This Cursed feature contains spoilers for both the Netflix series and the illustrated novel of the same name. Read our spoiler-free review of the series here.
Netflix’s Cursed puts a feminist spin on the legend of King Arthur by centering its origins around a woman – Nimue, the future Lady of the Lake. Its first season contained a little bit of everything, from romance and action to politics and magic, with a finale that featured several big character revelations and ended on a major cliffhanger. While Netflix has yet to announce a season 2 renewal for the show, it certainly feels as though Cursed has plenty of stories left to tell. After all, no one’s even referred to Nimue as the Lady of the Lake yet!
Save for a few – admittedly, very intriguing – tidbits, the bulk of Netflix’s Cursed is fairly faithful to the novel upon which it is based. Therefore, we don’t have much to go on by way of a roadmap for what the second season could look like. (That, naturally, may change in the weeks and months ahead, since it seems like a pretty safe bet that the book series will continue, regardless of whether there’s a second season of the show.) But there are a few hints to be mined from the ending of the book, and from the bones of Arthurian legend itself, that might provide us some clues.
Here are our best educated guesses for what we can expect to see in Cursed Season 2.
There’s not much fun in the idea of a second season without our leading lady, is there?
Cursed Season 2 will have to sort out precisely what’s happened to Nimue, last seen plummeting toward what may well be her death – or potential eternal supernatural imprisonment – after being shot full of arrows. This is a fantasy series, though, so no one should be really surprised when she inevitably survives. The show is very careful to never show us a body, after all, and leaves us with a final image of Nimue drifting through blood-tinged water. It’s really the how of it all that will be the question.
But we have a pretty good idea of what that will probably look like, too. The Cursed TV series ends a few moments before the novel upon which it is based does. The book not only confirms Nimue survives her fall but several other key factors as well, including what appears to be her assumption of the Lady of the Lake mantle. While in the water, Nimue can still sense the Sword of Power and vows to protect it until “a true king rises to claim it.” But instead of transforming into some sort of otherworldly being, an injured Nimue eventually washes up on the shores of the Minotaur Mountains, where she’s surrounded and taken off by a mob of the lepers that serve King Rugen. Whether he will help her or try to use her against Merlin is anyone’s guess at this point.
Merlin’s Magic Tips the Scales
Wild with grief after Nimue’s apparent death, Merlin regains the Sword of Power, reclaims his magic, and murders a bunch of Red Paladins. What’s next for the famous wizard? Probably not helping the Viking king that engineered his daughter’s murder.
Merlin originally allied with Cumber, promising him the sword in the hopes of both keeping Nimue alive and unseating King Uther. Cumber’s betrayal – joining forces with the Red Paladins and ambushing the escaping Fey – means Merlin’s now an enemy, and the only real question is whether he’ll use his newly returned magical abilities to just kill Cumber, or if he’ll decide that Uther should keep his crown as well. Whatever happens, Merlin seems set to claim his place as the real power behind the throne. And that could ultimately prove a boon to Arthur down the road.
We’ll Get to Know The Weeping Monk
The shocking revelation that the murderous Weeping Monk is Lancelot came in the first season’s final moments, leaving audiences little time to process this information. In the world of the original legends, Lancelot is kind of a big deal. He’s most widely remembered for his affair with Guinevere – which brings about the downfall of Camelot – but he’s also the greatest knight of the Round Table and a model of Christian chivalry. (The contradictions are what make it all so fun.)
One has to assume that any Cursed Season 2 would need to focus fairly heavily on turning this character – who spent most of his screen time brooding and executing complex fighting maneuvers – into an actual three-dimensional person. If the intention is that this Lancelot, who murdered a countless number of his Fey brothers and sisters, will one day become Arthur’s most trusted champion and a hero all can admire? Well. He’s certainly got a long way to go.
A Love Triangle – or Possibly Quartet? – on the Horizon
Things will probably get real messy on the relationship front pretty quickly in Season 2. While Arthur and Nimue’s love story feels like it’s barely gotten started, their connection is sweet, romantic, and seems to make them both better people. Arthur, at any rate, has certainly learned to be a leader by watching his girlfriend do it first. Yet, his last-minute meeting with a Viking woman known as the Red Spear means potentially more than a bit of trouble in paradise.
Because the Red Spear’s name is Guinevere. Yes, Cursed reimagines the most famous (and controversial) female character in Arthurian legend as a battle-hardened warrior who wants a crown for herself. Let me count the ways that I am here for this. Because although Guinevere is well known as a major player in this legend, her character is another that’s often not fleshed out terribly fully. Despite the fact that her decisions eventually bring down a kingdom, we’re given precious little idea why she makes them. So there’s something intensely appealing in an opportunity to see her get some real agency within her own story, as Nimue has.
Because much like Nimue, Guinevere also has a destiny, and it involves a future as Arthur’s wife and Lancelot’s mistress. Given that she spent approximately five minutes fighting alongside the former and hasn’t met the latter yet, we’re clearly a ways away from that future. But speculating about how that might come to pass – and how Nimue will react upon meeting Arthur’s new lady friend – is definitely entertaining. Largely because it feels as though Cursed could go in any direction with this group, even as they’re all fighting toward the same ends.
Could We Meet the Actual Green Knight?
Putting a stake in the ground now – there’s no way that Gawain is actually dead. Sure, we did see a body this time – sort of –but in a world that’s brimming with magic? Anything’s possible.
One of the most intriguing fusions in Cursed is the decision to merge the character of Gawain, one of the most famous Knights of the Round Table, and the Green Knight, a man sent to test and challenge Gawain’s chivalry, who also happens to be literally green. (And can also withstand being beheaded.) But it seems quite likely that Gawain’s himself may become a true version of the Green Knight in Cursed, resurrected by the magic of the Fey greenery in Season 2.
There’s Probably More to the Leper King
Out of all the predictions in this list, this one feels the most outlandish. But throughout Cursed it’s difficult not to draw parallels between Ruben, king of the lepers, and the Fisher King of Holy Grail legend. In the Grail story, the Fisher King – sometimes referred to as the Maimed King or the Wounded King – is the last surviving member of the bloodline charged with guarding the famous chalice. He’s always grievously injured in some way, and usually unable to stand. Sometimes the lands of his kingdom are as blighted as his body. Various knights journey to his castle to try and heal him, but everyone fails, except for Percival (and in later versions, Galahad.)
Leper King Ruben isn’t nearly as incapacitated as the Fisher King of legend, but he is physically suffering, and he keeps a horde of ancient, magical, and/or singularly valuable items in his castle vault. Don’t be surprised if one of them turns out to be a particularly powerful cup.