knowing there was a longer Gaiman approved version. I thought a lot of the original version I read was Shadown character development and meandering, there was a lot that you could cut IMO if you were just plot focused. On the other hand, I thought a lot of the gods like Czernobog and Mr. Nancy and Loki and the new gods got short shrift, so I'm interested to see if they focus any more on them.

    I'm not sure exactly what was added in the "preferred text" version as that's the only one I've read. All I know is that he add 12,000 words or so and doesn't really change the plot much. It's more coming into scenes earlier or leaving later. Apparently there are things that make more sense with the longer version and add some clarity, but I'm not sure what those are. There is also an additional chapter added in an appendix in which Shadow meets Jesus, while he's hanging from Yggdrasil. He wanted, but said he didn't think it quite fit. So he calls it the apocryphal chapter. 

    So, while it seems he added back in some color that had originally been excised in the first version, it doesn't seem like it's all that different of an experience.

    At the end of my kindle version of the book there is an audio interview in which Gaiman says that he wants to do a sequel in which Shadow returns to America after spending some time in the U.K. (Two novellas are set in the U.K.): "Monarch of the Glen" and "Black Dog"). He said that he would definitely be spending more time with the New Gods. He also said Shadow would be going to Chicago and there were some of the old Gods that were minor characters in the first book, that will be more of a focus in the second one. 

    Since he hasn't written the sequel yet, I wonder if he is going to contribute some of those ideas to the show once they've burned through the book.
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    edited May 4

    I'm so happy that they kept the "Coming to America" segments. I hope every episode has one. 


    I'm also amazed at how faithful this episode was to the books. I'm happy for the accuracy, but I think they'll definitely have to cut a few things from the book to keep the series moving. For example, I think a ton of the Lakeside stuff will have to be cut.
    Yeah I'd love more "Coming to America" sequences as well. I also hope they keep some of the vignettes like the one with the jinn an the taxi driver in New York. 

    I'm also wondering, with them planning multiple seasons if the Lakeside mystery would be a season-long side-plot/arc or something in Season 2. 

    It's weird, how many different things are contained in the book, that wouldn't seemingly go together. You've got the road trip, the Lakeside stuff, the vignettes, the history, the giant battle at the end, zombie Laura. I understand that some of it get short shrift, but I just dug the whole thing. I liked the meandering nature of it all, because I enjoyed the world so much. And I guess America is a hodgepodge, so it makes sense that the book is hodgepodge too. I know Neil Gaiman himself said that he wrote the book as a way of trying to figure America out and figure out what he thought of America after having lived there for a while.
    Elisa
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    As to the adaptation, it's been a few years, so I'm hazy on the details, but was there this much foreshadowing of Shadow eventually having to hang from Yggdrasil so early on in the book, like they are doing in the show? I just don't remember? 

    I was also surprised that they included the Bilquis scene in the first episode. I'd have thought they would wait a few episodes to hook people before springing that on them. I'm really glad they kept it though and I was curious to see how they'd do it. Not quite as epic as it was in the book, but it seems like an impossible scene to do justice to it.
  • elgat0elgat0 Clearwater
    One adaptation issue that stood out to me, dealt with Mad Sweeney and the gold coins.  In both, Mad Sweeney is pulling random gold coins out of the air.  But, IIRC in the book, he made a special show of producing Laura's coin.  If they did it in the episode, I missed it.  I did see the cuts to a particular gold coin on the table during Shadow's & Sweeney's fight.

    I'm curious why they did that, since it seems it would only have taken less than 15 seconds to do it justice.

    The only other difference that I noticed was Shadow's introduction to Technical Boy.  That I understood, even before watching the interview with the show runners where they discuss it.
  • elgat0elgat0 Clearwater
    One other thought, for those with no prior knowledge of the material, I can't imagine how this episode would hit you.
    Elisa
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    Yeah I see what you mean about the gold coin. I kind of missed it on first watch two. When I watched it again though I was paying more attention and they do pause on it briefly when he pulls it out of thin air and they and cut to it a few times during the fight, but maybe not enough to be super noticeable. I think the audience will get the overall point, though.

