Frame by Frame Analysis of The Witcher Featurettes: Geralt of Rivia

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The Witcher releases on Netflix very soon, and we’ve been served three tasty new videos starring Henry Cavill‘s witcher Geralt of Rivia, the badass sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg played by Anya Chalotra and the lioncub of Cintra, Princess Ciri, played by young actress Freya Allan. With three minutes of mostly new footage in each of these featurettes, we’ll be analyzing them one-at-a-time. We’re giving Geralt the honor of being first, so prepare yourself for a tale of monsters and money. And onion.

The featurette opens with a quote from Princess Renfri (played by Emma Appleton), who Geralt will meet in the show’s very first episode. This quote is played against a shot of a very angry Geralt of Rivia, possibly from the same scene we will see him in later on (the camp where he fights the ghouls).

Tell me, witcher…

You don’t believe in destiny…

Or the lesser evil…

What do you believe in?

Henry Cavill asks the next question, before introducing the concept of witchers.

What is a witcher?

Next up, the featurette debuts Joey Batey‘s cheerful bard, Jaskier. This character is known as Dandelion in the English translation of the novels and also in the video games, but the show is keeping the original Polish name chosen by author Andrzej Sapkowski.

White hair, big-old loner, two very scary-looking swords?

And here is our first look at Batey in-costume as Jaskier! We see him conversing with Geralt in a tavern, likely early in the show’s second episode (which adapts the short story The Edge of the World).

I know who you are

We also see Geralt wearing his older suit of armor, with his two witcher swords beside him. Steel and silver. Geralt doesn’t seem to tolerate the bard (and book readers will not be surprised).

Next, Geralt tries to leave, and Jaskier gives him the puss-in-boots stare.

Don’t go, Geralt
Look what you’ve done!

Next up, Henry Cavill gives us a little briefing. Looking good, Henry!

A witcher is a mutant and their trade in particular is monster hunting

While Henry tells his story, we see Geralt slaying the show’s very first monster: the kikimore. This beast is a Lovecraftian mix between a spider, a crab, and a corpse-looking thing. Oh, and it’s huge. Geralt’s face gets sprayed with kikimore blood in this shot.

A new meme is born
Damn, you’re ugly

Next up, Jaskier mockingly calls Geralt the “Butcher of Blaviken”, a title he will earn in the season premiere. At the same time, we see a few behind-the-scenes shots from Blaviken, where the townfolk pelt Geralt with stones.

The Butcher of Blaviken!

Next, we get our first look at the elven warrioress Toruviel, a recurring character in the novels played by Natasha Culzac. Toruviel is seen punching a bounded Geralt in a scene from episode two’s adaption of The Edge of the World.

You are almost universally hated by every species on the Continent

A very brief series of shots follows Toruviel, and again someone is beating Geralt. This time, it appears to be a jailer or guard, played by Richard van Weyden. Our guess is that this is the scene from the short story The Last Wish in which Geralt utters his second wish. Doesn’t the jailer seem ready to burst?

Henry is back to teach us the witcher essentials. Now he explains why Geralt is such a charming, happy-go-lucky monster hunter. In truth, witchers live hard lives, and Geralt has developed a harsh exterior which he presents to the world. We can see this in the tavern at Blaviken.

It’s unlikely you’re going to have a cheery personality

Brooding: a witcher’s favorite passtime.

Geralt himself, despite the stoney exterior, is actually quite good, but very capable of doing bad things

And now, we take to the catacombs of old Wyzim, where Geralt tossles with a creature he’s not allowed to kill: Princess Adda, a monster who was once the daughter of a king. Notice that Geralt’s eyes are all black, just like when he fights the kikimore. This is a side-effect of one of his witcher elixirs, which heighten his reflexes and help him prepare for a fight. We can then hear the striga’s terrifying shriek.

We’ll be back in old Wyzim in a moment. For now, we have a few Geralt money-shots (including one with him and Jaskier side by side).

Geralt isn’t simply a white knight

Geralt fighting in Cintra
Geralt in the valley of Dol Blathana

He isn’t simply a harsh monster hunter

Geralt at the abandoned campsite. His eyes are all black here as well. This time he’ll be fighting ghouls
Another shot of Geralt in the camp

If you were wondering if we’ll see Geralt/Henry shirtless again, the answer is yes. And it looks like a bad hair day. This is a shot from a scene Geralt shares with Triss Merrigold in episode three. Triss is played by the lovely Anna Shaffer.

