Study Guide

Sekhmet in The Red Pyramid

By Rick Riordan


If there's one god you don't want to fight, it's Sekhmet. Known as the Eye of Ra and the destroyer of the wicked, she's more bloodthirsty than Horus and Shezmu combined.

Sekhmet's single-minded determination to kill and destroy makes her pretty scary. Her appearance helps, too: "Her skin glowed like liquid gold, and her chest armor and skirt seemed to be woven of tiles made from molten lava. Her hair was like a thick lion's mane. Her eyes were feline, but they didn't sparkle like Bast's or betray any kindness or humor. Sekhmet's eyes blazed like her arrows, designed only to seek and destroy. She was beautiful the way an atomic explosion is beautiful" (33.49).

The way the story goes, Sekhmet used to punish the wicked on Ra's behalf, but then she got out of control, fueled by a never-ending bloodlust. In order to stop her ceaseless killing, the people colored vats of beer red and tricked Sekhmet into thinking she was drinking blood. She drank her fill and passed out like a college freshman on a Friday night, after which the gods transformed her into Hathor, her gentler alter ego.

Remember that thing about gods repeating patterns? Sadie, Carter, and Zia are able to trick Sekhmet into drinking a bunch of salsa—luckily it's the red kind, not the green kind—until Sekhmet turns into Hathor. Conveniently, she also stops hunting the kids. Whew.