Ambiguously Brown: It's not entirely clear what race he is, although his mother is implied to have been black.
When asked jokingly by a fan, Gaiman has agreed that Dwayne Johnson/The Rock, who has black and Samoan heritage, would be fitting to play him, stating they are both "underestimated".
Audience Surrogate: Much like the readership, he's unfamiliar with the bizarre world of gods the story is set in.
Beware the Nice Ones: Shadow's a nice guy, but he's also a very large man who knows how to handle himself. Even outside of his physical prowess, Shadow dismantles Wednesday and Loki's plans with a single awesome speech.
Unfazed Everyman: Subverted. He takes it rather calmly that there are tons of deities all all around him. But in a few private moments, he shows that he's almost going out of his mind with all the weirdness, and the drama of trying to get fiercely individualistic gods to work together. Makes sense since he is one himself, so he isn't a pure example of the trope.
The Watson: Given he's a regular mortal, characters often explain things to him (and subsequently the audience).
Grumpy Old Man: he's often grumpy or pretending to be cheerful and reveals himself to be deeply bitter about the fact that as a god who went out of style in a land that's bad for gods, he essentially has to live off scraps.
Pet the Dog: Not often, but he does occasionally get more sympathetic moments, such as when he seems to sincerely regret that he can't truly bring Laura back to life and that she had to die in the first place. He also tells Shadow, his son, that he's proud of him.
Technically a Smile: Shadow notes early on that his smile has a sinister motive just behind it, more bearing teeth than an actual display of emotion.
Thanatos Gambit: Dying was the motivation all the other Old Gods needed to band together against the new. He didn't mind because, once the battle was dedicated to him, he would get more power than he ever had before.
Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: quite clearly loves words, something that goes with his mythical connections as a scribe, and telling the stories of people - though how true they are is in doubt, with Mr. Ibis suggesting that he does it for the love of the story.
Angsty Surviving Twin: Czernobog is very sad and somber over the apparent "death" of his twin "brother"/split personality Bielebog. In the end of the book, Shadow observes Czernobog is happy for the first time in the entire book when he reveals Bielebog has returned.
Retired Monster: Czernobog occasionally references his heyday as a god. Those references tend to paint quite a dark picture, as he talks of things like massive human sacrifices and butchering enemies during armistice.
Vegetarian Vampire: Gets his powers from sacrificial murders, but after his followers dried up, he worked at a slaughterhouse rather than becoming a Serial Killer.
The Zoryas (Zorya Utrennyaya, Zorya Vechernyaya and Zorya Polunochnaya)
Canon Foreigner: Zorya Polunochnaya isn't actually from Slavic myth and was invented by Gaiman.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Shadow forgets everything about him - including his name - immediately after learning them.
Man of Wealth and Taste: An impression of wealth is all Shadow can remember of him. He wears a suit and drinks expensive whiskey with Wednesday. He also appears to be a god of wealth or similar, able to sense the exchanges of money going on around him.
The Nondescript: His only description is that he's dark-haired, clean-shaven, and his face is forgettable in every sense of the word.
Affably Evil: He's friendly to everyone, tells jokes all the time, and goes out of his way to help Shadow on multiple occasions, even saving Shadow's life when it would have been in his best interests not to. But at the same time, he literally murders children for a living.
Serial Killer: He's been sacrificing a child to himself every year.
Suicide by Cop: When finally confronted with his crimes, he provokes the police chief into shooting him.
Samantha Black Crow
Agent Mulder: Delivers an amazing and lengthy monologue to Shadow about all the things she believes in to get him to open up to her.
Badass Normal: Faces Mr. Town and Mr. Road, and not only does she refuse to tell them anything about Shadow, she makes fun of their names. She also hitchhikes with Shadow, who's kind of scary before you get to know him.
After drinking the water of time and a highly unpleasant process of getting rid of all the formaldehyde, maggots etc. inside her, she's back to her living self, though Loki notes that this is temporary.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Even when she was alive, Laura was not as nice as she seemed. But she really does love Shadow which keeps her on the sympathetic side of the trope.
