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American Gods Chapter Five: A Bank Job, House on the Rock 
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Post American Gods Chapter Five: A Bank Job, House on the Rock
Synopsis: After leaving the Norns, and offering some choice insults to the Statue of Liberty, Wednesday uses his secret grifting skills to steal money from a bank (warning, don't try this at home, we're what you call professionals). He then drives with Shadow to the House on the Rock, a roadside attraction in Wisconsin. Wednesday calls it "a place of power ... some focussing point, some channel, some window to the Immanent," and claims it was built by Frank Lloyd Wrong. With Czernobog in a room called the Mikado, they watch musical machines, then meet Mr Nancy, an elderly black man dapper in a bright check suit and canary yellow gloves. They ride on the carousel.

Note: The House on the Rock is real: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_on_the_Rock



Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:06 am
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Hey...what is the significance of the quote the Wednesday gives about places of power? In other words, what does it mean?
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In other coutnries, over the years, people recognized the places of power. Sometimes it would be a natural formation, sometimes it would be a place that was just, somehow, special. They knew that something important was happening there, that there was some focusing point, some channel, some window to the Immanent.



Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:30 am
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Post Places of power
Places of power for me would be the Grand Canyon, the Redwood Forest, and Niagra Falls. All in the US. These places create a great sense of awe for me, also a sense of my "smallness" in the world. I don't know if man made places such as Disney World or hugh mega K Marts would every be able to give me the same sensations.

Strip malls and car dealorships, and even establishments selling technical items may be more "powerful" for Americans, than the natural beauty that is all around us. I wonder if his book would be different if he had written it in today's economy.

A lot of land is eaten up by these establishments, nature is not being respected. It reminds me of that song, one of the lines, "they dug up the trees and put them in a tree museum". It is sad to think that this line might actually become reality, it's scary too.



Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:59 pm
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Post Re: Places of power
Suzanne wrote:
A lot of land is eaten up by these establishments, nature is not being respected. It reminds me of that song, one of the lines, "they dug up the trees and put them in a tree museum". It is sad to think that this line might actually become reality, it's scary too.


That's "Big Yellow Taxi" by Counting Crows.

I agree that places of power are a personal choice. In Wedneday's "place of power", the House on the Rocks, there is the scence where they enter the carousel room, and eventually break the rule and jump on to the carousel itself. I think that the animal that each of the three men sits on shows something about the god that they represent.

Wednesday sits on a golden wolf. In doing some quick research, the only connection that I found to Odin (who could be represented by Wednesday) is that he was supposedly was slain by a wolf.

Czernobog sits on a centaur with its face hidden by a metal helmet.

Nancy sat on an elephant in mid-roar.

So what's the significance of these animals in relation to the characters? I don't know yet, because I'm still here in Ch.5!



Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:13 pm
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I really love how very masculine this book is.

I love the part where Wednesday had to report a threat that the villian made in the limo and then ended it with the confession that he was not really listening which is a very funny male response.

I love the casualness of the bank robbery as it was a thing to do list that they had to check off for today. It was sheer brillance how they got the money by pretending to be a security guard and conning the police officers. I wish I can come up with stuff like that.



Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:47 pm
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Post Re: Places of power
xtremeskiier114 wrote:
Suzanne wrote:
A lot of land is eaten up by these establishments, nature is not being respected. It reminds me of that song, one of the lines, "they dug up the trees and put them in a tree museum". It is sad to think that this line might actually become reality, it's scary too.
That's "Big Yellow Taxi" by Counting Crows.
Big Yellow Taxi was originally by Joni Mitchell, whose song Woodstock raises similar themes of worry about commercial culture.
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I agree that places of power are a personal choice.
I don't agree that places of power are a personal choice. Gaiman implies they are a real focus of natural energy. Later in the book he gives the example of the central point of the USA, the spot where a cardboard map of the 48 states would balance flat on its centre of gravity. (That Australian spelling looks out of context here!) The actual spot is implied to be a place of power, but the promoters shift it, and lose business - indicating that the trade for roadside attractions involves a subconscious knowledge about some telluric energy of the earth that we tap into. This discussion reminds me strongly of Carlos Castaneda's claim that Yacqui Indians could identify such spots using nothing more than spiritual sensitivity. Whether such channeling has any scientific basis is of course unknown. The explanation of places of power given by Wednesday is very similar to the explanation of the nagual Juan Matus, whose character could be a type for Odin.
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In Wedneday's "place of power", the House on the Rocks, there is the scene where they enter the carousel room, and eventually break the rule and jump on to the carousel itself. I think that the animal that each of the three men sits on shows something about the god that they represent. Wednesday sits on a golden wolf. In doing some quick research, the only connection that I found to Odin (who could be represented by Wednesday) is that he was supposedly slain by a wolf. Czernobog sits on a centaur with its face hidden by a metal helmet. Nancy sat on an elephant in mid-roar. So what's the significance of these animals in relation to the characters? I don't know yet, because I'm still here in Ch.5!
Mr Nancy is the African Spider God Anansi, so his elephant is appropriate to Africa. Caernobog's centaur reminds me of the mongol horde. Odin and Fenrir the wolf of epic Ragnarok battle fame are discussed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenrir. The wolf is central to Teutonic and Norse mythology. http://hafapea.com/norsepages/norse2.html says Odin has two wolf companions, Freki and Geri, both translated 'Greedy'. The carousel itself is compared to a Tibetan Prayer Wheel.

Is it just me, or does Ragnarok make you think of Mars Attacks?



Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:50 am
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Post Ragnarok
Modern influence
Ragnarök has been the subject of a number of artistic depictions and references in modern culture. Some of these depictions include "Ragnarok" (frieze, 1825) by Hermann Ernst Freund, and "Beginn der Götterdämmerung" (charcoal drawing, 1881) by K. Ehrenberg. The event has inspired the creation of two operas: Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung (1876) and David Bedford's opera Ragnarok (1983).

Ragnarök has had influence in modern music, including inspiring the name of the Norwegian band Ragnarok (1994), album titles by the American band GWAR's "Ragnarok" (1995), the Faroese band Týr's conceptual album Ragnarok (2006), Swedish band Amon Amarth's Twilight of the Thunder God (2007), and the namesake of the annual (since 2004) German Ragnarök Festival.

In comics and manga, the name of the event is employed in the South Korean manhwa Ragnarok (1995–ongoing)—inspiring the subsequent MMORPG Ragnarok Online (2001)—and Japanese manga Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok (1999–2004) plus a subsequent anime of the same name (2003).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragnarok



Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:22 am
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