Breaking down The Witcher’s final trailer

4 comments

On Friday, December 20, Netflix is launching the first season of their new dark fantasy series The Witcher, starring Henry Cavill, and now they’ve released the season’s final trailer. This time, we get a clearer look at the greater narrative of the season, with the Nilfgaardian Empire invading the Northern Kingdoms in search of Princess Ciri (played by Freya Allan). The new footage reveals battles, magic and the mage Vilgefortz. We’ve gathered the new footage in stills below. Naturally, there will be a few spoilers below the cut.

The Witcher season one will be following the first two books in the saga, which are the short story collections The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny. But there is one key difference in this adaption: the show will also feature Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer and Freya Allan’s Ciri as main characters with their own storylines. This means a lot of moments that were only described in passing during the short stories (such as the Fall of Cintra or Yennefer’s tragic childhood) will be fully realized in the show.

This newest trailer demonstrates that in almost every single frame. It begins with a shot of Cintra, before the city is attacked by Nilfgaard. Viewers will spend the first episode in Ciri’s shoes, exploring her privileged life as a princess. But then, by the end of the episode, Ciri loses everything and everyone she’s known.

Cintra before
Cintra after

In the trailer, we get to see a few shots of Ciri’s life as a princess. In these frames, we can also see Ciri’s grandmother Queen Calanthe (played by Jodhi May) and her husband King Eist (Bjorn Hylnur Haraldsson), who groom Ciri to be the heiress to the Cintran throne. In these scenes, Calanthe is made aware of the incoming Nilfgaardian attack, and she knows what they’re coming for: for Ciri.

Cirilla, you are the lioncub of Cintra

Nilfgaard is coming, she’s why they came

This trailer also reveals how the Cintrans were made aware of the incoming Nilfgaardian army. In the show, it will be Geralt of Rivia himself who warns them. Geralt spots the Nilfgaardian troops marching through the Amell Mountains, and quickly returns to Cintra. There, he meets the druid Mousesack (Adam Levy) to warn him.

Geralt rides through an arid landscape in the Amell Mountains separating Cintra from Nazair
This shot is probably from the same scene. Geralt climbs to a high vantage point and spots the advance of the Nilfgaardian army
Uh-oh, Nilfgaard is coming
A near endless trail of Black Ones

Why do you think she’s not safe?

Mousesack and Geralt meet in an underground passage below Cintra

I saw an army, a sea of black and gold

Another frame of Geralt which appears to be in Cintra (the walls and torches look the same as those in other Cintran sets)

I will take the girl, protect her and bring her back unharmed

Even more of Geralt in Cintra

We see quite a lot of Nilfgaard in this trailer. Though they essentially serve as the season’s villains, the show will be exploring them and defining them as realized characters, with Eamon Farren’s knight on-a-mission Cahir and Mimi Ndiweni’s sorceress Fringilla in the lead. According to the showrunner, there will be no clearly defined good and evil characters in the series.

Mate Haumann’s “Field Marshal” leads the Nilfgaardian army, with Fringilla to his left and Cahir to his right

Once they learn of the Nilfgaardian advance, Queen Calanthe and King Eist gather the Cintran troops and ride to the stairs of Marandal, where they meet the Nilfgaardians in battle.

Eist and Calanthe lead the Cintran army in the Battle of Marandal
Nilfgaard arrives
The two armies clash

Though Cintra has the more skilled and experienced force, they are outnumbered and defeated on the field. Calanthe has no choice but to retreat. The Nilfgaardians lay siege to the city and begin destroying it with their flaming trebuchets. A fatally wounded Calanthe sends Ciri on a quest to find the witcher Geralt of Rivia, to whom she is bound by destiny. The knight Sir Lazlo (Maciej Musial) is charged with leading Ciri out of the city, hoping to sneak out unseen before it’s too late. Unfortunately, Cahir finds them.

Nilfgaard rallies outside Cintra
Calanthe sends Ciri on a mission

Go, the world depends on it

Lazlo sneaks out with Ciri

We know from other footage, that Cahir will eventually catch up to Ciri but he couldn’t have foreseen what happens next…

Cahir chases Ciri
Ciri’s powers save her from Cahir

Meanwhile, the Nilfgaardian army breaks the Cintran defenses and begins sacking the city.

As the show’s Main Trailer first revealed, Geralt will also be present in Cintra during the battle. It’s likely he’ll finally makes up his mind and returns to protect Ciri. As the young princess will already be on her way out, they might miss each other by an inch.

Henry Cavill Witcher GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY
Henry Cavill Witcher GIF by NETFLIX - Find & Share on GIPHY

Ciri will have to deal with some serious trauma. The events in Cintra rightfully scar the fourteen-year-old girl, who was used to the privileged life of a princess and lost everything she held dear in a single night. We will see this trauma in Ciri’s nightmares and it looks like Cahir will often appear in these scenes.

Speaking of Cahir, we see quite a lot of him in the final trailer. In his most interesting scene, we hear a voice from the off ordering to find Ciri and bring her alive. The voice doesn’t sound like Cahir. So who is giving the command? Maté Haumann’s Field Marshal or someone higher in the chain of command. Could this scene allude to Emperor Emhyr Var Emreis, aka “the White Flame dancing on the grave mounds of his enemies” being included in season one?

