In fact, most of the original texts can’t even agree on what her name is – what is essentially the same character across various versions of the legend is referred to as Nimue, Niniane or even Viviane, and the one thing that’s generally consistent about her is that she doesn’t possess consistent or definitive personality traits, let alone a character arc.
Cursed attempts to step into this longtime narrative gap, offering not just a complex, messy take on a young Nimue, but placing her in a world in which women drive the story rather than simply exist at its margins. And while its story is far from perfect, this dedicated shift in focus allows us to look at this legend in an entirely new way.
In this version of things, Nimue is a young Fey girl, the daughter of her clan’s High Priestess who’s forced to repress her powerful abilities because the other villagers think she’s full of dangerous dark magic. She dreams of a new life in a distant land – one where no one knows who she is or what she can do. (And where the tyrannical religious order known as the Red Paladins isn’t obsessively burning her kind alive.)
Fate, however, has other plans for her. And when she acquires a hidden, magical sword along with instructions to deliver it to the wizard known as Merlin, her life changes forever.
13 Reasons Why alum Katherine Langford stars as a Nimue who’s complicated, but easy to root for. She’s feisty and likable, with an undercurrent of darkness and anger that feels realistic, given the world in which she’s living. Torn among freedom, duty, and a desire to be recognized for her own power, she’s far from a perfect character. In fact, she makes plenty of decisions that can feel selfish or downright stupid at various points in the story. Yet, her continuous attempts to fight for and protect her people make it easy to see why many are motivated to follow her and to hold her up as a symbol of a better world than the one offered by the corrupt King Uther Pendragon.