American Gods Wiki
American Gods Wiki

"Low Key?" Shadow stared at his old cell-mate warily.
Prison friendships are good things: they get you through bad places and through dark times. But a prison friendship ends at the prison gates, and a prison friend who reappears in your life is at best a mixed blessing.
"Jesus. Low Key Lyesmith," said Shadow, and then he heard what he was saying and he understood. "Loki," he said. "Loki Lie-Smith."

Shadow to Low Key, Chapter Fourteen

Low Key Lyesmith is Loki, the Norse trickster god and one of the Old Gods. He is Shadow's old prison mate.

Significance in narrative[]

Chapter One[]

Low Key Lyesmith is first mentioned as Shadow's prison cellmate, a "grifter from Minnesota," and the one responsible for leaving Shadow a copy of Herodotus.

Chapter Fourteen[]

Shadow once again encounters Low Key at the Center of America where he tells Shadow that he acts as the New Gods' driver. This is when Shadow has the realization that Low Key is Loki.

Chapter Eighteen[]

Loki reveals himself to be both a leader of the New Gods (as Mr. World) as well as being in league with his own Old Gods. The war between the gods is part of an elaborate two-man con run by him and Mr. Wednesday. He is killed by Laura.

Physical appearance[]

Low Key Lyesmith is first introduced in prison with Shadow and is described as having a "scarred smile" and "orange-blonde hair pretty much shaved."

Loki's lips are permanently scarred. This originated in a myth where Loki bet his head against the dwarf Brokkr, and lost; when the dwarf tried to behead him, Loki craftily reminded him that the bet had specified his head only, and that Brokkr had no right to any part of his neck. Enraged, Brokkr got his revenge by sewing Loki's mouth shut.

In popular literature Loki is often portrayed as a redhead. Because his name is close cognate to the Norse word for "flame" (logi), scholars have theorized that Loki was meant to be a fire-god.


Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

Graphic novel

Notes and trivia[]

  • Loki was an honorary member of the Æsir, the Norse pantheon. He was actually a jötunn who impressed Odin to the point where the two swore blood-brotherhood, whereupon Loki joined the other gods in Asgard.
    • He eventually orchestrates the death of Odin's son Baldr, the Norse god of light, out of sheer jealousy. In doing so Loki breaks faith with the Æsir and earns their wrath.
  • Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab created an oil perfume based on the character of Low Key Lyesmith. It is described as: Black clove and cassia flung onto glowing cinders and mingled with slow-dripping poisons.
  • The Annotated Edition of American Gods reveals that Neil Gaiman intended in his first drafts to have Low-Key appear much earlier in the novel. In his first vision for the story, Neil Gaiman wanted Loki to work for both sides of the war, not simply for the new gods, and he planned to have Loki appear during Shadow's interrogation by the Spooks, warning him that they were going to "ruin him".