Don’t underestimate Bilquis. This sex goddess may be a minor character in Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods, but in the TV adaptation she will soon become absolutely “pivotal”, according to actress Yetide Badaki.
The season one finale of American Gods (spoiler alert!) tells the story of Bilquis, from her orgies as the glorious Queen of Sheba through to rough sleeping on an American sidewalk. But then Technical Boy arrives on the scene, offering a smartphone loaded up with dating apps and the promise of easy sex. The catch? She owes him a favour.
It’s clear the TV series is taking a very different direction from the novel, where (again, spoiler alert!) Bilquis appears only twice. On her second appearance Technical Boy kills her with his limo, leaving this ancient goddess as a bloody and forgotten smear on the highway.
So where is Bilquis’ new storyline taking her? Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Badaki hints: “She is someone that you’ll see pivotal in that war between the new and the old gods.”
But the actress adds: “However, like Ian McShane [Mr Wednesday] always likes to say, with this show nothing is as it seems.
“Just when you think you know the motivation of a certain character, or where you think they’re headed, that expectation is completely turned upside down.”
Intriguing. It also sounds like we’ll be seeing a lot more of Bilquis, who is seen in the final moments of season one taking a cross-country coach – presumably towards the House on the Rock, where Technical Boy has ordered her to take down his enemies.
“It was so delicious to be able to delve deeper into that character because there’s so many levels, so many layers, her being so ancient – there’s so much story,” Badaki says. “I think we’ve only scratched the surface of it actually.”
Having read the novel and seen what originally happens to Bilquis, it was a relief for Badaki to read the script and see that she actually survives this encounter with Technical Boy.
“For one thing it was gratifying to find out that I wasn’t going to die, at least not at that moment,” she says, laughing.
“So that’s always a relief, to find out. As far as Technical Boy, I thought it was really interesting to bring these two together because I feel as far as Gods, they represent the furthest ends of the spectrum.
“She’s incredibly ancient, and has been around for eons, and he’s all about newness and I think it’s actually perfectly encapsulated in that museum scene between the two of them. He’s all these flashy words and flashy sounds, and quick, and talk. And she’s slow, even in her movements, and the words are slow and few and far between.
“I think it’s kind of the perfect juxtaposition of where these two entities come from.”
American Gods season one is on Amazon Prime now. A release date for season two has not yet been announced.