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 less than ten days left until we can see this explosive finale on the small screen, we will revisit the Volume 2 trailer and gather 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.
This is a good opportunity to rewatch the trailer and teaser, linked below:
We will be breaking down this frame-by-frame analysis of the teasers and trailer into three parts. The first and longest article was released a few days ago, and it was focused on Episode 6 of Season 3. That episode will be the opening act of Volume 2 and perhaps the show’s most action-packed episode to date. The middle act of Volume 2 focuses on Ciri’s journey in the Korath Desert, and we’ve covered that one, too.
EPISODE 6 BREAKDOWN: Everything We Know About The Witcher’s Biggest Episode Ever
EPISODE 7 BREAKDOWN: Everything We Know About Ciri’s Desert Adventure in Vol 2 of The Witcher Season 3
This time, we’ll focus on the last episode of Season 3, which will be Henry Cavill’s final appearance as Geralt of Rivia. Showrunner Lauren Hissrich has promised fans that Cavill will get a “heroic sendoff”, and we have some details about that. But of course, much and more will happen in this episode, in addition to Cavill’s sendoff. From a visit to Skellige to a meeting in the Nilfgaardian court, as well as the founding of what will eventually become the Lodge of Sorceresses, and the heartbreaking death of a key character, Episode 8 has a lot of ground to cover.
SPOILER WARNING! This time, we’re lifting all the breaks and sharing everything we’ve heard, pieced together with frames from the various teasers and trailers. Keep in mind that there are major spoilers for the season finale in this article.
The Thanedd Coup: The Aftermath
Episode 6 of The Witcher Season 3 focuses on the Thanedd Coup. The immediate aftermath of the Thanedd Coup will be distributed between episodes 7 and 8, and possibly the very end of Episode 6 as well, and it’s unclear at this stage which scenes will appear in which episode. For our breakdown articles, we decided to keep the aftermath here.
A quick recap of the Thanedd Coup and its conclusion: in a civil war of sorts between Nilfgaard-supporting mages led by Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu) and Northern Kingdoms loyalists led by Philippa (Cassie Claire), the magical school of Aretuza is completely destroyed. Many mages die in the fighting, and the survivors are wounded, uprooted, and cast away from their home, with many of their friends lost in the battle. The Brotherhood of Mages is in shambles, and Nilfgaard is marching to war set on conquering the Northern Kingdoms. Now these survivors must pull together, and our favorite sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) will have to step up and lead them.
Yennefer’s post-Coup entourage includes Tissaia (MyAnna Buring), Margarita (Rochelle Rose) and Keira (Safiyya Ingar), and some others. In the shot above, the sorceresses overlook the smoking ruins of Aretuza. Tissaia in particular looks nothing like herself: she seems older and weaker, her hair white from the effort of a powerful spell cast during the battle.
Tissaia has lost everything. Aretuza meant more to her than it did to anyone else in the Brotherhood, and seeing it in ruins is tough. Tissaia’s state of mind is amplified by the fact that it was her lover Vilgefortz who was responsible, that he was plotting the fall of Aretuza under her nose, and she let herself be manipulated by him. As such, Tissaia will feel the weight of responsibility for all that’s happened.
Another victim of the Thanedd Coup is our titular witcher, Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill). Geralt will have an intense duel with Vilgefortz in Episode 6 that will leave the witcher wounded and defeated on the beach of Aretuza. The beach will be drained of its waters during the fight, but the waters will be filling back in and washing over Geralt. For a moment, it might seem like this is the end of Geralt’s story.
The sorceress Triss Merigold (Anna Shaffer), has already saved Geralt once in Season 1, after he fought the Striga in Temeria and cured Princess Adda of her curse. Now she will save him again, but his wounds will be even more severe than before, and Triss will decide to take Geralt to the professionals: the dryad healers of Brokilon Forest.
We’ve covered Geralt and Yennefer, now one member of our Witcher family remains.
A captured “Ciri” is presented to the Nilfgaardian court
Episode 8 will feature a couple of scenes that focus on Team Nilfgaard. One of them will be a scene that appears towards the end of the novel Time of Contempt, in which Emperor Emhyr (Bart Edwards) will be informed that Princess Ciri (Freya Allan), the Elder Blood princess and his own daughter, has been captured.
