10 things to know about Blood Psalms… so farWatch now
A thousand years after the sinking of Atlantis, five tribes who fled the catastrophe “on the back of a great dragon” are hovering on the brink of a new apocalypse. All they salvaged and all they grew from the ruins is about to be destroyed again. The ancient gods have gathered their favourite pieces to play out the new end of days in epic African fantasy series Blood Psalms, only on Showmax.
Here are 10 things you need to know to bring you up to speed now…
1. The five tribes
The series centres on the Akachi Royal House, who carry on the proud traditions of Ancient Kemet (Egypt). The Akachi work hand-in-hand with the mystical Uchawi kingdom, a tribe of magic users whose inner cult can communicate directly with the world of the gods like Heka. (Ancient Egypt’s god of magic and medicine.)
The upcoming marriage of the Akachi’s mad King Letsha to Uchawi Princess Thozama has brought together the other two tribes: the Ku’ua, a warrior clan who’ve become the Akachi’s reluctant allies, and the Great Nziwemabwe Kingdom, best described as the Ancient Rome (or modern USA) of the five tribes.
Is one tribe missing from the guest list? Yes. But you will find the cursed Chini House of shapeshifters, the undead and the outcasts at the wedding nonetheless. There is a saying among the Chini: “Chini do not live; we serve.” And down in their underground cave complex, the Chini hold all the tribes’ ancient secrets.
2. The wedding
The Uchawi’s chief magic user is now Queen Assili, who has made herself indispensable to King Letsha, and is using her position to drive him mad with paranoia. Assili persuaded King Letsha to order the death of his first wife, Ndiya Zazi, in revenge for humble commoner Ndiya Zazi “usurping” Assili’s position of Uchawi Magi – their house’s most powerful magic user and seer.
Now Assili is marrying off her daughter Thozama to King Letsha to cling to her power, since she has largely lost her magical abilities, while demanding that Letsha kill his own daughter, Princess Zazi.
3. The prophecy
The five tribes have a story in common aside from their origins. All are aware of an upcoming end of days – but there are slightly different versions of the tale. A messenger from the gods warns Queen Ndiya Zazi that before Heka returns to Earth, Ndiya Zazi will be martyred, and that her death will set off an age of darkness and evil (which we are in the middle of when Blood Psalms begins, which is why the Uchawi cannot bring the rains anymore).
But she’s also told that her daughter will reclaim the throne, restoring order and peace. After King Letsha has Ndiya Zazi murdered, he’s told that Ndiya Zazi herself was Heka’s chosen vessel on Earth, and that in killing her, he killed the Akachi’s protector, but that a new vessel has been chosen – his daughter, Princess Zazi, who will fall pregnant at the age of 18, and that the god Heka will return to Earth with the birth of that child, ending Letsha’s bloodline and his world.
Meanwhile, the Chini believe that the Akachi princess will be the saviour of the Chini, and that she will bring back the Golden Age, during which everything is cleansed by fire. Since the Chini are the undead, it’s unclear what their salvation will mean for the living.
4. The signs
At the Temple of Heka, the Nymph who channels the voice of the gods watches the stars, and seeing the death of Ndiya Zazi she announces that the god Thoth foretold this betrayal ages ago in Atlantis, and that the prophecies are beginning to unfold. The end of days is coming.
Before her murder, Princess Zazi’s mother, Ndyia Zazi (the Uchawi’s most powerful magic user, even though she was Chini-born) reveals that three signs will indicate that the prophecy had started to play out and the apocalypse had arrived: “1: The burning eye is open to the portal, 2: unlocking the flaming gates of hell, 3: setting forth the inevitable purge.”
In episode 3, Princess Zazi opens the “burning eye” when she deflects a meteorite from the Akachi citadel, sending it out to sea, where it burns a hole right through a stack of rock.
5. The great dragon
In some form or other, all five tribes claim that they were brought to where they are now on the back of a dying, fire-breathing dragon. While the Akachi claim that their citadel is built on top of the site where the dragon died, the Chini (who live in the cave system that passes directly under the citadel) tell that an energy vortex sprang into being where the dragon fell and died. To this day, the Chini guard the entrance to this vortex – the Swirls Of Zam-Zam.
6. Secret sisters/secret cousins
Just before her death the still-pregnant Queen Ndiya Zazi visited her sister, new mother Sithenjwa, and she gave her an amulet of the goddess Isis and asked Sithenjwa to watch over Ndiya Zazi’s (as yet unborn) daughter. After Ndiya Zazi left, Sithenjwe pleaded with Isis to protect her baby daughter, Burutti.
The Chini Mother Superior adopted a little girl named Burutti when she was found wandering alone at the age of two. Now the grown Burutti has a connection via her dreams to her cousin, Princess Zazi. And when the two come face-to-face in episode three, they recognise one another instantly.
As for Sithenjwa, she was exiled from the Akachi lands after trying to kill King Letsha on the night of Princess Zazi’s birth. But she has returned to the citadel for the wedding – as the consort to Senator Abun Ra Jabari of the Great Nziwemabwe.
7. Princess powers
In episode 3, Princess Zazi, calling on the goddess Isis, uses powers she isn’t even aware that she has to push back a meteorite and deflect it from the Akachi citadel. But this could be a sign that Heka is already walking the Earth within her, as her unborn child, and lending Zazi the powers that she will need to guard Heka’s form on Earth, protect her people and save her kingdom.
Zazi’s powers allow her to channel massive amounts of energy and force through her hands. As of episode 4, she is only able to use this force to push objects and people back, but she will soon learn more.
8. The pregnancy
In episode 3 we find out that Zazi’s prophesied pregnancy comes courtesy of her secret lover, the Akachi’s General Toka, a commoner. Toka was born in the Ku’ua tribe but turned his back on them.
He was also the lover of Sithenjwa before he exiled her rather than executing her for her attempt to assassinate King Letsha. And that means General Toka might be the father of Sithenjwa’s long-lost daughter, Zazi’s cousin Burutti… the Chini were-hyena.
Some of the Chini are undead, and rise from graves to attack the living at the full moon. Some are cursed to transform into were-hyenas and run about shrieking, laughing and hunting on full moon nights.
During their transformation they might attack loved ones, and once they’re back in their human form, they have no memory of what they did as were-hyenas. During her transformation, though, Burutti is able to understand Zazi, and does not attack her.
10. The gods
When the five tribes fled Atlantis, they brought their ancient gods with them. Those gods are real and present in Blood Psalms. There is a door into the world of Sobek the crocodile god down in the Chini caves, the Uchawi communicate directly with Heka, and Princess Zazi calls on the power of Isis.
King Letsha communicates directly with the god Sekmet in the form of a black panther, who has been his bloodline’s guardian for as long as they have been kings of the Akachi. And in episode 4, Queen Assili shifts her allegiance from Heka to the god Seth.
Go into detail
New episodes of Blood Psalms land every Wednesday until the end of November 2022, only on Showmax.