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Ra

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When I told you the gods waited for their pharaoh, I meant you, Carter Kane, the Eye of Horus. I am here to fight my old enemy, not to assume the throne. That is your destiny. Unite the House of Life, rally the gods in my name. Never fear, I will hold Apophis until you come.

–Ra to Carter Kane, in The Serpent's Shadow

Ra is a former pharaoh of the Egyptian gods and the most powerful god in existence. He was forced into retirement by Isis and after taking precautions to stop Apophis, he became a senile old man, who wound up in the House of Rest in the Duat. After being hosted by Zia, he returns to his former self as a powerful god. He has four aspects: Khepri as the morning god, Ra as the day god, Khnum as the evening god, and Atum as the afternoon god.

History

At the beginning there was only the Sea of Chaos, then the first land, the first obelisk, the symbol of Ma'at, came from Chaos, creation from destruction, and from it, Ra rose. Ra was powerful and took many forms, but he was alone and chaos surrounded him, so he summoned the other gods, he summoned Shu, who willed the winds, and Tefnut, who caused the rains to fall. And then came Shu's children: Nut, the sky, and Geb, the earth. Following the creation of the other gods. With his Sun Boat, Ra crosses onto the heavens to upheld the triumph of Ma'at over Isfet, or chaos.

But also, as Order took manifestation in the form of Ra, Chaos also manifested into a giant serpent called Apophis, the god of Chaos who hated all of creation. As Chaos tried to overthrow and disrupt the delicate balance between Chaos and Order, Apophis tried to swallow the sun god as the ancient prophecy stated, which if the Serpent would be successful, the world would be destroyed and fall into Chaos. However, the triumph of Chaos did not happen since the gods were there to protect Ra, the Lord of Order.

Then came the prophecy that a child of Nut and Geb would overthrew Ra as king. Paranoid, Ra became furious, ordering Nut to never give birth to any of her children on any day of the year. However, Ra was somehow defied and thwarted when Nut used moonlight that she won from the god Khonsu to create 5 days and added them to the end of the year, which was later called Demon Days. Thus the gods Osiris, Set, Isis, Nephthys, and Horus the Elder were born. As punishment, Ra ordered the wind god Shu, father of both Nut and Geb, to keep the two separated.

Ra then grew old, and man no longer feared him or his laws. Angered by this, he summoned Sekhmet, his first Eye and the fiercest of all goddesses to destroy the wicked. But then, the lion goddess Sekhmet proved uncontrollable as she began to kill anyone, and no mortal or god was strong enough to stop her. Ra, remorseful for what happened, helped the magicians and mortals by creating a remedy that could bring Sekhmet down. He ordered those at Heliopolis to brew thousands of beer, mix them with crushed red ochre and pour it at a field. The huntress then stopped upon seeing the plain flooded and began drinking the brew, thinking it was her enemies' blood. Intoxicated, Ra then was able to change her name in Hathor, a gentle cow goddess. He then chose the cat goddess Bast to become the new Eye of Ra.

After sometime, Ra, who while ruling the gods and traveling in the sky with his Eye, Bast and his lieutenant, the chaotic deity Set, became forgetful and senile. Though the gods doubted Ra's capabilities to become their king, none were brave, or clever enough to take the position from him without falling into the influence of Chaos. Then came the goddess Isis, who, with her other sibling were reborn again, were now a couple. Isis, who was more clever than a million men and knew almost all secrets of the Earth, was impatient of Ra voluntarily retiring, formulated of a way to make her husband, Osiris become king. As Ra descended during the night, Isis slipped the snake into his resting place that she had created by mixing clay and the sun god's drool, which in turn bit Ra in the ankle.

Ra cried in pain and the other gods naturally rushed to his side. No one, not even Thoth, could cure the poison which was consuming his very being. Then the healer, Isis appeared and cried, saying that there is nothing she can do. Not unless Ra would tell her his secret name.

Ra, who was tired and weary of the poison, then told Isis his secret name which she used in her spell that successfully healed the sun god. Then Ra went into forced retirement as Isis demanded.

Ra then used the third part of his soul, the morning sun Khepri to bind the Eye of Ra, Bast and his enemy, the Chaos snake Apophis in eternal battle whilst in the abyss. After that, he slept and slowly faded into lasting twilight.

