DISCLAIMER: This The Witcher recap contains more SPOILERS than the number of ghouls attracted to corpses. Continue reading with caution: you have been warned!
In the aftermath of the Slaughter of Cintra, Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) inspects the bedroom of the missing Princess Cirilla. With no leads on where Ciri might be, Geralt departs the burning city and rides for Kaer Morhen. A week later, he comes upon the aftermath of the Cintran refugee camp that Ciri briefly stayed at. A lone merchant is collecting the corpses. Geralt assumes him to be a grave robber, but Yurga (Francis Magee) insists that he is giving proper burials to his refugees. Otherwise, they’re a feast for the crows. Geralt realizes that this many rotting bodies is sure to attract corpse-eating necrophages and urges the man to flee.
As Geralt starts to leave, a ghoul ambushes Yurga. Geralt intervenes and kills the ghoul, warning Yurga that a single bite from a ghoul can kill a man. As Yurga leaves, Geralt readies himself. A pack of ghouls descends on the witcher. While they are no threat to Geralt one-on-one, they start to swarm and overwhelm him. Geralt succeeds in slaying the ghouls, but one succeeded in biting his leg. He mutters to his horse Roach that this is a fitting end for him, and Geralt passes out.
The next morning, Cirilla (Freya Allan) is woken by the woman from the market town. Ciri sees that the swamp was been completely flattened, and the bodies of the horse and Anton’s group have all been blown backward and killed. The woman comforts the horrified Ciri, assuring her that they got what they deserved.
Off the coast of the Northern Realms, Yennefer of Vengerburg (Anya Chalotra) is one of the 60 Brotherhood mages sneaking by boat into Sodden. Vilgefortz of Roggeveen (Mahesh Jadu) explains his plan as they row to shore. The only way for Nilfgaard to attack the other Northern kingdoms is by first conquering Sodden. And the only way to cross Sodden’s southern border is the elven keep of Sodden Hill, on the southern bank of the Yaruga River. Field Marshal Menno Coehoorn has already moved the Nilfgaardian army to the Yaruga Valley…just two days away from Sodden Hill. If the Northern mages can cut off Nilfgaard at this chokehold, they will stop the Nilfgaardian Empire’s invasion. Tissaia de Vries (MyAnna Buring) adds that they have already sent word to the other Northern kingdoms, and both Temeria and Kaedwen are sending troops to help the mages defend Sodden Hill. However, the mages will need to fortify and hold the keep for two days.
Yennefer criticizes the plan as a military strategy: while they are all powerful mages, none of them are soldiers. Yennefer shares what she witnessed in Nazair: Nilfgaard has been collecting soldiers from the territories it occupies and spreading their zealous beliefs. Nilfgaard brings down people to their worst and then gives them something to cling to once they’re desperate. Tissaia counsels Yennefer that one has to make a choice to fight back.
On the way to Sodden Hill, Yennefer questions why Nilfgaard exposed their intentions by attacking Cintra first, when attacking Sodden would have surprised everyone and put Nilfgaard in a much more advantageous position? Vilgefortz admits that Yennefer is a talented mage…even if she is “an inconvenient arsehole”. When Vilegfortz asks why she decided to join the mages in defending Sodden, Yennefer refuses to answer. Yennefer asks what Vilgefortz’s long-term strategy is for defeating Nilfgaard, but Vilgefortz is focused only on the task at hand: hold Sodden Hill, save the Continent.
At Sodden Hill, Tissaia shares that the elven keep has guarded the narrowest parts of the Yaruga River for centuries. Sodden Hill is occupied by about three dozen refugees who have fled to the keep from as far away as Gemmera in the south. Tired of running from Nilfgaard, they have decided to make a stand at Sodden Hill. Yennefer calls that a “stupid” decision and urges them to take the children and flee. The refugees refuse: nowhere is safe now that Nilfgaard has crossed the Amell Mountains. All the refugees get inside the walls and shut the gates as the mages help them crafts artillery bombs and fletch arrows.
A Nilfgaardian force arrives and by nightfall, they have blocked all the roads to-and-from Sodden Hill. With nothing left to do but wait for Nilfgaard to attack, the defenders settle in for the night with ale and music. Yennefer asks Triss Merigold (Anna Shaffer) if King Foltest really will bring the Northern armies to help defend Sodden. Triss is confident that he will, as Foltest owes her for helping to cure her daughter of a striga’s curse. Triss adds that she did so with the help of Geralt of Rivia, to which Yennefer says that Triss should be wary of witchers and how “disappointing” they end up being. Tissaia and Yennefer share ales. Tissaia asks why Yennefer is so fatalistic and asks if Yennefer is ready to die. Yennefer says that she has lived several lifetimes, and with no legacy or family, she has decided that life has nothing left to give. Tissaia realizes that Yennefer has come to Sodden Hill in the hopes that Nilfgaard will kill her, and she argues that *Yennefer* has so much left to give.
At the Nilfgaardian encampment, Cahir (Eamon Farren) helps Field Marshal Menno Coehoorn (Máté Haumann) plan Nilfgaard’s invasion of the Northern Realms. Once Nilfgaard conquers Sodden, they will invade Temeria next. Cahir is scolded for wanting to push into the North without waiting for reinforcements from Cintra or the Yaruga Valley. Cahir retorts that the Field Marshal cannot possibly understand what is at stake. Fringilla Vigo (Mimi Ndiweni) arrives and informs the two officers that scouts have spotted Brotherhood mages is at Sodden Hill, fortifying the keep. Field Marshal Coehoorn wishes to wait for their reinforcements, but Fringilla reminds them that Nilfgaard has mages too…mages that can fight without rules or restrictions. Cahir decides that in order to capture Ciri, they need to cross the Yaruga as soon as possible. Cahir orders Fringilla to test the magical defenses of Sodden Hill and to deplete the mages of their chaos.
