Monday, June 01, 2009

And the Statue Is...

Tawaret! Yeah, yeah, y'all have already seen this on EW and everywhere else.

Hello my lovelies. My captivity is at an end, and I have emerged bleary-eyed and exhausted. I wrote 65,000 words of the book, which I will now spend the next month editing while writing the last 1/3 of the book (which consists of all the books... sigh... why did I leave reading all those things to the END?!)

Anyway, back to the statue. The day after the finale, ABC posted a recap in which the author said the statue was Tawaret. The recap came to EW's notice a week later, and when they posted last week that the statue was absolutely Tawaret, people flipped and have been arguing about it ever since. But if anyone had read through the 410 comments on my original post on the episode (what?!) one of my readers, Tom, noticed the recap on May 15 and we were already discussing and arguing it there.

Wait, you DIDN'T read through all 410 comments?! Ok, even I had trouble keeping up. ;) And that's why I posted it here. I didn't really accept it then, but I think it's gotten to the point where we no longer have a choice.

But the issue is this. When we first saw the statue in "LaFleur," we thought it might be Set. I made an argument for it then, and suggested *maybe* also Anubis, but there were no jackal ears, so that wasn't likely. Then one of my readers suggested Tawaret (yes, we were on the ball back then!!) which is a hippo-like goddess with a round belly that represents fertility. I said this was an excellent suggestion, and maybe there's a suggestion that once the statue was destroyed, women on the island couldn't have children. But the statue was most likely destroyed before Dharmaville, and yet Amy still had Ethan. (It could have been destroyed in the bomb blast, but when the gang is standing by the well in "LaFleur," they see it, then another flash happens and they stand up, and it's gone. That's 1977, so technically it should have already fallen by then.)

My concern with it being Tawaret is simply the look of it. The statue on the island looks masculine, and doesn't have a belly on it. When we saw it from the side in the finale, Benny suggested Sobek, the crocodile god, also associated with fertility, and I thought we'd found our god. And then the ABC recap (they used to be written by script supervisor Gregg Nations but I don't know if he's still doing them?) came out and said without question that it's Tawaret.

So what do you think? Typically on this blog I only look at what's IN the episode as canon, not what's outside it. Podcasts, recaps, and interviews can definitely enrich our experience of watching the show, but it shouldn't dictate how we watch it. If the statue is Tawaret, I'll wait until I see it from the front to know that. If Kate really loves Sawyer over Jack, I'll wait until she says that and not rely on a clip show to tell me that.

But now that EW has gotten hold of the story and it's spread all over the Lostverse, I'm assuming the answer is more definitive. All the fans will accept it's Tawaret, and that tidbit will be worked into next season somehow to make it definitive. And don't get me wrong: I love that the writers chose a more obscure Egyptian god, AND that one of my readers guessed it early on!!

34 comments:

Batcabbage said...

Well, I don't watch the recaps (because I watch the episodes, and I don't need recaps), and I don't read EW, so I guess I have to go by what's in the episodes. And there's been no indication (or confirmation) in the episodes that it's Tawaret (way to go, Nik @ Nite poster who picked it, though!). I'm with Nik, if it's not in an episode, then it's not canon. Unless Darlton comes out and says 'Yes, it is canon, you have to see everything outside the actual episodes to see what's going on, because we're chumps, and have to explain things outside of the series, because you just can't get it from watching the show.' I mean, is it me? Should we be getting extra information to explain what happens on the show? Shouldn't we be able to work it out from what we see? And Benny, I agree, it looked like a croc god to me, so my guess would also be Sobek, but there you go.

joshua said...

I had heard about this recap giveaway as well, and if only because it has been the case several times already through tidbits from the "enhanced" broadcasts and clip shows, I am assuming this is canon because it is coming directly from the network. As far as I can remember, everything they've given us so far has been legitimate, so I must assume that anything they release to the general public has been vetted by the producers, so to speak.

That being said, I've been reading (more [frakkin']) Egyptology since learning of the confirmation. From what I've found, it sounds like the myth varies in the details but that Tawaret was often seen not merely as a hippo but more a combination of hippo, crocodile and lioness. Thus the sharp teeth (as here: http://tinyurl.com/sharpteeth).

I also couldn't help but notice the obvious resemblance of depictions of the God Apep, often associated with Taweret as her husband, to the image of the serpent in frieze on the wall in Smokey's tomb (during Ben's judgment in "Dead Is Dead"). Apep was viewed as the embodiment of darkness and destruction who was often said to be combatted directly by the dead themselves to maintain balance. AND... the concept of said balance (sort of the Egyptian yin-yang) is represented as the goddess Ma'at, whose outstretched wings look an awful lot like the image woven into the top of Jacob's tapestry from the finale.

