Carter Kane

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Carter Kane
The Kane Chronicles character
First appearance The Red Pyramid
Last appearance The Crown of Ptolemy
Created by Rick Riordan
Occupation Magician
Abilities Endurance/Agility/Senses
Magical powers
Full name Carter Kane
Aliases Horus
Species Human (magician)
Gender Male
Occupation Pharaoh of the House of Life
Title Blood of the Pharaohs
Eye of Horus
Pharaoh of the House of Life
Family Julius Kane (father, deceased)
Ruby Kane (mother, deceased)
Sadie Kane (sister)
Amos Kane (uncle)
Significant other(s) Zia Rashid
Relatives Ramesses II (maternal ancestor, deceased)
Narmer (paternal ancestor, deceased)
Khaemwaset (maternal ancestor, deceased)
Mr. and Mrs. Faust (maternal grandparents)
Nationality American
Weapon(s) Khopesh, combat avatar of Horus

Carter Kane is a fictional character and one of the main characters in The Kane Chronicles series, along with his younger sister, Sadie. In the novels, he follows the "path of Horus" by hosting the god. He is one of the strongest magicians in the world, next to his uncle Amos and his sister.

The character was the subject of a 2015 "whitewashing" controversy on the covers of Kane Chronicles novels, particularly foreign language editions.[1]


Carter is the eldest child of Julius and Ruby Kane, both of whose families have the blood of the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs -- Ramesses the Great on his mother's side and Narmer on his father's. He was named after Howard Carter, the archaeologist who discovered Tutankhamun's tomb. In addition to being magicians of the Per Ankh, Carter's mother was a scientist and his father an egyptologist. Carter and his little sister Sadie (about one and a half years younger than him) were unaware of their parents' true profession until partway into The Red Pyramid. The family lived in Los Angeles, California until Mrs. Kane's death when Carter was eight years old.

As he and his sister learn later, Carter's mother, a diviner, foresaw a time when Iskandar's decision to outlaw hosting gods would lead to the destruction of the world by Apophis. The elder Kanes decided to release the cat goddess Bast, who was imprisoned with Apophis in the Duat, fighting a losing battle to keep him suppressed. To accomplish this, the two traveled to Cleopatra's Needle in London. Ruby chose to sacrifice herself to protect Julius from the wrath of Apophis. A shattered Julius swore to find a way to reunite with her and finish their mission to bring the gods back into the word.

Carter's maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Faust, later took Julius to court and won custody of Sadie. Carter was left to be raised by his father. He was allowed to see his sister twice a year, but was otherwise constantly on the move as his father ecaded magicians from the House of Life sent to capture him. During this time, Sadie Kane was similarly protected by the goddess Bast, hosted by her pet cat "Muffin".[2] Carter sometimes regretted his father's strict parenting style, but strove to emulate him. He acquired the habits of always dressing "like a junior professor", living out of a single suitcase, following basketball (especially the LA Lakers), and reading to pass the time.

The Red Pyramid[edit]

Six years after the death of his mother, Carter is now fourteen years old. During their annual Christmas Eve visit, Sadie and Carter are taken to the British Museum, where Julius attempts to summon Osiris using the Rosetta Stone. The siblings become unknowing hosts to the gods Horus and Isis, respectively. Their paternal uncle Amos takes Carter and Sadie into his custody and "explains the long and often deadly struggle that the magicians have had with the gods over past centuries".[3] Carter and Sadie have troubling dreams which reveal that Set is building a massive pyramid in the desert near Phoenix, Arizona in preparation for unleashing a cataclysmic storm. They are ultimately successful in dismantling this pyramid, but are unable to save the life of their father trapped within it or of the shabti of Zia Rashid (whom he was attracted to. Their uncle Amos is emotionally shattered by having been possessed by Set.[4]

Over the course of the novel, Carter is forced to assume the role of older brother and take on a greater level of independence than he has previously experienced.[5] At the end of the novel, he is left as the de facto leader of both the 21st Nome and his family, a role he is still not comfortable with. He is grateful, however, that he has gotten the chance to be close with his sister, and relies on her to keep him strong. Carter also learns to accept the facets of his personality which make him similar to Horus—namely, his ability to lead and his courage in the face of danger—and learns that it is not disrespectful to his father to relax his standards a little and become his own person. Despite his newfound individuality, he retains many of his father's values and attributes. Interestingly, he vows to find the real Zia Rashid over her dying "body", much as his father did for his mother.[6]

Carter's most important transition during the first novel is his indoctrination into the dangerous world of Egyptian magic. Though he ultimately does not have a choice, Carter comes to accept the gods; his role in defending humanity from their more "devious" tendencies; and his need to take a stand in "[preserving his] increasingly bleak future".[3][7] Carter even makes the difficult decision to contact others with the "blood of the pharaohs" and teach them what he has learned.[4] As Elizabeth Bush says in a review of the novel, the "bittersweet ending lays the foundation for subsequent titles" and character growth.[8]

