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Moon Knight – an Egyptologist on how the series gets the gods right

Writer : Claire Gilmour, Museum Collections Care, Lecturer and PhD Candidate, College of Bristol

Marvel’s Moon Knight follows Steven Grant who, regardless of dwelling quietly as a museum reward store worker, finds himself drawn into the unusual world of Egyptian gods. He discovers that he has different personalities – primarily Marc Spector, a human vessel who’s getting used to hold out the desire of the moon god, Khonshu.

Steven and Marc (each performed by Oscar Isaac) battle to work collectively to defeat the plans of Khonshu’s former host, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), who’s main the followers of one other god, Ammit.

A part of the enjoyable of watching variations of Historical Egypt for me is analysing the historic content material and Moon Knight succeeds in retaining the spirit of the Historical Egyptian pantheon. Whereas some points have been altered for dramatic impact, the six-part collection has been effectively researched and stays fairly devoted to the unique mythology.

Considered one of its promoting factors is that it doesn’t merely tread over outdated floor however brings lesser-known gods to the fore. The result’s a present that has the bizarre high quality of entertaining a preferred viewers whereas additionally conserving the specialists joyful.


Khons(h)u, or Khons, was an moon god, recognized within the age of the pyramids as a violent, blood-thirsty deity. That is maybe attributable to his having probably existed earlier than the state of Egypt was shaped, when settlers within the Nile Valley have been adapting to their new environments as they moved in and vied for supremacy.

Khonshu mellowed over time, however remained highly effective, and is mostly related to the gods of the capital metropolis of Thebes, together with his father Amun, king of the gods. Khonshu was additionally related to time and his identify – khenes, “traveller” – seemingly pertains to the journey of the moon by means of the evening sky.

He’s normally proven as a falcon-headed man, or a younger man in a shroud-like garment. Within the collection, Khonshu is a tall determine commandingly voiced by F Murray Abraham (and carried out by Karim el-Hakim), with a terrifyingly massive chicken cranium for a head and carrying a moon-topped employees.


Most likely greatest referred to as the demon who sits on the foot of the scales within the Corridor of Judgement within the E-book of the Useless, a set of spells which help the lifeless in reaching the afterlife. She is a component lion, half crocodile, half hippopotamus (the three animals thought-about to be the most harmful in Historical Egypt). She patiently awaits the guts of the lifeless, weighed in opposition to the feather of fact, ought to they be discovered “responsible” by the scales. Her identify means “the devourer”. She prevents those that will not be worthy from getting into the afterlife by consuming their heavy hearts, in order that they will’t stay on.

Drawing of Egyptian gods on papyrus.
Osiris with Ammit ‘the devourer’ behind.
The Trustees of the British Museum, CC BY-NC

Moon Knight’s Ammit (voiced by Sara Mubarak) has an imposing crocodilian kind. Within the collection, she doesn’t need to anticipate demise however to dole out judgement earlier than individuals can do unsuitable. Nevertheless, she has been trapped in a stone idol so her followers are trying to find her tomb to resurrect her and restore her to her place because the true arbiter of justice.


A goddess of the family, Taweret (“the nice one”) has a hippopotamus-crocodile hybrid kind, generally with the claws of a lion. She is fearsome along with her bared enamel and infrequently brandishes a blade, to maintain away darkish forces and defend the susceptible – pregnant ladies, new moms, kids – by means of prayers, spells and amulets. She carries out her protecting duties in Moon Knight within the form of a a lot friendlier hippo (portrayed by Antonia Salib). Her “Hello!” on assembly Steven and Marc is comically high-pitched coming from her looming kind. She is as steadfast and decided as her mythological counterpart (minus the gnashing enamel), serving to Marc and Steven of their duties. Within the collection, she takes on a job extra historically held by Anubis, god of mummification, by guiding individuals into the afterlife.

Egyptian Hippo god
Tawaret in Moon Knight is a towering however pleasant hippopotamus.

Different members of the Historical Egyptian pantheon function within the chamber of the gods, however have a lot much less display screen time. However, they play an enormous function within the motion of the plot, as their judgements have a pivotal impact on how the remainder of the present performs out (no spoilers). They’re portrayed within the collection within the type of their human hosts. In mythology, they’re a few of the most vital gods of all.


Lord of the lifeless, king of the underworld, benign guardian of the afterlife, Osiris is shrouded, carrying a white crown with a cobra, which symbolises rule over the southern half of Egypt. In mythology, he was the primary king, and the primary to die. He was resurrected by his spouse, Isis, and took his place because the personification of the deceased pharaoh, turning into the primary mummy and illustration of hope in life after demise. He’s inexperienced or black-skinned to symbolize new life. He’s additionally a god of agriculture and fertility. Within the collection, he pronounces the gods’ selections within the chamber by means of his human host.


Statue of Horus Egypt
Horus is the god of the sky and the son of Osiris.
Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

Horus, son of Osiris and Isis, avenged his father’s homicide and took on the function of king, representing the dwelling pharaoh. He battled Seth, his father’s brother, to retrieve the throne and restore order – which is why Horus is closely related to the ruling king. Horus is normally proven as a falcon or falcon-headed man. Along with his father Osiris, they symbolize the divine nature of the king.


A goddess of affection, music, childbirth and dancing, Hathor is commonly proven as a cow or as a lady with a cow’s head, ears or horns. She is a really historic goddess, maybe relationship again to earlier than state formation in Egypt. Hathor is a protector, normally benevolent however vengeful when wanted. She was worshipped broadly in Egypt and overseas, with cults spreading up the Levant and into Sinai, incomes her the title “mistress of overseas lands”.


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