I wrote a piece on why “Hammer of the Gods” is a trainwreck of an episode, but I wanted to re-visit it. I admit a lot of what I write might be the same or similar to what I wrote before, but aside from a few mis-typed words (due to my rage from the episode causing me to type faster than my brain could keep up) and some minor issues with said article, I wanted to come back to the article. As I said, some information will be a repeat from the older article I wrote.
I consider myself polytheistic pagan, though I grew up in a Christain household. I have taken one college class on southeast Asian religions, which covered Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Jainism. I find religious belief systems fascinating and will often read up on the lore and deities of different pantheons because they all have an interesting story to tell. I bring up this so readers are aware of my own background. In regards to me being polytheistic, the deities I worship are from the Greek/Roman pantheon and Hindu pantheon.
Supernatural is a long running show. It originally was released in 2005. With that in mind, there are some great episodes and horrible episodes. One of the horrible episodes (from just about all aspects, in front of and behind the camera) is the episode “Hammer of the Gods” (season 5 episode 19). In order to point out the numerous problems with this episode, I’m going to separate this into different sections.
This episode has quite a number of different pantheons. They are:
- Hindu: Ganesha, Kali
- Norse: Bladur, Odin
- Christanity: Lucifer, Gabriel
- Chinese: Zao Shen
- Greek/Roman: Hermes
This is according to the Wiki on the episode. I apologize if I left out any deities on this list. For the most part, the actors they chose to represent these deities are accurate to their geographical origins. Ganesha, however, was represented by what looked like an African actor. This does not make any sense, since Ganesha came from a pantheon that began somewhere in southeast Asia (no one knows exactly where Hinduism began because of how ancient it is). Even if the casting directors attempts to use “well, he’s an elephant, so African!” doesn’t make sense because we have the Asian Elephant (which has a different taxonomy classification than the African Elephant).
A concept brought up in this episode is that “the non-Christain pantheons are weaker because not nearly as many people follow or worship deities from the other pantheons”. Pay attention to the phrase “not nearly as many”. Let’s look at the exact statistics in regards to how many people across the globe worship these deities in different pantheons.
- Christanity: 2.1+ billion
- Hinduism: 900+ million
- Chinese: Current estimates run around 578 million
- Roman/Greek: Official numbers run from 2000 to 100000 (tough to get an official estimation)
- Norse: 1000+ (it’s tough to get an estimation for this because norse isn’t often offered on any kind of statistical/demographic sheet for “what religion you follow)
These estimates were taken from a variety of world religion websites. Some of these pantheons are different to get estimates on because they are rarely included on different surveys when given to people. While Christanity is clearly in the lead here, the other pantheons are by no means small amounts of people. The writers wrote this episode with a clear “Christanity TOPS ALL” type mentality, however they did not accurately at all gauge the strength of these other pantheons. When looking at the specific deities represented (Odin from Norse, Kali from Hindu I’m looking at specifically), it is painfully obvious the writers did the bare minimum Googling (five minutes, if that). Odin and Kali are both extremely powerful deities in their respected pantheons (Kali is often known as one of the strongest, if not the strongest warrior-related deity in Hinduism).
The Deities By Themselves.
I want to take a moment to look at the deities by themselves, since they all have their own rich history and lore behind them. If you are interested in learning more, please look them up on your own time. This list is only intended to be a brief summary of the deity.
