DISCLAIMER: This The Witcher recap has more SPOILERS than the number of people hunting dragons. Continue reading with caution: you have been warned!
After waiting an hour for the witcher Geralt to kill a monster, two townsfolk decide Geralt is dead and start stealing Roach’s saddlebags. Jaskier (Joey Batey) demands that the townsfolk put Geralt’s belongings back, but the townsfolk mock him. A mysterious man and two warrior women arrive and demand that the townsfolk do as the bard asks. When one of the townsfolk refuses and pushes the man, one of the warriors snaps his neck. Geralt (Henry Cavill) then arrives, and the surviving townsman throws the saddlebags back on Roach and throws Geralt his money. The man introduces himself as Borch Three Jackdaws (Ron Cook), and his Zerrakanian companions are Téa (Adele Oni) and Véa (Colette Tchantcho).
At an inn called “The Pensive Dragon”, Jaskier badly attempts to flirt with the Zerrakanian women (“A sexy goose”…really, Jaskier?) and Borch explains why he has been looking for Geralt of Rivia. A short while ago, a rare green dragon landed in King Niedamir’s Mountains. The locals pursued it in search of its treasure, but they only succeeded in wounding it and angering it so much so that it set half of the hillside on fire. King Niedamir of Caingorn (soon to be married to the Princess Podveyka of Malleore) has commissioned a hunt to kill the murderous pest. Four teams have signed on so far: Borch’s team; a company of dwarves, led by Yarpen Zigrin (Jeremy Crawford); the dragonslaying Crinfrid Reavers mercenaries, led by Boholt (Steve Wall); and Sir Eyck of Denesle (Jordan Renzo). The winner gets to keep the dragon’s treasure hoard, in addition to being granted lord over one of Caingorn’s vassal states.
Despite Jaskier’s enthusiasm, Geralt insists that witchers don’t kill dragons and advises Borch that no treasure is worth dying for. Borch says it depends on the treasure, and that he is looking for one final “first” before he dies. There’s only one path up King Niedamir’s Mountains, and its overrun with monsters. Geralt continues to refuse, until he sees Sir Eyck arrive with Yennefer of Vengerburg (Anya Chalotra). Before Jaskier can take back his commitment, Geralt immediately agrees to join Borch’s team.
The next morning at sunrise, the teams get ready for the three-day march on-foot to the mountaintop lair of the dragon. Jaskier jokes to Yennefer that witchers are always bound to run into monsters eventually, to which Yennefer says Jaskier’s crow’s feet are new. Flustered, Jaskier storms off. Yennefer shares that the noble Sir Eyck is her escort, to assist him in killing the dragon. The hunters begin hiking up the mountains.
In Brokilon Forest, Ciri (Freya Allan) asks the doppler (Adam Levy) about Geralt of Rivia. When she asks why Calanthe never mentioned him before the night of the Slaughter of Cintra, the doppler simply answers that protecting Ciri has always been Mousesack’s primary purpose. The doppler explains the Law of Surprise, and how Ciri was promised to Geralt in payment for saving Duny’s life. The doppler says Geralt is Ciri’s destiny, so Ciri asks why Geralt hasn’t found her yet? Annoyed by Ciri’s questions, the doppler interrupts Ciri and assures her that she and Geralt will be together soon. The doppler and the children then exit the heart of Brokilon Forest, and the false Mousesack leads them back into the snowy woods.
In King Niedamir’s Mountains, Jaskier continues to flirt with the Zerrakanian warriors. When he refers to them as Borch’s “contract security”, Véa firmly states that they are not doing this for payment: to hunt with Borch is an honor. When an incredulous Jaskier asks why, the two Zerrakanian women are dumbfounded and Téa declares that Borch is the “most *beautiful*”! Geralt and Borch discuss Yennefer, with Borch remarking that Geralt is worried about losing her. Geralt claims he’s worried that the dragon isn’t the most dangerous thing on this mountain.
