We’re a few episodes into American Gods, the TV show, and it’s clear they will be diverging a little from the novel. But the dramatic appearance of Mr World in ‘Lemon Scented You’ made us wonder if they will also change the ending from the novel.
This post will be spoiler heavy, so don’t read below the spoiler ferret if you don’t want to know the ending of the book.
The big twist from the book was that Mr World was, in fact, the Low Key Lyesmith that guided Shadow through prison. “Low Key” as in Loki the shapeshifting Norse trickster god. The whole ‘war’ was engineered by Loki and Mr Wednesday in order to boost their power.
The questions I’m asking myself are: will they keep this ending? and should they keep this ending?
Reasons to think they will be keeping the ending of the novel
Loki is a shapeshifter. So, Mr World and the Low Key we met in the prison could well be one and the same. Jonathan Tucker is also too well known an actor to get one small part in the first episode.
Sticking to the original ending of the novel would explain why Mr World didn’t kill Wednesday and Shadow when he had the chance (as the Technical Boy suggested).
The original ending is also in keeping with the character of Mr Wednesday. He is always playing the long game and having him betray his son completes his character. Wednesday is the seductive liar you always hope will be on your side but, in the end, he is only ever out for himself. That the biggest con of all has been played on Shadow was the key twist to the novel, and losing it would rob Shadow of a big part of his arc.
The idea of a God inciting a massacre dedicated to themselves has also been foreshadowed by Mr Nancy when he got the slaves to sacrifice themselves to him when burning their ship.
Reasons to think they will change the ending
Jonathan Tucker is only credited as being in one episode on IMDB. This may be a meta level fake out, to preserve the shock for those who haven’t read the novel. But it does suggest that Shadow may not meet Loki again. This is important as, in the novel, Shadow meets Loki when he is posing as the New Gods’ driver at the ‘Center of America’. This served a narrative purpose because it reminded the reader of Loki (or Low Key’s) existence. Had this not happened, the reader would have been wrong-footed come the big reveal. That Tucker is not down as being in any other episode suggests that this meeting will not take place in season one at least. He could, of course, return in season two. But that would just bring up another question: why would he ever drop his disguise and appear as Low-Key Lyesmith when he could appear as Mr World? And, would just popping back into the story occasionally be enough for viewers to be aware of him?
It may also be that the original ending won’t work on TV. Simply put: if you are building up to a battle of the Gods you’d better deliver a genuine battle of the Gods.
Personally, I hope they do keep the ending as I think it is essential to the main character’s arc. But I’d love to know if others agree.
This is one of our weekly articles on American Gods.