Everything We Know About The Witcher’s Biggest Episode Ever

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The Witcher Season 3, Volume 2 is set for release on July 27 and will conclude Henry Cavill’s Witcher journey, along with several other cast members. The three remaining episodes of the season will tackle some of the most exciting events in the novels, including the mage massacre of the Thanedd Coup and Ciri’s adventure in the desert.

With only two weeks left until we can see this explosive finale on the small screen, a new trailer was released by Netflix, and we’ve gathered every frame of it with an educated guess based on all we know. Some additional frames were taken from the Volume 2 teaser, a clip released in a Netflix article, and another released by IGN.

Take a look at the new ones below:

We will be breaking down this frame-by-frame analysis of the teasers and trailer into three parts. The first will focus on Episode 6 of Season 3, the opening act of Volume 2 and perhaps the show’s most action-packed episode to date.

SPOILER WARNING! This will contain full spoilers for Volume 1 of Season 3 as well as some significant spoilers and hints for the plot of Volume 2, most of which can be found plainly in the trailer once we piece together the frames.

The Thanedd Coup commences

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Volume 1 of Season 3 ended on a cliffhanger. The titular witcher Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) and his lover, the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) had just made a significant discovery regarding the identity of a rogue mage who was looking to capture their adoptive daughter Ciri, the Lion Cub of Cintra (Freya Allan).

But just as they set off to confront the rogue mage, a blade is pressed against Geralt’s neck. We hear the Redanian spymaster Sigismund Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) say: “You should have picked a side.” Then the credits rolled, subjecting us to a month-long wait for Volume 2.

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The “side” Dijkstra is speaking of refers to a major conflict that will occur in Episode 6, the opening act of Volume 2, which the books refer to as the Thanedd Coup. The coup occurs in the Aretuza School of Sorceresses on the Isle of Thanedd, and involves most of the characters introduced in the show’s first three seasons.

To be more specific, this event focuses on a coup for control of the Brotherhood of Mages led by Dijkstra’s partner-in-crime, the sorceress Philippa Eilhart (Cassie Claire). Philippa and Dijkstra are convinced that Nilfgaardian agents have infiltrated the Brotherhood and intend to destroy it from within, thereby removing the strongest weapon of the Northern Kingdoms in their war against the Nilfgaardian Empire, and they’re not wrong.

Vilgefortz of Roggeveen (Mahesh Jadu) has been secretly working with Nilfgaard and plotting to capture Ciri and assume control of her powers of the Elder Blood.

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As Philippa and Dijkstra make their move against Vilgefortz, an army Nilfgaardians special operations troops assembles outside of Aretuza, bringing with them the elven troops of the Scoia’tael who have now fully aligned with them. In one quick frame, the Nilfgaardians can be seen arming the elves as they make their landing on Thanedd Isle.

Meanwhile, Vilgefortz opens the gates and lets this army of elves and Nilfgaardian soldiers swarm into the halls of Aretuza. The elves and Nilfgaardians enter Aretuza wearing hooded cloaks, and they soon reach the courtyard, where they meet Tissaia de Vries (MyAnna Buring).

Tissaia is the legendary Rectoress of Aretuza, Yennefer’s teacher, mentor, and mother figure. Fans of the books know that the three episodes of Volume 2 will be particularly tough on Tissaia.

During this scene, Tissaia will learn that Vilgefortz, her lover, has betrayed her from the very start. In the shots above, we can see Tissaia confront Vilgefortz, who is very brutally and coldly unapologetic about his deeds. After this reveal, matters escalate rather quickly.

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The cloaked figures remove their hoods, revealing pointed ears and equally pointed arrows, all aimed at the mages and sorceresses of the Brotherhood.

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On the Nilfgaardian side, the general Cahir Mawr Dyffryn aep Ceallach (Eamon Farren) is all suited up in his Season 2 Nilfgaardian armor, and he is joined by the elven queen and sorceress Francesca Findabair (Mecia Simson), who is all armored up herself. In Episode 4, Cahir recruited Francesca and her Scoia’tael army for a secret mission, and this is it.

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The political coup quickly devolves into an all-out war between two determined factions of mages, elves, and Nilfgaardians, while a third mage faction attempts to end the infighting, whatever the cost. And in the middle of this chaos, our family of three finds themselves surrounded by enemies.

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The fighting begins in the courtyard of Aretuza, where we see an army of elves firing arrows at the mages of the Brotherhood. The mages are casting some barrier spells while clearing out windows in the barrier in order to fling rocks at the elves facing them.

Among these mages, we can clearly see Tissaia again. The sorceress is standing next to the newly introduced Rectoress Margarita Laux-Antille (Rochelle Rose), better known as Rita, as well as Chapter mage Artorius Vigo (Terrence Maynard). It seems the Istredd is also on the mage’s side here, more on that later.

