“The Witcher” Season 2 finally arrives on Netflix this Friday, but as fans of the series know, the first season was absolutely packed with story and multiple timelines. Based on the book series of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski, “The Witcher” stars Henry Cavill as a superpowered monster hunter who finds his destiny tied up with a powerful sorceress and a young princess. Season 2 of the show continues pushing the story forward (albeit in a more linear fashion), but it picks up right where Season 1 left off. Which means you’re really going to need to remember what happened in Season 1 in order to get the full effect of the eight-episode second season.
To that end, below we’ve put together a “The Witcher” Season 1 recap focusing on the stories of the three main characters: Geralt, Yennefer and Cirilla. So read up below, watch the video recap above, and prepare for Season 2’s arrival on Dec. 17.
Geralt of Rivia
Geralt’s story in “The Witcher” Season 1 begins with him fighting and slaying monsters, but also happening upon the path of a cursed princess-turned-bandit who, in her dying words, tells Geralt of a young princess who is his destiny. Geralt then reluctantly teams up with a bard named Jaskier, who accompanies him to the wedding feast of Princess Pavetta, the daughter of Queen Calanthe – a human woman who knows her way around the sword, but who has a deep prejudice of all magical creatures. When a young hedgehog man outs himself as Pavetta’s lover and asks for her hand in marriage, Queen Calanthe orders him killed. He’s saved by Geralt, and after kissing Pavetta his curse is lifted and he’s turned back into a human. When asked how he can repay him, Geralt mockingly invokes the “law of surprise,” immediately after which it’s revealed that Pavetta is pregnant. Queen Calanthe curses Geralt, who walks away never intending to actually claim said law of surprise.
When Jaskier is cursed, Geralt seeks out a mage who can heal him – which is how he crosses paths with Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra). The two pretty immediately fall in love, and using magic Geralt makes a wish to save her life when she’s seemingly in danger.
Geralt and Yennefer cross paths again when each are separately enlisted to hunt a dragon, which Yennefer believes might be able to give her her fertility back. The two end up fighting when Geralt can’t understand Yennefer’s desire to have a child, and she walks out of his life. At the same time, Geralt lashes out at Jaskier and the bard leaves him as well. All the while, the army of Nilfgaard is marching towards Cintra, posing a threat to the city.
When Geralt returns to Cintra, he discovers Pavetta’s daughter Cirilla (Freya Allan) is now being raised by her grandmother Queen Calanthe, after Pavetta and her husband were lost at sea. Geralt has come to Cintra because the Nilfgaardian forces are marching, and he aims to protect Princess Cirilla. Queen Calanthe rejects Geralt’s claim and throws him in prison.
Calanthe gets injured in battle and calls for Geralt to claim Cirilla, but by this point Geralt has already broken free from prison.
Geralt arrives at a last stand of sorts where the sorceresses are fighting against Nilfgaard’s forces just in time to see Yennefer use chaos magic to lay waste to Nilfgaard’s forces. In the aftermath, Yennefer is nowhere to be found, but Ciri hears Geralt crying for Yennefer and the two are finally united. “People linked by destiny will always find each other,” Geralt tells Ciri.
Yennefer of Vengerberg
Yennefer’s story begins long, long ago where she was a hunchbacked young girl abused by her parents who was sold to Tissaia de Vries, who saw the magical potential in Yennefer and brought her to Aretuza where she was trained to become a sorceress. While there, Yennefer strikes up a relationship with a sorcerer and historian named Istredd, who it turns out is actually working for Stregobor – head of the school for male mages – as a spy. Yennefer wants to be even more powerful, and undergoes an intense physical procedure that makes her one of the most powerful mages – but at the cost of her fertility. She will never be able to bear a child.
Years later, Yennefer is working as a mage in a small town when she crosses paths with Geralt, who needs her to heal Jaskier. She does, but during an incantation appears to be in danger. Geralt makes a wish to save her life, but it ends up bonding the two in a way neither expect. The make their romantic relationship official, but get into a fight on a dragon hunt when Yennefer is trying to find a way to have a child. They part ways.
Yennefer then tries to reconnected with Istredd, but he’s hurt that she chose power over him. She’s then lured back to Aretuza where Tissaia is rallying mage forces to counter Nilfgaard’s push north. The Brotherhood decides to stay neutral, while at first Yennefer declines to get involved but then is convinced to join in the fight by Tissaia.
During the finale, Yennefer fights alongside other mages to push back against the Nilfgaardian forces, and urged by Tissaia she embraces chaos and lets out a massive magical flame that engulfs the invading army.
Princess Cirilla’s story begins a bit later, chronologically, than Geralt’s and Yennefer’s but is intertwined with theirs, destiny-wise. We pick up with her as a young kid in Cintra, being raised by her grandmother Queen Calanthe after her parents were lost at sea. But as Nilfgaardian forces close in on Cintra, Cirilla is forced to flee the city.
Laid up with wounds from battle, Queen Calanthe says to Cirilla, “Find Geralt of Rivia, he is your destiny.” Ciri escapes on horseback, and when cornered she lets out a guttural scream full of magic that topples a nearby monolith.
Ciri crosses paths with an elf named Dara, with whom she takes safe harbor in Brokolin Forest. But when they’re attacked, Dara abandons her. Ciri is then rescued by a woman, and while recovering in her hut she hears Geralt’s cries for Yennefer. The series ends with her finding Geralt in a forest and embracing him – and thus, her destiny – before asking him, “Who’s Yennefer?” This sets up Season 2, which finds Geralt and Cirilla united at last.