He’s an incredible blend of the two

The rumors about witchers is that they have no emotions

Next, we see the peasant character Nettly sending Geralt on a contract to get rid of a devil, also known as a sylvan. Nettly is played by Donal Finn. Jaskier is also in the background, waiting for Geralt. Nettly asks:

You take no prisoners? So I hear

Henry next explains that this rumor is far from the truth. Witchers have emotions, same as normal men.

That is perpetuated by them

And now, we return to the Valley of Flowers, Dol Blathana, where we see Geralt and Jaskier walking in a landscape dotted with elven ruins. There’s also a sneakily-included shot from an entirely different episode set in the Dragon Mountains (episode six), in which Jaskier and Geralt wear different costumes.

Sometimes there’s monsters, sometimes there’s money. Rarely both

This is from episode six, “Rare Species”

And now we can see Geralt crafting a potion while Henry explains the “Trial of the Grasses”, which transforms young boys into witchers.

When they’re created, witchers undergo alchemical trials, a combination of elixirs and magic which have very aggressive affects on their bodies

This allows them to take various potions, and these potions enhance them in various and different ways

Next, we return to the abandoned campsite, where we see Geralt speaking to a fellow human. If this is not the merchant Yurga from the short story Something More (adapted in the season finale), we’ll eat our hats. The character’s casting is yet unconfirmed.

Who are you, Yurga?
Geralt chugging potions in Wyzim

As promised, Geralt will be fighting a pack of ghouls at the abandoned campsite, likely to protect Yurga. At the very end of the shot, we see Geralt getting lunged at by a ghoul. We won’t say what happens next.

Back in the camp Geralt thrusts his sword into the ground
This is one of the ghouls, as seen in the show’s Main Trailer

Henry next explains the witchers’ signs, a very basic form of combat spells. We also see the sign Aard in action as Geralt blasts the striga across the hallway in old Wyzim. Notice that he casts a sign in Cintra as well.

The signs are basic magic, but very very effective

Hold up! In this shot Geralt wears his outfit from the Cintran banquet sequence, which means he’ll be casting a sign there as well
Is he trying to shield himself from princess Pavetta’s outburst of raw force?
Hi, striga
Bye, striga

More shirtless shots? Yep, definitely. The hair looks different here, so this may be an entirely different scene.

You often see this very dry humor come through, which is one of the more charming aspects of Geralt

Sometimes there’s potions, sometimes there’s being naked. Rarely both

Following that, Henry introduces one of the most important characters in Geralt’s arc for season one: the seductive sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg, as played by Anya Chalotra. We get another glimpse of the scene where they first meet in the show, which appears to be some sort of orgy.

Yennefer is stunning as ever

Back in Dol Blathana, Jaskier says:

You smell of death, and destiny

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Geralt replies:

It’s onion

And Jaskier:

Right, then

Below is a scene from the pilot where Geralt meets the aforementioned princess Renfri in the woods. It was shot in the Hungarian forests near Visegrad, during the show’s last month of filming. Meanwhile, Henry explains how destiny plays into The Witcher.

Destiny is one of the major themes. It is a force which is controlling him and, indeed, the world around him

Emma Appleton as Renfri at the same location

More forest scenes follow. Is this the same scene with Renfri, or perhaps something else? Maybe Geralt is searching for his sword after defeating the ghouls. He has a bandage around his leg, and we don’t see it anywhere else.

Geralt aggravates destiny, he doesn’t believe in it. But it turns out there’s more to it

Geralt retrieves the sword, and we can see the campsite in the background

Next, we see a dazed and wounded Geralt. Could this be a scene from Something More? We think so. During the shot, Geralt hears a voice whispering and that voice wakes him from his sleep.

Find her…

No doubt, the voice refers to Geralt’s adoptive daughter Princess Ciri. But Geralt is also bound by destiny to another, the aforementioned sorceress. Geralt and Yennefer have a stormy relationship, but they really do love each other. We get a glimpse at that in the trailer, and it looks like these two will break our heart into little pieces before the season’s over. Also, more shirtless Geralt, and this time in a bath!

Geralt’s greatest strength is his capacity to still love despite having been treated incredibly harshly

Despite what he says, Geralt still believes in the goodness of people

That smile

Another series of shots reveals Geralt’s battle with the kikimore, which makes Stranger Things‘ Mind Flayer look like child’s play. This will be the show’s cold open.

When you couple that with incredible sword skills

Speed, agility and endurance

Geralt swings his silver sword

Then you have an interesting character

Interesting character indeed, Henry. We can’t wait to see Geralt of Rivia in the show. We also can’t wait to see Ciri and Yennefer, both of whom received similar featurettes. We’ll be analyzing both of them, as soon as we can, so stay tuned.

The Witcher releases on December 20.

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