The captured girl is brought to the Nilfgaardian Emperor, and he holds a grand reception to welcome her. The girl will be brought to him by Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu), who has survived the Thanedd Coup with some facial scarring. Vilgefortz will bring the girl to the Emperor, at which point the Emhyr’s smile will vanish: this is not his daughter, Ciri.
The girl brought to Emhyr is actually a different character, one who we’ve met earlier in this season. Teryn (Frances Pooley) is a character more commonly known to book readers as Fake Ciri. Though Emhyr is disappointed to see she is not his daughter, she will eventually play a role in his political game.
Fringilla and Francesca form an alliance, briefly…
For lack of footage in the trailer and teasers, the above picture of Francesca (Mecia Simson) is taken from an earlier episode. But of course, the elven queen does appear in the Season 3 finale, and she’s now reunited with her bestie Fringilla (Mimî M. Khayisa). The two fight together on the Nilfgaardian side during the Thanedd Coup, and the elves suffer severe losses. Even so, Emperor Emhyr is hoping to maintain this alliance.
As we understand, in a meeting with Emhyr, Francesca and Fringilla will pitch a plan to find and capture the real Ciri and deliver her to him, under the condition that they get to rule the Empire’s province in Cintra, which would become the elves’ Dol Blathanna (whatever that means in show-lore).
But Fringilla and Francesca are secretly planning to capture Ciri for themselves, further pursuing Francesca’s season-long, as yet unexplained Ciri obsession. Why they need to pitch this plan to Emhyr if they don’t intend to go through with it is also not clear to us as yet, but maybe it will make more sense in the episode than it did as conveyed by our sources.
Anyway, following the meeting with Emhyr, Francesca mulls over the idea and decides to take up Emhyr’s offer for real and forget her Ciri obsession. This leads to an argument with Fringilla, who is against the idea and seemingly just wants to one-up Emhyr.
During the argument, Fringilla reveals that Emhyr was behind the murder of Francesca’s baby. Francesca is not a fan of this reveal, not just because of Emhyr’s involvement in her child’s murder, but because Fringilla knew about it and did not say. Why she doesn’t tell Francesca earlier is an interesting question, and we have no answer for that.
Following this argument, the dynamic duo of FrinFran is officially broken up, and Francesca decides to end negotiations with Nilfgaard. What’s next for Francesca? Well, it’s really hard to guess, but showrunner Lauren Hissrich has confirmed in the past that she will eventually join the Lodge of Sorceresses as in the books. As for Fringilla, we assume she too will join the Lodge, and that could lead to some awkward silences at Montecalvo.
Yennefer searches for Ciri in Skellige
One short scene will take Yennefer to the distant Isles of Skellige. Skellige was the home of the late Eist Tuirseach, Queen Calanthe’s husband and an adoptive grandfather of sorts to Ciri. With her parents lost in a storm early in her childhood, Eist had become a father figure to her. The late druid Mousesack was also from Skellige.
This means that Ciri has traveled a number of times to Skellige in her childhood, and the isles hold a special place in her heart. Perhaps that is the reason why Yennefer travels there in the show in Episode 8.
Though Yennefer will not find Ciri in Skellige, she will run into another somewhat familiar character in Crach an Craite (Johannes Haukur Johannesson). We already met a younger version of Crach played by Blair Kincaid in Season 1, and now he has been recast with a slightly older actor. Crach will have a scene with Yennefer that is not quite the one they shared in the books at a later point in the story, in the novel Tower of the Swallow.
Seeing as Yennefer’s path in the show will diverge from the source material, this may be the show’s version of that scene, or this is simply setting up a plot point that will be continued in future seasons.
Yennefer and Jaskier reunite, and the bard sets off on his next journey
At one point in the trailer, we see Yennefer hugging the bard Jaskier (Joey Batey), overlooking the Aretuza courtyard. The fact that Jaskier is still at Thanedd Island suggests this happens in the immediate aftermath of the Coup, as he was already there at the end of Episode 5 and will be traveling to Brokilon later in the episode.