Aretuza falls

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The trailer opens with a beautiful shot of the Thanedd ball’s magical chandelier burning and crashing into the Aretuza courtyard, consuming the School of Sorceresses in a wave of fire and a thick fog of smoke. Unlike in the novels, Aretuza has been a key location in the show since the very beginning. In many ways, the long battle sequence which will unfold across Episode 6 of Season 3, the opening act of Volume 2, is the episode the entire show has been building towards.

So, what exactly will the Thanedd Coup entail? Two factions of mages will make war with each other, and a third will faction will take extreme measures to try and stop the infighting. Meanwhile, an army of united Elves and Nilfgaardians will storm the burning halls of Aretuza, and our family of three will find themselves scattered while facing all of their most powerful, and dangerous enemies.

But let’s start with the burning chandelier. The target of this attack seems to be the elven queen Francesca Findabair, whose blood-spattered eyes can be seen in the trailer. Note that the burning chandelier is reflected on her cornflower blue eyes, eyes which we previously believed belonged to Yennefer. Judging by the blood on her face, it seems Francesca has been in the thick of battle, though it’s hard to say if this blood belongs to herself, her enemies, or perhaps even her closest ally, Filavandrel (Tom Canton).

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What’s certain is that the Aretuza courtyard is left in ruins in the wake of this attack. As the magical nuke makes its landing, a wave of fire erupts from it, consuming the courtyard and everyone in its wake. Luckily for them, many of the people caught in the blast radius are mages, and we can see at least two groups casting some sort of spherical barrier spell to protect themselves and their fellow mages from the firebomb.

One group huddled under such a magical barrier includes not one but two Rectoresses of Aretuza. Tissaia de Vries has been the key player in Aretuza starting from Season 1. As the Rectoress, she was the teacher and headmaster of most of the sorceresses we met in the show. Not only that, Tissaia is a mother figure to Yennefer. Beside her, and seemingly casting the barrier spell, is the newly introduced Rectoress Margarita Laux-Antille, also known as Rita. Lying beside them is the mage Artorius Vigo, who seems to be dying. As the firebomb lands in the courtyard, Tissaia is seen examining Artorius’s wounds.

The Volume 2 teaser shows another group caught in the raging fireball, protecting themselves from the licking flames with a similar barrier spell. From the blurry screenshot, we can guess that the sorceress casting this second barrier spell is Fringilla Vigo (Mimî M. Khayisa). Fringilla is joined by some elven warriors and their queen Francesca.

Who has committed this firey act of vandalism, you ask? Well, it happens to be someone who very much doesn’t like non-humans, hence the elven barbeque.

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Last we saw him, the mage Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) was accused of defecting to Nilfgaard, of capturing young elven students of Aretuza and conducting horrible experiments on them, as well as plotting to capture the young princess Ciri.

By the end of Volume 1, we learn that Stregobor was framed and another mage is responsible. As the Thanedd Coup escalates, the mages will free Stregobor and allow him to join the battle as the Elves and Nilfgaardians storm through their halls.

Happy to be given the opportunity to nuke some elves, Stregobor joins the fray. Once the ball of fire dissipates, leaving behind a thick, fog-like smoke, the mages of the Brotherhood step into the courtyard, unharmed. The Brotherhood of Mages would not nuke its own courtyard if the situation was not dire.

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Tissaia steps through the smoke. A man is burning alive behind her, but she doesn’t seem to care. Yet the burning of the Aretuza courtyard reflects Tissaia’s internal turmoil. She is forced to see her entire life’s work go up in flames before her eyes, along with many elves of course.

She walks through the smoke like a ghost of her former self, betrayed and bamboozled, feeling the weight of responsibility for the Brotherhood’s downfall.

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But the mages won’t go down without fight, and this battle does not end with Stregobor’s fireball. We see some glimpses of the fight in the courtyard throughout the Volume 2 teaser and trailer, and also in a video shared by IGN prior to the release of Volume 1.

One of these glimpses features the sassy sorceress Sabrina Glevissig (Therica Wilson-Read) looking quite distraught as she casts a spell to fling a large rock at her enemies.

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Another mage fighting in the courtyard is Yennefer’s former lover Istredd (Royce Pierreson). Interestingly, Istredd is seen fighting an elf, which means he officially rejoined the Brotherhood of Mages as was implied in Volume 1. In previous seasons, Istredd declared his allegiance to Nilfgaard to further his Monolith research.

Later, he claims he has also lived among the elves and grown sympathetic to them, hoping to help them find their salvation in Dol Blathanna. But as Aretuza burns, Istredd falls back to the Brotherhood, and now he’s killing an elf rather than finding Dol Blathanna. This dual change of cloak was not quite explained in Volume 1, and it would be a shame if Volume 2 will not delve deeper into this. But there’s a lot of ground to cover in Volume 2, and some details could be left to the imagination of the viewers.

