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What to remember from The Witcher season 2 before diving into season 3

It’s been a while, freshen up on your Witcher facts

Geralt (Henry Cavill) and Yen (Anya Charlotra) arriving at a party in fancy clothes
Geralt rolling up to the Witcher season 3 party like “OK what’s there to remember?”
Photo: Susan Allnutt/Netflix
Zosha Millman (she/her) manages TV coverage at Polygon as TV editor, but will happily write about movies, too. She’s been working as a journalist for more than 10 years.

The Witcher season 3 is finally (almost) here, and you can be forgiven for wondering where life on the Continent will pick up — or where it left off. After all, it’s been a year and a half since The Witcher last dropped, and the hefty bit of political intrigue it left off on. Between Geralt and Ciri coming together with Yen, the politics of Nilfgaard and Redania, general Witcher lore, and some mage chicanery, there’s a lot to remember.

Season 3 will bring viewers up to speed on what the cast of characters have been up to in the time between seasons. But we’ve put together this refresher on where we left off with Geralt, Ciri, Yennefer, Roach, Rience, and the other characters by the end of season 2, and what you’ll need to remember to keep up with the first part of season 3.

[Ed. note: As you might have guessed, this post fully spoils season 2 of The Witcher. You should really only be here if you want to know what happens in the show.]

Everybody wants Ciri — here’s why

Francesca (Mecia Simson) stands in front of her elf cohort looking like she’s about to cast a spell in a still from The Witcher season 2 Photo: Susie Allnut/Netflix
Emhyr, completely obscured by his armor, in The Witcher season two Image: Netflix
Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) looking at something in a still from The Witcher Photo: Susie Allutt/Netflix
Reince (Chris Fulton) doing magic in a still from The Witcher season 2
Top to bottom: The elves, White Flame, Rience the fire mage, and Redanian spymaster Dijkstra, all of whom are trying to get Ciri for their own (nefarious) purposes
Photo: Susie Allnutt/Netflix

No, like actually: Everybody and their mums are lookin’ out for the Princess of Cintra. Let’s look at the board:

  • Emhyr, aka The White Flame, aka the emperor of Nilfgaard, wants Ciri to shore up his claim to the Cintran throne, which he’s already taken control of. There are also more personal reasons, like the fact that season 2’s finale revealed Emhyr is actually Ciri’s long lost father Duny.
  • After her baby was murdered, elf leader Francesca (Mecia Simson) learns of Ciri’s Elder blood and believes Ciri is the elves’ only hope for rebuilding their society. So she and her clan also join the hunt for Ciri.
  • The Wild Hunt want Ciri because she has Elder Blood. So far their motive beyond that is somewhat opaque, but suffice it to say they’re bad news.
  • The Redanians — and specifically their spymaster Sigismund Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) — want to marry Ciri to their king, Vizimir, so they can shore up their claim to Cintra.
  • The other Northern monarchs put a bounty on Ciri and anyone who protects her, because simply “Princess Crilla created far less trouble for us when she was dead.”
  • Fire mage Rience (Chris Fulton) was looking for Ciri all throughout the second season, working for fellow mage Lydia van Bredevoort (Aisha Fabienne Ross) to do so — who in turn is working for a mysterious lord who we don’t know about yet. Rience crosses paths with Geralt, Yen, and Ciri once, but they all escape (and Yen manages to use fire magic to burn his face). In trying to find her, Lydia attempts to use a blood tracing spell on the Witcher mutagen made from Ciri’s blood, and the spell leaves her horribly disfigured.

But Ciri is safe (and training) with Geralt and Yen

After the events of the second season finale bring them together (more on that below), Geralt, Ciri, and Yen come together to helm Ciri’s education. Geralt will continue teaching her in the ways of the Witcher and how to defend herself, while Yen handles Cirilla’s magic education and the honing of her rather significant magical gifts.

Most pointedly, Geralt spent a lot of season 2 trying to help Ciri understand what her talents were good for. While she was sad that her abilities and place in the world had cost her so much — including the lives of loved ones — Geralt encouraged her to follow his credo of staying out of things as much as she could (and telling her she couldn’t turn herself into a Witcher using a special serum, even when it was made from her blood; dads, amirite?).

