Production is well underway for The Witcher‘s third season. Though we still have a long time to wait before the season is released on Netflix, we have also gathered enough knowledge about the upcoming season to make an educated guess about Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri’s next adventure.
This article will recap what we know about the story of season three, which means it will refer to events that took place in the novel Time of Contempt which season three is adapting.
There will be mild spoilers in the article for those who haven’t read the books, but we won’t spell out the season’s twists and turns.
Season 3’s Official Synopsis
Before we dive in to the details revealed by filming leaks and casting insights, let’s revisit the official synopsis of the third season:
Though there are likely many surprises not covered in this brief synopsis, the it does seem to describe the seasonal arc in very broad strokes: Yennefer, Geralt, and Ciri are reunited, and their journey will take them to the Aretuza’s School of Sorceresses.
Aretuza was a primary location in the first season and featured heavily in the second season as well, but it will be even more important in the third season. In fact, Aretuza will host some of the most memorable moments of season three, and this should come as no surprise to those who have read Time of Contempt.
Season two left Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri in a very complicated situation following Yennefer and Ciri’s manipulation by the Wild Hunt’s witch Voleth Meir. In case you forgot, under Voleth Meir’s influence, Yennefer was prepared to sacrifice Ciri in order to retrieve her lost magical abilities and a possessed Ciri went on a murderous rampage in the witcher fortress Kaer Morhen.
These events created major rifts in the relationship of Geralt and Yennefer, Yennefer and Ciri, and also Geralt and Vesemir as the latter was prepared to kill Ciri in order to stop Voleth Meir. Given all that’s happened, it’s hard to imagine these events won’t leave their mark on their relationships in season three.
From what we know about the upcoming season, it seems the core Witcher Family will be spending some quality time together in the early episodes, including attending the spring festival of Belleteyn. That seems like a pretty good place to sit down and talk about all that’s happened.
Another plot point mentioned in the synopsis is Ciri’s magic training with Yennefer. Ciri’s training was a major plot point in the book Blood of Elves, however it wasn’t a big part of season two. Season three will double back to these missing scenes from the novels and hopefully deepen Yennefer and Ciri’s relationship.
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The Empire Strikes Back
Season two’s cliffhanger ending revealed that Ciri’s father Duny is in fact the Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr var Emreis. Season three is likely going to explain exactly how this happened and also shed some light on Emhyr’s goals and the Nilfgaardian prophecy that names him “the White Flame”.
Emhyr will interact with the key Nilfgaardian characters: sorceress Fringilla Vigo and commander Cahir Mawr Dyffryn aep Ceallach, both of whom were arrested by the Emperor in the season finale. Their fates are currently awaiting the Emperor’s judgment, but it’s likely Emhyr will give them one last chance to prove their worth and capture his daughter.
Another new character that will appear on the Nilfgaardian side is a character called Teryn played by Frances Pooley, who appears to be the show’s version of False Ciri.
False Ciri is a political pawn in Emhyr’s game, a young girl who happens to look quite like Ciri and is used by Nilfgaard to pretend that they have captured the Lion Cub of Cintra. In the show, it seems that the writers are taking this a step further, as Teryn will apparently be brainwashed into believing she is Ciri.
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The Mages of Thanedd Island
If season two’s main storyline focused on Voleth Meir and her actions’ effect on the Continent and its denizens, season three is set to shift its focus towards the mages and sorceresses of Thanedd Island.
Following the battle of Sodden Hill, these mages are considered the saviors of the Northern Realms and are highly respected. This means that their power and influence on the Continent is reaching an all time high, a fact which their enemies are sure to take note of.
If the show will stick to the source material with regards to the mages, we’re in for a season full of action, intrigue, scandals and reveals. This is suggested by the synopsis, which describes Thanedd’s school of sorceresses Aretuza as a “battlefield of political corruption, dark magic, and treachery”.
The mages who will be at the center of the coming events are the sorceress and part-time owl Philippa Eilhart, and the respected mage Vilgefortz of Roggeveen. These two have already appeared in the show, but the significance of their roles in the story will only become bigger in the upcoming season.
Of course, the show’s ensemble of mages will all return, each with their motives and ambitions. These include Aretuza Rectoress Tissaia de Vries, who was last seen plotting to hunt down Ciri; the battle-scarred Triss Merigold, who will have to choose between Ciri and Tissaia; the mischievous Stregobor, who will no doubt cause trouble to the main cast; the determined Nilfgaardian Fringilla Vigo, who is tangled with Emperor Emhyr but was educated in Aretuza; the elven queen and leader of Scoia’tael Francesca Findabair; and let’s not forget the graceful Sabrina Glevissig, Fringilla’s uncle Artorius Vigo, and Yennefer’s one time lover Istredd.
These familiar mages will be joined by a handful of new cast members who will portray mages, including Safiyya Ingar who we believe was cast as Keira Metz and Rochelle Rose who we believe to be Margarita Laux-Antille. We have also heard that the show may cast Marti Sodergren, Dorregaray, and more mages from the books, although we are not certain if their roles will be significant.