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Another glimpse of the courtyard fight can be seen in the trailer. In the foreground is some character wielding a sword with a special hilt. Once combined with the hilt of another off-screen character’s sword, it emits a magical glow.

The magical sword belongs to the magical brothers Detmold and Drithelm. Nilfgaardian General Cahir seems to be standing behind them so a fight will ensue between them shortly.

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The battle rages on, and the halls of Aretuza fill with smoke, but our three heroes are busy elsewhere.

Yennefer retrieves Geralt’s sword

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Back to our favorite sorceress, Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra). Throughout the trailer, we see multiple shots of Yennefer carrying Geralt’s sword on her back. Later we see Yen giving Geralt his sword back in a scene that seems iconic but will undoubtedly be controversial among book readers. More on that soon.

Our guess regarding this is that Yennefer sets off to fetch Geralt’s sword. A witcher without his sword is still a capable fighter, but with the bloody chaos that unfolds in Aretuza, the Witcher family will need to use every tool at their disposal to survive.

The fact that Yennefer is the one to fetch the sword can be considered a vague nod to the novel Season of Storms, in which Geralt’s swords are stolen and Yennefer is the one to retrieve them.

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Another shot in the trailer shows Ciri in a forest that seems like the one outside the hut where she was waiting with Jaskier. Has she seen another one of her visions?

In any case, Yennefer does find Ciri, and the two end up running outside of Aretuza to regroup with Geralt. But, they find someone else instead…


The Family confronts Rience

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Time to return to our three leads who form the Witcher family. First up is Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), who’s carrying Geralt’s steel sword in her hand and its sheath swung over her back.

As has become a common affair in the show, Yennefer tosses the sword towards the screen and the camera pans to follow it, a similar shot to the one we saw in the opening episode of Season 3.

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As the camera follows the sword, we catch a quick glimpse of Ciri (Freya Allan), who is imprisoned in a burning ring of fire. Ciri has her sword drawn, but there’s not much she can do.

Who has trapped Ciri there? Well, a mage who loves fire magic, Rience (Sam Woolf). Rience has been chasing Ciri since Season 2, and now we know he has been working for Vilgefortz.

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The camera continues to follow Geralt’s smiling sword, the steel sword adorned with Renfri’s brooch, as it narrowly misses Rience’s face. It was a close one, but Rience won’t get away from the family this time.

As we can see in the trailer, Yennefer was not aiming for Rience’s face but was handing the sword over to Geralt (Henry Cavill), who swings in for the kill. This time, the sword will not miss.

In the show, the fate of Rience is quite different from the books, where he dies much later and is killed in an iconic Ciri scene. The show will have to find other victims for Ciri if and when that scene will come about. Perhaps it will be Leo Bonhart instead?

An emotional farewell

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Now Geralt (Henry Cavill), Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), and Ciri (Freya Allan) are back together, but this is also their last scene together for the season. The next time we will see all three of them share a scene will be at the very end of the show. This is sure to be an emotional scene, as indicated by Yennefer’s parting words to Ciri.

I’ve searched so long, and it was all worth it. No matter where you go, we will never be apart.

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Not only will the next family reunion happen much later, but it will happen with a very different Geralt. The fact that this is Henry Cavill’s last season means that almost every one of his scenes in Volume 2 will include his last time doing something as Geralt of Rivia.

In this case, it will be his last time together with both Yennefer and Ciri. And so, Geralt’s work hit even harder knowing this.

We didn’t come this far just to abandon each other

But it is what it is. The family is splitting up, and they will each lead their own journey. Geralt will be replaced, and Liam Hemsworth will be stepping into Henry Cavill’s admittedly large shoes.

Getting back to the matter at hand, why is the family splitting up? With all their enemies closing in, Geralt is determined to whisk Ciri out of Thanedd Island before it’s too late.

Yennefer would have joined them, but she has some unfinished business at Aretuza. Her teacher and mother figure Tissaia remains in the burning halls of Aretuza, casting a dangerous spell that could destroy everything, and Yennefer can’t leave her behind. So Yennefer heads back into the warzone.

Cahir finally catches up to Ciri

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While the battle rages on in Aretuza, Geralt and Ciri make their escape, but another long-time villain tracks them down. This time, it’s Cahir.

Cahir was tasked by Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr (Bart Edwards) to capture Ciri in Season 1. Since then, he has failed to complete that task on multiple occasions, but not without coming close.


During the Slaughter of Cintra, Cahir managed to grab Ciri and force her on his horse. But as they rode out of the city, Ciri used her powers to escape him.

This event is traumatic for Ciri, and Cahir signifies a personification of her fears, and her hatred for Nilfgaard, who has killed her entire family in Cintra. But this confrontation won’t end like it did with Rience.

