The Witcher is a fantasy drama television series created by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich for Netflix, based on the book series of the same name by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. Set on a fictional, medieval-inspired landmass known as the Continent, The Witcher explores the legend of Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer of Vengerberg and Princess Ciri. It stars Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, and Freya Allan.
|Created by||Lauren Schmidt Hissrich|
|Based on||The Witcher|
by Andrzej Sapkowski
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||16 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||47–67 minutes|
|Audio format||5.1 surround sound|
|Original release||December 20, 2019 –|
|Related shows||The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (animated film)|
The Witcher: Blood Origin
The first season, consisting of eight episodes, released on Netflix on December 20, 2019. It was based on The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, which are collections of short stories that precede the main Witcher saga. The second season, also consisting of eight episodes, released on December 17, 2021. In September 2021, Netflix renewed the series for a third season, which will be released in mid-2023.
The story begins with Geralt of Rivia, Crown Princess Ciri of Cintra, and the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg at different points of time, exploring formative events that shape their characters throughout the first season, before eventually merging into a single timeline.
Geralt and Ciri are linked by destiny since before she was born when he unknowingly demanded her as a reward for his services by invoking "the Law of Surprise". After the two finally meet, Geralt becomes the princess's protector and must help her and fight against her various pursuers to prevent her Elder Blood and powerful magic from being used for malevolent purposes and keep Ciri and their world safe.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, a magically enhanced monster hunter known as a "witcher". Cintran princess Ciri is his "destiny".
- Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg, a quarter-elf sorceress.
- Freya Allan as Ciri, Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, the crown princess of Cintra, granddaughter of Queen Calanthe and daughter of Pavetta, from whom she inherited the Elder Blood. She is linked to Geralt by destiny.
- Eamon Farren as Cahir Mawr Dyffryn aep Ceallach, nicknamed the “Black Knight”, a Nilfgaardian army commander who leads the invasion of Cintra and the hunt for Cirilla.
- Joey Batey as Jaskier, a travelling bard who befriends Geralt and accompanies him on his path.
- MyAnna Buring as Tissaia de Vries, mentor to Yennefer and the Rectrix of Aretuza, a training academy for female mages.
- Mimî M. Khayisa as Fringilla Vigo, a sorceress who trained alongside Yennefer. She eventually leads the Nilfgaardian invasion alongside Cahir.
- Anna Shaffer as Triss Merigold, a sorceress, the court mage of Temeria and advisor to King Foltest.
- Royce Pierreson as Istredd, an adept sorcerer and historian who befriends Yennefer at Aretuza.
- Wilson Mbomio as Dara, a refugee elf boy whom Cirilla befriends after the Slaughter of Cintra.
- Mahesh Jadu as Vilgefortz of Roggeveen, a charismatic sorcerer who rallies the northern mages to halt the invading Nilfgaardian army in Sodden.
- Tom Canton as Filavandrel (season 2; guest season 1), the last king of the Elves.
- Mecia Simson as Francesca Findabair (season 2), an elven sorceress.
- Kim Bodnia as Vesemir (season 2), the oldest living witcher and Geralt's mentor and father figure.
- Jodhi May as Queen Calanthe, ruler of the Kingdom of Cintra and grandmother of Princess Cirilla.
- Adam Levy as Mousesack, the court druid of Cintra and advisor to Queen Calanthe.
- Björn Hlynur Haraldsson as King Eist Tuirseach, husband to Queen Calanthe and step-grandfather of Cirilla. (season 1)
- Lars Mikkelsen as Stregobor, resident mage in the town of Blaviken and the Rector of Ban Ard, the academy for male mages.
- Therica Wilson-Read as Sabrina Glevissig, a sorceress who trained alongside Yennefer.
- Shaun Dooley as King Foltest, the king of Temeria, whose incestuous relationship with his sister created a daughter.
- Terence Maynard as Artorius Vigo, court mage from Toussaint and uncle of Fringilla
- Judit Fekete as Vanielle of Brugge, a sorceress and one of the mages who fought during the Battle of Sodden Hill. (season 1)
- Paul Bullion as Lambert, a witcher at Kaer Morhen and friend of Geralt. (season 2)
- Yasen Atour as Coën, a witcher at Kaer Morhen and friend of Geralt. (season 2)
- Ania Marson as Voleth Meir, a demon who came to the plane with the Conjunction of the Spheres, who feeds on pain and fear. (season 2)
- Graham McTavish as Sigismund Dijkstra, head of the Redanian Intelligence and ally of Philippa Eilhart. (season 2); McTavish also voiced Deglan in the animated prequel The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf.
- Ed Birch as Vizimir, the king of Redania. (season 2)
- Chris Fulton as Rience, a renegade mage set on a hunt for Ciri. (season 2)
- Aisha Fabienne Ross as Lydia van Bredevoort, Rience's liaison who gets him out of prison on her master's orders. (season 2)
- Kaine Zajaz as Gage, Francesca's brother. (season 2)
Notable guest starsEdit
Introduced in season 1Edit
- Emma Appleton as Renfri of Creyden, a princess-turned-bandit who leads a gang of brigands and has a bloody grudge against Stregobor.
- Mia McKenna-Bruce as Marilka, daughter of Blaviken's alderman.
- Tobi Bamtefa as Sir Danek, a Cintran commander of Calanthe's royal guard.
- Maciej Musiał as Sir Lazlo, a Cintran knight charged with protecting Cirilla.
- Natasha Culzac as Toruviel, an elven warrior serving Filavandrel.
- Amit Shah as Torque, a sylvan ("horned devil") who works for Filavandrel.
- Julian Rhind-Tutt as Giltine, the enchanter of Aretuza who brings adepts into their perfect physical forms after they graduate.
- Gaia Mondadori as Princess Pavetta, the daughter of Queen Calanthe and mother of Ciri.
- Bart Edwards as Duny, the "Urcheon of Erlenwald" / Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, Pavetta's lover, afflicted by a curse that transforms him into a hedgehog man until midnight.
- Josette Simon as Eithne, the Queen of the Dryads of Brokilon Forest.
