Before heading into the The Witcher’s season three finale, let’s recap.
Over the course of this season’s first five episodes, Geralt (Henry Cavill), Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) and Ciri (Freya Allan) are on the run — from, well, basically everyone on the Continent — as the warring factions battle for claim to the land. The key to winning the fight? Ciri, herself.
Yennefer has taken Ciri to develop her magic at the academy of Aretuza, while Geralt hunts the evil and dangerous mage Rience, discovering some disturbing developments along the way. Part two leaves only three episodes to tie up the various storylines at play, not to mention that it will also mark star Cavill’s last time as the titular witcher, before Liam Hemsworth takes over the role of Geralt in Netflix’s season four.
The decision to split The Witcher was inspired by the success of Stranger Things, which experimented with the Netflix binge release by splitting its fourth season into two parts. “There is a significant pivot point [in season three]. And whilst we were in production, Stranger Things had come out, and they had split their season. And it was like, ‘well, that’s intriguing,’” The Witcher executive producer Steve Gaub told The Verge of being in production when Stranger Things released. “In a streaming world, cliffhangers don’t really exist … You don’t get that satisfaction of the anticipation and discussion and chatting online. So we wanted to give that to the fans, and the story was there for us to do it.”
Before tuning into The Witcher‘s season three conclusion (the final three episodes drop on July 27), here’s everything to remember about what went down in part one.
This time around, there’s lots of politics to keep up with in The Witcher-verse. First things first, everyone is still after Ciri. With Elder Blood in her veins, Ciri is prophesied to be the savior of the world, not to mention her untapped magical powers and elven lineage.
There’s the Elves, who are looking for the young princess because they believe her to be Hen Ichaer, the chosen one who will lead the Elves to their rightful home.
In the North, the nation of Redania wants to capture Ciri to marry her off to its very own King Vizimir, thus gaining control of Cintra and expanding its territory. While Vizimir himself doesn’t pose much of a threat, it’s Redania’s spies — Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) and Philippa (Cassie Clare) — to watch out for, as they conspire to find the girl. To make matters messier, Jaskier’s taken a romantic interest in Redanian prince Prince Radovid, complicating Geralt and company’s connections to the Northern country.
On the southern part of the Continent, the Nilfgaardian Empire reigns supreme, fighting its way further North for complete domination. Ruled by Emperor Emhyr, also known as The White Flame, Nilfgaard invaded Cintra in the first season, which sent Ciri on the run in the first place. At the end of season two, it was revealed that Emhyr is actually Ciri’s biological father, and he’ll stop at nothing to reclaim his daughter.
As for the mages, Ciri’s been hunted for the past two seasons by the fire-wielding Rience, who was working for someone far more powerful. It was also revealed that the true intentions of whoever Rience is working for are to harness and steal Ciri’s power, after Geralt found the aftermath of disturbing experiments on half-Elven mages like Ciri.
Lastly, there’s the Wild Hunt, the ghost-like riders that gallop through the sky and kidnap humans from the Continent. Historically, they’re regarded as an omen of war to come. They believe Ciri to be the Daughter of Chaos, the one who wields a tremendous power that could ultimately undo the power of the Conjunction. If she were able to tap into that power, the Wild Hunt would be able to fully cross over from their dimension to wreak havoc and kidnap humans.
In episode five, everything came to a head at a ball for the conclave of mages, an event at Aretuza, called by Yennefer, to promote unity among magic-wielders. At the end of the episode, Geralt and Yennefer seem to have outsmarted their enemy, ensuring Ciri’s momentary safety — they’ve identified Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) as the evil mage behind Rience’s attacks and the horrifying experiments.
But while recapping the events of the evening, Geralt and Yennefer realize they’ve made a grave mistake. Yennefer recalls a conversation during the evening with Philippa, who warns that Tissaia (MyAnna Buring) — who is in a romantic relationship with fellow Brotherhood member Vilgefortz (Mahesj Jadu) — is blinded by love like Lydia (Aisha Fabienne Ross), the mysterious mage previously seen working with Rience. Lydia is also known as the woman without a voice, using telepathy to communicate. Using magical illusions, she hides her mangled face and lack of a lower jaw, which inhibits her voice.
Geralt remembers that he saw Lydia wearing earrings made from the same rare stone that make up Tissaia’s bracelet, which was gifted to her by Vilgefortz. And it was Teryn, one of the girls saved from the experiments, who claimed that Rience worked with someone from Aretuza and a woman with a funny voice. Putting these revelations together, along with other clues throughout the night, Geralt and Yennefer determine that Stregobor isn’t the mage they’re after — it’s Vilgefortz.
Just as they spring into action — Yennefer to find Tissaia and Geralt to capture Vilgefortz — Geralt is held at knifepoint by Dijkstra, who warns him that the witcher should have chosen a side.
As can be seen in the recently released trailer for part two (above), the next episode picks up right where the last left off. And with only three episodes remaining in the season, things are sure to heat up quickly before the finale with episode eight.
The Witcher season three’s Part Two arrives on Netflix July 27.
‘The Witcher’ Season 3: Everything to Know Before Watching Part 2