You’ve Tried the Rest, Now Try the Bes

One of the major characters in Rick Riordan’s The Throne of Fire was an Egyptian god I don’t think I’d heard of previously, but since I liked him so much in the book, I figured a little more research would be in order. This would be Bes, worshipped as a protector of the household and of childbirth, and also sometimes seen as a patron of music, dance, and war. Like the Hindu Kubera, he’s depicted as a dwarf, and rather ugly in his features.

His ugliness is actually an asset, however, as he uses it to scare away demons and other evil beings. Being ugly enough to scare a demon would have to be no mean feat. He was also thought to appear to babies and make funny faces to amuse them. Unusually for Egyptian deities, Bes is never depicted in profile, but always head-on, mugshot style. I suppose it’s easier to be frightening that way.

I think this, as well as his form, is what makes some scholars believe Bes was an import from Nubia. Apparently more recent study has suggested that he was always Egyptian, but just took a while to become popular. I’m not sure we’ll ever know that for sure. Bes really sounds like a useful god to have on your side; and his ugliness is treated so comically that it is, paradoxically, kind of cute. Riordan got a lot of mileage out of this trait of the dwarf god, including a scene where Bes is wearing a Speedo. Riordan’s updated version of the character also drives a black Mercedes.

Picture source

This entry was posted in Egyptian, Kane Chronicles, Mythology, Rick Riordan and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to You’ve Tried the Rest, Now Try the Bes

  1. vilajunkie says:

    Psst: That ain’t a tail on Bes’s statue. Lol.

  2. Pingback: There’s an Apophis for That | VoVatia

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