Jaskier was last seen in a hut on Thanedd Island, where he was tasked with guarding Ciri. But he gets distracted when Prince Radovid (Hugh Skinner) lures him into the barn and the two profess their feelings for each other and make out.
In the books, Jaskier does not have any relationship with Radovid, who is actually a child and King Vizimir’s son rather than his brother. Instead, Jaskier has a relationship with a royal much later in the novels, the Duchess Anna Henrietta of Toussaint.
It’s possible that the show will switch out Anna Henrietta with Radovid to allow these lovers to meet again, but we will have to wait for Season 5 to see if this happens, or if Radskier will end up being just a short fling.
Anyway, we do have some information on the conclusion of this romance in Season 3. The bard and the prince will share a few scenes in Volume 2, and by the end, they will reluctantly ways. Like Radovid pointed out in Vol 1, Jaskier indeed sees people for who they really are, not what they pretend to be, and the bard’s senses are still sharp, even during a relationship.
The sorceress Philippa Eilhart (Cassie Clare) is also at least partially responsible for their separation, as she will be setting in motion another mini-coup in Redania that will promote Radovid to a leadership role, as in the books. This will also be the first crack in the otherwise rock-solid alliance between Philippa and Dijkstra (Graham McTavish), who will be unaware of Philippa’s machinations.
Jaskier arrives at Brokilon, where Geralt is recovering
After the Thanedd Coup, Geralt is severely wounded, and Triss portals him to Brokilon Forest and places him in the care of the dryads. This happens in the books, and it will happen in the show as well. Sometime later, Jaskier will arrive to visit the recovering Geralt.
The dryads are not welcoming folk to strangers, so one dryad is quick to aim a crossbow at Jaskier. But we aren’t worried about him, his silver tongue will get him out of this situation, and he will even manage to sing a song in Elven to the dryads later on in the episode.
Jaskier finds a different, grumpier Geralt at Brokilon. We must remember that the witcher has never in his hundred years lost a fight so badly. Not only did he lose the fight and get crippled in the process, but he also lost his daughter Ciri, who seemingly disappeared into thin air without a trace.
Geralt is angry, wounded, disgruntled, and eager to set off in search of Ciri, but even the dryads’ methods of healing take time.
Also in Brokilon with Geralt and Jaskier is the show’s newest and coolest character, Maria Barring, better known as Milva, who will be portrayed by Shang Chi‘s Meng’er Zhang. Milva is a human archer that works closely with the dryads, and will be assisting Geralt in his slow recovery at Brokilon.
Geralt, Milva, and Jaskier are the founding members of the second big team of Season 4, Geralt’s Hansa. This group will band together around Geralt and set off on a journey to find Ciri.
In the books, Geralt relied on Milva to bring the latest rumors and reports regarding the whereabouts of Ciri, and though she hears nothing at first, she later returns with some dour news. Ciri has been captured by Emperor Emhyr and taken to Nilfgaard. Of course, the viewers will already know that it is not Ciri but Teryn who was taken to Nilfgaard, but Geralt, Yennefer, and the rest of the Continent will believe she is the real deal.
Speaking of Brokilon, Dara (Wilson Mbomio) will also be there as a war refugee, returning to Brokilon after his brief visit in Season 1. Dara will share a scene with Geralt and Jaskier.
The sorceresses hold a funeral
Some time after the fall of Aretuza, the surviving sorceresses travel together to Vilgefortz’s stronghold of Vuilpanne. This is where the captured girls of Aretuza were taken, tortured, and experimented on by Vilgefortz, resulting in Teryn’s mind control, the floating heads, and the “Flesh Monster” Geralt fought in the cave beneath the castle.
The sorceresses travel to Vuilpanne to investigate Vilgefortz and the missing girls, who were the students of Triss Merigold (Anna Schaffer). As Geralt had already explained to Yennefer, there were terrible horrors at Vuilpanne. The sorceresses collect the mutilated corpses of the young students and take them back to Aretuza for a funeral.
Seeing the vile work of Vilgefortz appears to be the final straw for Tissaia who was already in an emotional low point. No doubt, she feels some responsibility for the fate of the young Aretuza students, in addition to everything else.
