Friday, April 10, 2009
Dead is Dead, this week's episode of Lost, was equally satisfying to those who watch the show for the characters and those who are in it for the island mythology. We learned plenty about Ben Linus' backstory, and along the way we got the most information yet about the island's mysterious smoke monster.
Of course, the more we learn, the more new questions are raised... It's all just part of the sweet frustration of being a Lost fan. It's nice to know that the smart guys at Popular Mechanics are just as baffled as we are. They turned to James P. Allen, a Wilbour Professor of Egyptology and Chair of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies at Brown University, to see if he could explain the island's giant, four-toed statue, the hyroglyphics glimpsed in the monster's lair, and other Egyptian imagery in the series.
Allen agrees that the animal-headed human in the hieroglyphic Ben is fixated on is probably based on Anubis, though he says in actuality, no Egyptian scene looks like what's shown on Lost. "I suspect that the colossus is also meant to be Anubis, too," he says. But he points out, it's actually more of a hybrid of Anubis and Taweret, the demon-wife of the Apep, the Egyptian's original god of evil. (It's said that Apep was only present at night, and therefore any evil happenings during the daytime were attributed to Taweret). "The thing on the head definitely looks like Taweret's, but she never wears a kilt, which is clearly there in the back shot of the colossus. The colossus is probably holding two ankh-signs (...) but he's holding them like Taweret holds the two signs she holds, which are 'protection' signs, not ankhs." Allen also notes that "the four toes on the statue fragment are more Taweret than Anubis, who has a human body and therefore five toes."
The show's producers have previously said that the giant statue was just tossed in for fun and will probably never be explained, but the very specific temple image of a smoke monster/snake with Anubis leads us to suspect they've either changed their minds or they're even more cruel than we thought.
Click here to buy Lost - The Complete First Season on Amazon.