“Warrior Nun” is Fantasy Feminism at its Finest

Cover art by @kkeshabb_ on Instagram

By Alena Nguyen

If the religious iconography doesn’t grab your attention within the first minute, then the explosion and amputation of several limbs and fingers should. All of this happens in Netflix’s newest original comic book-to-series adaptation called “Warrior Nun”. The 10 episode series with quotes from holy texts as the episode titles is about a 19-year-old orphan who died from unknown circumstances but is brought back to life with a glowing Halo that was absorbed into her body.

The first episode starts out with a nun and a priest looking over Ava (the main protagonist)’s dead body. The nun makes snarky remarks about the girl when she was alive when suddenly the church starts shaking. Female soldiers carrying a fellow wounded soldier storm into the place, begging for medical assistance. A glowing circle is removed from the dying soldier, placed into Ava’s corpse, and the world crumbles around them. Ava wakes up and has to navigate life trying to figure out what happened to her and how to deal with these newfound superpowers, along with her new friends.

Something that stood out to me was definitely the aforementioned religious iconography that remained consistent throughout the show. As the protagonist states, ““The Catholics are a little twitchy about who gets to be resurrected,” (when talking to an old friend in the orphanage about the need for secrecy) “Unless they get to control the narrative.” The titles of the episodes were intriguing as to how they would play into the plot of each episode.

The vagueness in the first episode allowed for a lot of development for all the characters and the plot- we follow Ava’s journey and discover things with her along the way, although unlike her, we as the audience understand what happened to her. The overall dark academia aesthetic of the show was pleasing to watch and complemented the characters well.

This fantastical version on “the Chosen One” trope brings a darkly powerful twist to religion and trust and brings an intriguing light on what it means to discover oneself. It’s always fun to see how said Chosen One embarks on an intense journey and along the way overcomes obstacles and discovers more about themselves to answer the question “why me?” while having a fun time with their friends. Did I just sum up Harry Potter, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and “Warrior Nun”? Yep.

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