'American Gods' Season 2 preview: What do the two coins given to Shadow Moon symbolize in the Starz series?
Of all the symbols that have been thrown at viewers in 'American Gods', two particular coins, one of silver and one of gold, stand out the most in the show
'American Gods' is a show that's deeply steeped in mysticism and symbolism, and it is easy while being enthralled by beautiful imagery to miss out on the little symbols that we take for granted throughout the show.
We see the protagonist Shadow Moon continuously flipping coins throughout the series as a kind of stress busting move, and even though we see him do it from the first episode itself, we never really give it a second glance, thinking "Hey, that's his thing."
Shadow Moon was in jail for three years of his life, and apart from keeping in shape, reading, and dreaming of the day he'll meet his wife again, he occupied himself with practicing coin tricks. After the fortunate/unfortunate death of Shadow's wife, Laura Moon, he meets the mysterious drifter Mr. Wednesday at an airport and reluctantly agrees to work as his bodyguard. What Shadow doesn't know however is that Wednesday is recruiting fellow Old Gods in a battle against the New Gods.
On their journey, Shadow and Wednesday meet Mad Sweeney, a leprechaun and an old acquaintance of Wednesday. The 6-foot leprechaun accidentally gives Shadow his lucky coin and says that it's a coin meant for the King of America, which could actually be who Shadow is in the series, rather than just an ordinary human.
The gold coin offers a form of protection to Shadow, who doesn't realize it at the time while visiting his wife's grave, and leaves the coin there instead of roses. The coin subsequently gets swallowed up by the dirt and brings Shadow's dead wife back to life, meaning that the "luck" from the lucky coin doesn't extend to Shadow alone. Laura now keeps the coin in her chest, much to the annoyance of Mad Sweeney, who only wants his coin back, as his luck is getting worse by the day.
Shadow receives his second coin from the virgin Goddess Zorya Polunochnaya, who literally plucks the moon from the sky in the form of a silver liberty-head coin. She tells Shadow that he had the sun but gave it away, and then she gives him the "moon" as a silver coin and tells him to keep it. The silver coin in some sense offers Shadow freedom from death, and as long as Shadow has the silver coin, he is protected from death by the New Gods.
Seperately, the coins possess their own symbolism and powers, but together, they represent the importance of balance and duality, gold and silver, life and death, the sun and the moon. Shadow doesn't require the protection of the sun anymore, as his zombie wife, Laura quite literally carries it in her body while acting as his doting bodyguard, but he still possesses the "moon" coin, so at the moment, Shadow is well protected.
More than the life-giving and protective powers of the coins themselves, the coins also represent Shadow’s affinity for both the Old Gods and the New Gods and establishes Shadow’s identity both as a reincarnation of an Old God and a completely New God in his own right. Hopefully, Shadow realizes what powers he possesses in the upcoming season of 'American Gods'.
'American Gods' will return for its second season on 10 March, only on Starz.