'Lost': Sometimes a giant fertility statue is just a giant fertility statue

Michaelemerson_lost_290 Given that I write a "Lost" blog, it's not surprising that I get a lot of emails concerning the show sent to me on a daily basis. Friends send them my way, readers send them my way, and even my Nana once told me I could do a Google to the computer box and find answers about the show if I wanted to do so. So sweet, my Nana.

My colleagues here at Zap2it are no exception, so I came home last week to find more than a few of them pointing me to this site, which in turn linked to a blog entry on Lostpedia concerned a scanned image of the physical model used to create the CGI statue on the show. A very Russian doll way of getting to the bottom of things, but it was cool all the same to see the statue in all its mullet-laced glory.

Course, as the commenters over at Lostpedia point out, seeing the statue in this way does almost nothing to stop the incessant worry that what the show insists is a statue of Tawaret, Egyptian goddess of childbirth, is in fact NOT Tawaret at all. Now, I'm no Egyptologist, and while I DID stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I still don't possess the mental capacity to give you a definitive answer on whether or not the show's made the mother of all prop mistakes.

Here's the controversy: the statue does not match the traditional description of Tawaret at all, but comes closer to the Egyptian god Sobek. Both deities feature business in the front and a party in the back, but Sobek's facial features more closely resemble the statue in the show. Tawaret's generally depicted with a face of a hippopotamus, not a crocodile. Of course, complicating matters is the fact that Tawaret also featured crocodile-like features, and oh look I've gone completely cross-eyed.

What I would say about this controversy that it's at best an embarrassing production error rather than something that impacts how we should view the show. The official magazine is calling it Tawaret; so, I'm going to assume that we're looking at Tawaret. Doesn't really look like Tawaret, making this the Egyptian version of naming a statue of George Clooney "Ryan Reynolds," but what's important is what Tawaret symbolizes. According to this website,

Tawaret is a fertility goddess of pregnancy, childbirth, and the annual flooding of the Nile (with the resultant fertile soil it brings)...[Tawaret] is also known as a goddess who protects against evil by restraining it; thus, she became the concubine of Set after his fall from favor in the Egyptian pantheon, and restrains him with a chain from doing further evil.


The notion of a crumbled statue thus ties in heavily with the pregnancy issues on the Island. On an Island in which minds make matter, the destruction of a statue that represents fertility could have a lasting impact to those with prolonged exposure to the Island. How and when the statue crumbled to the ground thus becomes a central event in the history of the Island, and therefore the history of "Lost."

I'm also interested in the notion of "restraint," especially as it ties into the circle of ash surrounding Jacob's cabin. Moreover, this depiction only paints Tawaret as heroic if defined by the evil it inhibits, not the good it produces. (For what it's worth, Sobek was seen in equally murky terms.) It's a crucial difference that highlights Jacob's occasional indifference to the suffering of those with whom he comes into contact. Does letting Nadia knowingly die make him a "good" person? Obviously not, although I think Jacob would think less about a singular death and more about the big picture of restraining The Man in Black.

In short: think less about how the statue looks and focus more on what the statue means. We have confirmation from a show-approved magazine calling it Tawaret. You can call it Sobek, you can call is Anubis, you can call it Ms. Jackson (if ya nasty), but it's as futile as trying not to cry when Vincent runs into the ocean after the raft launches near the end of Season 1. So rather than get bogged down in Tawaret's appearance, let's get down to business of truly analyzing its meaning. We cool? Cool.

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