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You may not have noticed, but season two kicked off one of the novels’ most interesting side-plots involving the Continent’s complex politics. Not only were several new kings (and one notable queen) introduced in season two, the season also introduced the reformed elven faction and their union with Nilfgaard.
The most notable pair of characters in this particular plotline that were introduced in season two are the Redanian spymaster Sigismund Dijkstra and his partner-in-crime Philippa Eilhart, who we’ve already discussed in the previous section.
For those not familiar with the novels and the games, you will find that these two characters will become more important as the story progresses, and they will be involved in most of the major political machinations coming our way in season three.
Season two’s finale has also teased another character’s involvement in the Redanian political subplot, the bard Jaskier. In the episode, Dijkstra tells Philippa: “Bring me the bard, it’s about time he paid back his benefactor.”
It’s clear Dijkstra was the one funding Jaskier’s elven refugee ships, aboard which the spy Dara was sent to infiltrate the Nilfgaardian ranks. What he has planned for Jaskier, we can’t really know, but it’s possible that it will conflict with Jaskier’s renewed friendship with Geralt. Especially if Dijkstra will be asking about Ciri.
In one audition in particular, Jaskier was spotted talking to Prince Radovid, who in the show is the brother to Redania’s King Vizimir. While auditions scripts can be written just for auditions, it’s clear Jaskier will get involved in Redania’s politics in the next season.
Speaking of Vizimir, a brief scene in Season 2 already laid some groundwork to the rift between the Northern Kings and their advisor mages when King Foltest of Temeria tells the Redanian king: “Our most trusted advisors are becoming less and less trustworthy.”
Another new character who will be introduced in season three and will likely interact with Dijkstra is the messenger Aplegatt. Readers of Time of Contempt will remember his brief but memorable role in the story, as he’s tasked with delivering a game-changing piece of intelligence to the frontlines of the North’s war with Nilfgaard, and comes across a couple of the main characters on his way there.
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Season two left the elves in a worrying place, with their leader Francesca Findabair committing an unforgivable act of vengeance in response to her child’s murder – killing many Redanian babies. This marks the beginning of an arc that is likely to continue throughout the rest of the show.
The elves are no longer willing to take the moral high ground, they will play dirty and commit atrocities, all in the name of their race’s freedom on the Continent. This new movement among the elves is called the Scoia’tael, or “the Squirrels”.
More determined than ever to fight for her people’s freedom, we’re likely going to meet a very different Francesca in season three. This Francesca may command an army of guerilla warriors, fighting from the shadows, deep within enemy territories. Joining Francesca are the one-time elven king Filavandrel, Francesca’s brother Gage, and Ciri’s friend Dara.
These familiar elves will be joined by one notable new character portrayed by Robbie Amell, an elven soldier called Gallatin. This is an original character that did not appear in the novels, and judging by his official character description it seems he will challenge Francesca’s leadership.
“A born fighter, Gallatin leads an army of guerrilla Scoia’tael fighting on behalf of Nilfgaard. Unafraid to speak his truth, Gallatin’s loyalty to his people ultimately leads him on a collision course with Francesca over power.”
The Scoia’tael may also appear in our main characters’ arcs as well, assuming one of our theories about season three is correct. We think that season two will adapt a sequence that was skipped in season one, where Geralt and Ciri visit the ruins of the elven palace Shaerrawedd.
If this is indeed coming up in season three, expect the show’s lovable dwarven character Yarpen Zigrin to be part of it. The character has already been confirmed to appear in season three, so this could be further evidence that the show is taking Geralt and Ciri (and probably Yennefer, too) to Shaerawedd.
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Setting Up the Three Big Teams of Season 4
Though season three is going to take a while, it’s clear that the writers are already laying the groundwork for season four, as evidenced by the newest cast members.
Probably the most exciting new casting is that of Shang Chi‘s Meng’er Zhang as Milva. Milva is a very skilled archer who lived among the dryads and sympathizes with their struggle against human expansion. She is destined to join Geralt of Rivia in a journey that will begin in season four, or perhaps at the very end of season three. But she is not the only one!
Season four will introduce more characters that will join her and Geralt, and a couple of familiar faces will be there too. The squad that will gather around Geralt is called the Hansa, and fans of the books can’t wait to see the show’s take.
The Hansa is just one of three important “teams” that will form in season four (or at the end of season three). The Rats are another one, and if they’re anything like they were in the novels you should expect them to be very, very controversial. That said, the show may also tone down the controversial parts of the Rats’ storyline and portray them in a more favorable light.
Season three is bringing forward the introduction of one of the Rats, Mistle, who will likely interact primarily with Ciri in the coming season. Mistle will be portrayed by Christelle Elwin.
Last but certainly not least is the Lodge of Sorceresses. This group of femme-fatales is sick and tired of letting the male mages run things, and following the lead of Philippa Eilhart, they’ll be taking charge.
Philippa was introduced at the end of season two, but only as a brief cameo. Season three is set to properly introduce her to the fans, and no doubt set in motion the events that lead to the creation of the Lodge.
We don’t know about you, but we’re quite excited to see where season three will take The Witcher and its many characters. Let us know in the comments what is the one thing about season three you’re most looking forward to.