The Continent is in a state, Nilfgaard is on the march, and the Northern Kings ready for war. If none of this mattered to you before you began watching Netflix’s version of The Witcher, the obscure geopolitical wranglings of this world suddenly matters a great deal – in no small part because it all stands in the way of Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) and Geralt (Henry Cavill).
SPOILER ALERT: This article reveals plot details from the Witcher novels and short stories by author Andrzej Sapkowski and the video game series from CD Projekt Red. If you have not read the books or played the video game series, this post may contain spoilers.
The Witcher proved to be a surprise to many thanks to its high-quality presentation, its occasionally cheesy moments, and a strong set of performances throughout. It also confused some people with its choice to offer 30 years of history across its first eight episodes, all while Ciri (Freya Allan) spent a few weeks wandering the territory beyond her home in Cintra. But with all the timelines finally aligned, the show left us with one key question: what happens when the program returns in 2021?
Fortunately, we have some tea leaves to read thanks to The Witcher novels and short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski and the video game series from CD Projekt Red. So join us as we attempt to use our chaos and divine eight prophecies for the second season of The Witcher.
Blood of Elves, the first long-form Witcher novel, begins with all of Ciri’s experiences in season 1 inhabiting the narrative’s past. In the two years between the fall of Cintra and the start of the novel, the northern kingdoms won a war against Nilfgaard and an uneasy peace rules the day.
It is possible season 2 will start from this standpoint, with two years passed in the gap between the season 1 finale and the season 2 premiere. But then again, The Witcher plays fast and loose with what it considers important, so the conflict between Nilfgaard and the northern kingdoms may matter to the series as a source of constant conflict.
Although, as it happens, the Northern Kings in the books want another war with Nilfgaard in the books, so perhaps a two-year time jump will be The Witcher’s opening salvo as season 2 begins.
Clearly, Yennefer’s well-being will be of the utmost importance when the show returns. As it stands, she seemingly used all of her chaos to halt the Nilfgaard army. But considering her easy way with portals throughout the season, we expect to find some self-preservation extinct kicked in and transported her far from Sodden Hill.
But her disappearance from the battlefield means several interested parties will be searching for her. Fans will no doubt want to see her united with Geralt and Ciri – it is part of the show’s premise after all. And, as it happens, a series can only go so long separating its main characters before viewers get impatient (even if The Witcher saga excels at keeping its principle characters apart). At the same time, The Witcher’s short season orders (just eight episodes!) means it is possible Geralt and Ciri will search throughout the North for her and only succeed in season 2’s final moments.
Hopefully, Yennefer will have an interesting story in the interim.
Also, both the Nilfgaard mage Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni) and any surviving members of the Chapter’s task force would likely want to find her as well. She has a legacy, after all, and people will be interested in seeing it serve their ends.
Much as how the early short stories outlined the world before Ciri arrived on the scene, season 1 roamed the timeline and offered key pieces of backstory before the main Witcher saga begins. This suggest the real story begins in season 2 with Geralt not chasing after Yennefer – which Ciri’s question about her implies – but instead taking Ciri to Kaer Morhen. It is the home he referenced while dealing with the rotfiend bite and where his novel counterpart takes Ciri in Blood of Elves.
At Kaer Morhen, she is trained by several older witchers, including Vesemir, who was mentioned briefly in the later episodes of season 1. Triss Merigold (Anna Shaffer) also becomes her teacher for a time before Ciri relocates to Ellander and, eventually, is taught by Yennefer herself.
It’s all exciting material for a novel, but it is easy to think the series will eat a lot of this plot within two or three episodes. Although considering the way it plays with time, it is entirely possible the season will begin with Ciri and Yennefer leaving Ellander and Geralt nowhere to be found, setting up the format of the second season and allowing the flashback structure to highlight Ciri’s education.
Back in the books, Triss finds herself drawn to Geralt as their paths cross more and more. In the video game series, players are given the option of perusing more serious and long-term ties with Triss. And considering how much time the games spend on that relationship, we think it is possible the television series will devote some plot to it as well.
Granted, Triss was not in the best of shape when we last saw her; she was being cradled by another survivor of the Sodden Hill defense. But we’re inclined to assume anyone who did not die on screen will find a way to mend themselves in the interim between seasons. And should season 2 follow events of Blood of Elves, Triss will be needed at Kaer Morhen. That certainly leaves some time for Geralt to spark an interest in another mage. Or, at least, for her to develop an unrequited attraction.
One element of the Witcher novels and stories not really addressed in the first season is the waning of monsters and witchers going into the Nilfgaard conflict. People make offhand references to Witchers becoming rarer, but as executive producer Lauren Schmidt Hissrich told fans on Reddit, the slow extinction of monsters is something “we delve into a lot more (in both cases) in season 2.”
Also, as it happens, a story requiring fewer dragons, strigas, and kikimores as time goes on is sure to make budget-conscious production companies happy.
But it could also serve as a more poignant commentary as the titular hero faces an ending he truly cannot prevent. Sure, he may save the Continent, but the witchers will be no more. That’s certainly reason enough to grimace and respond to everything with an irritated “hmm.”
The first season also offered a preview of this decline with Borch Three Jackdaws (Ron Cook) and his need to protect the dragon egg. Dragons are themselves quite rare – with even Geralt assuming golden dragons to be myths – will the witcher become a walking myth like Borch before too long?
Sure, it might seem early, but Ciri encounters the wraiths of the Wild Hunt in the second novel, and they are name-checked in the first episode. Of course, the Wild Hunt lead to some of the saga’s more out-there ideas and locations. We expect the series will avoid many of these dimension-hopping ideas in favor of a more straightforward fantasy – after all, it already has another Arthurian series on the way in the form of Cursed.
That said, the place the Wild Hunt comes from could be an amazing twist and set up Ciri’s ultimate place in the story – and it couldn’t look any stranger than Brokilon Forest when realized on screen.
Fantasy worlds love their prophecies and the one regarding Ciri is quite interesting. Well, depending on how much of it the series decides to use. It is the reason Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr wants to posses her so badly. We’ll avoid getting into specifics here, but we expect the nature of the prophecy and what it means for all the principle characters will come to light in season 2.
Granted, that’s assuming The Witcher will follow Netflix’s tendency to end series after 30 or so episodes. And considering the way the first season flowed, we wouldn’t put it past the streaming service to see The Witcher as four eight-part seasons. It almost seems like the right speed for the program — even if it means eight episodes every other year.
In terms of season 2, though, this would mean spelling out the prophecy in earnest and, maybe, even letting Ciri know about her tumultuous destiny so she can make up her mind about it.
Let’s face it, “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” took the internet by storm. We also think “The Song of the White Wolf” is a pretty accomplished diddy. And as Jaskier (played by Joey Batey on the series) continues to be part of the saga right to the end, there will plenty of opportunities for the series to compose another catchy song detailing Geralt’s derring-do.
Alternatively, the series may back away from song as events become more and more grim, with Jaskier saving his voice for one key song in the next season. Make no mistake, though, we want The Witcher to keep delivering these Medievalish tracks as it continues to set itself apart from other fantasy television shows.