Mistakes are made, heroes rise to the occasion
Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Nimona.
After years spent in development hell, Nimona finally available on Netflix. Star Chloe Grace Moretz voiced by the title character, the animated film explores a unique world inspired by medieval fantasy and science fiction while tackling themes such as prejudice, gender fluidity, and the dangers of involving authoritarian governments. In short, there’s a lot to unpack Nimona. And while the film is one of the best releases of 2023, Nimona he does not hold the audience’s hands. Which means, before the credits roll, some people might still be wondering who Nimona is and why she turned into that gargantuan beast at the end. So, now that Nimona available, break down the ending of the film and discuss what it means.
Who is Nimona?
A thousand years before the events Nimona, a warrior named Gloreth stood against a fire-breathing beast that threatened his kingdom. Gloreth defeated the beast and started an order of knights, so that brave men from all the noble families could stand together if evil returned to torment their home. Or at least that’s what the stories say. In fact, the fear and paranoia that led to the great walls around the kingdom and the oppression of the government was born from a lie.
Although the film never reveals Nimona’s true origins, we do know that the shape-shifter has been traveling the country looking for companionship for a long time. Nimona tried to act like a different animal, always being rejected for being too different. One day, Nimona crosses paths with a golden-haired child, Gloreth. Gloreth is impressed with Nimona’s abilities, and the two girls spend their days playing while the shapeshifter turns into different animals for his friend’s amusement.
Unfortunately, one day, a passer-by sees Gloreth playing with a bear. The man is afraid and he called the whole village to save the girl. Nimona turns back into a girl to show everyone that she is not dangerous. However, the villagers call Nimona a monster and attack the poor girl. Nimona tries to turn into different animals to escape, but the villagers surround her. In the middle of the fight, a torch is thrown at Nimona, starting a fire that surrounds the city. Gloreth, then, convinced that her parents are right and Nimona is a monster, raises her blade to tell her former friend to return to the shadows from whence she came. . Heartbroken, Nimona leaves. And as decades turned into centuries, the shape shifter saw the realm grow more aggressive towards differences and the legend of Gloreth grow. That’s why Nimona is so angry and decides to take the place of the crime that people gave her because of prejudice.
Who killed the Queen?
Before the titular transformer becomes the film’s main character, we follow Ballister Boldheart (voiced by Riz Ahmed) during the ceremony that would eventually turn him into a knight. For a thousand years, only warriors from noble families were allowed to become knights. Fortunately, thanks to the blessings of Queen Valerin (voiced by Lorraine Toussaint), Ballister was given the chance to prove his worth, trained from childhood to become the best knight the kingdom had ever seen. Unfortunately, at the ceremony, Ballister’s dream becomes a nightmare as his sword fires a laser that kills the Queen, turning her into the main enemy of the state. As a result of the Institute turning the wannabe-knight into a public villain, Nimona teams up with Ballister to wreak havoc on the kingdom. Together, they discover the Director (voiced by Frances Conroy) changed Ballister’s sword, creating a trap that would take down the knight and the Queen at the same time.
The Director was raised listening to the story of Gloreth, and her fear of the monsters outside the walls of the kingdom turned her into a mission that puts tradition above all else. Therefore, when the queen invited a common person to join the order of knights, the Director was afraid that it was the first step in opening the kingdom to the attack of the aliens. To honor Gloreth’s teachings, the Director did her best to maintain the conservative structure of the kingdom by killing the Queen and showing that people cannot trust a commoner to be an agent of the law . That already makes her a despicable criminal. Still, during the last battle in Nimonathe Director gets so blinded by hatred that she almost destroys thousands of innocent lives.
What happens in Nimona’s Final Battle?
After Ballister learns that Nimona is the monster that Gloreth fought against many centuries ago, the knight confronts his sidekick. Ballister mistrusts Nimona after everything they’ve been through, which is why his sidekick is getting angry. Their discussion escalates, and Ballister reaches for his sword, fearing that Nimona will attack him. That is the final fall that forces Nimona to leave for good, abandoning Ballister.
Losing Ballister’s friendship makes Nimona remember how Gloreth took advantage of her a long time ago. Alone, sad, and angry, Nimona gives herself to the dark emotions she carries and turns into a big dark beast. As a beast, Nimona breaks into the realm, trashing the buildings on her way to the giant statue of Gloreth erected in front of the Institute. Nimona does not believe that she will ever have a true friend and chooses to end her life by falling over the sword of the statue. Before she can perform this last act of desperation, Ballister places himself between Nimona and the blade. Ballister does not know that his action will stop Nimona, but he is willing to bet his life if it means saving his friend. Nimona turns back into a girl, Ballister apologizes, and the two lock themselves in a warm embrace. That means that accepting Ballister finally allows Nimona to shed her monster form and become human again.
While Nimona destroys the city in her path, the Director sends the forces of the Institute to stop the supposed monster. When the knights cannot contain Nimona, the Director turns the cannons on top of the kingdom’s walls against the people. Determined to destroy the monster, the Director decides to shoot the main town square. She knows that one cannon blast will kill thousands of citizens, but that is the price the Director will pay to get rid of Nimona. Inspired by how Ballister changed his mind and got rid of his prejudices, Nimona decides to rewrite history by saving the kingdom from the Director. The transformer turns into a flame bird, flies towards the cannon and holds the blast with its body. The explosion takes down the Director and presumably Nimona.
After seeing how the monster Gloreth sacrificed her life to save the people from the Institute, the kingdom realizes that there is a bigger world outside the walls that they don’t need to fear. Therefore, everything changes in the kingdom, because people are now willing to explore the wilderness. In addition, Nimona and Ballister become heroes. Before the credits roll, we see Ballister reverting to his former badass, reminiscing about his good times with Nimona. From outside the frame, we hear Nimona’s voice greeting Ballister, proof that she did not die in the explosion. Hopefully that means we’ll see Nimona and Ballister together in more episodes.
Nimona currently streaming on Netflix.