Bring me the girl, alive

Cahir’s face is spattered with blood from a recent battle

Throughout the season, Ciri will be on the run and looking for Geralt (to honor her grandmother’s last wish). We’ll see her traveling incognito through many forests, sometimes on her own and sometimes accompanied by others (such as the mysterious original character Dara played by Wilson Radjou or the dryads led by Josette Simon’s Queen Eithne). We see quite a few glimpses of Ciri’s journey in the trailer. Cahir will be on her trail throughout the season as well.

Ciri escapes into the woods

I have to find Geralt of Rivia

Ciri and Dara
Nilfgaardians attack a camp where Ciri is hiding

At some point, Ciri will find herself in a vast swamp. It looks like she is still being hunted by her enemies, using a stick to protect herself from something.

Ciri in a swamp
She has gotten a white horse from somewhere
The morning after? Is the horse dead?

Other than Geralt and Ciri, the third leading character in The Witcher is the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg. Thetrailer shows her in two important sequences. The first will feature in the season’s sixth episode, an adaption of The Bounds of Reason‘s dragon hunt short story. We see Yennefer fighting the Reavers alongside Henry Cavill’s Geralt. Yennefer uses her iconic stiletto and, of course, her magic during the fight. Another moment from the same episode shows Yennefer standing beside the pious Ser Eyck of Denesle (Jordan Renzo) inside a tavern.

This must be the moment Yennefer spots Geralt among the company
The power duo fighting alongside each other
Yennefer is too quick for the Reavers

In the second sequence, we see Yennefer joining other mages in the preparations for an eventual confrontation with Nilfgaard. It seems that sorceress Tissaia de Vries (MyAnna Buring) will orchestrate the mages’ opposition to Nilfgaard and it will be her who convinces a reluctanct Yennefer to join the fight. Also present for this meeting and advocating for a fight are sorceresses Triss Merrigold (Anna Shaffer), Sabrina Glevissig (Therica Wilson-Read) and Vanielle of Brugge (Judit Fekete) as well as the mercenary-turned-mage Vilgefortz of Roggeven (Mahesh Jadu). Seemlingly opposing the move are Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) and Artorius Vigo (Terrence Maynard), whose niece Fringilla fights for the Nilfgaardians. The mages may be split in their opinions regarding the Nilfgaard situation, and only some will decide to face them at Sodden Hill.

Nilfgaard will destroy… everything

The Brotherhood gathers with Tissaia and Stregobor on opposing sides

We can stop Nilfgaard

Triss, Sabrina, Tissaia, and Vilgefortz

Join us

Why would I protect this?

It looks like Yennefer is not a fan of the Brotherhood. In the books she later became a member of the council herself.

Yennefer is eventually convinced, and joins Tissaia’s group of mages in support of the Northern Kingdoms. Led by Jadu’s Vilgefortz, they travel to Sodden Hill to confront the Nilfgaardian army. Though we don’t see much of it in the trailer, there were a few cool shots in Yennefer’s featurette, released earlier this week.

I want to be powerful

Yennefer casts a spell at the Battle of Sodden
“Who’s next?”
The gatehouse explodes

On the fields of Sodden, we get to see another exciting fight: a match between Cahir attacking Vilgefortz who seems to be unarmed. The few shots make it appear as if the knight from Vicovarro manages to gain the upper hand but we’re doubtful this will last long. Vilgefortz is not one to be defeated by a mere soldier, as others will come to know very soon…

As Vilgefortz falls to the ground, we see that he has a scabbard, but he seems to have lost his sword?

The second of the show’s prominent Nilfgaardian characters is Ndiweni’s Fringilla Vigo. In the sow she was a once student at Aretuza herself, but as her home kingdom of Toussaint was conquered by Nilfgaard she has since moved to the other side. She knows the Northern mages quite well, having studied alongside them, and so makes it her personal mission to defeat them. In the new trailer, we see her summoning her powers in the middle of a forest drenched in mist. As she casts the spell, we see a silhouette entering the frame. It looks like she is attacking someone.

I will personally defeat them

Is Fringilla attacking a Nilfgaardian? Or perhaps an enemy soldier?

We’ve covered most of the trailer now, but there are a few other interesting shots. First off, we see Geralt at the banquet of Cintra protecting Ciri’s father Duny. Jaskier is also there, with his lute, defending a Crintran noblewoman of course.

Notice Jaskier defending a Cintran lady with his lute on the left
Geralt saves Duny

We see also Jaskier and Geralt in another scene at the very end of the trailer having one of their classic “moments”.

Do not tell me that this is finally the moment you decided to actually care about someone other than yourself

Don’t touch roach

Finally, one interesting yet spoilery scene shows Ciri being captured by a Nilfgaardian.

With that, our final trailer analysis of the season is completed! The Witcher season one is releasing very soon. The long wait is finally coming to an end, and we could not be more excited.

4 comments on “Breaking down The Witcher’s final trailer”

  1. Gotta say, I am loving me some Tissaia de Vries in every shot I’ve seen. Yennefer still takes getting used to; looks so soft and childlike for someone who is introduced in “The Last Wish” as a jaded and downright predatory “individualist”. But I’m sure it’ll work once we see it all put together!

    Also, this is a really cool site and I hope your traffic picks up once the show gets rolling.

    Eight.

    More.

    Days.

Leave a Reply

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