Mythology

Ra Palette

A carving of the sun god

The chief cult center of Ra was Heliopolis, (called Iun or "Pillar", in Egyptian) where he was identified with the local sun-god Atum. In mythology, Ra is the king of the gods and god of the sky. To the ancient Egyptians, he represented light, warmth, and growth making him an important god and ruling over all the other gods, humans, ect. Ra was thought to travel on two solar boats called the Mandjet (the Boat of a Million of Years), or morning boat and the Mesektet, or evening boat. These boats took him on his journey through the sky and the underworld. When Ra traveled in his sun boat he was accompanied by various other deities including Sia (perception) and Hu (command) as well as Heka (magic power). Sometimes members of the Ennead helped him on his journey, including Set who overcame the serpent Apophis and Mehen who defended against the monsters of the underworld. Apophis, an enormous serpent, tried to stop the sun boat's journey every night by consuming it or by stopping it in its tracks with a hypnotic stare. In the evening the Egyptians believed that Ra set as Atum or in the form of a ram. The Mesektet or Night boat would carry Ra through the underworld back towards the east in preparation for his rebirth at sunrise. These myths of Ra represent the sunrise as the rebirth of the sun by the sky goddess Nut, thus attributing the concept of rebirth and renewal to Ra and strengthening his role as a creator god.

The Kane Chronicles

The Throne of Fire

The Kanes found Ra in the House of Rest in the Duat and Sadie managed to revive him, however, he was still senile though he retook his throne. Even with Khepri returned to him and thus his ability to be reborn, Ra is not reborn and lives in the House of Life during the day and does his nightly journey protected by the other gods at night. He gives a beetle, the last remnant of Khepri, to Zia Rashid, his chosen host so she could channel his powers in times of need. After The Battle of Brooklyn House, Ra, along with Bast, returns to the heavens on his sun boat.

The Serpent's Shadow

While visiting the Land of the Demons, Carter and Zia were protected from the Sea of Chaos by the remnant of Khepri, the beetle given to Zia by Ra. After the Kanes and Zia managed to get Apophis' shadow, Ra arrived in his boat during his nightly journey in time to pick them up, saving them from being stranded as the Egyptian Queen had been destroyed and they had no other way out. Ra then took Zia as his host and was reborn, something Bes stated has happened many times before, but hasn't happened in a long time. Bes also stated that it usually takes Ra longer than his near-instant rebirth which Ra credited Zia for. Even though Carter offered him back his crook and flail which Ra sent him in a time of need, Ra refused it, stating that he came back to fight Apophis, not to take the position as pharaoh of the gods, so he hands the authority over to Carter as the rightful pharaoh. Using Zia as his host, Ra led Sobek, Bes, and Bast into battle against Apophis to give the Kanes time to enact their plan to finally destroy the Serpent. He is later joined by magicians from the House of Life after they defeat Apophis' minions and other gods summoned by Carter in his role as pharaoh. Ra gets swallowed by Apophis, but his sacrifice bought the time that was needed and Apophis was destroyed, releasing Ra as he exploded. With Apophis finally dead, Ra declared that the gods were to remove themselves from the mortal world for a time because with Chaos leaving the world, so must Order to ensure that a balance was maintained. However, he allowed Anubis to remain on Earth in the host of Walt Stone as the two were one being like gods had been with humans in ancient times. Ra also abdicated his throne again to Horus, allowing Horus to become leader of the gods like his former host Carter, who is now the long-awaited Pharaoh of the House of Life.

The Trials of Apollo

The Hidden Oracle

Apollo mentions that although he can no longer pull the sun chariot, the other forces such as Ra will continue the daily journey in his sun barque in his place.

Personality

Before Ra's dethronement, Ra was described him as a compassionate, just and wise leader. Also in his rule, Ra was very protective of his throne as seen when he tried to prevent Geb and Nut from having children.

However, after eons of aging like a mortal would Ra became senile with behavior close to that of an infant. The senile Ra acts like a little toddler. He is unable to remember himself, although he tries to express his wisdom through random childish comments. Zia eventually tells Carter that the real Ra is trapped inside of his old body like a prison but is unable to free himself without a host for rebirth. At times however, the real Ra shines through where he makes strange comments that display wisdom when looked deep into. He also had enough presence of mind left to send Carter Kane his crook and flail when he was in a situation where Horus was powerless to help him. When Zia would channel his power, Ra's desire to escape from the prison of his old body would manifest in Zia nearly losing control of herself.

After taking Zia as a host, Ra was reborn and regained his sanity. Ra acted like a wise old man and was shown to deeply care about others such as Bast and Zia, asking Carter to take care of the latter after Apophis was killed. After his rebirth, Ra chose not to retake his place as pharaoh of the gods, something he had fought so hard to maintain before resulting in his retirement. Instead, he ceded the throne to Carter Kane and Horus and showed great faith in Carter's skill as a leader.