- Nóra Trokán as the Dryad General.
- Marcin Czarnik as Ronin Mage, an assassin sent to murder Queen Kalis and her baby daughter.
- Blair Kincaid as Crach an Craite, a member of a royal clan from the Skellige Isles, who was invited to Pavetta's wedding.
- Lucas Englander as Chireadan, a healer elf from the Redanian city of Rinde.
- Jordan Renzo as Eyck of Denesle, a virtuous knight.
- Ron Cook as Borch Three Jackdaws, a man who is actually the golden dragon Villentretenmerth.
- Jeremy Crawford as Yarpen Zigrin, the leader of a gang of dwarven mercenaries and friend of Geralt.
- Ella-Rae Smith as Fola, a young sorceress in Aretuza.
- Francis Magee as Yurga, a travelling merchant in Sodden, rescued from monsters by Geralt.
- Anna-Louise Plowman as Zola, Yurga's wife who offers Cirilla sanctuary in her rural home in Sodden.
- Frida Gustavsson as Ma/Visenna, mother of Geralt of Rivia.
Introduced in season 2Edit
- Kristofer Hivju as Nivellen, an aristocrat who has been transformed into a beast through a curse.
- Agnes Born as Vereena, a bruxa and love interest of Nivellen.
- Basil Eidenbenz as Eskel, a witcher at Kaer Morhen and close friend of Geralt.
- Jota Castellano as Gwain, a witcher at Kaer Morhen.
- Nathanial Jacobs as Everard, a witcher at Kaer Morhen.
- Chuey Okoye as Merek, a witcher at Kaer Morhen.
- Kevin Doyle as Ba'lian, an elf seeking refuge in the most unexpected places of the Continent.
- Niamh McCormack as Lara Dorren, an extremely powerful, ancient Elven sorceress who fell in love with a human mage, Ciri's ancestor.
- Adjoa Andoh as Mother Nenneke, the wise High Priestess of the Temple of Melitele in Ellander and an old friend of Geralt.
- Simon Callow as Codringher, an investigator and partner of Fenn who helps Istredd.
- Liz Carr as Fenn, an investigator and partner of Codringher who helps Istredd.
- Rebecca Hanssen as Meve, queen of Lyria.
- Richard Tirado as Demavend, king of Aedirn.
- Edward Rowe as Henselt, king of Kaedwen.
- Luke Cy as Ethain, king of Cidaris.
- Sam Hazeldine as Eredin, king of the legendary Wild Hunt.
- Cassie Clare as Philippa Eilhart, a sorceress and advisor to king Vizimir of Redania, as well as Dijkstra's favored spy.
|1||8||December 20, 2019|
|2||8||December 17, 2021|
Season 1 (2019)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"The End's Beginning"||Alik Sakharov||Lauren Schmidt Hissrich||December 20, 2019|
Following Geralt of Rivia's battle with a kikimora in 1231, he enters the town of Blaviken and meets Renfri, a cursed princess-turned-bandit. She is hunted by the wizard Stregobor, who believes her evil for being born during an eclipse. Stregobor lures Geralt to his hideout, seeking to hire him to kill Renfri, but Geralt refuses. Renfri later offers Geralt a counter-proposal, but he refuses with an ultimatum: leave or die. In 1263, Nilfgaard conquers the northern kingdom of Cintra. Princess Cirilla, also known as Ciri, is sent away by her grandmother, Queen Calanthe, to escape and find Geralt. A Nilfgaardian officer Cahir captures Cirilla, but seeing the burning city and castle triggers her powers, allowing her to escape. Renfri feigns agreement, but upon waking up the next morning, Geralt realizes Renfri will not stop until Stregobor is dead, and he rushes to stop her. After killing her men, he fights and fatally wounds Renfri, whose dying words tell of a girl in the forest who is his eternal destiny. Stregobor arrives to take Renfri's body for autopsy. When Geralt opposes, the townsfolk force him to leave, urged on by Stregobor. |
Based on "The Lesser Evil" from The Last Wish.
|2||2||"Four Marks"||Alik Sakharov||Jenny Klein||December 20, 2019|
In 1206, hunchback Yennefer from Vengerberg of Aedirn is sold to Tissaia de Vries by her father. She is taken to Aretuza for training in magic, but finds the practice difficult. She forms a friendship with Istredd, even revealing her quarter-elf heritage, which caused her deformity. Unbeknownst to either, Tissaia and Stregobor were using Yennefer and Istredd respectively to spy on each other. Later, Yennefer witnesses Tissaia turning three students into eels to act as conduits powering Aretuza with magic. In 1240, Geralt is hired to investigate grain thefts in Posada and is followed by Jaskier the bard. They encounter a Sylvan named Torque, who knocks them unconscious and takes them to his mountain cave. There, Geralt meets Filavandrel, the elven king, and urges he lead his people to better lands after being banished by the humans. Instead of killing them, Filavandrel frees Geralt and Jaskier, taking the witcher's words to heart. In 1263, Cirilla encounters Dara, a boy in the woods, who guides her to a refugee camp. Dara returns to save her when the camp is attacked by Cahir's forces; she later realizes Dara is an elf. |
Based on "The Edge of the World" from The Last Wish.
|3||3||"Betrayer Moon"||Alex Garcia Lopez||Beau DeMayo||December 20, 2019|
In 1210, Yennefer and Istredd become lovers while finishing their training. While Yennefer has the chance to transform her body into her ideal image during graduation, the Brotherhood of Sorcerers discuss the allocation of their newly initiated to their respective kingdoms. Through Stregobor's scheming, Yennefer is assigned to Nilfgaard instead of her preferred Aedirn due to her elven blood. Yennefer angrily breaks off her relationship with Istredd, knowing only he could have told Stregobor about her heritage. Having missed graduation, Yennefer undergoes the painful transformation to be beautiful at the cost of her fertility. With her new body, Yennefer charms Aedirn's King Virfuril into taking her as advisor, sending Fringilla to Nilfgaard instead. In 1243, Geralt enters the kingdom of Temeria to investigate a monster, assisted by Triss Merigold, King Foltest's sorceress advisor. He identifies the monster as a Strzyga, a creature born from a curse he later discovers was placed by the courtier Ostrit who learned about the affair between Foltest and his sister, Princess Adda. Using Ostrit as bait, Geralt battles to contain the Striga until dawn, which lifts the curse. In 1263, Cirilla enters a dense forest in a trance as Dara follows to help. |
Based on "The Witcher" from The Last Wish.
