The Witcher Season 1 finale recap: Much More

The Witcher - Credit: Katalin Vermes
The Witcher - Credit: Katalin Vermes /

Episode 8 of Netflix series The Witcher is an all-out war.

The season 1 finale of The Witcher is not very subtle. It begins with corpses all over the place discovered by Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) as he surveys the scene with his trusty horse, Roach. Aside from a few Cintran refugees, few have survived. Geralt meets a merchant named Yurga (Francis Magee) who decries all of these people dying for the Kingdom of Nilfgaard.

Geralt — a skilled monster hunter/tracker — warns Yurga of creatures being present, and that he’d best leave. Sure enough, Yurga is attacked by the strange beasts. Although Geralt successfully fends them off with his sword, one of them manages to land a bite on Geralt’s leg. Geralt says he’ll probably die before he passes out, leaving Yurga responsible for his safekeeping.

The Witcher: Sages at war

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In response to Nilfgaard’s ongoing attacks, Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) and other mages are crowded in a small boat, heading to Sodden. Passengers include Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu) and Tissaia de Vries (MyAnna Buring).

In addition to whatever sorcery they can conjure up, they are all awaiting the arrival of King Foltest (Shaun Dooley) with northern army reinforcements. Yennefer doubts their efforts will be successful, being noticeable disappointed and fatalistic.

It isn’t long before Niflgaard makes their move that night. Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni) launches a fireball at their castle, which Yennefer barely deflects with some of her magic. Fringilla’s strategy is to draw the mages out. Yennefer has some tricks of her own, of course, including a spell that sprouts mushrooms that emit toxic fumes against Nilfgaardian soldiers.

The battles rages

Not all of those fighting are mages, of course. Vilgefortz fights Cahir (Eamon Farren) but gets knocked down a hill. The Nilfgaardians breach the gate, firing a bunch of arrows into people. If that’s not enough, Fringilla uses Dimeritium on Tissaia, which freezes her. At one point, Triss (Anna Shaffer) magically conjures a flimsy plant-based gate to prevent the onrush of attackers. However, an anonymous Nilfgaardian soldier burns her with a torch.

Meanwhile, Yennefer is not spared a near-death experience as she watches from a tower. She gets stabbed by Sabrina (Therica Wilson-Read), who is under Fringilla’s power. They both get knocked from the tower by an explosion. We see that Vilgefortz survived his fight with Cahir, as he puts an unknown man out of a state of misery. While these battle scenes are action-packed, Geralt’s own journey in The Witcher seems to have only begun.

Geralt’s recovery (and glimpses of his past)

Mysteriously, the near-dead Geralt is saved by his mother, Visenna (Frida Gustavsson). During the scenes containing Geralt, The Witcher also gives brief memories of his past. This includes Geralt’s Visenna disappearing after she sent him to fetch some water, which apparently had something to do with his becoming a Witcher. She also disappears this time, after giving him a potion to drink from a flask (which he also pours onto his bite wound). He asks Yurga to take him to the Blue Mountains, but Yurga is hesitant.

Yurga feels grateful to Geralt for saving his life in the woods and offers him the Law of Surprise as payment. Geralt rejects the offer, saying he’ll accept an ale instead. Moments later, Geralt actually finds Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan) in the woods, fulfilling the Law of Surprise. Cirilla asks him about Yennefer, much to Geralt’s own surprise.

Speaking of Yennefer, she is instructed by a seemingly dying Tissaia to “save the continent” and let her “chaos” explode. To Yennefer, this means unleashing a huge conflagration that spares few (if any) Nilfgaardian soldiers within range. However, Yennefer did have the ability to spare Tissaia from the blaze. Given all the magic involved with mages, it’s difficult to say if Tissaia will return in season 2, but we can be sure of seeing Geralt and Yennefer again (season 2 has been delayed).

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