As they climb the mountain, the hunters get their first look at the flame-scarred hill attacked by the dragon. Geralt remarks that most dragons avoid humans…why did this one retaliate instead of leaving? Borch suggests that the dragons being on the verge of extinction has made them more desperate. Jaskier begins foraging for food, and he stumbles upon a monster. Jaskier calls for Geralt, but Geralt says the creature is a hirikka. He observes that it is starving and urges the hunters to sheathe their weapons. Unfortunately, Sir Eyck charges forward and butchers the hirikka with his sword. Geralt laments that if they had simply fed the hirikka, it would have left them alone. Yarpen states that Sir Eyck might be the dumbest knight in the world, but the dragon won’t stand a chance!
Later that day, Sir Eyck roasts the hirikka over a fire. Borch advises Sir Eyck not to eat it, but the foolish knight insists that he never wastes a kill. Boholt makes unwanted advances on Yennefer. When Geralt warns Boholt not to mess with Yennefer, Boholt wonders whether he will kill the dragon or the witcher first? As the suddenly-queasy Sir Eyck runs off, the hunters discuss the current state of affairs on the Continent. Yarpen believes that within a decade, King Niedamir and his vassals will all be conquered by Nilfgaard. When Yennefer claims that Nilfgaard (and its mage, Fringilla) is a joke, Yarpen shares what he witnessed when Ebbing was conquered years ago. Yarpen knows that it’s only a matter of time before Nilfgaard invades Sodden…and after that, it’s Temeria, Redania, and Cintra. Jaskier insists that Queen Calanthe will never allow Cintra to fall. Borch laments if only Nilfgaard’s religious zeal had been tempered sooner by a stronger hand…as he looks at Yennefer.
Yennefer retires for the evening, and all the hunters except Borch’s team go to sleep as well. Jaskier is amazed that dragons are real, and not a myth. Geralt says that treasure hunters have been dwindling the dragons’ numbers. Green dragons are the most common. Red dragons are uncommon, and black dragons are the rarest. Borch corrects that gold dragons are the rarest. Geralt insists that gold dragons are a myth. And even if the mutant dragons were real at one point, they have almost certainly died out by now…like all things too “different” to endure.
Back in the woods, Dara (Wilson Radjou-Pujalte) interrogates the doppler. When Dara asks how Mousesack escaped the Nilfgaardians, the doppler claims Geralt freed him and sent him to get Ciri. Dara questions why Geralt, a trained witcher bound to Ciri by destiny, would send Mousesack alone to rescue Ciri? The doppler claims that Geralt is waiting in a town just past this thicket of trees, and Dara can ask Geralt himself when they’re all safe. Dara tells Ciri that something feels off about their guide, and warns her that people who get captured are often turned by the enemy. Dara reminds Ciri of Queen Eithne’s words: “Ask the right questions.” The doppler interrupts by gifting Queen Calanthe’s sash to Ciri. Dara can’t help but notice “Mousesack” stare and stroke at Ciri’s white hair.
Back on King Niedamir’s Mountains, the dragon hunters awake to find someone killed Sir Eyck during the night. The hunters come to the conclusion that it was the Crinfrid Reavers, and that the mercenaries aren’t playing fair. With all four teams halfway to the dragon’s lair and the Reavers in the lead, the dwarves offer to lead the others along a shortcut that will get them to the lair a half-day early.
Geralt speaks with Yennefer and asks what she’s really doing on this dragon hunt? Yennefer claims that dragon hearts are rumored to have certain healing properties. Geralt insists that such fertility cures are made-up, despite Yennefer’s protests. Geralt claims that Yennefer would be a bad mother, and asks what the sorceress could possibly want with a child? Yennefer says it’s not about having a child: the Brotherhood took away the option, and she wants her choice back. Geralt insists that the life of a witcher or a sorceress isn’t suitable for parenting, and Geralt would prefer to use his child of surprise as bruxa bait. Geralt realizes too late what he just admitted, and a shocked Yennefer accuses Geralt of being a hypocrite. Geralt regrets what he has said and tells Yennefer of the dwarves’ shortcut. Yennefer insists she can take care of herself, but Geralt counsels that doesn’t mean she has to always refuse others’ help.
In the woods, the doppler urges Ciri to move faster. Ciri decides to question “Mousesack” by asking him if he ever misses his homeland: the Skellige Isles. The doppler claims he was very homesick when he left to help raise Ciri in Cintra, and that he very much misses the cold. Ciri calls the doppler out on his lies: Mousesack hates the cold because of his arthritis, and Mousesack always said that Cintra was his true home. The doppler finally snaps and confesses that he hates Mousesack’s “disgusting” form and he killed the real Mousesack.
