Analysis of The Witcher’s episode title reveal


With The Witcher less than one month away, Netflix has finally unveiled the titles of each of the season’s eight episodes – and in an extraordinary fashion. The episodes were revealed alongside a poem (with one line addressing each episode) and a set of gifs featuring unique episodic logos. Fans of the books have begun their speculation, and so have the operatives of Redanian Intelligence.

The poem begins with a line alluding to the show’s fifth episode, which we will discuss in detail below. “Did someone, somewhere, summon a djinn to then wish for all 8 chapter titles? Here you go. Now does anyone know a doctor to check Jaskier’s vitals?”

Episode 1: The End’s Beginning

“A monster slain, a butcher named”

Source Material: The Lesser Evil, Blood of Elves

The Logo: A sun which at once represents two important elements: the sigil of the Nilfgaardian Empire and the Curse of the Black Sun. In the background we see the kikimore’s swamp.

From what we know, The Witcher‘s pilot episode will focus on Geralt and Ciri, but the two characters’ stories happen many years apart. In episode one, Geralt will slay the kikimore (the huge spider in the show’s first teaser, whose swamp is the backdrop of the episode one logo) and then visit to the town of Blaviken. There the events of The Lesser Evil unfold and Geralt earns the title “Butcher of Blaviken”. This happens years before Ciri is even born. The young princess will have an exciting first episode as well, as the army of Nilfgaard will invade her home, the kingdom of Cintra. In the books, these events were described in a flashback sequence that opens the novel Blood of Elves. The show will revisit them towards the end of the season through Geralt’s perspective. The end of the season is also the beginning – hence the title.

Episode 2: Four Marks

“We look at a sorceress’s earlier days”

Source Material: The Edge of the World

The Logo: Yennefer’s obsidian star, entwined with snakes. Likely Aretuza in the background.

The Witcher‘s second episode will bring Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer to the forefront. Yennefer begins the season as a fourteen year-old, hunchbacked girl with innate magical abilities. This episode will explore Yennefer’s challenges before undergoing a transformation creating the Yennefer we know and love in the books. Meanwhile, many years in the future, Ciri will be on the run and looking for Geralt and the witcher will be on an adventure with his best pal Jaskier (also known as Dandelion). This doesn’t quite explain the title of the episode, though. As confirmed by the Polish translation, “Marks” refers to a form of currency (perhaps the Nilfgaardian marks or the Aedrin marks). If it is the former, it’s likely related to Ciri’s story. If it’s the latter, Yennefer’s (Vengerberg is in Aedrin, after all). What will be bought and sold for four marks? Time will tell.

Episode 3: Betrayer Moon

“A picky eater, a family shamed”

Source Material: The Witcher

The Logo: The claw of a striga, and the Temerian sigil (the lily), with the old castle of Wyzim in the background.

Episode three will take Henry Cavill’s Geralt to the capital of Temeria, where he will take on a contract from King Foltest himself. This contract requires Geralt to lift the curse from a monster called a striga, who once used to be Princess Adda, Foltest’s daughter. It’s safe to say that the striga is not much of a picky eater, but she is indeed the shame of her family as she was born of an incestuous relationship. Also in this episode is Yennefer, who will undergo a transformation and become the powerful and stubborn sorceress we meet in the books.

Episode 4: Of Banquets, Bastards and Funerals

“The Law of Surprise is how one repays”

Source Material: A Question of Price, The Sword of Destiny

The Logo: A tree carries two blades of a sword, the “sword of destiny”, in the middle of a desert of rolling dunes.

This episode will follow Ciri as she enters the forest of Brokilon, where she meets the dryads. From what we know, Ciri will have a groundbreaking vision set in that same desert, and will find herself in front of a giant, magical tree. This must be the tree alluded to in the logo, which also refers to an iconic line from the books: “The sword of destiny has two blades, you are one of them.” Ciri is one blade, and the second is Geralt, who in this same episode will bind his destiny to hers through the Law of Surprise. More or less fourteen years and nine months before Ciri’s timeline, Geralt was a guest at her mother’s banquet in Cintra. We won’t spoil what happens there, but those who’ve read the books know. With banquets and bastards out of the way, lets address the funeral. This refers to an original sequence added to the show in which Yennefer has to protect a baby and her mother.

Episode 5: Bottled Appetites

“A fateful meeting, a bard is maimed”

Source Material: The Last Wish

The Logo: A man and woman (naked), intertwined and holding onto something? There is a forest in the background.

The show’s fifth episode will bring together the power couple of the Witcher universe, Geralt and Yennefer. It all begins with a failed attempt at fishing, ending with Jaskier and Geralt unleashing a djinn from its bottle. Madness ensues. The bard Jaskier gets momentarily maimed, with his voice (which he uses all too frequently) lost. In an attempts to save the bard, Geralt runs to find the nearest mage, who happens to be Yennefer of Vengerberg. But Yennefer is more interested in the djinn than in helping the witcher’s friend. There will also be nudity in this episode, and it may or may not involve the two stars (hence the logo).

Episode 6: Rare Species

“The hunt for a dragon is underway”

Source Material: The Bounds of Reason

The Logo: A dragon, whose tail forms the shape of Infinity – and also a common form of the snake Ourobouros (a recurring theme of the novels). In the background is a luscious, green forest.

This episode sees Geralt, Yennefer and Jaskier on the hunt for a very rare species – a dragon. Joining them are many other hunters, most of whom are looking to earn a king’s reward. Geralt, for once, isn’t looking to kill the monster. He is only there because of Yennefer.

Episode 7: Before A Fall

“A return to before a kingdom is flamed”

Source Material: Something More

The Logo: The Cintran sigil (the lion) burns. In the background, Cintra is also burning.

This episode takes place before the first one (at least in Geralt’s chronology), and before the Fall of Cintra. Geralt will return to Cintra to claim his Child of Surprise, but things won’t go quite as planned. After denying his destiny, Geralt will find the city of Cintra under attack.

Episode 8: Much More

“The Witcher Family, as you all like to say”

Source Material: Something More

The Logo: This is the series’ logo, showing Geralt’s wolven witcher medallion, Yennefer’s obsidian star and Ciri’s swallow. In the background, we can see another burning castle. But is that Cintra, or a ruin on Sodden Hill?

The season finale will adapt the short story Something More, which concludes with an unforgettable reunion. The title comes from the memorable quote: “You’re something more, Ciri. Much more.” The episode will also adapt the Battle of Sodden Hill, described very briefly in the novels, involving Yennefer, Triss, Vilgefortz and other mages.

We can’t wait to see The Witcher‘s first season on December 20. It’s been a long wait, and it’s hard to believe that the show will be here in just a few weeks. Tell us in the comments below (or, alternatively, on twitter) which episode you’re most excited to see.

2 comments on “Analysis of The Witcher’s episode title reveal”

  1. It is worth noting that the logo of Bottled Appetites also resembles a womb, the same symbol Yennefer draws on her belly during the episode.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.