Came Back Wrong: She's not truly alive, she's left disconnected from the real world, and her body keeps decomposing.
Dead All Along: Not that it's a revelation; the twist is that she comes back.
Lady Macbeth: Seems Shadow's involvement in the robbery that got him in prison was her idea.
The Lost Lenore: Shadow misses her throughout the novel, and her resurrection does little to help that.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Deconstructed. Because of that personality, she cheated on Shadow with her best friend's husband while he was in the clink. She also puts on the MPDG act to charm Mr. Town before gruesomely killing him.
Undeath Always Ends: She gets temporarily restored to life, then stabs herself through the chest, and finally Shadow takes back the coin that made her undead at her own request.
Your Cheating Heart: A classic. Was sleeping with Shadow's best friend while he was in prison, although she maintains they were going to end the affair when Shadow was released.
''The "New Gods" and Their Allies
The Technical Boy
Portrayed by: Bruce Langley
Adaptational Attractiveness: In the novel, he's consistently described as "fat" and acne-spattered, but he doesn't seem to be either of those things in the trailer. Conspicuously, again in contrast to the novel, he's wearing what appears to be a track suit.Justified, since the Internet of 2017 is very different from the Internet of 2001, as is the society's image of a tech-savvy person.
Big Bad: He's the central antagonist (from the perspective of the Old Gods) throughout most of the book.
Character Death: Killed by Loki as a demonstration of his plan to sacrifice the new and old gods, thereby resurrecting Odin's ghost.
Child Soldiers: Not "a soldier", but he looks about 15 and is in the middle of this brutal divine war, which is part of adds a bit of tragedy to him - He may be an asshole, but deep down, he's just a kid.
Disc One Final Boss: Out of the New Gods he's the one with most presence and menace (despite being a pathetic nerd). Then Mr. World kills him to make way for the true Big Bad: Wednesday.
Heel–Face Door-Slam: He's suggesting to Mr. World that they just go home and abandon this useless war when Mr. World kills him in Odin's name.
Heel Realization: After he murders Bilquis he realizes that his faction's motivations don't actually make any sense; unfortunately for him he brings this up to exactly the wrong person.
Hidden Depths: It's subtle but over the course of the novel it becomes clear for all his bravado, Technical Boy doesn't really want to kill anyone. His murder of Bilquis in fact ends up traumatizing him.
Jerkass: He's a rude, nasty little punk who likes to throw his weight around.
My God, What Have I Done?: Technical Boy doesn't quite get there, but the weight of his actions slowly start to bear on him as the story goes by. Mr. World kills him just as he seems to fully realize what he's done.
Otaku: Beneath the attempts at a threatening demeanor, the Technical Boy is little more than a pathetic nerd.
Peaceful in Death: Mr. World observes he smiles in bliss as he collapses dead. Though it should be noted, given how the worship of the Internet has only grown in the years after the novel, he's bound to come back.
Super Loser: He may be a god, but nobody gives him much respect, and the narrative tends to refer to him as "the fat kid."
These Hands Have Killed: It's implied that killing The Queen of Sheba damaged his consciousness. Shadow sees him crying and bashing his head against a wall at one point, and while he has no idea why, the readership knows the murder didn't take long ago.
Wicked Cultured: He's surprisingly well-read, dropping both pop culture references (like singing Madonna) and more obscure ones (like alluding to the Omertá)
Alas, Poor Villain: The end of Mr. Town is somewhat tragic. We get to see a portion from his POV where he seems to have finally found peace and a woman to love for the rest of his life, and just as he's about to live happily ever after. Said woman kills him.
Avenging the Villain: Mr. Town is not happy about his buddies getting killed, but leaves Shadow alone because Mr. World says so.
Flat-Earth Atheist: Mr. Town thinks all the gods are just mutants with mind control powers.