Moon Knight's Ammit Explained

Warning: major spoilers ahead for episode 1 of "Moon Knight."

Marvel's "Moon Knight" is deeply entrenched in Egyptian mythology and lore, taking considerable liberty with its comic book material while honoring its roots. As per the numerous trailers and teasers that dropped ahead of "Moon Knight's" release, Arthur Harrow (a delightfully villainous Ethan Hawke) will act as the show's big bad opposite Oscar Isaac's Steven Grant/Marc Spector. 

Isaac's Steven persona is obviously oblivious to the deeper conspiracies that surround him, along with the schisms in his own psyche, but it is Harrow's presence that acts as a catalyst for the events that take place throughout the series. In turn, Harrow is a cult leader with the aim of carrying out Ammit's vision, which largely involves preemptive judgment and brutal punishment (murder, it's murder). So what's the deal with Ammit? 

Balancing the scales of justice

Unable to ward off his "sleepwalking" tendencies, Steven is somehow whisked into the countryside while asleep, and the mild-mannered gift shop employee is as confused about everything as the viewers. There, he encounters Harrow's cult, which he later learns is dedicated to the ancient Egyptian deity Ammit (also known as Ammut in Marvel Comics, but changed, apparently, to Ammit for the MCU), also known as the Devourer of the Dead in the comics. Harrow seems to be Ammit's avatar, blessed by her to carry out the role of judge, jury, and executioner, which involves deciding whether an individual deserves to live or die depending on their potential to enact evil in the future.

Steven witnesses this firsthand in episode 1, as Harrow lets the scales embedded in his skin determine whether an old cult member deserved to live or die (she doesn't make it, sadly). Harrow is also after a certain golden scarab beetle, an artifact from the museum that Steven somehow finds in his pockets. How does Ammit factor into Harrow's grand plan for humanity, and most importantly, who is she? As "Moon Knight" will also feature the Moon God Khonshu, who channels his vengeance via Marc as his avatar, the show will most likely delve deeper into the historical aspects of these deities while crafting a fictional "Indiana Jones"-esque vibe.

Ammit, the Eater of the Dead

Keen-eyed "Moon Knight" fans might have already anticipated Ammit's involvement, once a close-up of Harrow's cane was glimpsed during the show's Super Bowl TV spot. His cane sports two crocodile heads facing away from each other, solidifying Ammit's involvement as she traditionally takes the form of a humanoid crocodile in the comics. Although Ammit is a pretty obscure character, not as prominent as Khonshu or other Heliopolitan race of gods in "Moon Knight" (such as Osiris or Thoth), she seems to be a major antagonist in the show, given that Harrow's cult is solely dedicated to her vision.

The "Moon Knight" comics posited Ammit as a sphinx figure, asking riddles to those who wished access to scared underground tombs or areas of spiritual importance. She served the goddess Ma'at, who oversaw law, morality, and order, guarding her halls and the Throne of Bone. The aspect of Ammit's mythology integral to "Moon Knight" is the fact that she was the Eater of the Dead: when a mortal died, their souls would be weighed to determine whether they deserved to pass the underworld realm of Duat (for the virtuous) or be devoured by Ammit (for the damned).

Harrow's cult takes this aspect a notch further, as he believes he has been tasked by Ammit to preemptively stop evil by weighing a living soul on the scales even before they commit a nefarious act. This, per Harrow, will usher in a peaceful world, eradicating evil from its root (Steven is understandably horrified during his "dream" sequence). It is also important to note that per Egyptian mythology, Ammit was generally feared as a deity, as opposed to being worshipped.

What's the deal with the golden scarab?

Steven is perpetually anxious in episode 1, living a lonely life while attempting to do his best at his museum job (one particular co-worker is pretty mean to him, poor soul). Aware of his tendencies to sleepwalk, Steven tries numerous methods to stay awake at night, but his unconscious trip to Harrow's cult opens him up to the realization that there is more to his persona than his conscious self. Harrow's men refer to him as "the mercenary" — this, of course, is referring to Marc, but Steven does not understand that as of yet — and shoot at him, asking him to hand over the artifact, which turns out to be a golden scarab beetle. Steven has no memory of having retrieved it from the museum and is unable to hand it over to Harrow despite wanting to (Marc controls his limb movements during the confrontation).

This leads to the scene featured in the "Moon Knight" trailer, wherein Harrow visits Steven in the museum and muses, "Embrace the chaos." During this scene, he also reveals that the reason why the scarab is so important to him is that it leads to Ammit's tomb, and the cult wishes to raise her from the dead. That definitely sounds like a bad idea, as we already see several glimpses of Khonshu scaring the living daylights out of Steven, and the world does not need a vengeful, heart-devouring part-crocodile ancient goddess to raise from the dead. Just like Marc is Khonshu's avatar, Harrow is Ammit's, dedicated to setting her free so as to eradicate all evil.

'Evil eradicated'

Despite not knowing exactly what's going on, a flustered Steven, who is also an expert on Egyptian history, mythology, and culture, understands that Ammit's vision (along with Harrow's) is problematic. Although Steven is unable to utter a word out of anxiety (I can totally relate), viewers are left with a ton of questions: how is it fair for Ammit, or rather Harrow, to take lives based on what might happen in the future? Isn't the murder of innocent souls the ultimate act of evil, as it is solely based on Ammit's judgment?

It remains to be seen whether Harrow manages to get his hands on the scarab and resurrect Ammit, although it is most likely that Marc will undoubtedly intervene, as seen at the end of episode 1. Steven is seen completely freaked out by the fact that the voice inside his head is a full-fledged persona that he can give control over to, and he is forced to do so after the cult sets an ancient, monster-like jackal after him to retrieve the artifact. For now, one can only hope that the crocodile humanoid is not disturbed from her deep slumber somewhere inside a catacomb anytime soon, as poor Steven Grant already has a lot on his overflowing plate.

Episode 1 of "Moon Knight" premiered on March 30, 2022, on Disney+.