Also, in the Book of the Dead, there is a section that serves as sort of the Egyptian Ten Commandments, as set down by Ma'at, called the 'Declarations of Purity' or 'Negative Confessions.' Guess how many confessions/declarations there are in the list?

Forty-two.

See for yourself:

http://tinyurl.com/42confessions

The Shout said...

Just glad it wasn't Sawyer with a bad toe!

humanebean said...

I am of a divided mind with regard to these 'secondary sources' and their relevance/validity. The LOST experience for me has been singularly defined by the world of speculation, discussion, Easter Eggs, Comic-Con panels, ARG's, blogs (Yo, Nik!), books (I say again, YO NIK!), clip shows, "enhanced episodes" (*ick*), DVD commentary/features, interviews, etc., etc. ad infinitum.

Now, I would not assign anything approximating equal authenticity to each of the above (gods forbid). However, I am willing to allow leniency towards the faceted 'official' presentations of the show's creators and presenters. I understand the quarrel with revealing vital information through other avenues than the episode parameters - I just feel that more damage is done to our respective feelings about the show than to the integrity of the show itself.

I guess that I'm willing to accept pseudo-official proclamations like the one regarding Tawaret at face value. I certainly reserve the right to cry foul when it's my speculations that are being trampled on by such reveals ... but I see it as somewhat integrated into the universe of the show offerings.

Personally, while I initially saw the back of the statue as androgynous at least, I'm willing to buy that this could be a version of Tawaret that doesn't confirm strictly to the most common representations. I would've gone with Sobek, myself - but heck, I took Japan and the points in WWII.

ady80 said...

Didn't they also tell us that time travel wouldn't happen? If it's not in an episode, it didn't happen.

ashlie said...

There was additional "confirmation" of this through a puzzle in the J.J. Abrams edited issue of Wired (the Mystery issue) which came out last month. Apparently if you solve one of the puzzles correctly, the answer is "The four toed statue is Tawaret" (I have the magazine but haven't solved the puzzles). I'm also somewhat disappointed that such blatant answers seem to be given away in non-canon situations (I'm remembering the early reveal of Ms. Hawking's first name through the enhanced episodes, grr). Also, the statue doesn't seem to look like Tawaret from the back, but I'm willing to concede that maybe the version of Tawaret on the island does pilates or something, who knows.

Nikki Stafford said...

ashlie: but I'm willing to concede that maybe the version of Tawaret on the island does pilates or something, who knows.

LOL!!! You know, maybe it's a feminist take on the statue? I know that when Chris first alerted us back in "LaFleur" that it might be Tawaret, I was offended that the Egyptian goddess of pregnancy was a HIPPO, for god's sakes, with sagging breasts and a giant stomach. As someone who's been pregnant twice and felt like a hippo, I don't need that kind of iconographic reminder, thanks. Ahem.

So maybe they're trying to change the stereotype. Saying that the goddess of pregnancy is strong, fearless, and inside it is a maybe good/maybe evil person [Um... wait...] and that it might get blown up and nothing but its foot remains [uh... hold up, maybe...] and that pregnant women are very masculine and have crocodile-like faces.

Er...

On second thought, I think I'll take the hippo.

Anonymous said...

What if we've got the right God for the wrong reasons? Taweret is also viewed as the God responsible for evil happenings during the day, while the God Apep was responsible for evil during the night. This could be an allusion to Jacob and Esau being both malevolent. I wouldn't have thought of this connection, but the picture of Apep on Wikipedia reminds me very much of the picture of Smoky that was carved in his lair in "Dead is Dead"

Fred said...

I am wondering if we can tie down when the statue was destroyed. The first time our time traveling survivors see it is after Locke had gone in the well. At the time of the statue's appearance, the well does not exist. This puts its destruction before the Dharma Initiative.

We do know it was likely the Black Rock sailors saw the statue. So those sailing types might have blasted the statue. But then where are all the remains? The beach Jacob and 'Esau' were on was pretty clean. Anyway, as a first approximation, this puts its destruction between 1845 and 1970s.

(Note: the Orchid was under construction before the Swan, so if the statue had existed during this time, I am sure the construction crew and Chang would have seen it. Also even before building the Orchid, it is likely the statue was gone, as Charlotte referenced the well, which was before the Orchid's construction).

