Frame by Frame Analysis of The Witcher Featurettes: Princess Cirilla, Lion Cub of Cintra

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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 finish with the girl who will become the most important character in the Witcher universe, Ciri or rather Princess Cirilla of Cintra as she is known in season one. Prepare for a journey full of fear, loss, and searching for destiny.

The featurette opens with a nightmarish vision of Ciri. She finds herself in a world all in red, with the sounds of war ringing in her ears and shadowy figures moving around.

Ciri’s grandmother, queen Calanthe of Cintra (Jodhi May) is a stern ruler who has been grooming the young princess as the future queen of Cintra from the moment Ciri’s mother Pavetta (Gaia Mondadori) died in a tragic accident at sea. As we see glimpses of Ciri running through a snowy forest, Calanthe says:

Here’s your first lesson: as in life, it is impossible always to be fully prepared for battle

Keep your sword close and keep moving

Next, we have a few shots of Cir escaping from the Nilfgaardian knight Cahir who is played by Eamon Farren. Cahir is part of the invading southern Empire of Nilfgaard and has been given the mission to capture Ciri. For what purpose, we won’t spoil here.

Ciri’s mysterious powers open a rift between herself and Cahir, allowing her to escape to the vast forests surrounding Cintra

The rift that opens between Ciri and Cahir is just one example of the power of the Elder Blood, a force Ciri carries inside of her as the descendant of a prophecied lineage. Ciri actress Freya Allan narrates most of this featurette, starting with the below quote:

There’s something special about this girl. She’s very loyal to the people that she loves

This is followed by an introduction to Ciri’s sheltered life as a princess of Cintra. We see her at dinner with the royal family, at a ceremony, sharing a bit of fun with her grandmother’s husband King Eist Tuirseach (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson), out in the city playing with other youngsters, and at a banquet trying in vain to avoid having to dance with a young Cintran noble. All this serves to show how privileged and carefree Ciri’s life was. But her sheltered life as a princess stands in stark contrast to the events that conclude the series premiere. Things take a turn for the worse, and Ciri loses everything she’s known.

She’s built a heart from it but just hasn’t had any experience in the real world

A behind-the-scenes shot from a banquet
Ciri listens to a courtier. Is this the moment Queen Calanthe gets word of the Nilfgaardian invasion?
The royal family and their advisor Mousesack (Adam Levy) at dinner

All she’s known was a sheltered life as a princess and this very secure network of people looking after her

Ciri, together with her grandmother and King Eist, presides over a knighting ceremony

King Eist and Ciri clearly see eye to eye on the subject of knighting ceremonies as it seems the hardy Skelligan warrior would rather be somewhere else (probably drinking).

At least you didn’t shit your cacks

Eist dropping a truthbomb

Next we see Ciri out in the city, playing with Cintran boys. It’s likely she escaped the watchful eyes of her guardians for a few minutes and it’s also likely she does that on a regular basis.

She’s very relentless, very stubborn and she’s also very naive

If you look closely you can see a dwarf in the background

She just wants to make sure that she doesn’t get trapped in that box

The boy to the right of Ciri is Martin, a fellow young nobleman who we see in another scene below

Then we have more comedy as Ciri is approached by Martin (Sonny Serkis), a young nobleman and one of the friends she plays with in the above scene. This time, the circumstances are very different as Martin, who is being observed by his seemingly very ambitious father, isn’t feeling too comfortable… and neither is Ciri.

Would you honor me with a dance?


Calanthe, of course, is having none of it and answers before Ciri can say anything else:

She’d love to!

That look!
And that one… Pure gold!

The typical conforming life of a princess, she wants to kind of break free from that

With this joyful occasion out of the way, we delve right into the moment when things are about to change. Nilfgaard has arrived! Below are scenes from the Siege of Cintra and the preceding Battle of Marnadal, where the Cintrans confront the southern invaders in open battle.

Ciri suddenly gets dropped into a very brutal world

The Black Sun of Nilfgaard
Nilfgaard at the gates during the Siege of Cintra
The Battle of Marnadal
Calanthe pushing through and perhaps signaling her soldiers to retreat

More scenes from the siege follow. We get a good look at Farren’s Cahir and his winged helmet and an overview shot of the burning city of Cintra.

People are after here, thus become something very scary

Ciri bending over the lifeless body of the knight Sir Lazlo (Maciej Musiał), who was supposed to get her out of the city
Cintra in ruins. Notice the rock-like structure of the palace? It’s similar to that of the elven towers seen in Geralt’s featurette. Cintra was built on the foundations of an elven palace

It’s back to Calanthe but this time we see her on her deathbed, giving Ciri one last bit of advice before she succumbs to her wounds, sustained during the Battle of Marnadal.

Lesson number two: Know when it’s time to stop moving

Next, there’s a cut to Ciri on the run, moving through various forests.

She loses everybody she’s known within one night

A huge theme in The Witcher is the loss of family and the search for family

Then, we get a shot of Ciri embracing or cowering behind someone. Given what we know, this could be the druid Mousesack (or perhaps his Doppler version) or one of the show’s original characters. It’s impossible to say for sure.

