Marvel
Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant in 'Moon Knight'

Moon Knight's Ancient Egyptian God Reference May Become Important

Here's what to know about Ammit.

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Marvel Comics has been pulling from mythology almost as long as it’s been publishing content. Although Thor, Loki, and the Asgardians have made Norse mythology the preeminent lore the Marvel comics are known for adapting, the wide-ranging pantheons have characters from nearly every mythology imaginable, from African deities to Chinese divinities. That includes some of the oldest mythoi in existence, the Egyptian gods, including Ammit, a character Moon Knight introduces in its premiere.

Warning: Spoilers for Moon Knight Episode 1 follow. Moon Knight is not exactly a household comic book character. The superhero was introduced initially in the mid-1970s as the alter-ego of Marc Spector, a former American CIA agent and Marine-turned-mercenary. After his demise during a tomb raid, he is resurrected by Khonshu, the Egyptian God of the Moon. But in the first episode of Moon Knight, it’s already clear the series is changing things up from the comics.

Fans assumed Oscar Isaac was playing Marc Spector when he was cast in the title role. However, the character is nothing like the bold American tomb raider from the comics. Instead, he plays Steven Grant, a nebbish Londoner and Egyptologist who works in a history museum’s gift shop. He also has untreated dissociative identity disorder and regularly chains himself to the bed or refuses to sleep, lest he wakes up and discovers he’s been out adventuring.

Marvel Studios

It turns out, those wake-ups can be just about anywhere, like the Alps. That’s where Steven comes to at one point, in a small German town, at gunpoint. As he desperately tried to lose himself in the crowd, a man walked through the street, with people parting for him. The man, played by Ethan Hawke, is Arthur Harrow, and he declared himself a prophet of Ammit.

He held in his hand a cane, which he used to weigh people’s souls. He placed it on their wrists and swung it back and forth. As it swung, the tattoo on his arm of scales tipped back and forth. Those found to weigh as good were spared. Those who did not, even if their crimes were only to take place in the future, were not. When Harrow weighed Steven, the scales spared him, but Harrow said that’s because all there is within him is chaos.

So, who is Ammit, and what are these scales? Ammit is part of the pantheon of Egyptian gods from ancient mythology. Also known as Ammut and Ahemait, she is the goddess of “divine retribution.” Sometimes drawn as a lion or a wolf, she sits beside the “scales of Ma’at” and devours the souls of the unworthy.

Ammit was a bit like the Christian devil, not widely worshipped and generally feared. (She’s also sometimes said to sit next to a lake of fire, not unlike the ones in hell.) To be a prophet of Ammit and to search for where she is buried is to be looking for something dangerous.

Moon Knight continues with new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.