Yennefer is considered “a traitor” by the Brotherhood

Yennefer (Anya Charlotra) looking sad in the snow in Netflix’s The Witcher. Image: Netflix

After the Battle of Sodden, when Yen used her fire magic to hold back the Nilfgaardian forces from invading the North, the Brotherhood of Sorcerers began to suspect Yen was a traitor (because she was [checks notes] missing after the battle, where she used up all her magic trying to save everybody. Neat!). The council decrees she can prove her loyalty by executing Cahir, the White Flame’s most trusted general who had been chasing Ciri. Instead, she releases Cahir and the two go on the run.

Though they’d part ways when Cahir heads to Cintra to go back to serving the White Flame (more on that later), Yen would continue to be seen as a traitor in the eyes of the Brotherhood, and particularly its governing council.

Tissaia, Yen’s mentor at the mage school Aretuza, remains loyal and sympathetic to Yen, and asks her romantic paramour Vilgefortz to do the same. Even still, Tissaia was the one overseeing the meeting of the Northern monarchs putting out a bounty on Ciri and those associated with her, so things seem potentially bad.

Yennefer also kidnapped Ciri and almost gave her over to the Deathless Mother

In a desperate act to get her magic back, Yen makes a deal with the Deathless Mother — also known as Voleth Meir — to bring Ciri to a location outside Cintra. In return, Voleth Meir will give Yen her chaos magic back.

The plan doesn’t go as intended: Ciri and Geralt separately discover the deception, leading Geralt to draw his sword on Yennefer. Unfortunately Voleth Meir breaks free of her hut, possessing Ciri and killing a few Witchers at Kaer Morhen before using a monolith to get transported to her homeworld. The good news: by transporting between worlds, Yen was able to get her magic back.

The Wild Hunt is chasing Ciri

A shot of the Wild Hunt in a vision during The Witcher season 2
The Wild Hunt, as seen in season 2 (and as they often are: riding through the clouds)
Image: Netflix

These spooky wraiths are almost a myth in the world of Netflix’s The Witcher, but we do know one thing: They saw Ciri in the world she was transported to in the season 2 finale, and took a shine to her. It probably has something to do with her Elder blood, not to mention the prophecy she stumbled upon earlier in season 2 (stating she’d either save the world or destroy it).

Fringilla and Cahir got banished (or worse)

Cahir (Eamon Farren) looks up from the stocks in a still from The Witcher Photo: Jay Maidment/Netflix
Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni) talking to someone off-screen in a still from The Witcher season 2
Cahir (L) and Fringilla (R), who were Nilfgaard’s most loyal servants, until they goofed it with the White Flame
Photo: Jay Maidment/Netflix

Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni), Nilfgaard’s mage, and Cahir (Eamon Farren), ended the season on a bad note. After spending all of season 2 trying to work with the elves against the rest of the Continent, Fringilla and Cahir panicked when the White Flame said he was coming home and they didn’t have much to show for their alliance. They claimed credit for the death of Francesca’s baby as a way to make their emperor trust that they were in charge.

Unfortunately, it was actually the White Flame himself who ordered the murder of the elf baby, making Fringilla and Cahir look like a couple of obvious posers. In the final moments of the season 2 finale, the White Flame has them dragged off as he stands triumphantly before his court.

Dijkstra had an owl who was really a woman named Philippa

Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) and Philippa (Cassie Clare) at a banquet in The Witcher season 3
Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) and Philippa (Cassie Clare) sitting and doing Redanian spymaster things
Photo: Susie Allnutt/Netflix

As the spymaster of Redania, it behooved him to collect intel even in rooms he wasn’t in. So instead he sent his owl, who turned out to be Philippa (Cassie Clare), a mage who can transform into a bird.

In the second season finale, she tells him that word is out that Cirilla is alive. So he instructs her to bring in Jaskier to help them find Ciri.

Now you’re caught up with what you need to remember before The Witcher Season 3, the final season with Henry Cavill. Part 1 debuts on Netflix June 29, with Part 2 following July 27.

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