Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow is a mysterious villain in Moon Knight. This is partly due to the fact that the show’s creators stated that they opted to invent an original villain rather than use a classic antagonist from the comics. Still, Hawke’s Harrow undeniably shares strong similarities with several villains seen in more recent Moon Knight comics. While this could simply reveal where the series’ writers got their inspiration for the character, it might also provide clues as to what could be revealed about Harrow as the series progresses.
There was plenty of speculation that Hawke would be playing a version of Patient 86, also referred to as the Sun King. While being treated for bipolar disorder at Ravencroft Institute, a doctor introduced him to Egyptian mythology because she recognized similarities between Patient 86 and Marc Spector/Moon Knight, and she thought it might help him. He became obsessed with the Sun King Amon Ra and seemed to gain flame powers while institutionalized. He sought to destroy Moon Knight because of the contentious relationship between the two Egyptian gods they represented. The “Sun King” became a cult leader on a small island with a significant following.
Obviously, we know Hawke’s Harrow is quite the cult leader himself, as he’s seen seemingly leading a community of followers in the name of an Egyptian god. He also revealed he was the previous Fist of Khonshu, so he may have a specific or obsessive grudge against Marc Spector that hasn’t been fully explored. Speaking of, this brings us to the next inspiration from the comics.
Other Fists of Khonshu
There are times throughout Moon Knight’s history that Khonshu choosing other avatars comes into play. So far in Moon Knight, we know that Khonshu is interested in Layla as his next avatar. More importantly, though, we know that Harrow was a past Fist of Khonshu. A couple of somewhat similar situations have arisen recently in Moon Knight comics. Both instances involved the other “fist,” or wannabe’s fist, having a much different idea of Khonshu’s will or vengeance.
First, while it was ultimately a front, a psychologist Marc employed convinced Khonshu to allow her to be his avatar. Her cover story, at least, was that she and her family were victims of a genocidal war, and she sought the assassination of the General who was now leading the country. The main themes associated with this psychologist were that killing the General could prevent future deaths and that Marc Spector was too weak to do the type of preventative “justice” she imagined was required of a Moon Knight.
Hawke’s Harrow is completely set on preventative justice–his dedication to Ammit centers around ending evil before it can be committed. While the psychologist from the comics ultimately ended up being someone else, perhaps Moon Knight’s Harrow has a surprise reveal down the line that demonstrates his true intentions unrelated to Ammut.
In the current comics run of Moon Knight, another purported Fist of Khonshu emerged. Yet another doctor, went by the name of Hunter’s Moon and claimed to be the second “fist” (after all, people have two hands). Whether he actually was or not, he also called into question whether Spector was adequately carrying out Khonshu’s will. Hawke’s Harrow is slightly different, though, because he believes Khonshu’s approach the justice is simply wrong. But he does question Moon Knight’s values and likely seeks to turn him to his side. Still, Hunter’s Moon is so recent in the comics that it is highly unlikely the series had him in mind when writing Moon Knight.
Dr. Arthur Harrow and His Possible Connection to Another Major Villain
This one is a bit more of a stretch, but it could explain why Moon Knight decided to name its original villain after Dr. Arthur Harrow, a comics character that appeared in a single issue of a Moon Knight comic in 1985. Dr. Harrow was a scientist who used techniques from Auschwitz to research pain theory in horrific, illegal ways. A future Moon Knight villain, Ernst, is a Nazi, torturer, and serial killer that posed as a member of Marc Spector’s childhood Jewish community. Spector’s escape from Ernst is credited as a major event in terms of the development of his dissociative identity disorder. The connection between Dr. Arthur Harrow and Ernst could be their shared affinity for pain. Ernst later led the Société des Sadiques, a group that celebrates sadism and pain. For his part, Hawke’s Harrow does open the series by putting broken glass in his shoes to cause himself pain at all times.
Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney Plus.