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In Hellboy II, Prince Nuada declares his intent to unite the three pieces of Crown and awaken the Golden Army to wage war on humans.

King Balor asks his son if he truly means this. The Prince replies in affirmative. Upon that, the King sentences his son to death. The Prince shares a curious bond with his twin due to which whatever injuries he suffers, she suffers the same. The Prince then asks the Princess if she was at peace with their father's decision. She said she was. In other words, she was at peace with the idea of dying with her brother so that the Golden Army would remain dormant.

But later

We see that Prince Nuada triumphs over the King's guards and kills his father. Upon that, the Princess flees with the third piece of the crown which the Prince knew she had.

So my question is, why would she run? She was okay with dying for the sake of upholding the truce with men. Why not just kill yourself and your brother along with you? I know the obvious answer is "Because that would have ended the story right in the beginning" but is there any other in-universe explanation?

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    .... it's one thing to contemplate that your brother dying will kill you when you assume that's all that can happen, and it's quite another to take up a knife and stab yourself to kill him because now it's the only way? One is passive, one is so very very active. She struck me as a passive gal.
    – Radhil
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 14:49
  • @Radhil She eventually did the active thing however.
    – Aegon
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 15:01
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    The first thing she did was run away and try to seek a way out of it though. Yeah, once she'd had a lot of time to figure out it was the only way to end this, she did the deed. No one on Team Hellboy was going to kill him knowing it would kill her; Prince Nuada made it absolutely clear that he wouldn't stop fighting and/or trying to kill them until he was dead. When it was the only choice left to her, she made it.
    – Radhil
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 15:06
  • @Radhil Nicely put. Make the comments an answer perhaps?
    – Aegon
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 15:09
  • Heh. I have a bad habit of doing that.
    – Radhil
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 15:40

1 Answer 1

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This is speculation, since we do not get an inner monologue of Princess Nuala's thoughts during the movie, but I believe it holds up against the events of the movie.

Princess Nuala is a strongly passive character.

During the confrontation between Prince Nuada and the King in the throne room, Nuala gracefully accepts that she will die along with her brother. It's nothing she can do anything about. The King has pronounced sentence, the guards are closing in, it will be painful to feel her brother's wounds, but the only thing she can do is wait them both to end. This is a completely passive state.

Is she right? Of course not. Nuada slaughters the guards and the king.

Faced with an outcome she wouldn't expect and didn't prepare for, I can't imagine she thinks anything but panic. Even if she was thinking clearly, she has few choices. Fight her brother? Not only a terrible active choice, but likely she'd lose and die or be subdued, and then he'd have won. Suicide to stop him? Not only an active choice, but what would it stop? The worst for her has already happened, and the king is dead.

So whether panicked away from the unexpected outcome or semi-rationally fleeing frightening choices, she Takes A Third Option and runs away.

It is apparent she wants to stop her brother, but the most she does is try to keep both herself and the map to the Golden Army out of his hands. It may be she doesn't actually want to die, it may be she doesn't actually want to harm her brother either. Again, fairly passive approach either way.

She doesn't make the active choice to suicide and take her brother with her until there's no other choice left to her. She's now bonded with Abe, and has someone to lose besides her twin again. Team Hellboy knows harming Nuada will also harm Nuala, and spares him to spare her. Nuada pisses all over that and tries to attack them again, making it clear he will never stop until they all die. If she remains passive, Abe dies. With that as the only outcome, she finally finds the will to actively end her life, and with it Nuada.

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