Cursed (Cursed): Who was Nimue, The Lady of the Lake, in the Legend of King Arthur?

Cursed (Cursed): Who was Nimue, The Lady of the Lake, in the Legend of King Arthur?

The legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is undoubtedly one of the most repeated stories in European folklore. However, there are some characters who have not received the treatment they deserved. 

One of them is Nimue, also known as The Lady of the Lake, who in turn is the protagonist of Maldita (Cursed), the new Netflix fantasy series. Who was he really?

In Cursed, Katherine Langford stars as Nimue, a young woman from the Druid town of the Ineffables who will embark on a mission to deliver the legendary Excalibur sword to the once mighty Merlin, while also learning to use her exceptional abilities to save her people.

Throughout its 10 chapters, several events occur that coincide with the well-known Arthurian myth. Although the iconic protagonists of the legend have been reinvented, such as Arturo or Merlin, and other characters have been created for the series, such as The Crying Monk or Squirrel, the vast majority of them are present. Starting with Nimue herself, who will one day be known as The Lady of the Lake.

In the original story, Nimue is one of the many names associated with the Lady of the Lake, a character who has always been surrounded by a halo of mystery in the different representations of the myth. 

Both its origins and its role in history have been varying in the different adaptations, but in general terms it is known for being the one who delivers Excalibur to Aturo, for training her magic with merlin and for being the adoptive mother of Lancelot.


The origins of The Lady of the Lake are a mystery, which is largely what the plot of Maldita is nurtured. Some date back to Celtic gods and Welsh folklore. According to legend, she lives in a lake that surrounds Avalon Island. Her magic comes from the teachings of Merlin, with whom she had a romantic relationship.

Depending on the version of the story, after learning all the tricks from the mighty Merlin, she leaves him trapped either inside a cave or inside a tree. She is also known for adopting Lancelot after the death of her father, whom she instructs in the magical arts.

And of course The Lady of the Lake is the one who gives the legendary sword to King Arthur, making it emerge from the waters. In return, she asks for revenge against Sir Balin, whom she blames for her brother's death. But things go wrong and it is Balin who ends up murdering the mysterious Lady.


Although the tragic story of The Lady of the Lake is marked by these three events - the delivery of Excalibur, her relationship with Merlin and the adoption of Lancelot - the young Nimue of the Netflix series says much of the character of the myth.

For starters, the original Lady was Merlin's mistress , while in Cursed it is revealed that she is actually his daughter. At this point, the only connection between myth and series is that their magic comes from the powerful magician.

On the other hand, in the original story, the Lady has no love interest in either Arthur or Lancelot, whom she considers a son. In the series, Nimue and Arturo do have a romantic relationship, while Lancelot is older than her. 

Furthermore, the two knights present themselves as enemies, when in reality they were friends, despite their rivalry for Geneva.

Be that as it may, this version of the Lady of the Lake story, which adapts the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler, is sure to be more respectful of the legendary figure than the Knights of the Square Table of the Monty Phytons.

And it is that Miller and Wheeler, who also write the series, allow themselves the luxury of rewriting history freely and anchoring it in the 21st century. And in the Monty Phyton classic, instead, she was mentioned with rather little respect .

Impossible not to remember this scene where King Arthur talks to some commoners about his status as king, which belongs to him because "the lady of the lake with her arm sheathed in brilliant silk pulled a sword from the bottom of the waters, thus signifying divine providence" . And the best thing is the answer he receives: "He will not pretend to hold the supreme executive power because a swimming hooker threw a sword at him".

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