Appearance

When Ra is woken up, he is described by Sadie as the world's oldest man, older than many Egyptian mummies. He has translucent skin and one can see his veins, cloudy old eyes and he has many missing teeth. Ra is very bony and skinny. Zia thinks that Ra is actually trapped in that body.

After Ra is finally able to be reborn, he appears as a tall and bald old man, with glowing golden skin, golden eyes, a kind smile with all his teeth. He is dressed in Egyptian armour and is very muscular. Ra speaks in a very deep voice.

Abilities

Ra is the most powerful Egyptian god, as he created the world and formulated its laws. He is the "heart" of the gods, as without him, they would cease to exist. He is only surpassed in might by his archenemy, Apophis. Zia tells Carter that Ra's power surpasses the other gods so much that it's very dangerous to try to channel or host him.

  • Fire Magic: Ra, besides having other superior abilities and powers, chooses to use fire magic, due to him being the God of the Sun and Heat. Thus, Ra can shoot enormous columns of fire as he pleases, which explode when they hit their target. It seems, as said and shown in The Serpent's Shadow, only Ra's attacks can effectively disrupt Apophis' otherwise seemingly invulnerable form.
    • Vapor Image: Ra, as the God of the Sun and Heat, has his image dance in hot vapor, causing his opponent to misjudge his location.
  • Light Magic: Also in his capacity as the sun god Ra has control over light. Some of his powers and presence are described as bright or glowing.
  • Paralyzing Immunity: Ra is the only known god with the ability to look directly at Apophis without getting paralyzed, as he is "too hot to handle".
  • Massive Strength: As Khnum, Ra has immense superhuman strength, like Sobek and Set.
  • Replenishing Energy: Ra, as the God of Creation and Renewal, is able to replenish energy and give vitality by just his presence as seen during the Brooklyn House Battle at The Throne of Fire, when the resident healer, Jaz, woke from her coma during dawn exactly when Ra was brought back to the world.
  • Creation: Ra, as the Lord of Ma'at, (creation), can create things merely by naming them, much like Ptah.
  • Apporting: In a moment of need, Ra was able to send his crook and flail to Carter to help against Bloodstained Blade.
  • Chaos Protection: Ra can also sustain and shield people from the harmful effects of Chaos as seen during Carter, Zia and Setne's trip at the Sea of Chaos.
  • Rebirth: Ra is shown to be able to be reborn, but has to have all three aspects of himself in order to do so. When he sacrificed Khepri to bind Apophis, he also sacrificed his ability to be reborn and became senile and comatose before being woken up. Even after getting the last of Khepri back in the form of the last beetle that made up his form, he wasn't reborn until he merged with Zia who had been given the beetle earlier. He did this by disintegrating and then being born anew in the form of Zia. According to Bes, this used to happen a lot and all of the gods have seen him do it, but it usually takes a lot longer than his rebirth with Zia.
  • Dependence on Ra's Life Force: When Ra god goes missing, the gods start to lose power slowly. Worse, if Ra were to be somehow destroyed (via shadow execration for instance) all the other gods are destroyed as well.

Relationships

Bast: As his daughter, loyal cat and servant, Ra has full of trust of Bast and even shows to her his affections as a good master. During the final battle with Apophis, Ra is pleased to see her and asks her to fight alongside him again which she happily does. However, Bast realized long ago that when Ra set her against Apophis to battle for eternity, he had expected them both to be destroyed. This means he had been willing to not only sacrifice Bast, but also deceive her.

Apophis: Ra and his archenemy would try to kill each other since Apophis would want to devour Ra. Apophis did ultimately succeed in devouring Ra in The Serpent's Shadow, but is destroyed by Sadie and Carter Kane, saving Ra, who escapes in the middle of Apophis' threats to take Ra with him.

Set: Even if Set was a god of Chaos, Ra chose him to be his lieutenant. This is may be because Ra can see loyalty in Set and his strength. In return, Set shows unwavering loyalty to his great-grandfather Ra, saying that despite being a god of Chaos and Evil himself, he'd choose Ra over Apophis any day.

Isis: Isis and Ra have a very complicated relationship. This due to the fact that it was Isis who forced Ra into retirement and which made him originally lose the will to live.