During their escape from Amos's mansion, Carter acquires a khopesh which becomes his weapon of choice throughout the series.[9] He begins to specialize in combat magic, and inherits his father's magic kit.[6]

The Throne of Fire[edit]

Main article: The Throne of Fire

Three months after the defeat of Set, Carter, along with Sadie and Bast, has begun to educate a group of about twenty initiates about the Path of the Gods. He receives a vision from Horus, warning him that in three days Apophis will swallow the sun, ending all existence. In order to prevent this, the sun god, Ra, must be awakened. The siblings also learn more and more about the gods' relationship to each other and their hosts, information which will be vital to defeat Apophis. Carter experiences a number of traumatic experiences in the novel, including the near death of himself and (separately) a trainee named Jaz; the loss of a close friend, Bes, on a journey through the Duat; and the disappointment of Ra's inadequacy coupled with Michel Desjardins's ultimate sacrifice.[10][11]

The novel is characterized by Carter's eye-opening experiences and his "becoming the [hero] that destiny demands".[11] When he is poisoned by a tjesu heru (Egpytian pushmi-pullyu), Sadie is forced to analyze his ren to learn his secret name -- "the sum of [his] experiences, even those [he'd] never want to share". He says this event "felt like [Sadie had] opened me up on the surgery table, examined me, and sewn me back together".[10] Carter also struggles with his new and almost-obsessive love for Zia Rashid, and has to not only balance his desire to protect her with her own wishes and his duty to the rest of the world; but also to cope when she admits that she does not feel the same for him. On top of all this, Carter is also learning to be a leader for children his own age and older, annoyed by his sister's rebellious nature and occasional lack of responsibility.[5] His visit to the palace of Osiris in the underworld, where he sees his deceased parents, comforts him but reinforces the knowledge that he will never be able to be with them in the world above.[10]

The Serpent's Shadow[edit]

The 21st Nome's situation is dire in the opening of the final book, as Apophis's strength is growing and all suspect his next escape attempt is drawing near. The god Thoth reveals that Setne can help Carter, Sadie, and their initiates get Apophis's sheut, which can be used to destroy the serpent (likely at the cost of Carter and Sadie's lives). For a short while, Carter struggles to channel Horus because the war god believes they should try an all-out assault on Apophis, rather than risk hunting for the serpent's sheut. Carter and Sadie manage to acquire the sheut and recruit all the gods (including a restored Bes and Zia as the host of Ra) for a final battle with the serpent. The magicians manage to execrate Apophis, but this disruption of the balance between Ma'at and Isfet forces the gods to retreat from the world, including Ra, Osiris, and even Horus and Isis. Because of his victory over the serpent, Carter is named pharaoh of the House of Life, though he chooses not to exercise this power until he has matured. Carter also begins a romantic relationship with Zia Rashid, who has a much better understanding of him now that she has spent some time as the Eye of Ra.[12]

The Serpent's Shadow represents Carter's final transformation into a leader.[13] Not only is he given the ultimate leadership position, he is also finally left standing alone, with essentially no one "older and wiser" to help him—just his sister, new girlfriend, and trainees. He can rest assured that he has finally proven himself, however, because his father, uncle, and even Horus are pleased with what he and his companions have accomplished. He chooses to continue life as a "normal" high school student while living at the Brooklyn House with his trainees.


Carter is an African American teenager and closely resembles his father, Julius, in appearance. He bears little to no resemblance to his sister and mother, both of whom are Caucasian in appearance. Because of this difference in appearance, few people initially realize that he and Sadie are siblings, something Carter has grown used to. Carter typically carries an Eye of Horus symbol, a gift from his father. Later, some of Horus's essence is left in the symbol and he removes it so as not to be tempted to use the power. Carter's ba is a falcon with a human head, recalling Horus.

Cover art controversy[edit]

Carter has frequently been "whitewashed" on covers of Kane Chronicles non-English edition novels, such as in Russia, the Netherlands, Italy, and more.[14] Even the American covers depict Carter in a way that makes it difficult to tell if he has the "dark brown skin" he is said to have in the series, though he still appears more African American than on many other editions.[4][9] Riordan complained about the issue on both his Twitter and Tumblr pages repeatedly, saying, "... the whitewashing of Carter Kane continues. Ugh."[15] and "Pretty art but I'm not amused how they whitewash Carter."[16] He later announced that the Dutch[17] and Russian[18] editions had fixed covers.[14]


Carter Kane is very protective of his family and friends, and will do anything to ensure their safety. He tends to be a gentleman because of the way his father raised him, and is always thinking of how to solve their next problem. He is described as nerdy, bookish, and formal.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Magic: Carter is a very powerful magician, though is not formally trained, He has more experience than the initiates of the other Nomes, and his progress is quickened due to the Path of the Gods. Carter's specialty is combat magic although he can use other techniques granted by the Path of Horus. He can also use hieroglyphic spells and has been known to be able to speak about half a dozen Divine Words. Carter also has the ability to transform into a falcon. Whilst being the Eye of Horus, Carter had the ability to transform other beings into animals for a short duration.

