Divine Intervention page 9 Picture

In which Set is scary and Hermes bids us adieu

I am really, really not happy with how Set turned out. He looks like an angry mouse. Oh dear. The trouble is, no one knows exactly what the Set animal is supposed to be, which makes drawing him in any style other than that of the ancient Egyptians themselves rather tricky.

Set is a really interesting deity (and a really frightening one, I have to say, he scares me!) Originally, in the very earliest versions of the myths, he was a fairly neutral but as time went on he was increasingly vilified to the point that in New Kingdom Books of the Dead he literally sends out monsters to try to stop people reaching the afterlife. As the murderer of his brother, Osiris, he’s often seen as practically demonic, but to understand him you really need to understand the Egyptian world view. The Egyptians saw Egypt as the embodiment of Maat, or Order, and everything outside of Egypt was chaos (including the creatures that lived in the desert and the peoples of neighbouring kingdoms). This is why if you look at Egyptian art, anything within Egypt is depicted as highly ordered and arranged in straight lines. There are some depictions of the desert that actually have a wavy ground line or no ground line at all, with people and animals piled randomly on top of one another. Set is god of chaos and everything the Egyptians considered chaotic (including storms and the desert). As god of chaos, it was eventually decided he must be the enemy of order and by extension, the enemy of Egypt. He’s a representation of the Other (and yes, I am quite interested in ancient cultures’ ideas of Otherness if you were wondering).

I didn’t see much point in giving him a long speech, because it would probably end out as a more angry, less funny version of Loki’s ramblings, but I wanted to give him a moment because he’s one of those deities that gets a lot of rubbish from people who don’t understand him, his function and the culture that created him, turning him into a demonic megalomaniac. He’s far more complicated than that.

And…that’s about it. I’m not entirely happy with how I ended this, I think it’s a bit abrupt and I was pretty ill when I drew this page so art wise I’m disappointed by it. Oh and I apologise for the quality of the scan. My scanner is only big enough for A4 and I drew the whole comic on A3, so I had to scan each page in two parts and splice them together (hence the messy joins you might have noticed) but I forgot to touch up the lower part of this page so my gods it’s ugly.

Anyway, please let me know what you thought of it. And feel free to argue with my interpretations!

As before, the comedy fonts are from [link]

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