Katherine Langford made waves along with 13 Reasons Why when the series entered our lives in 2017. Since then, the audience (especially guys) and critics, alike, have been keeping an eye on the Golden Globe nominee. Post her stint in 13 Reasons Why, we saw Langford in Love, Simon and Knives Out. Now, she is back at Netflix with the platform’s new epic fantasy series Cursed. In the new show, we will see Langford donning the role of Nimue, a Fey teenager. To say the very least, the Australian actress has left 13RW‘s Hannah way behind in Cursed. That said, how is Nimue different from Hannah? Let’s find out.
Disclaimer: The rest of the post contains serious spoilers for both the shows (13 Reasons Why and Cursed). Read further at your discretion.
What We Know of the Characters
Hannah Baker was a high-school student, a classmate of Clay Jensen in Liberty High. Although a bit reserved, Baker was someone who has dreams of having a really good time in her high school years. She was bubbly, caring, friendly, but also stubborn, selfish, and manipulative (I know, harsh words, but the truth, nevertheless). She commits suicide at the beginning of 13RW and leaves 13 tapes, one (two for Justin) for each person she deemed responsible for her death.
Nimue is also a teenager, but not human. She belongs to a supernatural species, Fey, that co-exists with humans in the Cursed universe. Since a near-death incident in her childhood, Nimue has been teased, bullied, and ostracised by her villagers. Even her father remained distant from her and eventually left her. As the series, Cursed progresses, we see her further victimized and bullied by the Red Paladin, Kings, and other human beings. She is brave, caring, and loyal, but also stubborn, reckless, and selfish (at the beginning).
How Are They Similar?
Before we talk about how different Nimue and Hannah are, we need to discuss their similarities apart from being teenagers, first. As a couple of teen girls, both Nimue and Hannah have similar experiences (in a different context) and thought patterns (at times). Here is how.
They were both bullied
Hannah was severely teased and bullied in 13RW by her peers. Justin, Bryce, and the rest of her classmates have always made fun of her and humiliated at every turn of the story. Similarly, Nimue, too, was bullied by the people around her. They call her a witch, looked at in disgust (and fear) by villagers. If I were to compare the level of bullying that each has faced (which admittedly not a good thing), Nimue has faced it for a longer time than Hannah, but the latter had the worst experiences (rape and alienation).
They were both vindictive
The crux of 13 Reasons Why is Hannah leaving the tapes behind, which can potentially incriminate some of her peers. Later in the series, we also see the mental and emotional effects the tapes had on several characters. While we are all sympathetic to her situation and want justice for what happened to her, the very act of leaving the tapes behind was vindictive. Especially when it comes to Tyler (who was, even more, bullied afterward), Clay, and Alex (who shot himself).
Nimue didn’t leave tapes behind that ruined lives. However, she did leave her village behind in danger. After being ostracised by her people, she refused to accept her responsibilities as their leader. In her mind, she didn’t want people who didn’t want her. While it is true that her villagers wronged her, Nimue’s choice of running away (which indirectly led to several deaths) was reckless and vindictive.
How Are They Different?
Despite being similar in terms of experience and thought process, Katherine Langford’s two characters, Nimue and Hannah differ in a lot of ways. Here is how.
Nimue is stronger than Hannah
Both of them were bullied (in varying degrees and different times), but to Hannah, ending her life was the only solution. Whereas, Nimue chose to run away from her tormentors instead. While the two approaches are no better, it does show how Katherine Langford’s Nimue is mentally and emotionally stronger than Hannah.
Nimue has magical powers
Yes, we just said Nimue was mentally stronger than Hannah but was physically stronger too. Nimue is a Fey with extraordinary powers, being a daughter of a powerful magician and Fey. In fact, one of the reasons she was able to make a better choice than Hannah when faced with betrayal, loss, and bullying is her power. She was, for the most part, able to defend herself and punish her tormentors (and felt guilty later), which Hannah could not.
People supported Nimue
Aside from her magical powers, what really made the difference between the choices of Nimune and Hannah is the people who supported the former. Cursed had several characters that loved and cared for (and stood by) Nimune, giving her the strength she may have lacked before (and evolving her). One of her biggest supporters was Arthur (her love interest in the show). While Hannah was isolated, and even though she had Clay, neither she nor he was open enough with one another.
Nimue had a bigger purpose
This is yet another difference between Katherine Langford’s two characters, which shows why Nimune survived everything. She had a bigger purpose that took her focus outside of herself (getting the sword to Merlin and saving her kind). On the other hand, in 13 Reasons Why, Hannah didn’t have a purpose or quest. As such, she fixated on her miseries more than Nimue could. While she (Hannah) did have other aspects of life she could have focused on, her focus remained narrowed and limited.
Nimue is brave, selfless, and open
At the end of the day, if you keep Nimue’s powers, support, and purpose apart, the Cursed heroine has qualities that one will not find in Hannah. Nimue is brave, selfless, and open to others. Despite having made selfish decisions at first, Nimue later decides to sacrifice her freedom to save her kind. Moreover, she was open about her concerns and problems with her people close to her like Arthur and Morgana. In the last episode, she could have easily attacked sister Iris, and yet, she chose to try and reach out to her (a foolish but noble move).
Hannah, on the other hand, as admitted by her on the tapes, remained hidden as her friend was assaulted (understandably scared) and kept it a secret (until she publicly revealed it) from Jessica. Moreover, she never really tried to be open about the issues with people close to her, including Clay.
Key Takeaways From Katherine Langford’s Characters
Nimue and Hannah, their lives and choices, represent the difference that emotional support and strong conviction can make. Nimue was blessed with people who loved and supported her at every step and powers that helped her stand her ground (or become arrogant). Moreover, she had a strong will to live and the ability to go beyond herself. In every sense of the word, Nimue is a warrior, be it with a sword or without.
Hannah, on the other hand, could not find the courage to face her fears and her tormentor; to face life. Neither could she see past her problems to understand people around her and get support. In a way, Hannah represents how every teenager thinks, and Nimue shows the subtle but profound shift from teen to adult life. From every aspect, Katherine Langford has left the drama and mindset of high school for Camelot in Cursed. That said, we at TRB wonder, what would have life been like if Hannah had magical powers?
What do you think of Nimue and Hannah as characters? Which of the two Katherine Langford’s characters do you like? Out of 13 Reasons Why and Cursed, which is your favorite? Do you want TRB to compare characters, movies, series, anime, and manga like this? Let us know in the comments below!