|4||4||"Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials"||Alex Garcia Lopez||Declan de Barra||December 20, 2019|
In 1240, having served Aedirn for thirty years, Yennefer, along with Queen Kalis of Lyria, is ambushed by an assassin. In the ensuing chase, Yennefer flees unable to save Kalis and her newborn daughter from the assassin. In 1249, Geralt accompanies Jaskier to the betrothal feast of Princess Pavetta, Queen Calanthe's daughter. Urcheon of Erlenwald (also named Duny) interrupts to demand Pavetta's hand through the Law of Surprise, having saved her father's life several years earlier. Urcheon suffers from a curse that transformed him into a hedgehog/man creature. Despite Pavetta's acceptance, Calanthe refuses and a brawl ensues. When Calanthe tries killing Urcheon, Pavetta activates her power, unleashing a maelstrom until Geralt and Mousesack intervene. Wanting her daughter happy, Calanthe marries Duny and Pavetta, which lifts his curse. Duny, thankful for Geralt's aid, insists he take a reward. Geralt jokingly invokes the Law of Surprise for something Duny has but does not yet know. The crowd then immediately learns Pavetta is pregnant. In 1263, Nilfgaard's forces resume their pursuit of Cirilla, Paveta's daughter with Mousesack as their prisoner. Meanwhile, Cirilla and Dara encounter the dryad queen Eithne in Brokilon Forest, while Cahir and Fringilla track Ciri's location. |
Based on "A Question of Price" from The Last Wish, and "Sword of Destiny" from Sword of Destiny.
|5||5||"Bottled Appetites"||Charlotte Brändström||Sneha Koorse||December 20, 2019|
In 1256, seven years after Pavetta's betrothal, Geralt and Jaskier discover a Djinn and accidentally release it. Initially, it seems that Jaskier is the Djinn's 'master', but then he falls seriously ill. Geralt seeks help from the nearest healer, the elf Chireadan, but since they need a mage to heal Jaskier, Chireadan reluctantly refers them to Yennefer. Although Yennefer cures Jaskier, her plan is to use him to capture the Djinn and force it to grant her wish of regaining her fertility. As Jaskier uses his last wish, nothing happens and it is revealed that it is Geralt, not Jaskier, who has actually gained the wishes. Geralt realizes the Djinn will kill Yennefer, so he uses his third and final wish to save her (but the wish itself is not revealed). The Djinn leaves. Now free and safe, Yennefer asks what his third wish was, but Geralt falls asleep after they have sex without answering. In 1263, Cahir hires a doppler to assume the identity of Mousesack; the doppler copies his physical form and memories, then kills him. Later, Eithne allows Ciri to stay in Brokilon, but "Mousesack" arrives and requests Ciri and Dara leave with him. |
Based on "The Last Wish" from The Last Wish.
|6||6||"Rare Species"||Charlotte Brändström||Haily Hall||December 20, 2019|
In 1262, Geralt and Jaskier are invited to join a dragon hunt by the adventurer Borch and his two bodyguards. Yennefer also joins the party, along with a band of dwarves and Reavers, professional monster hunters. After camping overnight, the party find the Reavers have departed. The dwarves take the group to a mountain shortcut, but the bridge collapses. Borch's group sacrifices themselves to save the rest. Geralt and Yennefer reconcile before reaching the dragon's den, but find it dead with the bodyguards guarding the dragon's egg. Borch reveals himself as Villentretenmerth, a golden dragon. The five of them defend the egg from the Reavers. Geralt reveals to Yennefer his third wish bound their fates together. Believing her feelings to be artificial, Yennefer breaks off their fledgling relationship and leaves. Angered and hurt, Geralt blames Jaskier for his misfortunes and leaves him. In 1263, Dara grows suspicious of "Mousesack". Ciri questions him and the doppler reveals himself. In the scuffle, Dara is knocked out as Ciri escapes, but is captured by Cahir. "Ciri" reveals itself as the doppler and fights Cahir before escaping. Dara frees the real Ciri, but fearing for his own safety, leaves her. |
Based on "The Bounds of Reason" from Sword of Destiny.
|7||7||"Before a Fall"||Alik Sakharov & Marc Jobst||Mike Ostrowski||December 20, 2019|
In 1263, with Nilfgaard poised to invade Cintra, Geralt decides to invoke his Law of Surprise and claim Ciri to protect her, but Calanthe, unwilling to give up the last remaining strand of her daughter's life, offers a different young girl in Ciri's place. After realising the deception, Geralt confronts Calanthe and is then imprisoned by Eist. After visiting Istredd and failing to reignite their relationship, Yennefer returns to Aretuza with the sorcerer Vilgefortz. When he announces his intention to rally mages to oppose Nilfgaard, she declines. The Brotherhood votes to remain neutral, but Tissaia, Vilgefortz, Triss and other mages resolve to fight. Tissaia convinces Yennefer to join. Nilfgaard invades Cintra, sacking the city and breaching the castle. Calanthe tries to send Ciri away with Geralt, but he has escaped his cell and is nowhere to be found. Ciri fends for herself after escaping Cintra, stealing a horse from a woman who offers her shelter. Later, she is discovered by her old friends who suddenly turn on her, and her powers activate. |
Based on "Something More" from Sword of Destiny.
|8||8||"Much More"||Marc Jobst||Lauren Schmidt Hissrich||December 20, 2019|
Having escaped from Cintra, Geralt defends a merchant from undead monsters, but is wounded and loses consciousness. Yennefer and the mages reinforce the keep of Sodden Hill, aiming to prevent Nilfgaardian forces from invading the remaining Northern Kingdoms. The Nilfgaardians launch their attack, and a battle starts. Tissaia attempts to talk down Fringilla, but Fringilla disables her. Vilgefortz fights Cahir, but loses and is thrown down a hill. When Vilgefortz wakes up, he kills a Northern sorcerer, revealing himself to be a turncoat. Nilfgaardian soldiers begin to overrun the fort, but Yennefer channels a massive stream of fire, then seemingly disappears. Ciri is awakened by the woman she stole the horse from earlier, and discovers the dead bodies around her. The woman takes her to her farm. Geralt dreams about his mother Visenna, who abandoned him as a child to be made into a witcher, then wakes to find himself on the merchant's cart. When they arrive at the merchant's farm, he hears the woman talk to the man about Ciri. He heads into the forest, where Ciri and Geralt finally meet and embrace. She asks Geralt who Yennefer is. |
Based on "Something More" from Sword of Destiny.
Season 2 (2021)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|9||1||"A Grain of Truth"||Stephen Surjik||Declan de Barra||December 17, 2021|
On the battlefield after the victory of the Northern Kingdoms, Geralt and Ciri encounter Tissaia who tells them that Yenn is dead. Traveling with Ciri, Geralt stops to visit his friend Nivellen and discovers that he has been cursed into a beast by a priestess for sacking a temple. Geralt investigates the nearby village and determines that a Bruxa, a vampire, caused the villagers to flee. He returns and sees the Bruxa drinking Nivellen's blood. Geralt fights and kills it, which lifts Nivellen's curse. Nivellen reveals he loved the Bruxa and did nothing to stop her from attacking the village, and that his curse stemmed from him raping the priestess. Nivellen begs Geralt to kill him, but Geralt refuses. In Aretuza, Tissaia tortures Cahir for information on Nilfgaard. Fringilla has taken Yennefer captive and is heading towards Cintra, but their party is ambushed on the road. |
Based on "A Grain of Truth" from The Last Wish.
|10||2||"Kaer Morhen"||Stephen Surjik||Beau DeMayo||December 17, 2021|
|Yennefer and Fringilla are captured by elves, who are digging near a ruined monolith. Their leader, sorceress Francesca Findabair, is having visions of a white-robed figure she believes to be the elven prophet Ithlinne. Yennefer and Fringilla also dream of robed figures, red and black, respectively. The three sorceresses find a hidden a passage leading to a magic hut. There, they meet the Deathless Mother, a mysterious being who takes on a different form for each -- Yennefer sees a younger Tissaia, Fringilla sees Emperor Emhyr, and Francesca sees Ithlinne -- and reveals the path each must take to achieve their greatest desire. The sorceresses are released. Fringilla joins Francesca to form an elven-Nilfgaardian alliance; Yennefer calls them fools and discovers she has lost her magic. Geralt and Ciri join the remaining witchers at Kaer Morhen. Eskel arrives late, after hunting an leshy. The witchers are partying when their medallions start vibrating, indicating a monster is near. Geralt discovers Eskel was infected by the leshy and has been transformed into one. Unable to control his leshy side, Eskel attacks Vesemir, forcing Geralt to kill him. Realizing Kaer Morhen is not safe, Geralt agrees to train Ciri in combat.|
|11||3||"What Is Lost"||Sarah O'Gorman||Teleplay by : Lauren Schmidt Hissrich & Clare Higgins|
Story by : Clare Higgins
|December 17, 2021|
|Ciri continues to train in swordsmanship, fitness and agility. Vesemir investigates the mutated leshy. Yennefer makes her way to Aretuza; Tissaia informs her that her absence has aroused suspicions regarding her allegiance among the Brotherhood, and implores her to lie low. Stregobor interrogates Yennefer, until Tissaia intervenes. She later noted to Yennefer that she knows about her losing her magic. The Council of the Brotherhood decrees that to prove her loyalty, Yennefer must execute Cahir. During the execution ceremony, in front of an audience of the Brotherhood and the Northern monarchs, Yennefer releases Cahir and the two escape. A pregnant Francesca and the elves settle in Cintra under the protection of Nilfgaard. In Kaer Morhen, Geralt reveals to Ciri that she may have inherited magical powers from her mother. They track down the leshy; during the battle, a myriapod, a centipede-like monster, appears and kills the leshy before pursuing Ciri. Geralt kills the myriapod.|
|12||4||"Redanian Intelligence"||Sarah O'Gorman||Sneha Koorse||December 17, 2021|
|Triss arrives at Kaer Morhen, having been invited by Geralt to help Ciri in magical training. Geralt, Ciri, and Triss investigate the origins of the myriapod and leshy, finding that they are connected to monoliths. Ciri confesses that she toppled a monolith in Cintra. Triss portals Geralt to Istredd who is known for studying monoliths. Vesemir discovers that Ciri has Elder blood, long thought as extinct, and rumored to be an ingredient in mutagens used to create witchers. Now wanted, Yennefer and Cahir escape to the city of Oxenfurt in the North where a pogrom against elves is taking place. In Redania, Sigismund Dijkstra and Philippa Eilhart, spymaster and court mage respectively to King Vizimir, began to plot the seizure of Cintra. They recruit the imprisoned elf Dara as an informant. Meanwhile, Yennefer and Cahir discover that a figure called The Sandpiper, revealed to be Jaskier, is smuggling elves to Cintra. With Jaskier's help, Yennefer, Cahir, and Dara board the ship bound for Cintra. After Jaskier leaves, Yennefer finds that he has gotten into trouble.|
|13||5||"Turn Your Back"||Ed Bazalgette||Haily Hall||December 17, 2021|
|Rience, a fire mage, is freed from prison and tasked to find Ciri by the sorceress Lydia, who is serving an unknown master. Geralt and Istredd travel to the fallen monolith outside Cintra. Yennefer, having disembarked from the ship, rescues Jaskier from Rience; they are then separated and captured by city guards. Vesemir reveals his plan to create new witchers to Ciri. Ciri agrees, but insists on being the first candidate. Investigating the ruins of the monolith, Geralt and Istredd hypothesize that the monoliths are gateways that, when activated, allow monsters to enter their world. Geralt learns from Istredd that Yennefer is alive. Triss, attempting to dissuade Ciri, conducts a ritual in hopes of discovering Ciri's source of power. They uncover Ithlinne's prophecy, which predicts that a child of the Elder blood will destroy the world. Ciri's powers activate the Cintra monolith, causing a Chernobog to appear which then flies away. Geralt portals back to Kaer Morhen, stopping Ciri from taking part in the conversion. Cahir arrives at Cintra. Yennefer summons the Deathless Mother and disappears; she is tasked with delivering Ciri to a location outside Cintra.|
|14||6||"Dear Friend"||Louise Hooper||Matthew D'Ambrosio||December 17, 2021|
|Geralt takes Ciri outside Kaer Morhen; they are attacked by the Chernobog Geralt encountered at Cintra. Geralt manages to kill the monster, but his horse Roach is mortally wounded in the fight. At Kaer Morhen, Vesemir and Triss are ambushed by Rience, who steals the mutagens and escapes. After Geralt gently puts Roach out of her misery, he and Ciri travel to the Temple of Melitele where Geralt hopes Ciri will learn to control her powers. They meet Yennefer when she arrives shortly after them. Francesca successfully gives birth to the first full elf born in years. Cahir reveals to Fringilla that Emhyr is visiting Cintra. Istredd uncovers a link between Ciri and Lara Dorren, a legendary elven warrior. Yennefer tells Geralt that Jaskier is in trouble, and being pursued by the fire mage, whom Geralt deduces is looking for Ciri. Rience appears at the temple with the Michelet Brothers. Geralt tells Yennefer to take Ciri while he holds Rience off. Yennefer and Ciri lock themselves in a room and Yennefer teaches Ciri to open a portal. Rience escapes and Yennefer and Ciri as they disappear through a portal. Triss tells Tissaia of Ciri's Elder blood.|
|15||7||"Voleth Meir"||Louise Hooper||Mike Ostrowski||December 17, 2021|
|Yennefer and Ciri portal to the home of the woman who took Ciri in and discover the family was murdered by Rience. Meanwhile, Geralt frees Jaskier from prison. Jaskier tells him about Yennefer's lost magic and her muttered incantation. Recognizing the incantation, Geralt realizes Yennefer is in league with Voleth Meir (the Deathless Mother), a demon that feeds on pain. The birth of Francesca's baby causes the elves to focus on rebuilding instead of fighting for Nilfgaard. Frustrated with her slipping grasp on power, Fringilla assassinates four of the White Flame's generals and intimidates Cahir into vouching for her to the emperor. Tissaia tells Vilgefortz about Ciri, betraying Triss. Dara quits spying for Dijkstra. Ciri inadvertently reads Yennefer's mind and sees her betrayal. Upset, she has an outburst that alerts a nearby Nilfgaardian patrol, but Geralt and Jaskier, aided by Yarpen Zigrin's dwarven crew, arrive in time to defeat them. Geralt draws his blade on Yennefer while Yarpen and Jaskier take Ciri to Kaer Morhen. Yennefer recites the incantation. In the castle, Francesca awakens to find her baby murdered. Her outburst of pain gives Voleth Meir the strength to break free; Geralt and Yennefer arrive as it escapes the hut.|
|16||8||"Family"||Ed Bazalgette||Lauren Schmidt Hissrich||December 17, 2021|
|A possessed Ciri begins killing witchers at Kaer Morhen. Voleth Meir also uses Ciri's power to uncover a monolith hidden in the hall. In the ensuing battle, Geralt and Vesemir attempt to contain Ciri. After apologizing to Ciri, Yennefer offers herself up as a host for Voleth Meir, freeing the princess from its control. Ciri transports Geralt and Yennefer to an unknown world where Voleth Meir leaves Yennefer's body. Ciri, Geralt, and Yennefer glimpse the Wild Hunt who plan to abduct Ciri as Voleth Meir recreates its body and rejoins them. After returning to Kaer Morhen, Yennefer finds that her powers have returned. Geralt realizes Ciri cannot stay at Kaer Morhen. Deducing that Vizimir is after Ciri, the Brotherhood and the remaining Northern monarchs put a bounty on Ciri and her protectors. Blaming the Northern Kingdoms for the loss of her newborn, Francesca kills human babies in Redania. Istredd tells her of Ciri's Elder blood, and she realizes the girl is the elves' hope. Emperor Emhyr arrives at Cintra and reveals that he had Francesca's newborn killed; he orders Fringilla and Cahir arrested for lying to him and is further revealed to be Ciri's father, Duny.|
Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher book series was initially scheduled to be adapted into a standalone Netflix film, but Kelly Luegenbiehl, Vice President of International Originals at Netflix, dissuaded the producers. She recalled asking them, "How can you take eight novels and just turn it into a film? There's so much material here. Through a number of conversations, the producers got really excited about the idea of using the source material for a longer-running series." In May 2017, Netflix announced the start of production on an English-language drama TV series based on the books.
In December 2017, it was reported that Lauren Schmidt Hissrich would serve as showrunner on the show. In April 2018, Schmidt Hissrich revealed that the script for the pilot episode was finished, and the first season would be eight episodes long. In 2017, it was reported that Andrzej Sapkowski would serve as a creative consultant on the show, but in January 2018, Sapkowski denied any direct involvement. However, he met with Schmidt Hissrich in April 2018 and in May 2018 she stated that Sapkowski was on the creative team of the project. In August, Andrew Laws was revealed as production designer. In December, Radio Times reported directors Alik Sakharov and Charlotte Brändström had joined the project.
Netflix announced a second season on November 13, 2019, under the working title "Mysterious Monsters", with production set to begin in London in early 2020, for a planned release in 2021. In April 2021, Netflix's co-chief executive officer and chief content officer Ted Sarandos confirmed that the second season is expected to premiere in Q4 2021. In July 2021, it was announced that the second season would premiere on December 17, 2021. On September 25, 2021, Netflix announced that the series had been renewed for a third season.