Tissaia will have one final, very emotional scene with Yennefer, after which Yennefer will join the others for the funeral. Tissaia says she will join them later, but she doesn’t. Instead, she will write a farewell letter to Yennefer.
Another shot in the trailer shows a weeping Yennefer. Our guess is that this is after Yennefer finds Tissaia in an emotional scene. What happens in the books will happen in the show as well, despite the different circumstances.
Vilgefortz takes a captive
Here, we’ll take a break from our main protagonists and return to our main antagonist, the mage Vilgefortz of Roggeveen (Mahesh Jadu). Once again, there are no frames from this scene in any of the trailers, so we used a Vilgefortz scene from Episode 6. After delivering Fake Ciri to Emhyr, we will see Vilgefortz in one more scene, and this one should come as a surprise to book readers.
In the show, Vilgefortz will capture the monolithic mage Istredd (Royce Pierresen) and keep him as his prisoner. To what ends? Well, if there’s something The Witcher writers love, it’s monoliths!
Season 3 has had very few monolith mentions. One of these was the Book of Monoliths, which ended up being the MacGuffin of Volume 1. The book was apparently delivered from Cintra to Aretuza, and though it was found in Stregobor’s safe, it was likely placed there by Vilgefortz in an attempt to frame the other mage. The book was delivered to Vilgefortz originally, so he has some plans with the monoliths. And that must explain why he needs Istredd, too. Istredd is basically a walking, breathing monolith encyclopedia.
What plans does Vilgefortz have with the monoliths? Well, it most certainly must be to Ciri. In Episode 6, Vilgefortz will be very close to capturing her, until she uses her powers to open a portal in Tor Lara. Tor Lara is built around a monolith in the show, and the monoliths are related to Ciri’s Elder Blood powers. Perhaps Vilgefortz hopes to use Istredd and the Book of Monoliths to track down Ciri, or determine where she exited in the Tor Lara portal. For the answer, we’ll have to wait for Season 4.
Geralt and Yennefer Reunite in Brokilon Forest
Though Henry Cavill will share no scenes with his on-screen daughter Ciri in the season finale, he does share a scene with Anya Chalotra, allowing the two stars to bid each other a final farewell.
Yennefer will arrive at Brokilon to check up on Geralt, knowing he is there recovering from his wounds. While there, Yennefer will vent her frustration at not finding Ciri, and Geralt will apparently tell her to focus on getting the Brotherhood back on its feet and finding Vilgefortz. This will be after they’ve heard the (fake) news regarding Ciri being captured at Nilfgaard.
It seems that Geralt will make a deal with Yennefer: I will focus on finding Ciri, while you focus on finding Vilgefortz and repairing the Brotherhood. Before leaving, Yennefer also speeds up Geralt’s recovery, in which the dryads were not too successful with for some reason. And so, the two lovers will part ways and set off on their journeys.
In the books, Geralt and Yennefer’s relationship post-Thanedd is nonexistent until the very end of the saga. First Geralt thinks Yennefer is gone, then he believes she betrayed him and Ciri. Both “allegations” were already covered in Season 2 of The Witcher, so the show won’t be going that route again and instead will end Geralt and Yen’s arc with them still being together.
Yennefer forms the Lodge of Sorceresses
What’s next for Yennefer? Well, with Tissaia out of the leadership role and the other members of the mages’ “old guard” dead or on the run, Yennefer must step up and lead the remaining sorceresses.
Yennefer’s first act is to gather a small circle of the most powerful sorceresses, who also happen to be her close friends. This is an early iteration of the Lodge of Sorceresses, a “proto-Lodge”, and this version will be led by Yennefer.
It’s important to note that the word “Lodge” is not used in this episode, but from our understanding, this scene serves as a setup for the Lodge storyline in Season 4. The initial slate of Lodge members includes Yennefer, Margarita, Keira, Triss, and Sabrina. The initial slate of Lodge members does not include the sorceress who founded the Lodge in the books, Philippa Eilhart. This is a curious choice which we believe the show will rectify in Season 4.
