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

Creator : 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 need 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 Historic Egypt for me is analysing the historic content material and Moon Knight succeeds in retaining the spirit of the Historic Egyptian pantheon. Whereas some elements have been altered for dramatic impact, the six-part collection has been nicely researched and stays fairly trustworthy 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Considered one of its promoting factors is that it doesn’t merely tread over outdated floor however brings lesser-known gods to the fore.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 weird high quality of entertaining a preferred viewers whereas additionally holding the specialists completely satisfied.


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 resulting from his having probably existed earlier than the state of Egypt was fashioned, 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 title – khenes, “traveller” – possible pertains to the journey of the moon by means of the night time 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 fowl cranium for a head and carrying a moon-topped workers.


In all probability greatest referred to as the demon who sits on the foot of the scales within the Corridor of Judgement within the Guide of the Lifeless, a set of spells which help the useless in reaching the afterlife. She is a component lion, half crocodile, half hippopotamus (the three animals thought of to be the most harmful in Historic Egypt). She patiently awaits the center of the useless, weighed in opposition to the feather of reality, ought to they be discovered “responsible” by the scales. Her title 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’ll’t reside 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 await demise however to dole out judgement earlier than folks can do improper. Nonetheless, she has been trapped in a stone idol so her followers are looking for her tomb to resurrect her and restore her to her place because the true arbiter of justice.


A goddess of the family, Taweret (“the good one”) has a hippopotamus-crocodile hybrid kind, typically with the claws of a lion. She is fearsome together with her bared tooth and infrequently brandishes a blade, to maintain away darkish forces and shield the susceptible – pregnant girls, new moms, youngsters – 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 tooth), 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 folks into the afterlife.

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

Different members of the Historic Egyptian pantheon function within the chamber of the gods, however have a lot much less display time. Nonetheless, they play a giant position 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 number of the most important gods of all.


Lord of the useless, king of the underworld, benign guardian of the afterlife, Osiris is shrouded, sporting 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, changing into the primary mummy and illustration of hope in life after demise. He’s inexperienced or black-skinned to signify 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 position 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. Together with his father Osiris, they signify the divine nature of the king.


A goddess of affection, music, childbirth and dancing, Hathor is usually proven as a cow or as a lady with a cow’s head, ears or horns. She is a really historic goddess, maybe courting 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 international lands”.


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