Nimona Ending Explained

Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Nimona

Nimona’s ending saw the titular character sacrificing herself to save Ballister and the kingdom from The Director’s cruel actions. Nimona, directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane from a screenplay by Robert L. Baird and Lloyd Taylor, brings the story of the shapeshifter to life in animated form. The animated film, which includes the voice talents of Riz Ahmed, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Eugene Lee Yang, follows the shapeshifting Nimona and Ballister Blackheart, a knight-turned-villain, as they work to take down the Institution and clear Ballister’s name after he’s framed for murder.

After learning Nimona was the creature Gloreth fought 1,000 years ago, Ballister confronts her about it, though he refuses to follow Ambrosius’ orders to kill her. The Institution’s knights follow Ballister and try to arrest Nimona, but Ballister is livid with Nimona for not telling him the truth and angrily calls her a monster. This enrages Nimona, who is revealed to have been Gloreth’s friend before she turned on her. Nimona attacks the kingdom as a shadow creature, but is stopped by Ballister. The shapeshifter decides to sacrifice herself to save the kingdom before The Director destroys half the city, and is finally proclaimed a hero by the kingdom.

Is Nimona Alive At The End?

nimona alive ending

The end of Nimona saw the titular character turning into a shadow creature before sacrificing herself to stop The Director. Nimona was seemingly blown up to keep the weapon’s explosion limited. Nimona is believed to be dead, but she returns at the end, revealing herself to Ballister. However, the camera doesn’t actually show her face, and only her voice is heard. Nimona can transform into anything and become anyone, so it’s doubtful that one weapon could take her out. After all, if Nimona survived Gloreth defeating her, then she could probably survive The Director’s attack, too. It’s possible she just needed time to reform after disintegrating.

It’s unclear how Nimona is able to live as long as she does, but if she survived Gloreth supposedly destroying her 1,000 years before, then it stands to reason Nimona can survive just about anything. It’s possible her shapeshifting abilities allow her to survive what humans cannot. Although it’s suggested that Nimona can die, her final form is that of a bird-like creature, which probably protected the part of Nimona that could live on. Like a phoenix, Nimona rose from the ashes. What’s more, Ballister pleaded with Nimona to come back, and she did. Considering the film’s message, it’s unlikely the animation would end on such a tragic note.

Nimona’s Death & Decision To Sacrifice Herself For The Kingdom Explainednimona ending explained

Nimona’s death and sacrifice were shocking considering how she was treated as a monster — first by Gloreth and then by the rest of the kingdom. Nimona, as a shadow creature, was ready and willing to destroy the kingdom because she felt betrayed by Ballister, who called her a monster because he was still holding onto the story about Gloreth, conditioned by the Institute to think of Nimona as evil. Nimona was also ready to let the kingdom’s people destroy her, if only so she wouldn’t have to fight anymore. However, Nimona chose to sacrifice herself instead because of Ballister, who proved that people could change and make room for acceptance.

Crucially, Nimona sacrificed herself only after Ballister knew and felt her pain, acknowledging her as a person worth caring about. Ballister finally saw Nimona for who she was, in all of her forms, without trying to change her into something she wasn’t. Ballister knew Nimona was lashing out because she was finally giving into who everyone believed her to be. The knight had to prove that he understood. Nimona, knowing that Ballister didn’t truly see her as a monster, decided to do something heroic, which ultimately changed how the rest of the kingdom saw her. Nimona’s death solidified her place as a hero of the kingdom instead of the villain.

Nimona Movie vs Book: Every Major Change Explained

nimona graphic novel changes

Nimona is based on the 2015 graphic novel by ND Stevenson, which was originally published on Tumblr. While the core of the animated adaptation remains the same as the source material, it changes some of the details, including Ballister Blackheart’s origin story. In the graphic novel, Ballister lost his arm in a jousting match against Ambrosius Goldenloin, and this is what got him kicked out of the Institution. In the film, he’s booted because he’s framed for murder after his sword killed the queen. Ballister and Nimona team up, but the graphic novel has them discover that the Institution is making a poisonous plant to weaponize dark magic.

While the kingdom is generally afraid of Nimona in the animated film, she is kidnapped by the Institution and experimented on in the source material. What’s more, Ballister betrays Nimona by telling Ambrosius, and by extension the Institution, about a device that prevents Nimona from shapeshifting, which is what leads her to turn on him. A fight between them ensues, but Ballister defeats Nimona, after which he never sees her again. This is unlike Netflix’s Nimona, which sees the titular character waging war on the kingdom but sacrificing herself at the end because Ballister accepts her. Although she’s destroyed, Nimona returns, and her friendship with Ballister is not permanently damaged.

The Meaning Of Nimona’s Ending & Twists Explained

nimona twists ending

Nimona includes multiple twists, from The Director’s betrayal of Ballister to Ballister calling Nimona a monster. One of the reasons The Director set Ballister up was because he was not of noble blood, but also because her dreams prophesied Ballister would be the one to work with the darkness in bringing the kingdom down. However, the only reason Ballister was on Nimona’s radar was because of The Director’s plot. The Director was ultimately operating out of fear rather than love and acceptance, which pushed her to do terrible things. Gloreth’s rejection of Nimona, despite them being friends, also stemmed from fear, which the film suggests should not drive one’s actions.

The reactions from Gloreth’s family and neighbors overpowered what she already knew to be true — Nimona wasn’t a monster. Gloreth’s betrayal of Nimona showcases how societal pressure and hatred can fuel someone to turn their back on someone. In Nimona’s case, an entire kingdom’s history, as well as the knights’ training, was based on a lie. Between The Director’s and Gloreth’s actions, Nimona posits that the system should be questioned instead of blindly followed. What’s more, when Ballister calls Nimona a monster, it showcases how deep his conditioning goes despite knowing Nimona, and seeing firsthand who she is. He had to actively unlearn the prejudices he grew up with.

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