Horus: Horus, with the help of his mother, usurped Ra's throne for thousands of years. When Ra finally returned, Horus publicly supported him and protected him on his nightly journey, but was secretly very angry and humiliated by Ra's return as a senile old man to retake the throne to the degree that he threatened his former host Carter Kane. During the final battle against Apophis, Horus, merged with his host Carter, helped the reborn Ra battle Apophis and was instrumental to the Chaos Serpent's ultimate destruction by lending Carter his power. Afterwards, Ra abdicated his throne once more, and allowed Horus to become the leader of the gods again.

Sadie Kane: Ra is of a great debt of gratitude to Sadie for it was and her brother Carter who restored and revived him and finally destroyed Apophis for him.

Carter Kane: Ra sees Carter Kane as worthier of being the Pharaoh than he is. He admires Carter's leadership and asks him to take care of Zia. He even gives Carter his crook and flail in a time of need and has him take command of the gods as their leader during the battle rather than him, explaining that he came back to fight Apophis, not to lead. He also owes him for finally destroying his old enemy Apophis.

Zia Rashid: Zia is Ra's latest former host. He chose her because she is strong. Her affection is similar to Iskandar for Zia. Zia looked after him when he was revived and he gave her the last Khepri beetle to protect her with the last of that god's power. Zia channeled Ra's power several times, notably against the Apis Bull and Bloodstained Blade, but had a hard time controlling it because of Ra's sheer power. After reuniting with Ra on his boat, Zia allowed Ra to take her as a host and it allowed him to be reborn finally, something he attributed to her compassion. Before he leaves again for a very long time, he asks Carter to look after Zia for him, apparently aware of the two's romantic feelings for each other.

Anubis: Despite his decree that all of the gods must now leave the Earth for a time, Ra allowed Anubis to remain on Earth in his human host Walt Stone to live a mortal life as the other gods had once done with the pharaohs. He may have done this out of compassion for Anubis' feelings for Sadie Kane who Ra owed and also to give Anubis the chance to live a mortal life which he'd never done before, not needing a host and being very young compared to the rest of the gods. This is in contrast to the other gods (mainly Shu) who did their best to keep Anubis and Sadie apart.

Crook and Flail of Ra

Crook and Flail of Ra

Trivia

  • In The Throne of Fire it is stated that Ra is far more important and irreplaceable than any other god or king. As the first god aside from being more powerful than others, he is the Lord of Ma'at and essential to the survival of the universe. Akin to how a plant needs sunlight to live, with Ra as the Sun which feeds the plant; if Ra was to die then the universe, like a sunless plant, will slowly wither and die.
  • Ra is stated to be the "heart" of the Egyptian gods and, by extension, the entire universe. Even if the others do not acknowledge it or possibly don't even know it as Isis presumably didn't know the consequences, without Ra, the rest of the gods would eventually fade into nothingness.
  • Ra's crook and flail are said to be blue and gold in the book, however, in his picture, they are green and gold, also at some part in the Serpent's Shadow, it was described as gold and red. They may be like that for the different aspects of Ra.
  • Ra is a Protogenos (god that emerged directly from chaos).
  • His host's name, Zia, is the name of the Native American symbol for the Sun.
  • In mythology, Ra started his boat journey after Isis poisoned him but in the books, it is the other way around.
  • In the Throne of Fire, Ra often mentioned the words, "Zebra" and "Weasel". He could have been referring to Zia Rashid and Walt Stone.
  • Ra's Greco-Roman equivalent (in terms of supreme authority) is Zeus/Jupiter, though in terms of attributes, Ra has much more in common with Apollo.
  • Ra is the first god or goddess to take a host of the opposite gender, in his case Zia Rashid. The goddess Nekhbet would later take demigod Percy Jackson as a temporary host to battle Setne.
  • Ra's Norse equivalent (in terms of supreme authority) is Odin, though, in term of attributes, Ra has much more in common with Sól.
  • In some myths, he is considered the brother of Apophis and the son of Neith.
The Kane Chronicles
Core Series: The Red Pyramid | The Throne of Fire | The Serpent's Shadow
Crossovers: The Son of Sobek | The Staff of Serapis | The Crown of Ptolemy | Demigods & Magicians
Main Characters: Carter Kane | Sadie Kane | Ra | Anubis | Apophis | Bast | Bes | Horus | Isis | Zia Rashid | Set | Walt Stone
Minor Characters: Michel Desjardins | Geb | Iskandar | Jaz | Amos Kane | Julius Kane | Ruby Kane | Khufu | Nephthys | Nut | Osiris | Thoth | Percy Jackson | Annabeth Chase | List of Characters
Other: House of Life | Magic | Magician | Kane Family
Related Content: Rick Riordan | List of Terms | The Kane Chronicles Survival Guide

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