    And yeah it's hard to see it with fresh eyes. I have no idea what I would think if I hadn't read the book. My wife hasn't read it and she enjoyed the pilot quite a bit. Afterward she said she couldn't imagine how someone could've written that and kind of marveled at the creativity of it all. And that's just after one episode.
    Elisa
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited May 5
    I don't think there was this much Shadow hanging foreshadowing this early on in the book. I also don't think hanging ever had anything at all to do with Technical Boy. 

    Also, I don't remember Audrey coming on to Shadow at all in the book,  The rejection actually helps with the hate between them later, I think....


    As for Bilquis- if Inhadnt read the book, wouldn't this have seemed oddly random and bizarre? The Djinn taxi driver story might have made more sense, because it actually explains everything that's going on with gods and America self contained in the story. But then, that takes more time which they probably didn't have to spare.
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    edited May 8
    We go from finding out who Mr. Nancy is in dribs and drabs to HEEEEELLLLOOOO Mr Plot Exposition Anansi on the TV Show.
  • edited May 8
    They have been killing it with how they've adapted the introduction of the gods. Media showing up on a TV display in a store and Technology using a VR headset were definitely superior to how things went down in the books.

    Also, that Anansi intro was badass. I felt that his introduction and backstory were lacking in the books, especially since he was such a big character.
    DaveyMac
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    I wonder if they're going to make Bilquis into an ensemble player now, maybe instead of Easter?
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    Easter's definitely in it. Here's the poster:
    image

    Actually they've got a cool poster for several characters: http://nerdist.com/american-gods-character-posters-mr-nancy-easter-czrnobog-mr-wednesday/
    voodoorat
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    I am wondering what they are planning on doing with Bilquis, though. If memory serves, she just ends up getting run over by Technical Boy in the book, right? It seems like with this much screen time early on that they are planning on doing something more with the character. 

    I'd also totally forgotten about Media being portrayed as Lucy. I almost didn't recognize Gillian Anderson. I agree, they are doing a great job introducing the new gods, and old alike with the "Coming to America" segments. 

    I'm really hoping we see more of the Jinn. 
  • MrXMrX CO
    Came to the thread to discuss Bilquis too ... I wonder if that because she is such a memorable character from the books, but doesn't really get involved with any other characters and just kindof unceremoniously is killed, that they want to give her more to do. I could be down with that.

    DaveyMac said:

    I'm really hoping we see more of the Jinn. 
    I think we get a whole lot more of the Jinn next week ... 
    DaveyMac
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    I'm not sure why they didn't go with the Djinn story already. Right now, if you don't google the origin of Wednesday or Wotan you're still not sure who Shadow is working for. The Djinn story in the book, however, really explains the whole show concept very organically between the taxi passenger and the Djinn.
    woild anyone who hasn't read the book understand anything about what's going on with Bilquis and humans?
    DaveyMac
  • DaveyMacDaveyMac Tokyo
    edited May 13
    Yeah I see your point about the Jinn. I think they've done well establish how the Gods got here, but yeah it's maybe not so clear that their ability to thrive depends on people's faith. 

    Easter is another way they can show that. I think she even has a line in the book about how well she's doing compared to most of the other old gods.

    I posted it in another thread, but I saw on Twitter that Neil Gaimon said it's going to take them five seasons (8 episodes each?) to get through the book. So I'm guessing we'll find out a lot more about the gods that got short shrift in the book and probably Laura and other human characters as well. 

    I'm also thinking that the murder mystery on the lake will get a season-long arc. I'm wondering if the plan is to have the build-up to the final epic battle play out over the course of five seasons, but then each season will also have it's own arc as well. Gaiman also said that we won't quite get to the House on the Rock this season. That's coming in Season 2. 