- Ganesha (Hindu): LOVES his sweets, known to be very clever when it comes to different obstacles, tends to have a stream of good luck (minus when his daddy came back and accidentally cut his head off)
- Lucifer (Christanity): Kicked out of Heaven for rebelling against God, his job was “a nuturer of the sun” before God got mad at him and banished him
- Gabriel (Christanity): Actually NOT an archangel in any verses in the Bible, typically serves as a messanger of God
- Kali (Hindu): The goddess of time, paradoxes, and destruction (NOT death, common misconception), she is arguably one of the (if not THE) most powerful deity in the Hindu pantheon, having beat a suppodely “unbeatable” demon (and could only “calm down” from her blood lust with the help of her husband), some say she is the “dark half” of Durga, a warrior goddess in the Hindu pantheon
- Bladur (Norse): son of the god Odin and the goddess Frigg; god of light, joy, purity, and the summer sun; he is loved by numerous other deities in the pantheon and known to be very handsome; often seen as a strong fighter
- Zao Shen (Chinese): known as the “kitchen god” or “stove god”; known to protect the households of those who worship him
- Hermes (Roman/Greek): The messanger of the Greek/Roman gods; Hermes is known also to be the god of trade, wealth, luck, fertility, animal husbandry, sleep, language, thieves, and travel; He was known to be quite cunning, he also had numerous love affairs across many species (gods, humans, nymphs); often seen as the “trickster” of the Greek/Roman pantheon
- Odin (Norse): King of the norse pantheon; he is associated with wisdom, healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg; He’s a relentless seeker after and giver of wisdom, but he has little regard for communal values such as justice, fairness, or respect for law and convention; played a vital role in the creation of the world in the Norse mythology; extremely powerful warrior when it comes to wars
I am also giving this list so everyone has a “base” knowledge of these deities, so everyone (the reader and myself) are on the same page.
The way Lucifer is depicted with tearing these deities apart like they’re flimsy pieces of papers is hopeful at best and downright insulting at its worst. All of these deities likely (if accurately portrayed at all) would have gravely injured Lucifer (looking at Kali and Odin here), or at least come up with clever ways to elude him (I’m looking at Ganesha and Hermes for the elusiveness).
Since I am most knowledgable about Kali, herself (of all the ones listed here), I wanted to dedicate a specific section of this article to her.
Of all the holy literature I’ve read in regards to Kali (as well as viewing numerous artistic depictions of her) and different scholarly interpretations of her, never have I ever witnessed her shooting fireballs out of her hands like depicted in the episode. The way Kali looks utterly helpless near the end is also nowhere accurate to any personality of Kali (regardless of what era you’re looking at when she was written). If anything, Kali would have been the first one to take on Lucifer, screaming and utterly tearing him apart. Kali is known to be particularly ferocious fighter within her given pantheon, having beat a supposedly unbeatable demon. She was overcome with a “blood-rage” and the only way she snapped out of it was to send her husband (Shiva) to “shock” her out of the rage (by mistakenly stepping on his body and making her think she accidentally killed him in her blood rage is one version of the many re-tellings of this story). The Hindu deities realized they couldn’t contain Kali after summoning her and were desperate to stop her, knowing she could easily destroy the entire civilizations across the world.
The idea that these “primitive” (super cringe) cultures would all indulge in cannibalism is absolutely grotesque in of itself. When looking at India specifically, the UK populations came over and were horrified by India’s societal beliefs and structures (horrified at Kali’s nudity for example).
The forced conversion via missionaries is the reason why many different religious beliefs and spiritual beliefs numbers dramatically dropped. These missionaries essientially coerced the natives into believing what they believe (using the rheotric “believe what we believe or bad stuff will happen”).
There is no instance of any of these deities listed partaking in cannibalism (as far as I could personally find when doing research for this article). The “closest” related issue I could find was murder or using bones as decorative items and objects. When looking at Ganesha, specifically, he known as as the god of luck, sweets, wisdom, and the arts. Ganesha is also known to avoid obstacles and help remove obstacles in his devotee’s life. Hell, in Smite(video game), Ganesha can’t even get a “kill count”. The writers attempting to turn him into a cannibal is completely disrespectful to the numerous Ganesha worshippers out there.
There might be a few cool or interesting artistic choices the screenwriters and other “behind the scenes” people did for this episode, but it is overall an absolute trainwreck. It wreaks of elitism via Christanity and it is painfully obvious the writers did minimal, if any research about these deities from the other patheons.