Looking Back at the Importance of the Jinn and Salim in American Gods

It’s Pride Month and among examples that I can pick from, I wanted to highlight a very important relationship in STARZ’s American Gods. Neil Gaiman released the novel now live-adaptation series in 2001 and in the current show, plenty of side characters have been developed more. Two of those characters are Salim and the Jinn. In season one, we see their meeting that pretty much stays loyal to the book. Salim is new to America and trying to edge his way into success, but city life is not kind to him. After an unsuccessful attempt at gaining business for his brother-in-law, he decides to take a cab back to his hotel. Which, is where he meets the Jinn.

Background

The Jinn is an Ifrit, a powerful mythological creature in Islamic lore, and his eyes are burning flames. Salim knows the stories well and when he meets the Jinn, the two share a connection and a night of passion. While the Jinn leaves Salim with a chance of a more independent and freeing life, Salim decides to follow his heart. He spends the first season in search of the Jinn and while the two reunite in the second season, it’s not a blissful reunion.

The two have hardships and conflicting ideas as far as faith is concerned, but during the events of the second season finale, Salim expresses his love. A love that it seems the Jinn reciprocates and they share a kiss before they drive off in the final episode.

American Gods is an amazingly diverse series and their representation of a healthy, wholesome same-sex relationship is something that you only see in glimpses. Even today. When Salim and the Jinn meet, it is an instant attraction, and their lovemaking is a powerful scene. In fact, their sex scene was shot twice, as those behind the show wanted to accurately portray a man on man intimate moment.

What We Do For Love

Salim believes in love, which is why he treks across the country for his man. We see that while the Jinn doesn’t think it’s a good idea that Salim sought him out, he does not send Salim away. He takes Salim with him, though; he does warn the man against it. After all, the Jinn is a supernatural being who is essentially immortal while Salim is very much a human being. Still, even after disagreements about faith, it does not split them up. The Jinn does not push Salim away, he simply hands him a helmet and invites him to get back on that motorcycle and follow him.

It is incredibly important to have this sort of representation in a series on a large network as STARZ. And it is probably one of the most wholesome, unproblematic relationships in the show. Salim provides the Jinn with faith he needs and the Jinn shows Salim a life that Salim would probably never think he would ever see.

Season two has ended and we saw Jinn and Salim ride off together. I feel that the two have a better understanding of each other and it will be interesting to see where their relationship takes them in season three. I certainly hope that this is not the last time we see this amazing couple. Mousa Kraish (Jinn) and Omid Abtahi (Salim) have been friends off-screen for many years and their chemistry is palpable. They certainly provide one of the best same-sex couples on screen and have brought life to characters and a relationship that was barely touched upon in the novel.