If you have been in mourning since the finale of ‘Game of Thrones’, then it’s time to get out of grieving. Netflix has unleashed its monster of a fantasy series on the world, and you should brace yourself for the beginning of a brave new adventure. Based on the book series of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski, ‘The Witcher’ is set in a landmass called The Continent. It is a place that houses monsters, magic, humans, elves, dwarves and every other thing that you have never even imagined before. And in the midst of this, it ties up the story of three people in a tight bind.
If you haven’t yet caught up with the show, you should stop here. You can find all the places where you can stream the show right here. There are a lot of twists and turns in the story, so bookmark this page for later.
Summary of the Plot
Geralt of Rivia is a witcher, a dying race of monster hunters. The only things he knows for certain is the money that he is owed after ridding the locals of whatever monster is bothering them. He can fight anything and everything and he is the best at his job. He is not really an amicable person, keeps his distance from humans. However, there are larger forces at work; there are things that bind him to the fate of the other.
Princess Cirilla has grown up in Cintra under the care of her grandmother, Queen Calanthe. She has inherited the fearlessness from her grandmother, but what really makes her special is the power that she has inherited from her mother. No one knows about it, until the night of the fall of Cintra. Nilfgaard is a southern force that has been advancing north, taking whatever it can lay its hands upon, trampling whatever comes in its way.
While Calanthe tells herself that they wouldn’t dare attack her kingdom, she also dreads the day when it will finally happen and when she will have to let go of her beloved grand-daughter. In spite of all of their efforts, the enemy forces succeed in knocking down their doors, and while Cirilla escapes in the nick of time, they are hot on her heels, ready to chase her to the end of the world.
The third piece of the puzzle is Yennefer of Vengerberg. Having survived a harsh childhood, she discovers that she possesses the power of magic. She is taken out of her home, sold in fact, and finds herself with other girls with magical abilities in Aretuza. Under the mentorship of Tissaia de Vries, she becomes the best sorceress and goes out to fulfil the destiny of her own.
What Happens in Sodden Hill?
In the final episode, all the timelines converge and destiny brings everyone together. In the chaos of the battle at Cintra, Geralt manages to free himself and goes after Cirilla. On the way, he comes upon the refugee camps of the Cintrans who flee from their homes after Nilfgaard’s invasion. Geralt doesn’t know it but Cirilla had been there. He meets a man who is trying to give a proper burial to the bodies. But Geralt senses the presence of some monsters. He saves the man, and in the fight, gets severely injured. The man takes Geralt with himself. Under the effect of the poisons from the bite, the witcher hallucinates about his childhood. We come to know how he had been abandoned by his mother and then picked up by Vesemir, who trained him to be a witcher.
Meanwhile, Yennefer and others arrive at the Sodden Hill and prepare to fortify against the advancing Nilfgaardians. Despite all of their efforts, Fringilla manages to breach their defences and almost every mage present there meets a horrific death. Seeing the bloodbath around her, Yennefer is moved to make a harsh decision. Tissaia tries to stop the Nilfgaardians, but her power withers away and she asks Yennefer to unleash her chaos. With all the power in her, Yennefer burns everything to the ground. We also come to know that one of the mages that everyone had trusted turns out to be a traitor.
After witnessing what power she possesses, Cirilla is taken in by a kind woman who keeps her safe for the night. By then, Geralt has covered a considerable distance, and Cirilla feels his presence, hearing his cries while he hallucinates. In the morning, she runs out of the hut just as the man arrives with Geralt. On hearing about “the girl in the woods” from the woman, Geralt realises that it is Cirilla and they are united in the forest.
Tying up the fragmented storyline that ‘The Witcher’ had started out with, the finale of the first season has effectively set the stage for bigger things in the show’s universe. The first two books in the series have been covered in the span of eight episodes, marked by the Battle of Sodden Hill. Yennefer, who had always tried to stay away from the petty matters of courts and politics, gets wound up in the battle, owing to her love for Tissaia. Her mentor always believed that she was special and that she was more powerful than her fellow sorceresses. We get a glimpse into Yennefer’s true potential with the final act in the Battle.
It is safe to say that Nilfgaard has lost this one. They will need some time to recover, especially when we don’t know what exactly happened to Fringilla in the middle of it. Most probably, she is safe and sound and avoided the destruction caused by Yennefer’s firepower. We also see that the Northern Kingdoms, or at least, Temeria, has arrived with back-up. This means that whatever Nilfgaard is left with now, they will have to run back with it because they are not in the position of battling an army that is not already exhausted.
Moving on from this, Geralt’s destiny bears fruit and he finally comes face to face with Cirilla. To see that they had been in such close vicinity of each other all this while is well played out. He didn’t believe in stuff like destiny before, but after the encounter with the gold dragon, he is forced to accept what has already been planned for him. Now, his only focus is to keep Cirilla safe. Because the Nilfgaardians are still after her, he will have to find ways to keep her out of their reach. Moreover, taking back Cintra would also be an important point on their list.
After killing four men, and a horse, in the field, Cirilla has started to become more knowledgeable of her power. She is not yet in control, but she is beginning to explore them. She knew the Nilfgaardians are after her because she is special, but she never understood what exactly made her special. She could touch the silver, so she is definitely not a monster. Then, what is she? This is what will define the journey ahead for her. Lucky for her, Geralt knows a lot about her. He knows that her mother had the same power, so, he knows exactly what to do in order to help her control this chaos.
Furthermore, the last episode also shows us that Yennefer is not the first sorceress that Geralt has been close to. In his hallucinations, we see him with a woman. And he remembers that “it’s magic, it’s not real”. She uses magic to conjure food for him. Now, things become tricky here because sorceresses should not be able to bear children, but Geralt calls that woman “Ma”! We also come to know how he ended up going to the School of the Wolf. The part of becoming a witcher requires the children to be abandoned by their parents. We don’t see his father in the picture, so he is either dead or had already left them. His mother does the same, but why exactly, is something that we will learn in the next season. She leaves him by the stream, where he meets Vesemir who takes him to Kaer Morhen.
It was destiny that had linked Geralt of Rivia to Princess Cirilla of Cintra. It took twelve years for them to find each other, and the first season is about all that cat-and-mouse chase. But now that destiny has brought them together, only the second season will tell us where they go from here.
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