How does Arthur’s tattoo work? Moon Knight’s Villainous Powers Explained

Warning: SPOILERS for Moon Knight episode 1

Arthur Harrow’s Egyptian powers and connections are established in Moon Knight episode 1, as Ethan Hawke’s villain is established as a major threat to Oscar Isaac’s superhero. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand in Phase 4, a new era of heroes and villains is being created for the post-Avengers: Endgame. Phase 4 quickly added to the MCU mythos by introducing Eternals, the Multiverse, and more, but Moon Knight is responsible for exploring the Egyptian gods and the vast mythology that accompanies them.

The main Egyptian link in Moon Knight comes from the titular character, as Oscar Isaac plays Steven Grant/Marc Spector, two personalities fighting for control of one body. Although Steven Grant is well versed in Egyptian mythology, he is unaware of his own connection to the gods. His body and Marc Spector’s personality are linked to the Egyptian moon god Khonshu in some mysterious way. This is likely due to Khonshu saving Marc Spector from death in the past, something Moon Knight Episode 1 even makes a quick reference to. The combination of Steven’s Egyptian knowledge and Marc’s superhero pursuits powered by Khonshu gives the MCU Disney+ show a solid grounding in Egyptian mythology.


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The main character of Oscar Isaac is not the only one in Moon Knight who has deep ties to Egypt and the powers of their gods. Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow is correctly set up as a Dark Mirror of Moon Knight. It comes after Marvel Studios completely reimagined Harrow from the comics, where he was a very minor villain with no real powers. Now, Moon KnightThe villain has big ambitions to reshape the world through the power of an Egyptian god.

How Arthur Harrow’s tattoo works in Moon Knight

Moon Knight Arthur Harrow Ethan Hawke

Arthur Harrow gets a chilling introduction in Moon Knight episode 1, as he is shown grinding glass to put in his shoes. Although this means he feels pain with every step, he is also a powerful cult leader who follows the ways of Ammit. Arthur Harrow derives his powers from the Egyptian god and judges people in the name of the goddess. Arthur Harrow has a scale tattoo on his arm that represents the judgment of Ammit, much like the scales of justice that Lady Justice and the Greek goddess Dike are depicted as wearing.

Moon Knight Episode 1 shows how Arthur’s tattoo works and the dark ceremony he uses to judge his followers. When Arthur holds a person’s hands, Ammit’s power flows through him and judges whether they are a good or a bad person. If Ammit judges right, the scale tips one way and flashes green, if judged wrong, the scale tips the other way and flashes red reflecting how Ammit judged humans during his lifetime. Confusingly, Ammit judges his subjects by not only their past actions but also their future ones, like the precog police of Minority Report. If they are deemed to have done something wrong – or to be capable of something wrong in the future – Arthur’s powers allow him to kill that person on the spot draining their life.

How Arthur Harrow’s powers work in Moon Knight

Moon Knight Arthur Harrow

The other aspect of Moon KnightThe villain powers come from the cane that Arthur Harrow carries. The double-headed crocodile-shaped handle of Ammit, the cane is a mysterious artifact that helps give Arthur some of the powers of the Egyptian god. In addition to helping him walk, Ethan Hawke Moon Knight the villain uses the case as part of the ritual of judgment. The cane rests in the arms of the judged person and swings back and forth as the judgment comes. Arthur Harrow’s cane is also known to have additional powers that come from its connection to Ammit. The purple glow from Arthur Harrow’s cane seems to suggest the artifact is capable of magic.

Who is Amit? Egyptian Goddess Explained

Ammit Egyptian God

So who is Ammit in the context of Moon Knight and Egyptian mythology? She is an ancient goddess in Egyptian religion who is known as the Devourer of Death, the Eater of Hearts, and the Great of Death. She is closely associated with the scales of justice in the Egyptian underworld, where she is allowed to devour the hearts of those deemed unclean. It was believed that those who ate Ammit would spend eternity in torment. Some believed that these souls would be thrown into the lake of fire to be destroyed. The physical appearance of the Egyptian god is depicted as having the head of a crocodile, the torso of a lion, and the lower half of a hippopotamus. Ammit’s appearance came from the combination of the three largest man-eating animals in the world.

Related: When Moon Knight Happens In The MCU Timeline

Moon KnightThe depiction of Ammit is mostly similar to ancient Egyptian legends, although there are some critical changes. The MCU’s depiction makes Ammit a goddess who judges the past, present, and future of a person’s life and instantly kills them if deemed evil. This not only means that she is directly responsible for the deaths of many people, but that she also operates somewhat independently of the other Egyptian gods. In ancient Egyptian religion, Ammit only devoured souls after Anubis judged their hearts in the afterlife, with Ma’at, the goddess of truth, often serving as Ammit’s opposition.

The reason for these differences seems to be Moon Knightfrom Egyptian mythology including the Ennead, a group of nine super powerful gods promoted by the museum. Ammit is not part of the Ennead in the old religion, but the goddess was under their supervision. Moon Knight episode 1 mentions that Ammit was betrayed by the other gods and her previous Avatar. It could be that Arthur Harrow and Ammit operate independently of the other gods because of this betrayal. However, the goddess was also subdued the moment Moon Knightevents take place.

What is the goal of Arthur Harrow and Ammit

Moon Knight Arthur Harrow Ethan Hawke

Moon Knight is pretty clear about Arthur Harrow’s commitment to Ammit and the fulfillment of the Goddess’ plans, and there are basically two different goals in mind. The most pressing objective is Harrow’s, as he wants to wake up Ammit. He mentions that all of this happens “before our goddess awakens”, indicating that he plans to wake her up somehow. This seems to be the reason why Moon KnightThe Golden Beetle Beetle is so coveted. Arthur says it belongs to Ammit and clearly needs it to wake her up, which explains why Khonshu is doing everything in his power to stop Steven Grant from handing it over to him. It seems that Arthur Harrow’s goal of awakening Ammit will be possible if he manages to acquire the scarab.

But why Moon Knightthe villain wants to wake up Ammit? It seems that the goal of the Egyptian goddess is to rid the world of evil on a global scale. While Ammit’s judicial powers are currently confined to Arthur Harrow, it is suggested that she will have the ability to judge everyone once she is free. Arthur mentions that she could have stopped Hitler, Neo, Pol Pot and other incredibly evil people if she had been there. Much like a supernatural version of Hydra’s Project Insight that plans to eliminate future threats or Arishem wanting to judge Earth after Eternals‘ ending, it looks like Ammit is the latest threat to humanity’s safety. If Arthur Harrow succeeds in unleashing the power of Ammit, the Egyptian god will potentially have the ability to create a peaceful world by killing anyone who is or could become a bad person.

More: Moon Knight Proves The MCU Needs Ghost Rider

Moon Knight releases new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.

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