Back to Cintra, Calanthe utters her final words and bids Ciri farewell. Va fáill Lionors Aep Xintra!

Find Geralt of Rivia! He is your destiny

As she speaks, we quickly see the witcher in question walking through the market square of Blaviken.

If those are the last words her grandmother has said to her, I think it means a great deal and that’s what keeps her determined to continue on

One last goodbye

Freya is back and the featurette cuts to a behind-the-scenes shot of Ciri being pursued by Cahir. It appears that she gets captured by the knight like in the books but uses an opportunity to escape later.

Cahir on horseback pursues Ciri in Cintra

That’s all she’s got to left to cling on to

This is followed by a vision we already saw from the show’s first teaser, showing Ciri in a desert of rolling dunes with what appears to be a magical tree. This vision will appear in episode four, titled “Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials”.

It does mean a lot to her but she doesn’t quite know what it means

The logo of The Witcher’s fourth episode

Ciri awakes in a swamp, which is not likely to be the last swamp she’ll find herself in (but that other moment could be many seasons away). These shots were filmed near the Gyarmatpuszta Hunting Lodge in Hungary and will feature in one of the shows last episodes (likely episode 7).

Being a princess doesn’t matter anymore

It looks like her horse didn’t make it

As the featurette is coming to a close, we get multiple shots, which we’ll adress separately. First is Ciri in a camp, leaning over yet another body. This time it’s a young boy who looks suspiciously close to Sonny Serkis’ character, Martin. The campsite is under attack and Ciri must escape to save her life.

She just doesn’t know where to begin

A woman’s voice can be heard, though we could not recognize her:

Be careful child

Next, we see a quick shot of the dryads of Brokilon Forest, who capture Ciri and bring her to their own queen, Eithne (played by Josette Simon).

And then, a curious scene involving Cahir in what looks to be a peasant’s hut. He has taken off his armor and is offering a drink to an unseen character. Could it be a captured Ciri? Or the Nilfgaardian sorceress Fringilla Vigo (played by Mimi Ndiweni)? Perhaps it’s an entirely different character as a few frames later in the featurette, there is another shot which may be connected to this one. We see a Nilfgaardian soldier holding a screaming young woman at the point of his sword.

The girl looks like she could be actress Viola Prettejohn, who plays the character of “Fake Ciri“. If this is indeed the books’ Fake Ciri and she gets captured in the first season, the fans are in for major deviation from the source material. As a reminder, Fake Ciri was a girl sent to Nilfgaard much later in the books and under different circumstances. It’s important to note that she looked very much like Ciri, even sharing the same ashen hair color, which the girl below doesn’t.

Is this Viola Prettejohn, who plays Fake Ciri?

Then, we have another shot from Ciri’s nightmare vision. Her hands are covered in blood and a thick, grainy substance. A few quick frames show Ciri in different settings.

A throwback to the dance at the banquet
Ciri in the woods
More dryads. The dryad next to Ciri is played by Hungarian actress Nora Trokan
A bloodstained Cahir screams in Ciri’s nightmare
The young princess mourns the loss of her grandmother

The featurette closes with Ciri in a rural town, surrounded by horses. One of the riders, a woman, approaches Ciri and decides to give her a fair warning:

This place isn’t safe if you’re alone

Though season one only begins Ciri’s journey in the saga, her answer here proves she’s already learned a lot:

Then it’s the same as every other place…

This concludes our frame-by-frame breakdowns of the three character introductions. If you missed the other two, read Geralt’s featurette analysis here and Yennefer’s here. As of this writing, there are only ten days left before Ciri begins her journey across the Continent and make her way into our hearts. Catch The Witcher on Netflix on December 20.

1 comments on “Frame by Frame Analysis of The Witcher Featurettes: Princess Cirilla, Lion Cub of Cintra”

  1. “Ciri’s mysterious powers open a rift between herself and Cahir, allowing her to escape to the vast forests surrounding Cintra” … The scriptwriter did not understand what Witcher and Ciri are all about. Or about Ciri’s powers. Ciri has no powers she can use to open a gap in the earth. Not even unintentionally. This is frightening nonsense. She has the older blood or the gene Lara Dorrens, with whose help the Aen Elle and Vilgeforz, as well as Emperor Emhyr try to become master of time and space but Ciri has no idea at the time. What she can and does at this time is in a trance and prophesied in the “Elder Speech”. I had feared that ignorance must lead to such a thing, if woman from the main actor must explain the world of the Witcher. In return, I have to cite the scriptwriters of The Lord of the Rings, who knew the books by heart. What’s so hard about following the books? Cahir snatches Ciri out of the flames of burning Cintra, everywhere death and war, Ciri escapes, while Cahir sleeps exhausted … Was that too simplistic? And it is precisely from the encounter with Cahir that Ciri’s nightmares come from touching her, washing her while she was half unconscious of what she felt as a rape. Was that too easy? Was it necessary to come up with nonsense again? A kind of self-realization? Seems so.

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