Now we turn to speculation. Richard said he was made immortal by Jacob. It is believed, Richard came from the Black Rock, and if this is the case, then sometime after Richard was immortalized the statue was destroyed. But how long?Speculatively, the destruction of the statue may have been the end game for the survivors of the Black Rock. Some may have been transformed like Rousseau's crew, leading to conflict.This parallels neatly with Jack destroying the Swan using the bomb (maybe the sailors thought by destroying the statue they would release themselves from the grip of the island. And note the Black Rock was carrying dynamite, which could easily do the job).

Beej said...

Given that there are male and female fertility gods, could there be two statues? Since we see a left-foot in one episode and the right-foot in another, could one be Tawaret and one could be Sobet, and both could have been destroyed somehow and left opposite feet standing.

Beej said...

And that doesn't contradict what ABC.com said because one would, indeed, be Tawaret.

Benny said...

As Ashlie said, what sealed it for me was the WIRED puzzle. The writer of the puzzle (Schneier) was given a clue to hide in a puzzle. I would assume the clue was given by the writers via J.J. Abrams (guest editor).

The left page is a simple cipher using wiremagazine as the keyword and spells out "u s e l e t t e r s b a c k w a r d s f r o m e n d". What does this say? Not much. But remember the episode The Variable? The issue 11.08 of WIRED has an article on Time Travel in it (as mentioned by Nik on her recap). A section of that article is on Thorne Plates and refers to the "Casimir Effect", also on Lost. The idea was to count letters backwards from the end of THAT SECTION. So 4th letter from the end, then 34th from there (38th from end) and so on.

Here's Schneider's site with links to the puzzle, attempts and the solution: http://tinyurl.com/ohtc9dI certainly hope that they explain (or apologize for) the male clothing and masculinity of the statue. Even the piece of tapestry is unconvincing (http://tinyurl.com/lxs45z).


@Joshua: At the beginning of the season, there were some inconsistencies in the recap and what future episodes would say. May have been an isolated incident.

Benny said...

Oh, forgot.

@Beej: If you pay close attention, it's the same foot. Someone did a picture analysis of it and has significant proof to suggest that it's always the left foot we've seen.

If I can find the link I'll post it.

Beej said...

Please do. The screencaps I've seen show them as being different, so I'd love to see an actual analysis of it.

Benny said...

@Beej: Ironically, it was on the Docarzt website. Here's the article (http://tinyurl.com/oc8cks). It's not as detailed as I remembered it, but I had done some work prior and the sum of the two probably seemed convincing.

Have a look and see what you think. I'll try to write up a little something to summarize what else I added to the perspective, the main point being that Ben looks up at the side of the foot and not the back as some have thought.

dana23 said...

I prefer the statue to be Sobek over Tawaret simply because it looks more like Sobek. I just don’t see why, if they wanted it to be Tawaret, they went out of their way to make it look more like the other one. Perhaps showing Tawaret as a pregnant hippo with saggy breasts, a crocodile back, and lion feet just wasn’t “sexy” enough for the show. The truth is any number of Egyptian gods would be relevant to various themes in the show, so why does it have to be Tawaret? I’m not sure they will ever mention the statue by name on the show. For the vast majority of the audience, just seeing the statue was probably cool enough. They won’t need to know nor care who it is or what it represents. Only the devotees of the show are interested in its significance. For me, unless they say who it is on the show or Darlton actually tell us, I’ll continue to believe it is Sobek or some other god and not Tawaret.

And I agree with Nik on Sawyer and Kate as well. I found it annoying that Kate’s feelings on the show have been so ambiguous and in some cases even negative toward Sawyer in the last year or so that Damon and Carlton felt they had to tell us her true feelings in a clip show. However, the fact that Darlton were the ones to tell us in the clip show would seem to indicate that that is the direction they may go. (Who knows, they’ve led us down the wrong path before.) Perhaps in a future clip show or an “extended” version of the finale, we will receive official confirmation on the identity of the Egyptian god, but that won’t be till next year, probably before the season 6 premiere.

studiorose said...

Hmmm. Perhaps it's not actually meant to be a "known" Egyptian god. This isn't Egypt, after all; it's an island in the middle of...well, wherever it happens to be at the time. Isn't it feasible that a sect of Egyptians could have gotten "lost," set up a new civilization on the island and eventually made up new gods for themselves?

Robert said...

Yep, guessed it was Tawaret, and the infertility issue, though as Nikki points out the destruction of the statue doesn't seem to coincide with the genesis of the infertility. Still, it just adds that much more to the Egyptian lore.

Benny said...

On the destruction of the statue:

Whe you watch the opening scene from LaFleur, John goes down the well, time flashes, the well disappears and now we see the statue. Then John turns the wheel, everyone holds their head in pain and there's a time skip to 1974 with a filled welled.

