Princess Nuala is the Elf Princess of the Bethmoora Clan, the only daughter of King Balor and Prince Nuada's twin sister. Opposite to her brother, Nuala is a gentle creature who desires peace and also possesses psychic powers. She is one of the supporting protagonists of Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Abraham Sapien's love interest.
Nuala was shown to have been alive during the war between humans and elves, though she presumably did not actively take part in the conflict (as she is not a warrior). She was present at the creation of the Golden Army, but did not appear to agree with the decision, nor did she actively appear to oppose it. After King Balor decommissioned the Army and made a truce with humankind, Nuala's twin brother (with whom she has shared a psychic link since birth) went into self-imposed exile. Nuala remained with her father's court and was given a piece of the crown that controls the Golden Army, which she wears in a belt and keeps with her at all times.
In the 21st century, Nuala is finally reunited with her brother, when Nuada returns to the Elf court, seeking the other pieces of the crown of Bethmoora and announcing his intention to reawaken the Golden Army and take back the elves' lands. Nuala is opposed to this, begging her brother to reconsider and stating that no good could come of the bloodshed. Nuada, however, is determined. When Balor reluctantly sentences Nuada to death for his defiance, Nuala says she is content with her father's decision when Nuada asks, even though it will result in her death too. Nuala is present when Nuada fights the king's guards and gets a bloody nose when Nuada receives a minor injury. She witnesses her father's death at the hands of her own brother, but flees with the final crown piece before either Nuada or Mr Wink can stop her, resolved to honour Balor's dying wish and prevent humankind's destruction.
Nuala travels in disguise to the library at the Troll Market, in order to retrieve the map to the Bethmoora. She notices Abraham Sapien following her and, after collecting the map, confronts him, demanding to know why he is following her. When Abe is evasive, Nuala draws a knife on him and commands him to give her his hand. She uses her psychic abilities to read Abe's mind and learns that he is working for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense and means her no harm. Nuala seems surprised when Abe reveals he has similar abilities and thus has learned her true identity as well. Mr Wink interrupts their meeting and Abe orders Nuala to flee while holds Wink off. When Hellboy arrives and fights Wink, Abe leads her to safety. Nuala refuses to hand over the crown piece and the map to the B.P.R.D, insisting that where the crown goes, she does. Johann Krauss is opposed to taking responsibility for the princess, as it goes against protocol, but Hellboy defies him and agrees to take her along, with Abe, who is smitten with her, vouching for her.
As they are leaving the Troll Market, however, they are confronted by Nuada, who seeks revenge for Wink's death at Hellboy's hands. Nuada unleashes a forest elemental on the agents, with Nuala futilely begging him not to. She tries to warn the agents not to let the elemental get near water, but Abe is unable to catch it in time, causing it to rapidly grow to full size and begin rampaging around the city. Abe gets Nuala to safety whilst Hellboy battles the elemental, eventually managing to kill it. Nuala seems somewhat awed when the creatures body causes greenery to appear wherever it touches, admiring the spores released. Afterwards, Nuala is escorted to the B.P.R.D's headquarters.
There, she explores the library and reads aloud from a book containing Tennyson's 'In Memoriam'. Nuala further bonds with Abe and seems very fond of him, perhaps even returning his romantic feelings for her. However, she remarks that Nuada will eventually find her, via their bond. When Nuala senses her brother's arrival, she hides the crown piece in the book she was reading and tries to burn the map. Unfortunately, Nuada quickly locates her and is able to decipher the map. He also guesses that she hid the crown piece in a book and begins actively looking for it. Whilst he is distracted, Nuala pushes the panic button, alerting the B.R.P.D. When Abe enters the room, Nuala, worried her brother will kill him, shouts for him to stay back. When Nuada hears the concern and affection in her voice, he realises Nuala has feelings for Abe and angrily grabs her, cutting her face with a dagger and effectively using her as a hostage. Hellboy enters the room and fights Nuada. He is outmatched due to being heavily intoxicated and because of Abe's warning that harming Nuada will also harm Nuala, but he puts up a decent fight. Even though Nuada threatens his life on two occasions, Nuala refuses to give her brother the crown piece, despite her concern for Hellboy. After Nuada fatally wounds Hellboy, he tells Abe that if he wants to save his friend and ever see Nuala again, he must bring him the crown piece, before he abducts Nuala.
Nuada brings Nuala to Bethmoora, where they await the arrival of the B.R.P.D. When Hellboy (who was saved by the Angel of Death), Abe, Liz Sherman and Krauss arrive, Abe, despite Nuala's protests, hands over the crown piece in exchange for her freedom. Nuada goes back on his word and, upon awakening the Golden Army, orders them to kill the agents. Nuala pleas for her brother to spare them fall on deaf ears and she can only watch helplessly as the agents battle the Army. When Hellboy challenges Nuada for the right to control the Golden Army, Nuala tells her brother that he must accept the challenge, as Hellboy, the Son of the Fallen One, is technically royalty. Hellboy assures Abe that he won't kill the prince, as this will result in Nuala's death too, but that he will "kick his ass". Nuala watches the duel between Nuada and Hellboy and receives a cut on her arm when Hellboy injures the prince. Hellboy ultimately defeats Nuada and takes the crown, but Nuada refuses to back down and leaps up, dagger in hand, to stab Hellboy in the back. Nuala, seeing this and realising that only with his death will her brother be stopped, sacrifices herself to save Hellboy and the world, and fatally stabs herself in the chest with her knife. Nuala collapses to the ground and Abe rushes to her side. Abe apologises to Nuala and tells her that he was unable to confess his true feelings to her. Nuala asks Abe to give her his hand and, upon learning of his love for her, smiles at him and says "It was beautiful", before dying in his arms and turning to stone.