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With Cahir out of their hair, Geralt and Ciri reach the beach and prepare to take off. But of course, this doesn’t work out. As Geralt and Ciri try to grab a boat, Geralt hears someone call to him from the nearby cavern. That voice belongs to the rogue mage and Nilfgaardian defector Vilgefortz of Roggeveen (Mahesh Jadu), who has set his eyes on Ciri. Geralt tells Ciri to run, unsheathes his sword, and makes his way to Vilgefortz.

Geralt faces Vilgefortz

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This is a moment we’ve been waiting for since we first found out Mahesh Jadu was cast as Vilgefortz, who can be considered the main villain of Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher Saga.

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Here, we will see Vilgeforz show his true power in a scene that has been described to us as the best fight scene of the season. Like in the books, Geralt will be wielding his steel sword, while Vilgefortz will wield a staff.

But Vilgefortz will not use magical nukes and barrier spells in his fight with Geralt, he will use his martial arts skills with the staff, as well as a few quick spells that will catch Geralt off guard.

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Anyway, the fight begins in some ruins or cavern on the beach near Aretuza. Geralt is trying to kill Vilgefortz, or at the very least buy time for Ciri to escape.

We can see Geralt rolling towards Vilgefortz in the trailer, and the two warriors trade blows in the teaser in this same space.

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The fight leads the two warriors to the beach, where things take a dark turn for Geralt. Vilgefortz is no pushover, and in fact, he is by far the most powerful enemy Geralt has ever faced. So powerful, that he is able to defeat Geralt and shatter his steel sword.

The sea seems to have receded around the tower, allowing the two men to fight under the tower.

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The trailer spares no details from the climax of this fight scene, as we see two independent shots that confirm Geralt not only lost the fight but is severely wounded as well.

First, we see Geralt lying on his back, his face marked with blood and scars, as well as the sour taste of defeat.

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Vilgefortz is eager to catch Ciri, so he doesn’t have finish off the witcher. Although, we do see another shot of the defeated Geralt, this time in the water rather than on the beach.

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Next, we see Geralt drowning. It seems that the waters around Aretuza are coming back while the titular Witcher was lying defeated on the beach.

Ciri runs to Tor Lara, the Tower of the Gull

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Ciri is running for her life, running on the beach of Aretuza, running towards the towering obelisk of Tor Lara, the Tower of the Gull.

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As has already been confirmed by showrunner Lauren Hissrich, there is another monolith inside Tor Lara, and this monolith’s space-and-time-bending powers will be unlocked by Ciri as she enters the tower, with Vilgefortz close behind her.

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In the teaser, we get a glimpse of what Ciri sees inside Tor Lara. Strange runes are glowing on the tower’s blood-spattered walls. Are these the works of the warring mages of Aretuza? Or does Ciri’s presence activate these ancient runes?

Regardless, we know how this ends. Ciri uses the tower to travel space-time just as Vilgefortz is about to capture her. Consumed by a pulse of magic, the tower explodes, and this explosion permanently scars Vilgefortz. Meanwhile, Ciri disappears.

Tissaia casts a destructive spell, and Yennefer chases after her


The courtyard of Aretuza is billowing with smoke, and Tissaia watches her life’s work destroyed, along with many of her colleagues and closest friends lost in the fighting. She feels responsible for everything that has happened, emotionally drained, beaten, and betrayed. And this inspires her to cast a powerful lightning spell in a last-ditch effort to scare away all the invaders of Aretuza.

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Tissaia’s lightning spell shoots through the sky and connects with Tor Lara. The powerful spell threatens to destroy everything in its wake. Moreover, the spell seems to have made the sea around Aretuza dry, which allows Geralt and Vilgefortz to fight right under Tor Lara.

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It is up to Yennefer to find her former teacher and stop her before she kills herself along with everyone else in Aretuza. Yennefer runs back into the battle and smoke, casting spells to push various enemies out of her way, determined to reach Tissaia before it’s too late.

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As the sun sets on Aretuza, and the school of sorceresses burns, Yennefer reaches Tissaia and pleads her to stop. Tissaia is drained by the spell, her hair turned white, entirely drained. And at this moment, she must trust Yennefer, a woman she loves as her daughter, and let go.

The Witcher Season 3 is available on Netflix with The Rats prequel in post-production and The Witcher: Sirens of the Deep anime by Studio Mir is far in production. Stay tuned to Redanian Intelligence and do pop into our Discord server to join in on The Witcher conversation.

We’re going to cover Episodes 7 and 8 in a similar fashion. We have relatively less footage for these episodes, but we’ll sprinkle in some tidbits of what we’ve heard.

1 comments on “Everything We Know About The Witcher’s Biggest Episode Ever”

  1. Thanks for the breakdown. This actually seems decent. Can’t wait to the remaining breakdowns!

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