We are not actually show the view of where the statue was. So there's no on-screen confirmation that the statue had been destroyed prior. Someone said DHARMA would know, maybe they do, we just haven't heard them mention it.

The seismic shock resulting from the incident/detonation would probably be enough for the statue to crumble.

My first thought after LaFleur was that, when Locke turned the wheel, one of the characters compared it to an earthquake, one that could possibly have destroyed the statue.

Nikki Stafford said...

Fred: Richard said he was made immortal by Jacob. It is believed, Richard came from the Black Rock, and if this is the case, then sometime after Richard was immortalized the statue was destroyed.

Um... does anyone suddenly have the strong desire to see Nestor Carbonell dressed like Captain Jack Sparrow, with REAL guyliner??

Or is that just me?

Come on Richard flashback, come on...

Susan said...

Nikki I'm with you on the whole canon thing. If the enhanced episodes are not true canon (as Damon & Carlton said in a podcast) then how can anything outside of the show be considered canon?

Fred said...

Ben asks jacob, "What about me?"

Jacob replies, "What about you?"

Is it me or does this sound like the story of Job? Like Job, Ben has been robbed of his family (Alex), his wealth (Ben does have money, power, much of which came from Widmore), and a high position (leader of the Others). All this is taken from him (including his health--spinal cancer). In the end he is returned to the island and made a servant of Locke, under threat from the smoke monster.

Job himself loses all possessions, and family, finding himself questioning his existence. God finally comes to him, and with a small voice answers him. Job's faith is rewarded, and he is returned to the life he had before.

Ben's faith fails him, and he kills Jacob.

So is the final scene just an inversion of the story of Job? I find some difficulty with this, as Michael Emerson was meant to be on the show for only four episodes. Was Locke supposed to be the original Job-figure (suffering leading to death)? Like Job, Ben assumes he should be rewarded for his faithfulness. God has a superior knowledge, lacking in Job.

But Jacob is not God. (Remeber room 23, 'God loves you as he loved Jacob'. This implies Jacob is a lesser being, perhaps more knowledgeable than the Others and Ben, even Richard, but not God). What then does this make of Ben's sacrifices (his being tortured by Sayid in the hatch), and his deceptions (of Locke and others)? Are they all just part of a long con played by Jacob?

Kirathena said...

I think this is an interesting discussion but it may be one of those things we never know for sure and is never incorporated into the show because it is not important. It is one of the little points we like to discuss and gives us insight but in the whole plotline of the show, it is not really vital for us know or understand. So, they may never make it "canon" persay and just think throwing it in a recap or "Wired" will suffice for us rabid fans because it doesn't really matter that much anyhow.

Frankly unless they cover it in a line from an episode quickly I think it would be a waste of valuable plot time unless that statue is going to change the course of events in someway and the only way to understand those changes is knowing "who" it is. Knowing who it is more enhances Lost lore than drives any kind of plot or answers questions.

But, for the record, I totally thought it was Anubis. Who would have thought some obscure Egyptian God would be chosen? I think that is another point on the side of "it doesn't really matter who it is and they will never explain who it is in the show" as how many casual viewers would try to figure it out, especially if it wasn't obviously a God they had heard of and had direct connotations like 'death'? Being Anubis would have been an easy throw-away line, "That looks like Anubis..." without having to explain who Anubis is and why he was important for 5 minutes like you have to do with Tawaret.

I think we are just supposed to see an ancient Egyptian-like statue that is kind of odd where Jacob lives. Maybe the Lost creators based the design on one particular God like Tawaret but it isn't actually supposed to *be* that God and the details were lost in the recap translation. But, point being, they may not deem it vital enough to put in the mainstream show at all. I don't know, my two cents. Since Lost proves me wrong a lot I'm sure we will find out all about it first episode, next season. :)

Blam said...


studiorose: Perhaps it's not actually meant to be a "known" Egyptian god. This isn't Egypt, after all; it's an island in the middle of...well, wherever it happens to be at the time. Isn't it feasible that a sect of Egyptians could have gotten "lost," set up a new civilization on the island and eventually made up new gods for themselves?

That's exactly what my own theory -- or personal explanation / justification -- has been ever since we first got a good look at the statue and no definitive answer came up.

SonshineMusic said...

@Nikki: Um... does anyone suddenly have the strong desire to see Nestor Carbonell dressed like Captain Jack Sparrow, with REAL guyliner??

Or is that just me?

Come on Richard flashback, come on...
Oh, yes...Please! :P

Here's an interesting consideration...What happened to the rest of the statue? There's been a lot of discussion as to when the statue was destroyed, but I just realized as I was reading through this that there should be large chunks of the statue lying around. I mean, if the foot remained intact, are we supposed to believe that the rest of it was what? Vaporized?

