Season 2, Episode 7
Treasure of the Sun
In Cairo, Mr. Wednesday entrusts Shadow with the Gungnir spear. Mad Sweeney recalls his journey through the ages as he awaits his promised battle. Once again, he warns Shadow about Wednesday. Meanwhile, Laura receives sage advice from Mama-ji.
Tropes That Appear In This Episode:
- Ambiguously Related: It is implied that One-Eyed Balor may have been a Pagan Irish incarnation of Odin Allfather, technically making Sweeney Mr. Wednesday's grandson. The nature of whether or not Sweeney was originally the pagan god Lugh is all up in the air, thus the "ambiguous" part.
- Defiant to the End: Mortally wounded, Sweeney seals away Gungnir in his hoard, where Wednesday can't get to it, and dies flipping him off.
- Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the novel, Mad Sweeney dies broke and alone, having frozen to death under a bridge with cheap whiskey in his grip. Here, his death is much more dignified, dying at the end of Gungnir after breaking off their deal before banishing it to the hoard.
- Dirty Coward: When Sweeney (then known as Shuibhne) killed one of the Bishop's priests after denouncing their influence, the Bishop cursed Sweeney with madness before ensuring that he dies the same way the priest did. Because of this, Sweeney was sure that he would die in the upcoming battle and fled, leaving his troops to die, his people to be conquered, his wife and daughter impoverished and he himself a half-mad hermit living in the woods.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Before he succumbs to his wounds, Sweeney sends Gungnir to the hoard where nobody else can get to it as a final bit of revenge against Wednesday.
- God of Good: If Ibis is to be believed, Sweeney was originally Lugh, Irish God of the Sun, Luck, Art and "everything valuable to civilization" before Catholicism and cultural osmosis turned him into a cowardly pagan king and eventually into a Leprechaun.
- Hijacked by Jesus:
- Bilquis gives a sermon in the guise of a Christian woman to a crowd of mourners, using her seductive voice and a selection of bible quotes to seduce the entire audience. It is implied that she has changed herself as a means of avoiding being involved with the war by downgrading herself from a Goddess to a Saint.
- Buile Shuibhne was the only one who did not trust the Grey Monks, seeing the doctrine they bring and the churches they build as bad as any foreign invaders. This is understandable sub-textually, considering Catholicism turned him from a battle-hardy God of Good to a Dirty Coward pagan king driven to madness, all the way down to a lowly leprechaun drinking himself to death along the roads of the United States.
- History Repeats: With one of his origins being a Sun God that fights a one-eyed tyrant, Sweeney's eventual falling out with Wednesday was inevitable.
- Impoverished Patrician: After Sweeney's loss of the war of invaders, Sweeney was left a half-mad hermit in the woods while his wife and daughter are in nothing but rags.
- Internal Reveal: Sweeney tells Shadow that he was both responsible for Laura's death on Wednesday's orders and that he had sex with her back in New Orleans.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Due to a mix of being as old as he is and his legend becoming fragmented over time, Mad Sweeney has only vague memories of who he was before he came to America, unable to properly accept any identity he manages to resurface. It is never really clarified which version of him was the true one (as the human king Shuibhne or the sun god Lugh), but the nature of gods and belief pretty much make all of them equally true.Mr. Ibis: Stories are truer than the truth.
- In one recollection, he is one The Fair Folk who is told by a Seer a prophecy of his death one night and is shortly thereafter killed by a saint or a swineherd.
- In another, he is an Irish king who kills a priest and is cursed as a result.
- In the last, he is Lugh, who kills Balor in battle, who may or may not have actually been a local incarnation of Odin.
- Mythology Gag: At the start of the episode, Sweeney is passed out drunk under a bridge, similar to how he dies in the book. Here, though, he's woken from his stupor by Shadow and dies later in a different way.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Shadow's reaction when he kills Sweeney.
- Our Banshees Are Louder: When shambling up to Ibis and Jaquel's funeral home, Sweeney hallucinates two of the mourners there as banshees as a sign of death. The rest of the episode, Sweeney hears their wails from far away and sees the mourners skulking about the funeral home, Sweeney fully aware that they are there for him.
- Rich Boredom: Sweeney did not start working for Wednesday for money (having access to an entire hoard of gold) but because he was just a drifter devoid of meaning, Wednesday promising him an honorable death in battle.
- Rules Lawyer: Using the rules of The Fair Folk, Sweeney manages to void his debt to Wednesday when Wednesday helps himself to the mourners' food (whom Sweeney believes to be banshees) because those who eat the food of the fey (which Sweeney is) are indebted to them.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: In his first backstory, a witch Sweeney has sex with tells him that he will "be undone and abandoned west of the sunrise" and his fate will be sealed by a "dead woman's bauble". He is brought to America by a woman that eventually grew old and died, losing both his grandeur and his identity due to prolonged exposure to a country of people with only superficial knowledge of him. His lucky coin would be used to resurrect Laura (becoming her "bauble") and his quest to get it back eventually led up to his demise at the end of Wednesday's spear.
- One of Sweeney's backstories involves Sweeney being cursed by a Bishop that he will meet his end at the end of a spear. By the end of the episode, Sweeney tries to take Gungnir from Shadow to kill Wednesday with it, only for Shadow to use it on him.
- One-Eyed Balor of the Fomorians was given a prophecy that one of his grandchildren would kill him and thus had all of his grandchildren drowned. One survived and gathered an army that fought back the Fomorians and eventually beheads Balor. That one grandchild would eventually become Sweeney.
- Shout-Out: When Sweeney walks in on Wednesday's toast and notes the lack of chairs, he remarks that he feels like "the 13th Fairy."
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Balor wears ribcages as pauldrons.
- World Tree: The sprout that Iktomi gave the Jinn for Wednesday has since grown into a tree deliberately meant to represent Yggdrasil, Wednesday using one of its branches to repair his spear.