Who Has Powers On 'The Nevers'? The Touched Are A Mysterious Bunch

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Who Has Powers On 'The Nevers'? The Touched Are A Mysterious Bunch

There's a lot going on in The Nevers, HBO's new steampunk fantasy show that presents a new version of Victorian London, one where a space ship sprinkled magical powers over the city, leaving some inhabitants "Touched" by special powers, and causing a huge friction in society. Who has powers on The Nevers will dictate everything going forward — alliances, enemies, life or death. If only it were easy to figure out who has them.

The first episode of the series, "Touched," was, to put it mildly, very confusing. At first, it seemed like only women had been blessed with these magical abilities, but, by the end of the episode, it's clear that more than a few men have also been Touched. Why, then, are the political class of white men under the impression that none of them were Touched? And why was only London Touched at all? Are The Touched the only kind of supernatural people in the world of The Nevers? There are many, many questions. But, for now, let's start with attempting to answer the most pressing question of all: who has been Touched on The Nevers and what powers do they have?

The Heroes

Amalia True & Penance Adare

Image: HBO / Keith Bernstein

The main Touched characters we follow are Amalia True and Penance Adare. Amalia, the brunette, leads the Orphanage, a safe haven for the Touched, with Penance as her number two. So far, we know she has the power to sometimes get glimpses of the future — which do or do not come true — but she also seems to potentially possess superhuman strength and fighting skills. And, the first episode of the series heavily hinted that there was more to her than meets the eye. My theory: she has some kind of regenerative powers that allow her to cheat death.

Penance's abilities, on the other hand, are pretty straightforward. She can see the flow of energy and interpret where it wants to go, which makes her a genius inventor. Together, Penance and Amalia are the Touched's most formidable champions. They're also the most public and unapologetic of the Touched in London society, meaning they're the most at risk for anti-Touched backlash.

The Orphanage

Image: Courtesy of HBO

From there, we get to the Orphanage, which is full of mostly young women who were Touched. It's safe to assume that nearly everyone at there is either Touched or at least sympathetic to the Touched, but the exact makeup of the organization is unclear, especially as it is funded by the seemingly untouched Lavinia Bidlow.

There are still plenty of people at the Orphanage we haven't met yet, but here's everyone we know so far:

  • Primrose Chattoway: she is big, like Hagrid from Harry Potter big.
  • Harriet Kaur: she definitely has powers, but so far, their exact nature is unknown
  • Myrtle Haplisch: she can speak and understand probably every language, but she doesn't know hwo to turn it off and has seemingly lost her ability to speak English
  • Lucy Best: can connect with plant life and make it grow faster
  • Dr. Horatio Cousens: can heal people with his hands — though the limits of his powers are unclear

Mary Brighton

Image: Courtesy of HBO

Mary Brighton reveals herself as a member of the Touched at the opera when she uses her power of song to subdue Maladie, a serial killer terrorizing London. I'm not really sure what her power is, but her song managed to quiet Maladie and every other Touched person in the audience. Penance later described her song as something that seemed to speak directly to her heart, telling her that the Touched belonged. Mary was kidnapped by Malandie for reasons, but given her heroic actions in the pilot, I'm going to say she's one of the good guys.

The Villains


Image: HBO / Keith Bernstein

The main villain of the story — so far — is Maladie, the female serial killer who has been killing men across London. Though there was some debate on whether or not she was Touched early in the episode, her fight with Amalia confirmed that Maladie has powers, though what they are we're not sure. She seemed to be very strong, and her eyes glowed red during their fight. She's also insane, or she acts that way. Before she got her powers, she was being carted off to an asylum, which could mean that she was either already having mental illness problems, or she was a victim of the patriarchal society that allowed men to commit their wives or female relatives for no reason at all.

Annie Carbey

Image: Courtesy of HBO

Annie Carbey, Maladie's sidekick, is equally formidable. She can create fireballs out of thin air. So far, all we know about her is that she's touched and working with a murderer.

Dr. Edmund Hague

Image: Keith Bernstein/HBO

Dr. Hague only appeared briefly in the episode, and he doesn't appear to have been Touched. However, he's still worth mentioning here because he's seen performing some kind of surgery on a man who has either been touched, or has been the victim of some kind of experiment (I'm betting on the latter). The Dr. has been using an army of such men to kidnap Touched girls across the city, seemingly to experiment on them.


Augie Bidlow

Image: Keith Bernstein/HBO

Finally, there's Augustus Bidlow, brother to Lavinia, super shy and skittish BFF to London playboy (and potential human trafficker?) Hugo Swan. Augie is affected by Mary's song at the opera, suggesting he's been Touched, but it's quite possible even he doesn't know it himself. Whatever powers he has have yet to be revealed, but given that Penance saw how affected he was by Mary's song, I'm guessing we'll find out sooner rather than later.

The Nevers airs Sundays on HBO.


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Image: HBO / Keith Bernstein

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