Tag Archives: pilgrims

“American Gods” by Neil Gaiman: Issue 04

I recently had a discussion with my wife regarding the founding of the United States. We came to the conclusion that, although many Americans like to think the country was founded upon the principles of freedom, it was actually commerce and enslavement that were the driving forces that led to the founding of America. With that still fresh in my mind, I came upon an interesting passage while reading this installment of Gaiman’s “American Gods” series.

The important thing to remember about American history is that it is fictional. It is a fine fiction that America was founded by pilgrims seeking the freedom to believe as they wished. In truth, the American colonies were as much as dumping ground as an escape. In the days when you could be hanged in London for the theft of twelve pennies, the Americas became a symbol of clemency, of a second chance. Transportation, it was called: for five years, for ten years, for life. You were sold to a captain and shipped to the colonies to be sold into indentured servitude–but at least you were free to make the most of your new world.

Another part of this comic really interested me was the three sisters. Gaiman based his three characters on the Slavic myth of the two sisters who watched the stars for a sign that the universe was about to end.

In Slavic mythology, the Zorja (alternately, Zora, Zarja, Zory, Zore = “dawn”; Zorza in Polish, Zara-Zaranica (Belarusian: Зара-Зараніца), Zvezda, Zwezda, Danica = “star”) are the two guardian goddesses, known as the Auroras. They guard and watch over the winged doomsday hound, Simargl, who is chained to the star Polaris in the constellation Ursa Minor, the “little bear”. If the chain ever breaks, the hound will devour the constellation and the universe will end. The Zorja represent the Morning Star and the Evening Star.

The Zorja serve the sun god Dažbog, who in some myths is described as their father. Zorja Utrennjaja, the Morning Star, opens the gates to his palace every morning for the sun-chariot’s departure. At dusk, Zorja Vechernjaja—the Evening Star—closes the palace gates once more after his return.

(Source: Wikipedia)

In Gaiman’s retelling of the myth, he adds a third sister. It seems that Gaiman did this to also tie in the mythologies of the triple goddess, the three fates (Moirai), and possibly the three witches from Macbeth.

You wanted to know what I was looking at. The Big Dipper. Odin’s Wain, they call it. The Great Bear. Where we come from, we believe that it is a thing, not a god, but a bad thing, chained up in those stars. If it escapes, it will eat the whole of everything. And there are three sisters who must watch the sky, all the day, all the night. If he escapes, the thing in the stars, the world is over.

So far, I really love this series. Even though the artwork is a little weak, the quality of the writing makes up for it, and then some. I think I will have to reread the original text of American Gods at some point when this graphic series is finished.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Literature

The X-Files Season 10 Comic: Issue #13

XFiles_10-13

This issue continues where Issue #12 left off and concludes the three-part miniseries: Pilgrims. In typical X-files fashion, it answers some questions, but sparks many more. There is also an ominous twist at the end, which I will omit so as not to spoil the story for anyone.

At the end of Issue #12, Scully is abducted from Saudi Arabia. This issue begins with her turning up in Arlington with Alex Krychek. Neither of them have any recollection of what happened nor how they ended up back in the United States. Mulder, alone in Saudi Arabia, has a strange encounter with a woman truck driver who picks him up while stranded on a desert road. The plot and the conspiracies get deeper and deeper, and the web becomes more tangled. Trust no one.

There is a great section in this installment where Scully is writing up notes on her computer and thinking about the recent events. She is confused, frightened, and wanting answers. I loved this because it reflects how I feel as a reader. The truths in the story are intentionally hidden, causing the reader, like Scully, to yearn for understanding and answers, regardless of how terrifying those answers may be.

Now… I am still unclear. I have questions. I lack answers. And I seek the truth in all things, no matter how elusive… or how much it frightens me to my very core.

This comic series is just as addictive as the television series was. I know that there is no way for me to stop reading this, even if I wanted to. I’ll just have to continue along and see where the story leads.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized