DON’T LOOK AT Geralt of Rivia as a hero. The silver-haired professional monster slayer—played by Henry Cavill (right) in Netflix’s sprawling epic, based on bestselling fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski—is a reluctant savior at best, hired across the Continent to take down terrifying beasts. Abandoned as a child and raised in the mountainous Kaer Morhen, Geralt underwent experiments that mutated and hardened him into a Witcher. Despite the vital services they provide, Witchers are hated and feared, seen as anomalies with superspeed and mega-strength. (Damned if you do…)
But the “White Wolf” does his best to do good in a vast realm packed with magical creatures (faeries, elves, gnomes—you name it!), political intrigue, and constantly warring kingdoms. As his traveling pal Jaskier reminds him, “You never get involved, except actually, you do, all of the time.”
CIRI (Freya Allan) Princess Cirilla of Cintra is destiny-bound to Geralt due to a custom called the “Law of Surprise” after he saved her father before she was born. The once privileged, headstrong teen with mysterious powers is finding her way despite tragedy after tragedy.
CAHIR (Eamon Farren) The Nilfgaardian warrior and vicious murderer (aka the Black Knight) diligently hunts Ciri after the invasion of Cintra, believing their destinies are tied. He goes so far as to order a Doppler (who can magically take another’s form), hoping to trick the royal.
YENNEFER (Anya Chalotra) The powerful sorceress was initially a hunchbacked, abused girl. Sold by her stepfather, she honed her unparalleled magical skills at Aretuza, a training academy. After trading her ability to bear children for great beauty, Yennefer found true love with Geralt.
JASKIER (Joey Batey) Named “Dandelion” in the novels, Jaskier is a lute-playing bard who travels alongside Geralt to sing of his adventures. He loves to inflate the truth, which exasperates the serious Witcher. During an argument with Yennefer, Geralt and Jaskier had a falling out.
Q & A
LAUREN SCHMIDT HISSRICH
Andrzej Sapkowski’s stories swing from paranormal horror to dark comedy. How do you strike a balance onscreen? In Season 1, especially with all of those short stories from Sapkowski’s The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, we embraced different tones. Going into Season 2, it had been my intention to keep doing it that way, let it go with the flow, but the stories are a little bit more intense. We lean into those darker elements, and I think they perfectly suit the stories. The only thing we really tried to be consistent about was keeping [Geralt’s] sense of humor.
“I didn’t want to constantly put Ciri in a position where she’s running from obstacles. We kept that in mind for Season 2”
In Season 2, we get to meet Geralt’s Witcher brothers. Do we see more emotion from him? What I think is so fascinating is the debate around Witchers’ emotions. It’s easier to pretend they don’t care what anyone thinks about them after they kill someone. Then you introduce Ciri into this—this vulnerable teenage girl who’s lost everyone—and you get to see more range. The Witchers still kill monsters, even if they care about Ciri.
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