The first season was told in a non-linear manner, spanning different time periods. Hissrich said this was inspired by Christopher Nolan's 2017 film Dunkirk. She pointed out that Yennefer's story covers around 70 years and Ciri's only about 2 weeks. Hissrich also said that Yennefer and Cirilla were given more prominence to allow the viewers to understand them better. By showing their backstories, along with Geralt's, "we get down to the soul of the story. It's the story of a broken family. It's a story of three people who are on their own in the world, really orphans all living in the margins of society who are determined to not need anyone, and yet of course they do."
Hissrich said the story for the second season will build on the foundations of the first season, becoming more focused; the characters will interact with each other more frequently. "When I talk about The Witcher, I always talk about how these three characters coming together — Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer — they come together as a family. It's the most important part of the series for me," Hissrich said. "And when you start to imagine someone's family, you also need to understand their family of origin. For Geralt, it's his brothers, it's the brotherhood of the witchers. So I'm really excited to get back in and meet Vesemir, his father figure, for the first time and all of these men that he was raised with since he was seven years old."
In September 2018, Netflix announced that Henry Cavill would play Geralt of Rivia. He was selected from more than 200 actors; Cavill actively campaigned for the role, being a long-time fan of the video game adaptations. In October 2018, Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra were cast as Princess Cirilla and Yennefer of Vengerberg respectively, while Jodhi May, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Adam Levy, MyAnna Buring, Mimi Ndiweni, and Therica Wilson-Read also joined. More casting was announced later that month, including Eamon Farren, Joey Batey, Lars Mikkelsen, Royce Pierreson, Maciej Musiał, Wilson Radjou-Pujalte, and Anna Shaffer.
In February 2020, Netflix announced Kim Bodnia had been cast as Vesemir, an experienced witcher and a mentor to Geralt. Other additions included Kristofer Hivju, Yasen Atour, Agnes Born, Paul Bullion, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Aisha Fabienne Ross, and Mecia Simson. In September 2020, it was announced that Basil Eidenbenz would replace Rasmussen in the role of Eskel. In November 2020, Rebecca Hanssen was announced for the role of Queen Meve.
In March 2021, Kevin Doyle was cast as Ba'Lian, an original character who does not appear in the novels. Cassie Clare, Adjoa Andoh, Liz Carr, Simon Callow, Graham McTavish, and Chris Fulton were cast as Philippa Eilhart, Nenneke, Fenn, Codringher, Dijkstra, and Rience, respectively.
In April 2022, Robbie Amell, Meng'er Zhang, Hugh Skinner, and Christelle Elwin joined the cast in the third season with recurring roles. In July 2022, Michalina Olszanska, Ryan Hayes, Kate Winter, Martyn Ellis, Harvey Quinn, and Poppy Almond were cast.
Principal photography for the first season began on October 31, 2018, in Hungary. Much of the series was filmed at Mafilm Studios near Budapest; the outdoor set included the exterior of wizard Stregobor's household. The hall in Cintra was constructed at Origo Studios on the outskirts of Budapest. Fort Monostor (Monostori Erőd) and the nearby forest was used for some exterior scenes in Cintra. The Battle of Marnadal was filmed in the hills of a village in Hungary, Csákberény. The village that was Yennefer's original home was filmed at the Skanzen Village Museum, an open-air site near Szentendre some 30 kilometres (20 mi) north of Budapest; this location was also used in scenes with Ciri in an area with a windmill. The production used the exteriors of Burg Kreuzenstein, a castle near Leobendorf, Austria, for the abandoned fictional castle Vizima, but the interiors were filmed at Origo Studios.
In March 2019, production commenced on Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, Spain. Some scenes were to be shot on the islands of La Palma and La Gomera, as well. Scenes of the Sorcerers' Aretuza Academy (Tower of the Gull) were shot on Roque de Santo Domingo in Garafía, an islet, and enhanced with CGI. The interiors, however, used for the graduation ball were at the Kiscelli Museum in Óbuda. The museum was a monastery in the 18th century. This location was also used for the conclave of the Northern Mages. The Barranco de Fataga area on Gran Canaria island was used for some scenes of arid landscapes. Scenes of Ciri traveling in the desert were filmed in the Natural Dune Reserve of Maspalomas on Gran Canaria. Most of episode six was filmed on La Palma island.
Filming of the first season concluded in Ogrodzieniec Castle in Poland. The ruins of this medieval castle, dating from the 1300s, were the backdrop for scenes including the fictional Vilgefortz of Roggeveen and Triss Merigold. The ruins were also included when shooting the Battle of Sodden Hill in the final episode of Season 1. Filming for the first season wrapped in May 2019.
Filming for the second season began in London in early 2020, but was halted for two weeks in March due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and actor Kristofer Hivju's confirmation that he tested positive for COVID-19. Then, in May 2020, film and television productions that were filming in the UK were given permission to resume filming, including season two of The Witcher. The show resumed pre-production in July and officially resumed filming on August 12, 2020, with filming for the second season expected to extend into early 2021. On November 7, 2020, production was halted again after a number of crew members had tested positive for COVID-19. Production resumed two weeks later on November 24, 2020, and continued in December despite Cavill's on-set injury. Filming for the second season wrapped on April 2, 2021.
Filming locations for the second season were all in the UK and included Cathedral Cave and Hodge Close Quarry in the Lake District, Low Force Waterfall in the North Pennines and Bourne Wood in Farnham.
Filming for the third season began on April 4, 2022. It wrapped in September 2022.
Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli composed the soundtrack for the first season. The duo collaborated with several soloists and artists; the soundtrack features many medieval instruments to match the medieval-inspired setting of the series. More of 60 different instruments from around the world were used to create the soundtrack. The original song "Toss a Coin to Your Witcher", composed by Belousova and Ostinelli and sung by Batey in the second episode, became a viral hit shortly after the series's release. Users have created mods to patch the song into the video game adaptions of The Witcher. All violin solos for the series were performed by Lindsay Deutsch.