Dara attacks the doppler with his knife, but the doppler overpowers him and wrests the knife from his grasp. The doppler suddenly cries out in pain: the knife has a silver handle! As the doppler starts to choke Dara, Ciri holds up the silver handle against the doppler’s neck. The doppler is forced to reveal its true form: a bald and pale demonic humanoid (Michael Byrch). Dara interrogates the doppler on who wants Ciri and why, to which Ciri answers that it is the Black Knight and that there is something “special” inside Ciri. Ciri insists that Dara kill the doppler, but when he hesitates, Ciri tries to take the knife and do it herself. The doppler manages to break free and knock Dara unconscious. When the doppler knocks the knife out of Ciri’s hand, Ciri runs away, with the doppler in pursuit.
Upon seeing the rocky and windy shortcut, Geralt and Jaskier want to turn back, but Borch insists on continuing. The hunters proceed along narrow wooden planks, with only chains hooked to the cliff to hold onto along the dangerous path. Suddenly, the planks collapse underneath Borch and the Zerrakanians. Geralt tries to hold onto the chain and pull them up, but then his plank starts to give way as well. Borch sacrifices himself by letting go, which prompts the Zerrakanian women to let go as well. Geralt, Yennefer, and Jaskier look on, stunned.
As the three make camp with the dwarves near the mountain’s summit, Jaskier assures Geralt that he did his best and he suggests they leave tomorrow…give up the dragon hunt and head for the coast. Jaskier remarks that life is too short and you should do what pleases you. Inspired by Jaskier’s words, Geralt goes to Yennefer’s tent. As Yennefer begins to kiss him, Geralt stops her. “Is this not what you came for?” Yennefer asks. Geralt clarifies not what…*who*. “I came for you,” Geralt confesses. Yennefer admits that she was afraid Geralt was going to die. Geralt shares that what he fears most is that Yennefer will leave and be gone forever. Yennefer points out that Geralt left her first, back in Rinde. Geralt apologizes, and the two kiss…their passionate on-and-off affair starting to become a true romance.
Afterward, Yennefer asks Geralt why he chose to become a witcher? Geralt states that he didn’t choose, and admits he’s never seriously thought about being anything else. Geralt asks why Yennefer chose to be a mage, and Yennefer reveals that she didn’t have much of a choice either. Yennefer confesses that her desire to become a mother is more of a desire to someday become important to someone. Geralt says that Yennefer is important to him.
After waking up together the next morning, Geralt suggests they head back at a quick pace so they can be back at the inn before sundown. Yennefer insists on continuing to the top and killing the dragon. Geralt insists that killing the dragon won’t solve anything, but then Yennefer realizes that the dwarves have already packed up and headed for the dragon’s lair. A frustrated Geralt chases after Yennefer.
In the woods, Ciri continues to flee from the doppler, but she is captured by the Black Knight (Eamon Farren). In the backroom of a tavern, the Black Knight apologizes for tormenting Princess Cirilla, but her destiny is to be brought to the White Flame. He claims Ciri is the key to everything. As he offers water to drink, the Black Knight notices how terrified Ciri is of the silver goblet. Claiming to get Ciri something to eat, the Black Knight grabs a fork…as “Ciri” turns into a duplicate of the Black Knight. The doppler says that the Black Knight lied: he didn’t tell the doppler what Ciri really is. Calling the doppler a fool, the Black Knight attacks. The fight is evenly-matched, as the doppler copied the Black Knight’s thoughts and knows all of his tricks. He mocks the Black Knight’s “insane” belief in the prophecy surrounding Ciri, but the Black Knight manages to get the upper-hand and vows to destroy the “abomination”. The doppler flees, and the Black Knight begins attacking the tavern occupants…convinced the doppler is still there.
At the top of King Niedamir’s Mountains, Yennefer catches up with the dwarves and uses a spell to freeze them in place. Yennefer is the first to reach the dragon’s lair. She draws her dagger, and enters alone. A green dragon lies within, curled around an egg. As Yennefer approaches, Téa and Véa suddenly emerge, with their weapons drawn. Yennefer tells them they should’ve stayed dead, as Geralt arrives and urges everyone to stand down. Yennefer realizes the dragon is dead, and Téa reveals that the dragon was a female.
