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‘Cursed’ Stars Break Down the Historical, Mythical Origins of Their Arthurian Characters (Video)

Netflix fantasy series puts a new twist on medieval legend

(Warning: This post contains spoilers for the first season of Netflix’s “Cursed.”)

For “Cursed” fans who want to dig deeper into the medieval origins of the fantasy series, Netflix shared a video primer on Saturday featuring the cast breaking down the lengthy history of the characters they play on the show.

The series, based on Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler’s novel of the same name, provides an origin story for Nimue, a.k.a. the Lady of the Lake, (played by “13 Reasons Why” star Katherine Langford) and King Arthur (Devon Terrell). Throughout the series, she encounters a number of other familiar names like, Merlin, Morgana, Gawain and Lancelot, though not all of their stories on the show line up with the mythology.

“The Arthur saga is more complex than your old books could make it seem,” Terrell explains in the video above. “It’s part history, it’s part myth, it’s part historical myth.”

For instance, in some versions of the story, Nimue goes by different names such as Vivienne or Ninianne. Nimue provides Arthur with Excalibur (Note: this is usually a different sword from the one Arthur pulls from the stone) in almost every version, but she’s sometimes “supremely unhelpful” to Arthur’s cause, the video explains. That includes entombing Merlin “inside a tree or under a stone, ensuring his demise,” a far cry from the budding father-daughter relationship of the show.

The video also breaks down the possible historical origins of the characters, including the Roman commander who was most likely the inspiration for King Arthur and the Merlin character’s roots in Scottish legend.

In an interview with TheWrap, Langford said that having the chance to give Nimue a new story with “Cursed” was one of the main reasons she wanted to do the show. “It was an opportunity to tell the story of a heroine,” she said. “To really acknowledge the obstacles that are really specific to a woman on that journey. And to have the opportunity to tell a story like that, those roles are really few and far between.”