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Understand The Egyptian Mythology Featured In Marvel’s “Moon Knight”

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

On March 30, Marvel Studios – mostly known for its endless and creative superhero movies franchise – launched its newest TV show, Moon Knight. In its first episode, it achieved a 9.1/10 rating on IMDb, becoming the best rated “first episode” of any other MCU production launched to this moment on Disney+. The series, starring Oscar Isaac, follows the journey of Steven Grant, a kind and likable man that works as a vendor at a museum gift shop in London. However, his true passion is Egyptian Mythology, and he wishes to pass his knowledge to the visitors. 

The problems for Steven begin as he realizes that he has Dissociative Identity Disorder and is tormented by mental blackouts and memories of his second personality, Marc Spector, a mercenary that acts as an avatar for the Egyptian god of the Moon and Time, known as Khonshu, thereby punishing malefactors and attempting to avoid the return of the Egyptian goddess Ammit

Khonshu is one of many Egyptian figures shown throughout the narrative that not only showcases, but also brings representativity to the Egyptian Mythology and their culture. 

If you want to know more about this universe, here are interesting details about the series that are part of Egyptian culture and mythology!

Khonshu: God of the Moon and Time

The main element portrayed by the TV show is the presence of egyptian gods and their influence in the world by using avatars to fulfill their purposes and wishes, like it’s done with the charactes of Marc/Steven being the avatars of Khonshu and their enemy Arthur Harrow, who wants to bring back Ammit, goddess of Death. Therefore, Marvel used the resource known as “egyptomania”,which is being the reinterpretation and reuse of antic traits of Ancient Egypt in a way that it illustrates their essence but also has a series of adaptations.

On that account, a clear example of this is the character Khonshu, who was inspired in one of the biggest divinities of the Egyptian Pantheon, this being the set of gods and goddesses worshiped in Ancient Egypt. In the series, the god of the Moon is showcased as somewhat ghostly by being covered with bandages to simulate a mummy and possessing a face in the shape of a dead bird’s skeleton. However, in real Egyptian Mythology he is portrayed differently, having different forms in which he could appear: a man with a hawk’s head and crown that imitated the moon or the most common one, a man covered simply by bandages. 

But Khonshu’s narrative goes further from his appearance in both the series and mythology: he is known to be the son of Ra, the king of the gods, which clearly makes him a powerful presence. It resonates with the fact that in the TV show other gods become scared of his power and consequently the limit of his actions through Marc and Steven. Moreover, Marvel’s representation marvelously portrays his powers as “God of the Moon and Time”, since in one of the episodes his character is able to move the stars through time to find a specific constellation in a certain period of time.

In addition to time, we have his somewhat iconic phrase: “Do you swear to protect the travelers of the night”, which represents perfectly the four aspects of the Egyptian God’s nature:“the traveler”, “the pathfinder,” “the embracer,” and “the defender of those who travel at night.” 

Ammit: Devourer of the Dead

In the Moon Knight series, the goddess Ammit is portrayed as the evil antagonist alongside Arthur Harrow. Despite the characterization that Marvel Studios chose for Ammit, in Egyptian Mythology she is actually far from that and was considered a loyal entity in service to the Egyptian Gods and personificated divine retribution. In addition to that, the series changed Ammit’s main purpose: The Ritual of Weighed Hearts, in which Ancient Egyptians believed that after death, a person’s heart was weighed against a feather on the scales of Ma’at, which Ammit sat beside. If the person’s scales weren’t balanced, she would devour their hearts.

The purpose of balancing the scales was given to another character in the show, the goddess Taweret, while Ammit ended up receiving an evil purpose aligned with devouring hearts. 

Since the beginning of the Disney+ show, it is explained by Arthur Harrow, a cult leader deeply immersed in Ammit’s postulates, that the goddess has the ability and power to judge people’s lives based on actions that they are yet to commit in the future. This way, if they were to cause any harm or do any wrongs, their souls would be devoured by Ammit whenever she was able to return. On that note, the only element to Ammit’s true narrative that was preserved by Marvel Studios was the presence of the scales of Ma’at in the form of tattoos for Arthur Howard and his followers. 

The Ennead

The Ennead was a group formed by nine deities in Egyptian Mythology, therefore being an immense symbol to their culture. In that sense, Marvel opted to maintain the presence of The Ennead in the Moon Knight series by first being referenced in the first episode of the series by Steven’s character, who is reading about the topic. But the most representative moment of this symbology occurs in the third episode of the series, in which Khonshu’s character requires to ask for help from Ennead to help him stop Arthur Harrow from finding Ammit’s tomb. 

On that account, although the production developed by Marvel Studios had an incredible cast and storytelling, the representations brought by the company were clearly far from being accurate, consequently becoming essential to the viewers to understand the Egyptian Mythology behind Moon Knight. It is not only interesting, but brings a whole new light to the series and gives a forum to Egyptian culture.

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The article above was edited by Isadora Noronha.  

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Adriana Marruffo

Casper Libero '25

- mexican (but enjoying living in Brazil) journalism student – pop culture lover 🤍 – 18y old
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