Suddenly, an impossible sight arrives: a gold dragon. The dragon roars…and then speaks with Borch’s voice. Téa reveals that Borch is actually “Villentretenmerth”, and the gold dragon heard the injured green dragon’s cries. Véa adds that Villentretenmerth and the Zerrakanians could not move the egg without killing the unhatched dragonling inside. Geralt and Yennefer realize that’s why the green dragon fought instead of running: she was protecting her baby. When Villentretenmerth heard about King Niedamir’s hunt, he sought out Geralt. Witchers (or “knights”, as Villentretenmerth has been calling them) are taught to save dragons, instead of killing them.
Then the Crinfrid Reavers arrive. As the dragonslayers attempt to kill Villentretenmerth, Geralt and Yennefer join the Zerrakanians in defending the dragons. As mercenary reinforcements arrive, Geralt and Yennefer cut them off at the cave entrance while Villentretenmerth uses his fiery breath to defend the dragon egg. Geralt duels Boholt, and when Boholt gains the upper-hand, Yennefer kills him.
Eventually Jaskier arrives at the lair, with the dwarves in tow. They find Borch and the Zerrakanians, who offer dragon teeth to the dwarves so that they may collect King Niedamir’s reward. Yarpen asks what if it’s not enough proof, to which Borch threatens that he will drop the dead dragon’s body on top of King Niedamir’s wedding. The dwarves agree and excitedly take the dragon teeth.
In the woods, the real Ciri is tied to a tree. Dara arrives and frees Ciri, angrily stating that they should have stayed in Brokilon Forest. Dara decides to part ways with Ciri, and claims that Ciri is just like her grandmother: bringing terror and death wherever she goes. A frustrated Ciri bursts that she is doing the best that she can, and she is done apologizing. Ciri says they both need to move on, and Dara tells the “Princess” to go find a new “family”. Ciri cries as Dara storms off.
Back on King Niedamir’s Mountains, “Borch” says that this will be his final first: the birth of a child. He thanks both Geralt and Yennefer for helping to protect the dragonling, and he sees now why Geralt didn’t want to lose her. Yennefer realizes that is what Geralt wished for with the djinn, and why they always seem to be drawn to each other. Yennefer believes that her feelings for Geralt are nothing more than a djinn’s magic, despite Geralt’s protests that their love is true and real. Yennefer accuses Geralt of taking away her freedom and that she didn’t need his help, but Geralt insists that she was dying and the wish saved her life.
Geralt cites the havoc that Yennefer has created in her quest to have a child, but Yennefer counters that Geralt has refused to take responsibility for the child bound to him by the Law of Surprise. Borch ends the fight by predicting their futures: Yennefer will never regain her womb, and Geralt will eventually lose Yennefer. Yennefer says Geralt already has lost her, and she storms off with tears in her eyes. Borch tells Geralt that his destiny is still out there, and Geralt knows it. When Jaskier tries to comfort Geralt, the witcher lashes out and blames both the Child Surprise and the djinn on the bard. Hurt, Jaskier leaves to help pack up the camp, leaving Geralt alone.
Elsewhere in a tavern, the Black Knight lays wounded, surrounded by countless corpses. Fringilla Vigo (Mimi Ndiweni) tends to the Black Knight’s wounds, referring to him as “Cahir”. Fringilla says that the Nilfgaardians continue to search for both the doppler and Ciri, and scolds Cahir that a simple test with silver would have sufficed. Cahir retorts that he only had steel on-hand, and asks Fringilla not to lecture him. Fringilla recounts how Cahir rose up against the Usurper and helped free the Nilfgaardians (calling them “our” people). The White Flame himself called upon and anointed Cahir to retrieve Ciri. Fringilla declares that they will find Ciri, and the White Flame’s supremacy will spread to all the kingdoms of the Continent. Cahir then tells Fringilla to gather the men, and picks up his sword. He then repeats a line from the prophecy the doppler had mentioned: “The era of the sword and axe is nigh…”
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