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"Where are we?" asked Shadow. "Am I on the tree? Am I dead? Am I here? I thought everything was finished. What's real?"
"Yes," said Whiskey Jack.
"'Yes'? What kind of answer is 'Yes'?"
"It's a good answer. True answer, too."

Shadow and Whiskey Jack, Chapter Eighteen

Whiskey Jack, also known as Iktomi, is one of the culture heroes of Native American mythology.

Significance Edit

"House on the Rock (episode)" Edit

At the House on the Rock, Wednesday asks Mr. Nancy if some of the old gods like Whiskey Jack have arrived. Nancy replies that they did not come.

"The Beguiling Man" Edit

Mama-ji enters the diner and tells the Jinn that Wednesday wants him to find Old Iktomi at the "Corn Palace" to get Wednesday's spear, Gungnir.

"Muninn" Edit

Jinn and Salim travel down the highway on Jinn's sidecar motorcycle. They arrive at a strip club named the "Porn Palace," however, the broken P in the sign makes it look like "Corn Palace." The Jinn explains how roadside attractions are all about making money. They enter the club as Jinn warns Salim about looking directly into Iktomi's eyes. He is a trickster spider and shape-shifter like Mr. Nancy. Gnaskinyan greets Jinn and tells him that Iktomi will grant Wednesday's request in return for a favor.

Iktomi opens up a small metal case and removes a seed. He deposits the seed in a glass of water and it quickly sprouts. Gnaskinyan leads Jinn and Salim to into another area of the club that has been converted into a growroom and is where Iktomi sit in a wheelchair. Salim avoids eye contact with Iktomi while the Jinn reminds Iktomi that his tricks do not work on him. Iktomi gestures to Gnaskinyan who retrieves a triangular guitar cases and passes it to Salim. Iktomi warns the Jinn that since Gungnir is an instrument of death, Thoth, the God of Death, might not allow it. Iktomi removes the seedling from the glass of water and places it in a cloth handkerchief before passing it to Jinn to also give to Wednesday. The Jinn and Salim leave the strip club and once again set off on their motorcycle.

Chapter Twelve Edit

Shadow first encounters Whiskey Jack when he and Wednesday escape Mr. Town by going Backstage. Whiskey Jack lives in a mobile home on Lakota land, where he goes by the name "Inktomi." John Chapman is also visiting and they eat dinner while they discuss the oncoming war between the Old Gods and the New Gods with both Chapman and Whiskey Jack refusing to join either side.

Whiskey Jack starts talking to Shadow about death and Shadow's dreams and Thunderbirds. Whiskey Jack brings up Laura's not-dead state and the Buffalo and offers to help when Shadow finds his "tribe." Whiskey Jack then offers to trade his nephew's '81 Buick for Wednesday's Winnebago they left Backstage. As Chapman leaves with Shadow and Wednesday, Whiskey Jack tells Wednesday to never come back.

Chapter Eighteen Edit

In the void of nothingness, Shadow hears a voice call to him. Whiskey Jack warns Shadow that they are coming for him. Shadow doesn't want to be bothered but accepts Whiskey Jack's offering of a beer. They are on Whiskey Jack's porch as he tells Shadow about Harry Bluejay's death from a diabetic coma while driving. Whiskey Jack explains to Shadow how America is no place for gods because the land is god here. Shadow tells him that the gods are planning on going to war with each other but Whiskey Jack says it will be a bloodbath instead. Shadow realizes the truth and that it is not a war between Old gods and New, but a two-man con. He takes his leave with Whiskey Jack reminding him that gods die when they are forgotten but neither he nor the land are going anywhere.

Chapter Twenty Edit

Shadow returns to Lakeside and finds himself trapped under the ice as he realizes the bodies of all the missing kids over the last hundred or so years are down at the bottom of the lake. He tries to find his way out from under the still frozen ice and is soon pulled free. He sees Whiskey Jack and the Buffalo Man walking away before he loses consciousness.

Physical appearance Edit

Whiskey Jack is a middle-aged man and described as having "dark skin, sharp eyes and a mouth like a knife-slash."

Notes and trivia Edit

  • Whiskey Jack is a trickster god/spirit in Native American stories and myths.
  • Asked about how Iktomi was played by a non-Native actor, Neil Gaiman expressed regret over this decision, assuring he felt "sorry" about it and talked with Chic Eglee so that such a thing would not happen again. [1]
  • As mentioned in "The Beguiling Man" and referred to in "Muninn," the Corn Palace is a real location in Mitchell, South Dakota, however, it is not the location the Jinn ends up going to meet Iktomi

References Edit

  1. https://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/184718442846/hey-neil-i-dont-know-how-much-input-you-have-on
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