And so, Yennefer’s Season 4 arc will at least begin with a continuation of her political role in Season 3. Here she will be leading the Lodge, and we wonder what Philippa’s role will be. Will the two sorceresses fight over control of the Lodge? Will Yennefer be cast out of the Lodge, so her plot can converge with the books later on? Time will tell.
For now, we do know that the first item on the Lodge’s agenda is to find Vilgefortz.
Henry Cavill’s “heroic sendoff”
The Witcher showrunner Lauren Hissrich has previously promised that Henry Cavill would receive a heroic sendoff in the role of Geralt of Rivia. That being said, Geralt is not in a good place, physically and mentally, during the last episode of Season 3.
After being beaten and shamed by Vilgefortz, as well as losing his adoptive daughter Ciri, and dealing with a crippling wound… Geralt is not at his best. Thankfully, by the end of the season finale, Geralt is back on his feet.
As they set off on the long journey to Nilfgaard, where they believe they will find Ciri, Geralt and Jaskier will come across a Nilfgaardian outpost, and Geralt will notice the Empire’s soldiers mistreating a group of refugees.
After all that’s happened, Geralt is done standing aside and being neutral. He draws his sword, as well as an axe, and gets to work cleaving through these Nilfgaardian goons. Jaskier isn’t of much help in this situation, but Milva reappears and lends an arrow or three.
From the sound of it, the premise here seems at least partially inspired by the iconic “Killing Monsters” cinematic released as part of promotion for CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. There too Nilfgaardians are mistreating a civilian and Geralt makes a choice to get involved.
We believe that this scene is what the showrunner was referring to when she said Cavill will get his heroic sendoff. And you must prepare yourself, as this will be the last scene Cavill will get as Geralt.
After the Nilfgaardians are dispatched, Geralt, Jaskier, and Milva, walk off into the sunset, and that’s it for Henry Cavill in The Witcher.
Looking at Season 4, we can say this is the formation of Geralt’s Hansa, and we’re glad to see Henry Cavill made it (albeit briefly) to this iconic phase of the novels.
Introducing the Rats
Henry Cavill’s final scene will not bookend the season. Instead, the last scene will be given to Ciri (Freya Allan). The last time we saw the real Ciri, she was captured by the Trappers, a group of mercenaries who want to take her to Nilfgaard. Another captive of the Trappers is the young criminal Kayleigh (Fabian McCallum).
The Trappers and their prisoners make a pit stop in a tavern, and that’s when Kayleigh’s friends come into the picture.
When we say “Kayleigh’s friends”, we’re talking about The Rats, a group of teenage outlaws destined to meet Ciri. In fact, Ciri has already come across one of the Rats, Mistle (Chritelle Elwin). Ciri met Mistle at the market in Gors Velen in Episode 3 of Season 3, where the Rat mugged Ciri but was rather impressed with her skills fighting the wyvern.
Mistle will surely recognize Ciri when she enters the tavern with the rest of the Rats. In the above image, we can see the Rats Giselher (Ben Radcliffe) and Iskra (Aggy K. Adams), and last two Rats are Reef (Juliette Alexandra) and Asse (Connor Crawford).
The Rats will next appear in their own spinoff, which has already been filmed and will drop on Netflix sometime before Season 4. But back to the tavern scene…
The Rats don’t plan on letting the Trappers get away with Kayleigh, and this works in Ciri’s favor. A fight breaks out which has been described to us as one of the coolest fights in the season. The Rats will brutally dispatch the Trappers, but Mistle will insist on leaving the last of them for Ciri, and she will fight this poor Trapper to the death.
The scene also signifies a major shift in Ciri’s arc. So far, Ciri has always chosen the virtuous path, but the Rats arc will signify a dark turn for the Lioncub of Cintra beginning with her first kill of a human being.
And this is how we end the season. A Trapper bleeding out on the tavern floor, with blood on Ciri’s blade, and the Rats welcoming her to their group. They ask her what is her name, and she replies: Falka.
Volume 2 of The Witcher Season 3 releases on July 27, which means only a few days are left until we see this heroic sendoff, the Rats fight, and Tissaia’s farewell. And as for Season 4, each one of our three heroes will have a team of their own: the Hansa, the Lodge, and the Rats.