Combat Skills: During The Red Pyramid, Carter shows superhuman reflexes whilst in a battle. He deflects daggers at remarkable speeds and even dodges a dagger. Although he usually uses combat magic, Carter was once forced to use pure combat skills against opponents due to his link with Horus not being very strong. He managed to hold his own against Sobek's crocodiles, and was able to hold his own against Percy Jackson, despite the latter being the better sword fighter. Percy himself told Carter that he was one of the few people to fight him well.

Animal Charming: As a result of following the Path of Horus, Carter has the ability to control the god's sacred animals such as falcons, griffins and Snakes. He first used this ability to tame Freak the griffin in The Throne of Fire and it has allowed him to control the griffin and understand him to an extent since.


Khopesh: Carter used a khopesh from Brooklyn House, during the Red Pyramid and the first part of the Throne of Fire. He later lost his sword while fighting the Tjesu heru and wasn't able to retrieve it. Carter found himself a new khopesh in The Serpent's Shadow, but again lost it in a fight with a massive hippo demon. By the Son of Sobek, he has possession of another khopesh. This is Carter's main offensive weapon.

Wand: Carter used his wand through the Red Pyramid and the Throne of Fire, until his encounter with the water demons. He later used his wand from his father's tool kit and is still using it. He can summon a shield of force around himself, by focusing his will. Carter can also send a burst of magic into anything his wand is in contact with to shock them, however this does not work with Percy Jackson and in extension, to any demigods. This is Carter's main defensive weapon.

Crook and flail: At times, Carter has been able to use the crook and flail of the sun god Ra. This enhances his own abilities to the extent that he can make gods bow to him and in a rage, harm Apophis where nothing else affected him. While Ra gave him the crook and flail to keep, he decided to leave them in the First Nome and only use them in big battles.

Shabti: While Carter was initially not very good at creating magical figurines, he has proven capable of using them, such as using his father's Doughboy in The Red Pyramid and using the shabti of Apophis to destroy him. He has grown better over time with them, now carrying wax to form them in his kit and able to shape a shabti on the fly without even looking. In this case, the shabti was rather deformed, but it was due to a lack of time to finish properly.


  1. ^ Oulton, Emma (November 19, 2015). "The 'Kane Chronicles' Book Covers Are No Longer Whitewashed, Thanks To Rick Riordan". Bustle. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 
  2. ^ BookieCookie (February 17, 2015). "Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan". Children's Books Reviews. The Guardian. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Boche, Benjamin (August 11, 2011). "The Red Pyramid: The Kane Chronicles, Book 1". Kidsreads Reviews. Kidsreads. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Riordan, Rick (2010). The Red Pyramid. New York: Disney-Hyperion. ISBN 978-1-4231-1338-6. 
  5. ^ a b "Carter Kane in The Red Pyramid". Shmoop Character Analyses. Shmoop. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Focus On Family. "The Red Pyramid Book Review". PluggedIn Online Book Reviews. PluggedIn. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 
  7. ^ Rought, Karen (July 2, 2015). Delhagen, Brandi, ed. "Rick Riordan's 'Throne of Fire' is latest to become graphic novel". Hypable on Rick Riordan. Hypable. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 
  8. ^ Bush, Elizabeth (September 2010). "Project MUSE: The Red Pyramid (review)". Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. Johns Hopkins University. p. 41. Retrieved April 18, 2016. 
  9. ^ a b "Meet the Kane Family". Rick Disney-Hyperion. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c Riordan, Rick (2011). The Throne of Fire. New York: Disney-Hyperion. ISBN 978-1-4231-4056-6. 
  11. ^ a b Guerrero, Agustin. "The Throne of Fire - Kane Chronicles 2 Book Review Summary". Book Reviews. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 
  12. ^ Riordan, Rick (2012). The Serpent's Shadow. New York: Disney-Hyperion. ISBN 978-1-4231-4057-3. 
  13. ^ Wheadon, Carrie R. "The Serpent's Shadow: The Kane Chronicles, Book 3". Book Reviews. Common Sense Media. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b Flood, Alison (2015-11-18). "Rick Riordan cheers end of book covers that 'whitewash' his black hero". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 
  15. ^ "Myth & Mystery - The Dutch edition of The Serpent's Shadow – and...". Myth & Mystery. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 
  16. ^ "Rick Riordan on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 
  17. ^ "Myth & Mystery - Very pleased that my Dutch publisher listened to...". Myth & Mystery. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 
  18. ^ "Myth & Mystery - Thank you to my Russian publisher EKSMO for...". Myth & Mystery. Retrieved 2016-04-15. 

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