In October 2021, it was confirmed that Joseph Trapanese would be scoring the soundtrack for the second season. Trapanese, having previously collaborated with Netflix as the composer for Shadow & Bone, replaced Belousova and Ostinelli. Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hisrrich also revealed that new songs performed by Batey would featured in the soundtrack.
Netflix released the first teaser for the series at San Diego Comic-Con on July 19, 2019. The first full trailer was revealed at Lucca Comics & Games on October 31, 2019. Netflix released a final trailer on December 12, 2019. On October 29, 2021, Netflix released the official trailer for season 2.
In April 2019, Netflix's Ted Sarandos told investors in an earnings call that the series would be released in late 2019. The series premiered on December 20, 2019. The second season premiered on December 17, 2021. The third season is set to premiere in mid-2023.
On August 26, 2020, a making-of about the first season of the show titled Making The Witcher was released on Netflix. On September 2, 2020, the making-of series The Witcher: A Look Inside the Episodes premiered on Netflix.
With the release of the second season, Netflix released on December 17, 2021, Making the Witcher: Season 2, The Witcher Bestiary Season 1, Part 1, The Witcher Bestiary Season 1, Part 2, The Characters of the Continent, and The Witcher: Fireplace.
|1||68% (91 reviews)||54 (17 reviews)|
|2||95% (61 reviews)||69 (23 reviews)|
For the first season, Rotten Tomatoes collected 91 reviews and identified 68% of them as positive, with an average rating of 6.26/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Though the world of The Witcher at times feels only half-formed, Henry Cavill brings brawny charisma to a series teeming with subversive fantasy elements and dark humor." Metacritic calculated a weighted average score of 54 out of 100 based on 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
In a positive review of the first season, Erik Kain of Forbes wrote, "If you're looking for an original dark fantasy with some horror elements, some bare skin and plenty of blood and gore (and monsters) look no further.", while James Whitbrook of io9 said, "if you are willing to sit through those trudging opening episodes, punctuated by a cool fight here or an intriguing character scene there, The Witcher slowly but surely finds itself a fantastical slice of bloody, schlocky fun." Conversely, Entertainment Weekly critic Darren Franich said, "my destiny is to never watch this borefest ever again", awarding the first season an F rating. Franich drew criticism when he confessed to watching only the first, second, and fifth episodes. Raisa Bruner from Time gave a positive review to the show and commented: "each episode gets stronger as the season progresses, and ultimately satisfies the fantasy itch." Scott Bryan from the BBC, was more negative towards the show by criticizing it for relying too much on the gameplays, and how they didn't know how to properly adapt it into a TV show. Critic William Hughes from The A.V. Club commented in a positive review: "The Witcher is by no means perfect; even ignoring the earlier structural flaws, its efforts at comedy often come off sounding a bit too modern for the rest of its setting, and the characters’ tendency to monologue to any unspeaking object or person they can find—horses, mute companions, literal dead babies—verges on comedic. But when the worst thing you can say about a series is that every episode ends up being better than the one that preceded it, that leaves an exciting amount of room to grow."
The Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski commented favorably on the show, stating, "I was more than happy with Henry Cavill's appearance as The Witcher. He's a real professional. Just as Viggo Mortensen gave his face to Aragorn (in The Lord of the Rings), so Henry gave his to Geralt — and it shall be forever so." Sapkowski added, "I shall be happy if the viewers — and readers — take anything away, anything that shall enrich them in some way. Also, I sincerely hope to leave the viewers — and readers — hot. In every sense. Not tepid, not lukewarm." Craig Mathieson from The Age compared the series unfavorably to Game of Thrones and criticized the plot and fantasy tropes. Author Tom Long from The Detroit News praised the series for its action sequences an performances, and gave the show a grade of B rating. Matthew Aguilar from ComicBook.com gave a positive response by rating the show with 4 out of 5: "The Witcher brings the world's rich characters, sharp wit, and stylish action to life in a truly delightful way, and whether you're a fan of the novels or the games, you're going to find something to love." Critic Daniel D'Addario was more negative with the show and commented: "This is a show with moments of drama and of gruesome violence cut through with a glancing humor that too often feels tossed-off and out-of-place in the world the show has created."
The second season received positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reports a 95% approval rating with an average rating of 7.9/10, based on 61 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads: "The Witcher's second season expands on its first in all the best ways—and most importantly, it remains a whole lot of fun." Metacritic calculated a weighted average score of 69 out of 100 based on 23 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Critic Sheena Scott from Forbes favorably commented: "Throughout the episodes, characters repeatedly point out their resemblance—a similar attitude, the same hairstyle—to keep on reminding the viewers of their daughter-father bond. But as the ending of Season 2 indicates, it looks like it is this very bond that may be put into jeopardy in the next season." Angie Han from The Hollywood Reporter, praised the series for being an improvement over its previous season, although it may not be perfect. She commented the series: "In its second outing, The Witcher feels confident enough to open itself up to that whole array of feelings." In a more negative review, Roxana Hadadi from Vulture, stated "In its second season, The Witcher is most engaging when exploring the alliances and allegiances between Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri and when using those three to consider Nivellen’s insistence that “Monsters are born of deeds alone. Unforgivable ones.” But in its attempt to build a bigger world, the series falls prey to more fantasy tropes than it masters." Author Leigh Butler deemed the second season as an improvement over its previous season, praising its deeper themes, better storyline, performances, and finally approaching its potential, and stated: "Season 2 (so far) is better, and working its way toward potentially great. When it comes down to it, there is really only one thing any story needs to accomplish, and The Witcher has accomplished it."
James Whitbrook from io9 said: "The new focus on character-building might mean less focus on specific short stories from Sapkowski’s collection of Witcher tales, but it makes the show’s world feel more expansive and nuanced in ways it didn’t until late in the show’s first season, while still keeping things centered on the characters as the sense of scale expands." Nick Schager in a negative review stated: "Even by typical fantasy-genre standards, the show indulges in so much make-believe terminology, and at such an incessant clip, that it quickly proves easier to give up trying to make heads or tails of every detail and instead just go with the wonky narrative flow.", while Allison Keene from Paste commented in a positive review: "More than anything though, The Witcher’s excellent Season 2 is a deeper dive into a rich world that shines in its focus on Ciri and Geralt’s relationship, and how that connection influences everything around them. Though there are plenty of things to quibble over from book to screen (or from videogame screen, although the show is expressly pulled from the page), The Witcher is perhaps best viewed and accepted as a fresh translation of an old fable." Critic Carly Lane from Collider gave a positive feedback: "By comparison, Season 2 is finally settling into its stride and has an even better sense of what works while discarding more of what didn't — although there are still the occasional unannounced time-jumps forward, or surprise character introductions, that demand attentiveness rather than any distracted background viewing."
