Cursed, the newest high fantasy series from Netflix out July 17, is a retelling of the legend of King Arthur... but from a different perspective. Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the series stars Katherine Langford as Nimue, the famed "Lady of the Lake" from the legends. But instead of Arthur as the main hero, it's Nimue who the sword chooses instead. Based on the details from the Cursed trailer, this new take on the Arthurian tales is going to be pretty badass.
For casual fans of the legends, the Lady of the Lake is probably not that familiar a figure. Most probably know her best from the Monty Python sketch about "strange women lying in ponds" not being a good basis for a system of governance. (There's also the current internet meme that suggests that system of governance would be a damn sight better than what the U.S. has now... but I digress.)
Despite what you may or may not have read in Mists of Avalon, or saw in the 1980s era film Excalibur, the Lady of the Lake is a powerful figure in the legend. It's high time someone gave her the respect due to an enchantress of her abilities. From the Cursed trailer, it seems like the show is going to do just that.
Here are a few details you may have missed:
1. Nimue's Lady Of The Lake Is Magic
In Arthurian legends, the Lady of the Lake (whose name is commonly accepted as Nimuë) is an enchantress who is involved in several stories, including raising Lancelot after his parents die and putting Merlin under a powerful spell. Though it's not clear how much of her story will be included here, the trailer for Cursed promises Nimue will get her due again, including her magical abilities.
2. Arthurian England Is Being Christianized
Though the modern myths don't discuss it much, one of the reasons the King Arthur legend survived for so many years is that it was turned into a story of the triumph of Christianity over Paganism. Arthur is the bringer of salvation and so forth against supernatural forces out of Pagan folklore. Cursed looks to be putting a twist on that by introducing a band of red-robed missionaries hell-bent on destroying Nimue and her people.
3. Nimue & Merlin Are Bound Together
Two fascinating plot points included in the trailer:
- Nimue seems to receive the sword with instructions to take it to Merlin, suggesting her story will at least start as a quest before taking the sword for herself.
- Merlin states the sword took all his magic (which seems to have left a giant glowing sword tattoo down his body).
Will Nimue and Merlin need to use the sword together to unleash magic into the world? Will Merlin be the advisor to her the way he is in the legends to Arthur? Time will tell.
4. Arthur Is No Hero
Speaking of Arthur, that's one power-hungry dude right there. He doesn't get much trailer time, but when he is onscreen, it's... not a great look for him. Will Arthur turn out to be the villain of the series? That would make a very interesting twist, especially if he teams up with the red-robed missionaries.
5. Does Nimue Draw The Sword From The Stone?
This picture is supposed to mimic Arthur's moment of drawing the stone out of the sword. It's a bit odd because the trailer also suggests Nimue is handed the sword earlier to pass along to Merlin.
Also, Game of Thrones fans, unless I miss my guess, those are direwolves, considering their size relative to Nimue. That's not that surprising, considering how much George R.R. Martin pulled from British history, and how far back the Stark clan is supposed to have existed. But it does make one wonder if the show will nod to GoT or not.