Yesterday, I was scrolling through old photos on my phone and came across my trip to Universal Studios. Among Harry Potter World being the top attraction, one of my favorite rides from the weekend included “The Mummy.” Besides the fact that the ride is in the dark with fire and creepy reenactments from the movie (which I saw twice with my mom, because im a nerd), I LOVE everything Egyptian and Archaeological.

Egyptian mythology has pulled at the corners of societies imagination, even before Brendan Fraser graced us with his presence on screen. Multiple books, films, and documentaries have been based upon the history of the past times within the land of Egypt. The name that comes to mind when we think about Egyptians is probably Cleopatra, though I will save her tale for another time. Today, I want to elaborate on a different historical figure. One that was lost for centuries and then found again. No, like REALLY, found again. I am talking about none other than the Boy King, the short lived pharaoh, King Tutankhamun.

Now, King Tut is NOT a fictional figure, he was very much a real, living, person. My main reason in discussing him is because surrounding infamous beings, we tend to CREATE fiction, just like the Curse of The Pharaoh, or King Tut’s Curse. So before I jump into it, lets review some facts:

King Tutankhamun became the ruler of Egypt at the age of 9, making him the youngest Pharaoh to ever rule. His father, King Akhenaten, (the heretic king) is argued to have married his sister, who gave birth to King Tut. Historians believe King Tut possessed the signs of an incestual bloodline, considering his terrible health, clubbed foot, and scoliosis. To make this family tree even more disgusting, King Akhenaten remarried the beautiful Nefertiti and birthed up to 6 daughters. King Tut later ended up marrying Princess Ankhesenamun, who of which is none other than his half sister. Yikes. It is even believed that Nefertiti and King Tut had a romantic relationship behind the scenes. Keep in mind, the times were different, and their point of view was solidly based upon creating pure perfection between the rulers. King Tut is known for stopping the monotheistic religious views of his father and bringing back the old Gods. 10 short years later, poor King Tut dies at the age 19, putting an end to his reign in the 18th Dynasty. How did he die? Well, luckily we found his tomb in The Valley of the Kings, dated in 1922, which allowed us to excavate his body and bring us to the whole point of this blog post: The Curse of The Pharaoh.

A team of Archaeologists lead by Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut that changed everything we knew about the mummification of a King. Upon the opening of the stone coffin, excavators were stunned to find not only ONE sarcophagi, but THREE. Almost like a set of china dolls, one after the other were opened and removed until the final, COMPLETELY-MADE of gold sarcophagus, remained (which is unheard of because most all sarcophagi are made from wood). Word to the wise, don’t mess with the dead. Period. Out of the group of men who found King Tut’s body, 9 of them died. Unlike Hollywood’s movie descriptions of rising mummies sucking out your soul, sicknesses and unexplainable deaths struck these individuals who came too close for King Tut’s liking. The first perished of blood poisoning after scratching a mosquito bite while shaving; others died from Malaria, sepsis, pneumonia, and lymphoma. Then the more curious deaths included a house fire, a smothering in a gentlemen’s club, croaking after the X-ray of King Tut’s body, and lastly, suicide by hanging with a note that said, “I have succumbed to a curse that forces me to disappear.” Ironically, all of these deaths occurred within a span of 10 years of opening the tomb which matches the amount of time King Tut ruled Egypt, and the 9 who died, are equivalent to the age that King Tut took over the throne. CREEPYYYY.

This is where the Curse of The Pharaoh comes into play. It is believed that anyone who disturbs the tomb of a mummified ancient Egyptian (especially a pharaoh) will be eternally damned and cast with bad luck. These 9 deaths advocate for the curse, which exploded in the limelight and has since forth been carried forward into todays world. It wasn’t uncommon for tombs and coffins to have an engraved threat of warning. Even Shakespeare himself had the phrase, “Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear, to dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones.” Grave robbers have impeded on the dead throughout history, so the warning was common amongst those who did not what their bodies to be disturbed. As for King Tut, well, he obviously believed otherwise.

The death of King Tut is a controversial topic, from beliefs that he was murdered, or he fell off a chariot, BUT today we know that he actually died from gangrene after breaking his leg. OOF. DNA samples taken back in 2010 showed that he also had malaria.

