'Aquaman': The Importance of the Trident Revealed

Aquaman officially swam into theaters this weekend, and it had quite a lot of lore behind its magical MacGuffin.

Spoilers for Aquaman below!

The film sees Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) and Mera (Amber Heard) trying to save both the land and the sea, and act that would involve essentially usurping Orm (Patrick Wilson) and gaining control of the Seven Kingdoms. To do that, the pair needed to find the lost trident of Atlan, which had been presumed lost for many years.

So, why exactly was the trident so important? Well, there are a couple of different reasons.

As Vulko (Willem Dafoe) reveals in the film, tridents are a weapon primarily used by royalty and are largely passed down from parents to children. This explains why Arthur uses Atlanna's (Nicole Kidman) trident for Justice League and the start of Aquaman, and why Orm uses the trident of his father, King Orvax.

Atlan's trident had a whole other bit of lore to it, as it was forged by metal from Poseidon and was granted the ability to unite the Seven Seas. When Atlan died, the trident was locked away with him in a tomb guarded by the Karathen (Julie Andrews), with only a worthy successor able to take it. Ultimately, Arthur was able to convince the Karathen that he was worthy of the trident because he wanted it for its ability to save everyone, as opposed to wanting it for the great power it possesses.

In a way, the significance of the trident went beyond just its physical abilities and proved to be a sort of symbol for Arthur's emotional journey in the DC Extended Universe thus far. In Justice League, Arthur essentially hadn't reconciled with the human or Atlantean parts of himself, feeling that both had essentially shunned him after Atlanna abandoned him as a child. Arthur begins to use Atlanna's trident after his first conversation with Mera (Amber Heard), in which she points out that it's his responsibility to carry on his mother's legacy and attempt to help save the world.

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Arthur goes through a similar sort of conflict within Aquaman, which ultimately leads to him realizing that he is uniquely positioned to (and wants to) help both the Earth and the seas. That sense of humanity becomes significant with the Karathen in particular, as he proves to be the first person in years who is able to actually speak to and understand her. And even in the final battle against Orm, Arthur uses the trident (and his humanity) to try to unite everyone together, instead of creating more division.

Aquaman is in theaters now. Upcoming DC films include Shazam on April 5, 2019, Joker on October 10, 2019, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, and Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020.