    I just hope we don't have a Hobbit situation going here. We are still in early days, so I'm not going to jump to conclusions. I'll just be cautiously optimistic. I'm enjoying the show overall so far, and hope that they just get better at it as they go. It's gotta be incredibly hard to adapt and find the right rhythm and way to tell the story in show-form.
    Elisa
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    5 seasons! Guess we're going to get all of Lakeside and then some.
    DaveyMacElisa
  • NuckinFutz25 Upstate NY
    So far I think they are doing a pretty good job on keeping book cannon.  I'm not sure how I completely feel about it yet, but I remember feeling the same way when I started the book.   I agree with a previous poster, I like that they are keeping the coming to America sections.  I enjoyed those quick stories.  I'm very hopeful that this show.
    darwinfeeshyDaveyMacElisa
    Time is money, money is power, power is pizza and pizza is knowledge  
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    Am I wrong, or was the Djinn encounter less positive in the book?  I thought the salesman felt sort of trapped when it became clear he had been placed in cab driver purgatory with the identity switch, not as upbeat as it seemed on the show.
  • Am I wrong, or was the Djinn encounter less positive in the book?  I thought the salesman felt sort of trapped when it became clear he had been placed in cab driver purgatory with the identity switch, not as upbeat as it seemed on the show.

    I think it was still positive in the books. Salim was extremely stressed and dissatisfied with his life as it was, so any path toward a new life would probably be seen as a good thing.
  • MrXMrX CO

    Am I wrong, or was the Djinn encounter less positive in the book?  I thought the salesman felt sort of trapped when it became clear he had been placed in cab driver purgatory with the identity switch, not as upbeat as it seemed on the show.

    I think it was still positive in the books. Salim was extremely stressed and dissatisfied with his life as it was, so any path toward a new life would probably be seen as a good thing.
    Yea that's the vibe that I got from the book, that he could now disappear into the city and not have to be beholden to his brother in-law anymore.

    In the show, it's looking like the Djinn will be more involved in the plot, as we saw Wednesday recruiting him (assume the NYC plot took place sometime before that) ... I'm down for that!

    Also if they're going to flesh out a lot of the side characters (let's see the multiple Jesus's (Jesui?)!) etc'. I'm also ok with them stretching it out over 3-5 seasons, as I think Gaiman has a lot of backstory developed and is consulting closely with the showrunners.
    ElisaDoctor_NickvoodooratDaveyMac
  • Yeah I don't remember all the details of the scene in the book, but I don't remember it really having a positive or a negative vibe to it. It seemed kind of just matter of fact to me the way it ended. Either way it was one of my favorite vignettes in the book. I'm not sure where in the timeline it is. In the book it didn't matter, but yeah with them fleshing out the character more in the show, I don't know. 

    I'm realizing now, watching the show just how hazy I've gotten with the details of the story. I'm definitely planning on re-reading the book in the off-season. 

    I, too, would love to see multiple Jesuses (yeah what is the plural?). The one cut chapter that featured him in the book was really good. 
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    I liked that they gave Shadow some agency with meeting and dealing with Laura initially, but they seriously just remixed Ibis and Jackal. I assume they're still going to have Shadow work for them, and I guess it works because they're still Odin's crew and they're seriously foreshadowing his heavy involvement all the way through.
  • Yeah, I'm guess that Shadow will still work for them. Maybe they're just moving intersections around.

    It was funny today hearing A.Ron and Cecily talking about the show and wondering whether Loki would show up or not, not knowing that he's already appeared and even had some dialog. 
  • elgat0elgat0 Clearwater
    @DaveyMac Unfortunately, someone on the Facebook post for the podcast told them about Loki
    darwinfeeshy
  • Ah that's a bummer. People just can't help themselves can they.
    darwinfeeshy
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    That's why I have trouble with listening to podcasts about shows like Mr. Robot and Westworld; not sure I would have "solved" on my own and spoilers suck.
    DaveyMac
  • Yeah, one of the issues I had with book was naming the character "Lowkey Lyesmith". It was a little too on the nose.
    DaveyMac
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