Photo: ‘The Witcher’
Are we all obsessed with fantasy dramas or could it be Henry Cavill’s silvery mane? Thanks to Netflix’s top ten most-watched list, our guilty pleasures for period dramas with the added flair of mythology have been exposed. ‘The Witcher’ has coveted a cozy spot among one the nation’s most-watched shows. It’s an exciting drama that follows the complicated lives of characters who aren’t easily branded as good or evil. Their imperfections should be carefully considered and their morality is highly subjective.
That’s what makes this series such a thrill; each character presents their own set of drama with detailed visions of their pasts and how that translates to their current desires. We watch how relationships are formed and how they are continuously tested by dark forces. Before indulging in all two seasons, here’s a useful overview that will get you prepped for a wild world of magic, war, and heavy doses of classic mythology.
‘The Witcher’ – Geralt
Geralt, played by Henry Cavill, is considered a Witcher. Hence, the name of the show. And of course, he’s accompanied by Jaskier (Joey Batey,) the show’s beloved bard. Henry Cavill, or the Witcher, is the point of contact who links the wildly diverse characters together. The Witchers of the world are humans who endure a painful and dangerous process of taking potions– that should come with a warning label– that takes the age-old saying almost too literally, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. For Geralt, that’s exactly the case.
Our leading man takes us on wild adventures that prove his brawny and superhuman capabilities. Of course, the Witchers are more than just agile jocks, they all play a vital role within their world of protecting the humans from dark monsters. Despite the fact that Geralt is one of the series’ main characters, we still know very little about Witcher because of his quiet nature. Rest assured, season two narrows its focus to provide a more layered understanding of Geralt.
The Mystery of Ciri
Throughout season one, the writers of ‘The Witcher’ have hinted there is something crucial about the young Princess Ciri (Freya Allen). From what we know, not only does Ciri come from a royal family but they’ve all been murdered by the Nilfgaard. Before her grandmother’s death, she instructed Ciri to find Geralt without any explanation. Abandoned in a war-torn world, Ciri learns the hard way of what it means to be independent; she now has to forage and survive while seeking Geralt. Not to mention, she’s in possession of untapped powers that she is struggling to master. These powers are formidable and surpass the magical powers associated with the mages, powers that make the ground move without very little effort. The Nilfgaardians have expressed their vehement interest in her that does not seem to be in her best interest.
In one of many flashback scenes, Ciri’s father Duny, is portrayed as the black sheep of the family. He’s not accepted by his royal family and is almost sentenced to death. Geralt steps in and invokes the Law of Surprise that promises Geralt Duny’s firstborn, Ciri. They are spiritually and legally bound together. Ciri’s mother is Pavetta, a royal princess of the Northern Kingdom of Cintra. Ciri’s background is complicated but it’s clear that Ciri is destined to learn to fight and harness her untrained powers.
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Empire of Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms
The conflicts of the Empire of Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms threaten to disrupt the established order of the world for everyone and everything living within it. Nilfgaard casts its eyes on the Northern Kingdoms that consist of social systems that are culturally and morally symbiotic, they are their own territories but acknowledge and respect the regions around them. As with any fantasy drama, war tends to bring out the best and worst in people, or mages.
That’s right, mages and sorcerers play a pivotal role in the series. Viewers are introduced to the underground world of mages through the eyes of Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra,) an ugly duckling who has her princess makeover moment. Mages, or sorcerers, attend magical academies that are a little scarier than the ones we’ve come to love such as Hogwarts. Scary as in being killed or casually turned into an eel for eternity. Mages are inherently born with magical abilities and are slightly more advanced than the already impressive talents of Witchers.
Mages of the World
Yennifer spent her life being neglected and undervalued. She’s craved a life of compassion and beauty and is conveniently sold to Tissaia de Vries, a powerful mage who brings her to Aretuza, the controversial magical school that trains Yennefer and her classmates to utilize their powers with violent and sometimes deadly methods. Yennifer transforms into a self-reliant mage and becomes romantically entangled with Geralt with an on-again off-again relationship. Maybe it could be the result of the chaotic world they live in but their relationship is consistently inconsistent.
Tissaia not only teaches the young mages about their supernatural abilities, but her discipline also focuses on teaching the young mages to channel their femininity for their own gain and how to sustain neutrality in times of political uproar. Fringilla is one of Yennifer’s classmates and breaks away from neutrality to climb the ranks of Nilfgaard. She becomes Nilfgaard’s most powerful weapon and is *spoiler alert* ruthlessly vanquished by Yennifer who aligns with the Northern Kingdoms. The battle divides the mages and becomes the defining moment for their place in a world of mixed specials and becomes the turning point for them to seek self-discovery.
Season 1 Finale
At long last, Geralt and Ciri have united. Ciri is still targeted by Nilfgaard but is now in the battle-seasoned hands of Geralt who has accepted the task of training Ciri to reign control over her abilities. It is intimated that Ciri could be the key to determining a history-changing war between Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms.
Season one lays the fundamental groundwork for the defining moment at the Battle of Sodden Hill. The impending war between Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms came to an abrupt halt when the rest of the mages thankfully abandoned their neutrality and joined the Northern Kingdoms to take on Nilfgaard’s egotistical forces. Luckily, their united front was enough to prevent a deadly war and reinforce the Northern Kingdom’s sovereignty, for now.
Cast: Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, Freya Allen, Joey Batey, MyAnna Buring, Mimi Ndiweni
Writer: Andrzej Sapkowski
By Gina Michele Yaniz
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Gina Michele Yaniz is a writer and digital media content creator with a deep love for storytelling. Charmed by the notable influence of the entertainment industry, Gina is passionate about uplifting the voices of artists and celebrating powerful material. She likes to embody the philosophy of writing through a non-judgmental and a genuine perspective while expanding the perception of film industry. Along with Hollywood Insider, Gina values the responsibility the media holds and wishes to use her writing to provide meaningful content. During her free time, Gina loves to watch period pieces, stand-up comedy, and indulges on her avid interest for reading articles on self-care.