For me, the most interesting thing about watching American Gods as a TV show isn’t even the translation from one medium to another. As fascinating as it is to watch these scenes unfold onscreen, with real faces and real music cues and a tangible force behind them, it isn’t what gets me most.
What gets to me, fascinates me, makes me look at it in a brand new light is how intimate my relationship with American Gods as a book has been since I was 17 years old. Over a decade, this has been the book I come home to whenever I’m bored, or creatively stagnant, or just need to read SOMETHING. I have read and listened to this book so many times, I damn-near have it memorized. The characters are my friends. The plot twists still delight and upset me. On days when no words will come to me, I go back and listen to Gaiman’s introduction, and it always manages to push my own writing forward a few steps.
My relationship with American Gods has always been so deeply personal. It’s the book I’ve bought three or four times because I kept lending it to friends who would take it to the Peace Corps with them, or allow it to vanish into their collection forever. It’s the book I’ve consistently offered up when asked about fantasy, or drama, or gods, or cleverness. I knew it was popular and well-loved, but I always felt as though it was in some strange way mine. MY favorite book. MY literary rock.
Now, seeing gifsets and text posts and tweets about the show, it’s a brand new point of interaction. Suddenly, the walls are coming down. My memories of Shadow and Wednesday and all the rest are opening up to allow the cast, the soundtrack, the collective audience to get involved. For the first time, American Gods feels less like my beloved imaginary friend, and more like someone I can actually hang out with in public. It is a stunning new characterization for a comfortable old friend.
I am so glad they’ve finally managed to produce this show, not only because they appear to be doing it exactly as I had hoped, but because it allows me to meet the text all over again. It is the greatest gift this book could have given. Like the gods, it is new, and it is old, and it is still–after all these years–finding ways to evolve.
“The Red Queen is determined to destroy all life on earth. This is the last that remain of us, of the human race. It seems we’re bonded against a common foe. This is why we needed you back. The ultimate weapon. This is humanity’s last stand. The beginning of the end.”