For any Mad Sweeney fans, the events of episode seven of American Gods’ second season left many screaming at their television screens, as they had to watch their favorite character get impaled by Gungnir by what looked like an accident on Shadow’s part. Before this end, the episode masterfully dissected Sweeney’s memories to make sense of the confusion he’s felt his whole life in regards to his past. Through his own remembering and help of others, we not only got to see his past as Buile Shuibhne, a king driven mad, and further back as Lugh, a god-king of the sun and good fortune.
While Mad Sweeney died very early on in Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name, his development in the series had fans hopeful the show would go in a different route. You can argue that they did, considering he died making a stand against Mr. Wednesday and not freezing in the snow after drinking himself to death. Still, we wonder if this death is final, considering how beloved the character is to the fans. During a recent interview with io9, Pablo Schreiber spoke about Sweeney’s sacrifice, his death, and more.
io9: “The sacrifice Sweeney makes in this week’s episode really sneaks up on you because it doesn’t feel as if either his or Laura’s stories are properly finished. In that moment where Sweeney dies, you get the sense that he’s really accomplished something, but it isn’t clear just what. What, ultimately, has Sweeney always wanted?”
Schreiber: “He’s said it a few times over the course of the series, but it’s worth really mulling over. Sweeney wants to die in a battle, but what is that? What is it that he needs out of that kind of death? He wants to feel brave. The fact that he ran away from what could have been his greatest moment in defending his people in battle. But he ran away. He was a coward. He wants redemption. If you look at what he does just before he sacrifices himself, it’s a warning to Shadow. I think that’s really important.”
The actor then went on to comment about how his death was on his terms, decided after Laura and he had split up after the events in New Orleans, where Baron Samedi gave her the potion to reclaim her life.
Schreiber: “Part of going on his own terms is righting the wrong that he did by contributing to Wednesday’s poison for as long as he did. By his last act being sending Wednesday’s spear into his horde. We spent almost an entire season trying to find this spear for Wednesday, it’s meant to be this great weapon of destruction that begins his war. But in one fell swoop, Sweeney erases it, and it’s really his last act of aggression against Wednesday, a man he hates.”
As much as it was heart-wrenching watching Sweeney land on that spear, after Shadow did some strange summersault move; it was satisfying to watch Sweeney’s finale “eff you” to Wednesday was making the spear Wednesday relied so heavily on disappear. This will surely be a disadvantage for ol “one-eye” in the war, which was exactly Sweeney’s intention.
You can read my recap/review here and please let me know what you thought of “Treasure of the Sun”. The final episode of season two premieres next Sunday and is called “Moon Shadow”, something Sweeney called Shadow frequently in episode seven.
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