The Witcher’s first season on Netflix left viewers in suspense of the fate of its greatest heroine Yennefer, who seemingly disappeared after depleting her magical resources. At the Battle of Sodden, she and a handful of mages made a desperate last stand to prevent the superior Nilfgaardian forces from crossing the door to the North. While we don’t yet know how the story will carry over into the second season, we know plenty about how the sequence came to be.
Yennefer actress Anya Chalotra and others were present at both locations shooting for weeks until filming was done.
Fellow actresses Anna Shaffer (Triss Merigold) and Therica Wilson-Read (Sabrina Glevissig) evidently had a blast filming the battle despite getting burned and thrown off a tower respectively. Well, at least that’s what happened on screen.
Weeks prior to filming, The Witcher’s crew built a great wooden tower at Egri var masolata, that would later serve as Yennefer’s vantage point and the place of one of the fight’s most daunting stunt scenes. Chalotra and Wilson-Read stood in for parts of the scenes themselves, while others were taken over by professional stunt doubles. The explosion that throws Yennefer and Sabrina off the tower was simulated by a machine blowing bits of prop debris their way.
Meanwhile, Mahesh Jadu, who plays the enigmatic Vilgefortz of Roggeveen took his own beating at the hands of Eamon Farren’s Cahir quite composed manner, though we’re not exactly sure how the quote below relates to his character’s last act in season one.
Other notable mages on the Northern side include Rhianna McGreevy‘s Coral, Judit Fekete‘s Vanielle of Brugge, and Jim Caesar‘s Atlan Kerk. All of them perished during the fighting.
Many of the mages fighting and dying in the castle courtyard and on the battlements were played by extras. Here’s to the unsung heroines and heroes of Sodden!
On the other side, even more extras tried their best to breach the castle gate. The Nilfgaardian force was mainly comprised of infantrymen and a small number of (disposable) mages. In our interview with Tomek Baginski, the executive producer admitted that he took particular delight in decimating the ranks of the Nilfgaardians but it seems like the battle was an altogether fun experience for all involved.
In Andrzej Sapkwowski‘s books, the Battle of Sodden Hill is a watershed event that not only shapes the political landscape of the Continent for years to come but also marks the survivors for life; mentally and physically. While the show’s has yet to reveal the true damage of the attack, we already saw what magic and brute force can inflict upon people. The Witcher’s makeup artists went out of their way to make these devastating effects real. Warning: the following images are not for the faint of heart.