Princess Nuala is, in many ways, the opposite of her twin brother, Prince Nuada. She seems light, compassionate and fragile where the prince is sinister and unyielding. Nuala seems more silent and inactive compared to her father and brother which may stem from being raised in a society not offering females the same voice as males. She does, however, display assertiveness when confronting Abe Sapien and even threatens him with a knife, refuses to part with the crown piece and also actively defies her brother's schemes, showing she is not entirely submissive. Her brother has a great deal of respect for her and seems to value her opinions and feelings as much as his own while not changing them.
It is unclear whether or not Nuala is older or younger than Nuada (by a few moments at best) and she does not seem to have any significant claim to the throne. She bore one of the three pieces of the crown of Bethmoora from her father, King Balor. This is unusual considering that she seems to not have any power in court which would justify her having the piece (tradition dictated that it should have gone to Nuada, but it was likely denied to him because of his hatred for humankind).
Nuala appears to be a pacifist and, at the bequest of her father, would rather fade away into obscurity and nothingness rather than stand and fight against the evils of man. Her view toward her brother's insistence on this is one of pity and shame, but she seems to have a great deal of respect for his courage. Nuala also shows an appreciation for art and literature in the film (in reading Tennyson aloud from an anthology of 'In Memoriam'). She seems to be more accepting and remembering of the natural world when the forest entity is destroyed and its floral remains are spread. Nuala fates herself to die in order to keep her brother from killing Hellboy and continuing to seek for humanity's destruction.
Other Facts About Princess Nuala
Anna Walton (portraying Nuala) and Luke Goss (portraying Nuada) agree that there was an undertone of incest on the prince's part. This can be from a variety of sources; first, incest was not uncommon within royal bloodlines of the old world (i.e. those regions impacted by Roman conquest where rule was by divine right and descended through bloodlines); second, the prince and princess share a very strong psychic link which could generate an intimacy mistaken by humans for erotic love; and finally, the prince is overly focused and would likely have replaced any need for intimacy with a mate with the available link to his sister. Nuada's draw to his sister may also be from a sort of vicarious desire to have the same empathetic powers Nuala has which would make him more in-tune with his surroundings. It does not seem that the prince shares any spiritual powers or any gifts of telepathy at all other than his link to Nuala.
Mark of Royalty
Nuala bears the royal scar seen extending from the topmost ridge of one cheek to the other and crossing the bridge of the nose. It is a straight line with several perpendicular lines etched along it as well. Some speculation exists (on the part of the actor portraying Nuada and some of the fans) that the scar is given to royal men as a rite of passage and that Nuala bears it because of the link to her brother. It would therefore serve as a testimony to not only the connectivity of the pair, but also in showing Nuala's strength and potential to do as great a good for her people as either her father or brother. Other evidence (including the novelization) suggests that the scar is innate and that all those of royal blood bear the mark from birth up. Either way, it remains clear that Nuala is, by birth and endurance, as strong as her twin.
Poetry in Motion
Nuala reads Tennyson aloud and does not seem unused to the idea of human literature. She recites a poem entitled 'Be Near Me When My Light Is Low' which Abraham references by the title of the anthology she is reading and not by the poem's title itself. *Nuala is in fact the first name of famous Irish poetess Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill.*
Relationship with Abraham Sapien
Both Princess Nuala and Agent Abraham Sapien share a telepathic ability that incorporates mind-reading, empathy, and clairsentience, a common trait that brings the two together quickly. While Princess Nuala and Abraham seem drawn to each other, their link almost bears two ends of an extremely long relationship. They have the mannerisms of two shy school-children 'twitterpated' one with the other while they also share a higher understanding and satisfaction in simply being near one another. One might see both the beginning and instantaneous end of a 70 year relationship between two Victorian-era school children who married after finishing school and developed the 'most noble of aspirations' ... love for the sake of companionship.
Nuala differs from her brother in practicing what could be described using the Hindu principle of 'Ahimsa' or 'no hurt'. This is a path to enlightenment and longevity while embracing peace, tranquility, and harming nothing (or in some instances of Ahimsa, doing as little harm as possible). This would mean that Nuala would likely practice veganism and 'personal detachment' in order to reduce any harm to others or herself. Neither the film nor the book portray either of those thoughts as fact, but many fans have stated their belief in the idea that the elves were 'peaceful vegetarian type creatures' and sought to have peace with nature rather than live as the warrior race the prince once described. Nuala not only seems to embrace the survival of humanity, but she is also driven to protect the BPRD agents as well, leading to the idea that she is not necessarily a complete pacifist (and was willing to harm herself in the end)..