Aside from all of this, I find it crazy that King Tut was missing one thing from his sarcophagus outside of his jewels and gems. His heart. During the mummification process, typically, all organs were removed and the body was packed with natron salt to keep it preserved. The heart is supposed to be the ONE organ that is left behind because they viewed it to represent the souls reasoning and that you would need it in the afterlife. SO, MAYBE THAT’S WHY KING TUT IS SO MAD AND WANTS TO KILL PEOPLE. Where did his heart go? Did his half-sister-wife steal it? She did disappear after all… I guess nobody will ever know.

I think the main thing we can take away from this curse is, never fuck with the dead. Plain and simple. Now, I hope this curse has inspired you to maybe create one of your own. IN stories, I mean. Not an actual curse. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. To close, here are some cool photos of King Tut’s three sarcophagus’s, the excavation, and the Valley of the Kings. The cover photo at the top of my blog is his death mask (what they pulled off his head inside the sarcophagus) Oh, and the embarrassing picture of me screaming. Like a girl. On The Mummy ride. You’re welcome.

“O let me visit Hero ere I die!” ugh, Que heartbreak. Sorry for introducing my first blog post with such a heavy topic, buttttt doesn’t everyone love a good tragedy? Especially one that has survived the test of time and embedded itself in multiple movies, songs, and not to mention, texts. Romeo and Juliet is probably one of the most infamous tragedies which portrays an allusion of the elusive poem Hero & Leander, written and adapted by Christopher Marlowe. So, if Shakespeare and Marlowe valued it, we need to talk about it.

Let me break the myth down for you real quick, in case you’ve never read it:

Hero is UM, gorgeous, a virgin, and a priestess of Aphrodite -AKA- The love Goddess. Hero lives in a tower all by her lonesome, located on the Hellespont in the city of Sestus. Leander, the stud and seducer of the story, also lives upon the Hellespont across the Mediterranean sea. Upon their meeting at a fun-filled festival, Leander falls head over heels in love with Hero, where he desires to shag her and propose marriage. Hero, unfortunately explains that she cannot marry a man from a foreign city (why is it always the parents?), so Leander vows to swim to her tower every night just to be with her. Hero helps her lover by placing a bright lamp outside her window to guide him through the dark waters. BUT all else fails. A terrible storm blows through on a moments notice, and the glowing lamp is snuffed out by the strong winds, causing poor, beautiful Leander to lose his way and drown. Hero is left trembling on the shore, as she collects her mans broken body, and later, casts herself off the top of her tower to die.

GAH, I cant tell you how much this story wrecked me the first time I read it. I am a hopeless romantic by nature, so when I read pieces that leave me “in my feels,” I end up creating so many different outcomes of the story in my head. Like, why didn’t Leander get a damn boat? OR just tell Hero’s parents to f**k off? These myths sometimes make me question societies obsession with tragic love stories. Why do we value them so much? Is it because the lovers do not end up together, something forbidden that makes a fire grow in our chests and causes us to daydream about our own search for love?

I think love in any story is definitely something that has to be plugged into the plot, just because its such a relatable topic for readers. Some might think differently, though in my opinion, your characters need to have in-depth emotions, like hate, anxiety, sorrow, happiness, and yes, love. There are MANY different forms of love. In this case, with Hero and Leander, their love was quick, breathless (pun intended), and cataclysmic.

So, my main question here; what kind of love is the most powerful in stories? Is it the tragic, life ending love? The simple, steady, best friend kind? The obsessive and possessive? The overwhelming opposites attract, or the unpredictable love? The good girl, bad boy complex love?My list of types can certainly go on and on. I myself have TRULY been in love only twice in my life. Both experiences are far and in-between with comparisons and differences, though, I will say love in all stages of life, with any partner, is ever changing.

It’s simply a matter of IF you evolve with that love or NOT that stands the test of time.

Where as in Hero’s mind and heart, accepting death, allowed her to move forward into an everlasting love with her Leander. Her sweet Leander.

So, let me know your thoughts. What do you think makes a love powerful when it comes to creating it between our characters?

“It lies not with our power to love or hate, for will in us is overruled by fate.”

– Christopher Marlowe *Hero & Leander*