Do they show any rubble from the statue anywhere? I can't remember seeing it.

Blam said...


Fred: Richard said he was made immortal by Jacob.Actually, in response to [Not]Locke asking him how it is he never ages, Richard says, "Jacob made me this way." I've opined before that instead of meaning "Jacob transformed me into this state" or "Jacob is the one who fixed it so that I don't age" he could literally have meant "Jacob made me -- and this is the way that he made me." Richard could have been created from whole cloth by Jacob, seemingly human but with apparent immortality part of the package.

Blam said...


SonshineMusic: Do they show any rubble from the statue anywhere? I can't remember seeing it.

The rubble could be in the ocean, but, yeah, it'd be strange for all of it to ended up there.

Maybe it was vaporized -- by the aliens!

I am so waiting for someone to bring up the fact that the rest of the statue is gone and for Jacob to reply, "Tell me about it. When I moved in, this was a five-story condo!"

Blam said...

PS: Hey, Nikki! Didja see J.J. Abrams rockin' the keyboards on the MTV Music Awards the other night?

SonshineMusic said...

Side note - just went to see Up (which was absolutely fantastic) But for me a huge part of it was the music written by our very own Michael Giacchino! Love him!

Nikki Stafford said...

Sonshine: oh, fantastic!! I'm going to take my 4-year-old to it soon. Actually, my husband and I are "discussing" who can take her. We coin-flipped for Monsters vs Aliens and he won, so I say it's my turn. He says he REALLY wants to see it. So I think in the end we find a babysitter for the toddler and we both take her. :) I can't wait! The previews always make me laugh out loud. :)

The Question Mark said...

Yay, Nikki! Thanks for finally clearing that statue business up! but, like you said, I'm still waiting for someone on the show (Alpert, I'm lookin' in your direction) to clarify it for realz.

However, Tawaret or not, I still think it'd be pretty awesome (in a funny way) if the camera spun around and the face of the statue was Emilie de Ravin.

Zari said...

Perhaps, as Blam and Kirathena say, it’s not a major (or any) plot point about who the statue is, but I’m with Batcabbage and Dana23 that it’s Sobek.

Although Tawaret was a deity of protection in pregnancy and childbirth, she was a female god – a hippopotamus with a crocodile on her back! Thus, she was sometimes claimed to be consort of Sobek.

Only the hair, “hat” and ears of the statue match Tawaret, but the sharp teeth/face looks like Sobek to me, as does the rest of the body which is decidedly masculine. Only sometimes is Sobek shown to be wearing the elaborate solar disc and horns headdress, but he is always shown carrying the ankh, the symbol of life.

Sobek was worshiped by the Egyptians to insure the fertility of their people and their crops. They also considered Sobek to be the god who controlled the waters. The statue faces outward to the ocean rather than inward to the island. Perhaps he protects the waters from bringing in anyone except those that the island wants/needs?

Jazzygirl said...

I've been staying out of the statue discussion because I was leaving it to the experts. But I just had a few minutes to read everything...and I did a google image search of Tawaret just to make my own comparisons. How annoying! First off, even in an image search, 90% of the results were from other LOST boards and blogs comparing pictures. I just want a picture not related to LOST to look at! Second annoying thing...that so many people have been discussing this elsewhere. Isn't Nikki's blog the ultimate LOST universe? :)
Third thing: I'm annoyed if it IS Tawaret because it looks nothing like her! I have yet to find one picture that shows that hippo with long legs. (not to mention the fact that hippos don't have all those alligator teeth but it seems the egyptians made her that way). This island statue in my opinion doesn't even come close to looking like Tawaret. But I'm just a peon so I guess it doesn't matter. LOL!

Nikki - HELL YES on the Jack Sparrow/Richard gig!

seegythefish said...

I'm interested to see what the statue actually comes out to be. I'm willing to believe it's Tawaret myself, perhaps with a significance of it not being a pregnant hippo attached to the fatal pregnancies caused by the island? As I believe some have previously surmised, perhaps the destruction of the statue if it is related to fertility, causes the deaths of the various pregnancies? Anyway, I digress. The one question however, that I am wondering about is the significance of the monster hieroglyph facing Anubis. I think it can be pinned down as being a representation of Ammit AKA, old Smokey. It should be important to note that Ammit was the beast that foul sinners were condemned to after being judged by Anubis. I'm looking forward to reading the latest "Finding Lost" to see what kind of reporting we have on Egyptian mythology.