Netflix’s Warrior Nun does not waste time with unnecessary hand holding as it builds its mystical, religious, and surprisingly fatal world. Within the first five minutes of the Warrior Nun series premiere “Psalm 46:5,” a Warrior Nun (Melina Matthews) realises she is dying, people are pulling a glowing halo out of that Warrior Nun’s body, and mercenaries are descending upon an old church in Spain. Within 10 minutes on “Psalm,” Warrior Nun’s hero Ava (Alba Baptista) — a formerly deceased paraplegic now raised from the dead by that pesky glowing halo — is running away from demons.
If you’re immediately confused by all the terms and twists of the new Netflix show, you’re not alone. Warrior Nun is constantly throwing out mysterious terms like “Tarask” and “Divinium” without pausing to explaining what, exactly, those words mean. Instead, the series trusts you to use context clues to figure out its mythology or just stick around long enough to understand. It’s a refreshing change from sci-fi and fantasy series whose opening chapters are bogged down by heavy exposition.
But you probably still need some help understanding what’s going on in Warrior Nun, why everyone keeps saying “OCS,” and, honestly, what a “Warrior Nun” is in the first place. Keep reading for a comprehensive glossary for all of the Warrior Nun terms you’re scratching your head over mid-binge.
The Warrior Nun
The Warrior Nun is God’s champion on Earth and has existed as a title for 1,000 years. She is granted powers by a supernatural Halo (see below for the full Halo definition). The Warrior Nun’s job is fighting demons from hell and gathering other warriors to join her in her battles. The first Warrior Nun was a woman named Areala of Córdoba, who was initially a lonely orphan. Areala found purpose when she became a soldier for God during the Crusades. The Warrior Nun title is passed down through members of the Order of the Cruciform Sword (see below for a full OCS definition).
Powers granted to the Warrior Nun include increased agility and strength, the ability to phase through objects and see demons, and conditional immortality. Divinium — which is explained in full below — is one of the only objects that can kill a Warrior Nun.
The Halo is a mystical disc that is placed in the back of the Warrior Nun. As Father Vincent (Tristán Ulloa) tells the newest Warrior Nun, Ava, in third episode “Ephesians 6:11,” “Whoever bears the Halo is the new champion. The Warrior Nun.” If Hell were to get the Halo, it is suspected demons would rise up to the earthly plane and heaven would fall — at least according to Cardinal Duretti (Joaquim de Almeida) in “Proverbs 31:25.”
According to Catholic legend, the Halo initially belonged to the angel Adriel. On the day Areala of Cordoba died on the battlefield during the first Crusade, Adriel came down from the heavens and gave her his own angelic halo to save her life. This sacrifice brought Areala back from the brink of death and she was imbued with the celestial powers of Adriel’s halo, making her the first Warrior Nun.
Seventh episode “Ephesians 4:22-24” counterbalances this flowery tale, explaining the Halo is “an energy source of some kind” that “doesn’t adhere to traditional laws of physics.” Tech genius Jillian Salvius (Thekla Reuten) explains the Halo is “not of this earth,” which could mean it is “alien” — or simply from a divine dimension.
The Order of the Cruciform Sword
The Order of the Cruciform Sword is the top-secret Catholic military organisation built to support the Warrior Nun’s demon-fighting mission. The OCS is made up of Sister Warriors/nuns who fight alongside the Warrior Nun, despite their lack of supernatural powers. As Father Vincent explains to Ava in “Ephesians 6,” OCS members are “devout women who have dedicated their lives to fighting an ancient evil.”
The OCS got its name from their collective symbol: a silver cross made from the hilt of a sword. The Warrior Nun also wields a sword matching that description to fight demons. The sword is special because it is made of Divinium (see below for a full Divinum definition).
Divinium is the supernatural metal that is integral to Warrior Nun. “When in close proximity to the Halo, Divinium activates,” Lilith (Lorena Andrea) tells Ava in Warrior Nun's third episode. “Weapons become more destructive. Armour hardens against attack.” According to OCS legend, the origin of Divinium is the celestial armour worn by Adriel when he came down from heaven to save Areala.
The Warrior Nun wields the Divinium Sword. However, as Lilith says to Ava, “The same thing that makes demons susceptible to Divinum also makes the Warrior Nun susceptible.”
Adriel & Areala
According to Warrior Nun lore, Adriel is the angel who saved Areala from death by giving her his halo circa 1095. Adriel’s sacrifice bound him to earth and stripped him of his angelic powers. Areala then became the Warrior Nun and founded the OCS to rid the earth of demons. It is unclear why, exactly, Adriel decided to save Areala and make her God’s superpowered champion.
There are two forms of demons that influence Warrior Nun’s narrative. The first are wraith demons. As Father Vincent explains to Ava, “They feed on the natural darkness in people’s souls, influencing them to do their bidding.” Yet, wraith demons can’t inflict any physical damage on their own, since they still have one foot in hell. Wraith Demons exist in both dimensions at once.
The Tarask is the other form of demon that exists in Warrior Nun season 1. It is a higher order demon. Unlike wraith demons, the beastly Tarask can fully slip its bond to hell. Buch activity is very difficult to maintain, so the Tarask can only exist in our plane for a short amount of time. The Tarask is attracted to the energy signature of the Halo.
The Cat’s Cradle
The Cat’s Cradle is the headquarters of the OCS. It is an ancient church hidden somewhere in the hills of Andalusia, Spain. The Cat’s Cradle has training spaces, dorms, an armoury, and quite a few secret rooms.
“Next in Line”
Since the Halo has been passed from OCS member to OCS member for a millenia, the organisation must always be prepared for such a transfer, should the Warrior Nun die in battle. One Sister Warrior must always has the designation of “Next in Line,” meaning she is prepared to take the Halo should her leader fall. At the beginning of Warrior Nun, Lilith is “Next in Line.”