According to Parrot Analytics, The Witcher, in its US debut, was the third most "in demand" original streaming series, behind Stranger Things and The Mandalorian. Parrot's process measures "demand expressions", which is "its globally standardized TV-demand measurement unit that reflects the desire, engagement, and viewership of a series weighted by importance." On December 31, 2019, Parrot Analytics reported that The Witcher became the most-in-demand TV series in the world, across all platforms.
On December 30, 2019, Netflix issued a number of official lists, including the Most Popular TV Shows of 2019. The series was among the most viewed in the U.S. market, where The Witcher was ranked second among series. On January 21, 2020, Netflix announced that the first season had been viewed by over 76 million viewers on its service within its first month of release. Netflix had recently changed its viewership metric, from 70% of an episode under the previous metric, down to two minutes under the new metric. The new metric gives viewing figures 35% higher on average than the previous one. The 76 million views in its first month based on the new metric (at least two minutes or more) is the largest for a Netflix series launch since the introduction of the new viewership metric.
The Witcher was, until the release of Bridgerton and Squid Game, Netflix's most watched original series launch at the time, with 541 million hours viewed in the first 28 days of release, and season two achieved 484 million hours watched.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2020||British Society of Cinematographers||Best Cinematography in a Television Drama||Gavin Struthers||Nominated|||
|Dragon Awards||Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series||Lauren Schmidt Hissrich||Nominated|||
|Webby Awards||Video - Trailer People's Voice||Lucy Bond, Jed Finkelstein, Oleg Loginov, and Rebecca Salt||Won|||
|2021||BMI Film & TV Awards||BMI Streaming Series Award||Sonya Belousova||Won|||
|Hollywood Music In Media Awards||Best Main Title Theme – TV Show/Limited Series||Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli||Nominated|||
|Best Original Song in a TV Show/Limited Series||Sonya Belousova, Giona Ostinelli, and Jenny Klein||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Fantasy Television Series||The Witcher||Nominated|||
|Best Actor on Television||Henry Cavill||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Television Series||Freya Allan||Nominated|
|2022||Art Directors Guild Awards||Excellence in Production Design for a One-Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Series||Andrew Laws (for "A Grain of Truth")||Nominated|||
|British Academy Television Craft Awards||Best Make-Up & Hair Design||Barrie Gower, Sarah Gower and Deb Watson||Won|||
|Best Sound: Fiction||James Bain, Robert Farr, Matthew Collinge, Matt Davies, Alyn Sclosa, and Rob Prynne||Nominated|
|Best Special, Visual & Graphic Effects||Oliver Cubbage, Dadi Einarsson, Jet Omoshebi, Aleksandar Pejic, Stefano Pepin, and Gavin Round||Won|
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Television||Lucinda Wright (for "Family")||Nominated|||
|Critics' Choice Super Awards||Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Series||The Witcher||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Series||Henry Cavill||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Series 1 Hour – Comedy or Drama – Sound Effects and Foley||Matthew Collinge, Rob Turner, Alyn Sclosa, Rob Prynne, Adam Oakley, Rob Weatherall, Zoe Freed, and Rebecca Heathcote (for "A Grain of Truth")||Won|||
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Series 1 Hour – Comedy or Drama – Music||Arabella Winter (for "A Grain of Truth")||Nominated|
|Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards||Best Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama||Henry Cavill||Nominated|||
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards||Best Special Makeup Effects in Television, Limited/Miniseries, or New Media Series||Barrie Gower and Deb Watson||Nominated|||
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes||Lucinda Wright and Rebecca Jempson (for "Family")||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Season or a Movie||Dadi Einarsson, Gavin Round, Bruno Baron, Matthias Bjarnason, Sebastien Francoeur, Aleksandar Pejic, Oliver Cubbage, Mateusz Tokarz, and Stefano Pepin||Nominated|
|Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Drama Series, Limited or Anthology Series or Movie||Adam Horton||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Fantasy Series (Streaming)||The Witcher||Pending|||
|Visual Effects Society Awards||Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project||Hannes Faupel, Stéphane Paccolat, Ivan Cadena Ayala, and Laurent Fortin (for " Leshy Eskel; Tree Branch Creature")||Nominated|| |
|Marko Chulev, Rasely Ma, Mike Beaulieu, and Robin Witzsche (for "Nivellen the Cursed Man")||Won|
In January 2020, Netflix announced an animated spin-off film titled The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, focusing on the origin story of Geralt's mentor and fellow witcher Vesemir. Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and Beau DeMayo worked on the film, with production by Studio Mir. It was released on August 23, 2021.
On September 25, 2021, a second animated feature film was announced.
A live-action prequel limited series, The Witcher: Blood Origin, was announced by Netflix in July 2020. Set 1200 years before Geralt's time, this would show the origin of the Witchers. Hissrich will develop the prequel as executive producer, and Declan de Barra will serve as showrunner. In January 2021, Jodie Turner-Smith was set to star in the series. In March 2021, Laurence O'Fuarain joined the cast as a lead role. In April 2021, Turner-Smith left the series due to scheduling issue. In July 2021, Michelle Yeoh and Sophia Brown joined the cast. Filming was scheduled to begin in August 2021 in the United Kingdom, with Lenny Henry, Mirren Mack, Nathaniel Curtis, Dylan Moran, Jacob Collins-Levy, Lizzie Annis, Huw Novelli, Francesca Mills, Amy Murray and Zach Wyatt joined the cast. The series will premiere on December 25, 2022, and consists of four episodes.
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