I dedicate this death... to Odin!
~ Loki's battle-cry

Loki is the main antagonist in Neil Gaiman's American Gods novel. Loki can masquerade as human, and has befriended the protagonist Shadow.


When convict Shadow was arrested for theft, heist and brutality, he found himself in the same cell as another convict, calling himself Low Key Lyesmith. Shadow thought nothing special of him, and Low Key would help Shadow through challenging times in prison. Eventually, Shadow's wife died in a car crash and Shadow was released ahead of schedule. Shadow ended up meeting the Norse god Odin under the guise of Mr. Wednesday, who introduced himself later as Odin, and several other gods (Norse, African, Hindu and Slavic) from around the world. Low Key was, of course, Loki, the Norse god of chaos, death and destruction.

Upon release

Sometime after Shadow, Loki was also released from jail and set up a huge business, controlling all the New Gods and sending them to attack Shadow and the Old Gods. Shadow's deceased wife had been reanimated thanks to Odin's magical coin and she was restless. She managed to save Shadow from three New Gods who interrogated Shadow on a train, but the New Gods kept coming.


Eventually, Odin left Shadow's company and began trying to recruit Old Gods to an all-out war between both sides, after trying (and failing) to do so in Shadow's company. Odin was somewhat successful on his own and he visited Loki's headquarters in California. Loki was now calling himself "Mr World" and was in charge of a successful business, employing several other New Gods, in the guise of federal agents. Loki reasoned with Odin that there would be no further bloodshed, and Odin said as America was large enough, there should be room enough for all the gods, old and new, but immediately Loki betrayed Odin by blasting half his head off with a sniper concealed in the office. Loki broadcasted this event live to all the Old Gods, to show them how powerful the New Gods were, and to make them lose will, but unlooked-for by him, this event just stirred the Old Gods into real rage.

Confronting the Old Gods

Loki and several New Gods met the Old Gods in a hotel, at the alleged "center of America" where every confrontation was mutual and no bloodshed would happen. Odin's wake was going to be held in the hotel and it was here that Shadow recognized Low Key Lyesmith, and, upon mentally playing the phoenetics of the name, realized that Low Key was, in fact, Loki, the Norse god of destruction. Shadow, although surprised, reflected this naturally; knowing enough about gods by now. Loki boasted to Shadow that he was on the winning side, and before long would kiil all the Old Gods.

Loki went to his "mission control" at Lookout Mountain in Tennessee, and began to prepare for the upcoming battle. All the Old and New Gods arrived and the first clash began, but one of the disatisfied New Gods, a technical god, came to Loki and said they ought to be using better firepower. Loki told the technical god they would not use their greater strength, and both sides would be equal. But the technical god was still annoyed, so Loki explained a sacrifice which he would use in the battle, a sacrifice to Odin, and the technical god didn't know what Loki meant, so Loki demonstrated by killing him. Odin's ghost appeared in the darkness and said "Good start."

Shadow's wife arrived in Lookout Mountain, having seduced and killed one of the New Gods who she had hitched with, and met Loki instead. She had an ash branch which Shadow had sacrificed himself on by hanging, yet now he was resurrected and flying to Lookout Mountain on a thunderbird. Loki began insulting Shadow and all the Old Gods, and Shadow's wife grew infuriated when Loki insulted Shadow, so she began punching holes in him with her knife. Shadow arrived in the mountain just as his wife had gone, and found Loki, dying on the floor. Loki explained that he intended to resurrect Odin with the gods' war, and together Loki and Odin would consume all the destruction the gods caused with their deaths. Loki finally died after telling Shadow where his wife went. Loki had managed to wound Shadow's wife mortally before he died, and she soon died (again) afterwards with Shadow beside her.