Moon Knight introduced us to a brand new villainous force, the goddess Ammit. But Ammit is not just a Marvel creation, although she does also live in the pages of its comics. Instead, the goddess comes from deep in Egyptian mythology. Though Moon Knight introduced other gods from Egyptian mythology into the MCU, Ammit certainly made her presence and her agenda known throughout the show.
In Moon Knight‘s last episode, Ammit chose an earthly champion/avatar in the form of Arthur Harrow and even appeared herself. Here’s everything you need to know about Moon Knight‘s villain, the goddess Ammit.
Who Is Moon Knight‘s Ammit?
Ammit as a God of Egyptian Mythology
In Egyptian Mythology, Ammit is actually more of a creature than a god. She is known as the devourer of souls and participates in the important Egyptian ceremony, the weighing of the heart. Egyptians believed that after death, the scales of Ma’at, the goddess of truth and justice, judged every person’s heart . But if their heart proved too heavy against Ma’at’s feather, they could not enter the afterlife. Instead, Ammit would devour them.
Although, as Arthur Harrow claims in Moon Knight, this position does not make Ammit an evil force. If a heart passed judgment, Ammit would not consume it, and the person would pass freely into the afterlife. The hungry goddess only poses a threat to those who have done wrong in their lives. In fact, the goddess Ammit’s image was used to ward off evil in ancient Egypt. And she was seen as a reminder that one needed to live their life according to certain principles in order to avoid her clutches.
Of course, unlike in Moon Knight‘s rendition, in Egyptian mythology, Ammit does not judge the hearts herself; other gods such as Anubis or Osiris manage that task. Ammit is simply there, ready to consume anyone found unworthy.
Ammit in Marvel Comics
Ammit ( known as Ammut) also exists as a figure in Marvel Comics. There, Ammit also does not exactly play the figure of a god. Instead, she is a creature who serves and guards the goddess Ma’at. Ammit also takes part in the weighing of the heart ceremony, which exists in Marvel Comics as well as in Egyptian mythology. In Marvel’s version, however, souls are weighed instead. Anubis, god of the afterlife, weighs the souls against Ma’at’s feather, while the god of wisdom Thoth records the proceeding. Those found virtuous can enter the realm of Duat or the ream of the dead. Ammit devours any souls found failing. In the comics, Ammit/Ammut also goes by the name “The Devourer of the Dead.” She also sometimes takes the form of a sphinx, who asks riddles to protect the Throne of Bone and the Halls of Ma’at.
Interestingly, in Marvel Comics, Ammit’s creator, Ma’aat, is actually the Egyptian alias of Oshtur, one of the “ Elder Gods of Earth, the first lifeforms spawned on the planet by its sentient biosphere, the Demiurge.” As Ma’at, however, this Marvel goddess does mirror her mythological counterpart. She takes on the role of goddess of truth, law, order, and justice.
Perhaps a power even greater than Ammit could eventually appear in the MCU.
Ammit in Moon Knight
In Moon Knight, we first met Ammit through her avatar Arthur Harrow who participates in a version of the weighing of the heart ceremony. From him, we learn that Ammit can see the past, present, and future of a human and thus can judge them. Through this judgment, Ammit could preemptively rid the world of evil and create a utopia.
Moon Knight‘s Ammit was banished by her fellow gods banished her, presumably for attempting to devour people before their time. But Harrow, believing she could have prevented great acts of destruction in the world, sets out to release her. A kind of Captain America: The Winter Soldier plot, but on a cosmic scale.
Interestingly, in the comics and mythology Ammit does not have the power to actually judge people. That is left to other gods. The goddess merely devours them should they prove to be false. Additionally, the scales which Arthur Harrow and the rest of Ammit’s cult have tattooed onto themselves traditionally belong to the goddess Ma’at. And finally, Ammit’s creatures, which we meet at the end of Moon Knight‘s first episode, seem to take the form of jackals. Jackals are animals heavily associated with the Egyptian god of the dead, Anubis not with Ammit.
These inconsistencies with mythology ultimately weren’t addressed in Moon Knight. When Harrow finally releases Ammit from her prison, she takes the form of a great crocodile-headed beast and seems to grow with the power of the souls she consumes. Although she purports to judge people and only accept those whose scales are balanced, she makes an exception for Harrow, revealing that even as a goddess, she is not fully constrained by her own rules.
Ammit battles with the god Khonshu, who cannot overpower her alone. Luckily, Moon Knight (Marc Spector), Mr. Knight (Steven Grant), and Scarlet Scarab (Layla El-Faouly) come to the rescue. They bind Ammit to her human avatar, Arthur Harrow, but do not kill her, much to Khonshu’s chagrin. Although, he returns later with another of Marc Spector’s alters, Jake Lockley, to finish the deed.
It’s unclear if Ammit retained any of her goddess-like powers when she becomes bound to a human soul. Or if this action renders her all but human. What’s more, we don’t know if killing a human avatar with a god inside of them actually kills the god. We know we’ll meet a god-killer soon, Gorr the God Butcher will arrive in Thor: Love and Thunder, but here we’ve already killed our first god. It will be interesting to see how all these threads tie together.
Only time will tell us more if the ancient Egyptian goddess Ammit will ever reappear in the MCU.
Originally published on March 30, 2022.