In chapter 11 of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, Mr. Wednesday gets very upset that Shadow gave away his location to everyone when he's supposed to be hiding in Lakeside.

“What do you think is the fucking point of stashing you in a hiding place like Lakeside, if you're going to raise such a ruckus that not even a dead man could miss it?”

“I dreamed of thunderbirds …” said Shadow. “And a tower. Skulls …” It seemed to him very important to recount his dream.

“I know what you were dreaming. Everybody damn well knows what you were dreaming. Christ almighty. What's the point in hiding you, if you're going to start to fucking advertise?”

This is apparently confirmed in chapter 12.

[…] “Tell me your dream,” said Whiskey Jack.

Shadow said, “I was climbing a tower of skulls. There were huge birds flying around it. They had lightning in their wings. They were attacking me. The tower fell.”

“Everybody dreams,“ said Wednesday. “Can we hit the road?”

“Not everybody dreams of the Wakinyau, the thunderbird,” said Whiskey Jack. “We felt the echoes of it here.”

“I told you,” said Wednesday. “Jesus.”

All this seems strange, because dreams are normally private to the person dreaming it.

Was Mr. Wednesday right, or was he exaggerating? How did everyone suddenly find out about Shadow's dream and his location? What did Shadow do that raised everyone's attention?

  • 2
    "dreams are normally private to the person dreaming it." And gold coins normally can't be produced out of thin air.
    – JAB
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


Shadow basically made a lot of noise.

Wednesday is exaggerating the situation, because Shadow clearly isn't discovered. No one comes to drag him out of Lakeside; Shadow is forced out later. Whiskey Jack has to be told what happened, although he seems to have a good guess already, in the section you quoted.

That said, there has to be something particular about that dream for that reaction. Shadow can affect reality, summoning snow for the bank job proves that, so creating a ruckus gods can sense isn't out of line, but his other dreams dont prompt Wednesday's ire. The intensity of his need for a way to revive Laura probably fed into it, and that his dream connected to an actual legend that could do so probably tipped the scales.

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