Not far from Sodden Hill, Ciri is taken into the home of the kind woman. They see a ball of fire streak through the sky. A ball of fire that wakes Yennefer, as she just barely manages to deflect it away. At the Nilfgaardian encampment overlooking Sodden Hill, Fringilla has her mages sacrifice themselves in order to generate the fireballs as ammunition for the Nilfgaardian trebuchets. Each is deflected, but the bombardment continues throughout the night. Fringilla uses magic to conjure a strange black box. Giving the box to a Nilfgaardian mage, Fringilla orders him to draw the Northern mages out.
The next day, the exhausted and sleep-deprived defenders of Sodden Hill learn over half of the mages deserted during the night. Of the original 60 mages, only 22 remain to defend Sodden Hill. Sabrina Glevissig (Therica Wilson-Read) asks how Nilfgaard managed to get there so quickly…it’s almost as if they were already marching to the Yaruga in force, ahead of the main army? Vilgefortz says it doesn’t matter: the Northern armies are still at least a day away…the mages will have to hold the keep alone.
Just then, a mysterious mist begins rolling down the hillside towards Sodden Hill. The Nilfgaardian mage makes his way toward the keep, casting the mist to provide cover for Nilfgaard’s soldiers. Vilgefortz and ten other mages depart the keep and head out onto the battlefield. Sabrina commands the refugees with their arrows and bombs. Tissaia and Triss start laying magical traps for the Nilfgaardians. Tissaia orders Yennefer to Sodden Hill’s tower. Though Yennefer protests, Tissaia urges her to reserve her chaos.
On the road to Sodden, Yurga carries a delirious Geralt in his cart. Yurga notices the unnatural mist and tells Geralt he is taking the witcher to Yurga’s farm. Geralt hallucinates about his mother and his life before being a witcher. His mother reminds Geralt that their code is “to live and let live”. Geralt sees Villentretenmerth (Ron Cook) who assures him that what he is seeing is magic: it’s not real.
At the elven keep, the refugees grab their bows and arrows, and they bar the gates. From atop the tower, Yennefer has a commanding view of the Battle of Sodden Hill. Using telepathy, she reports troop positions to the other mages. Triss creates poisonous mushrooms whose spores cause approaching soldiers to choke and foam at the mouth. The mages are holding back the soldiers, but each wave causes great pain and/or injury at the cost of doing so much magic all at once.
Once the Nilfgaardian soldiers are in range, the refugees start slinging the mages’ bombs at the soldiers, detonating the bombs with arrows. The explosions rain down on the soldiers like white phosphorus. At the Nilfgaardian encampment, Field Marshal Coehoorn scolds Fringilla for failing to deplete the mages. Cahir advises that the rest of the army flank Sodden Hill from the right, while the mages are focused on the center.
That’s when Vilgefortz teleports into the Nilfgaardian camp and begins flanking them. Using his magic to replenish his swords, Vilgefortz duels Cahir. Yennefer urges Vilgefortz to ration his chaos, but Vilgefortz continues to fight faster and harder. His magic depleted, Vilgefortz runs out of swords and he is kicked down the hillside by Cahir. Vilgefortz hits his head on a log and he is knocked unconscious.
Fringilla uses her magic to break Sodden Hill’s gate. She then creates a portal right in the center of the keep, with Nilfgaardian soldiers firing into it with arrows and hitting the defenders on the other side. Some of the mages and refugees are killed, and Yennefer telepathically tells Tissaia that Nilfgaard has broken through. The mist-creating mage reaches Sodden Hill, and collapses at the gate…dropping Fringilla’s black box.
Tissaia confronts Fringilla and urges the White Flame’s court mage to come back. Fringilla laughs and reveals that it was she who created the storm that sunk Cintra’s 50 Skelliger ships. Tissaia declares that she won’t let Fringilla do this, but Fringilla throws a handful of dimeritium at her former rectoress…weakening and sickening Tissaia. Fringilla then casts another spell, and the black box opens to reveals hundreds of black worms that spill from it and slip into the ground.
On the road to Sodden, Geralt and Yurga notice the explosions near Sodden Hill. Yurga repeats the common saying that “You take Sodden, you take the Northern Realms”. Geralt urges Yurga to get him his bag, from which the witcher grabs a potion. Geralt drinks some, and pours the rest on the wound. Yurga realizes that Geralt needs a healer. Geralt urges Yurga to take him to the Blue Mountains. A shocked Yurga states that the Blue Mountains are on the other side of Sodden from them. Such a journey would be impossible for Geralt. Geralt insists that “he” will save me. Yurga insists that they will go to his farm, and the cart continues its journey.
Geralt states that he needs to go “home”, and hallucinates more about his pre-witcher life and his mother. While traveling by cart one day, Geralt’s mother stopped and told a young Geralt to fetch some water for her. Geralt did so, but then came back to find that his mother and the cart were gone. A man (Vesemir) walked up and told Geralt he had been waiting for him. A frightened Geralt ran away, crying out for his mother.
Back at Sodden Hill, Yennefer orders the mages still on the field to fall back to the keep. Numerous mages like Atlan (Jim Caesar) and Coral (Rhianna McGreevy) are slain by Nilfgaard. Triss holds the gate with magic thorns to buy the defenders more time. In the chaos of the battle, Sabrina and two refugee boys suddenly stop. They look at each other, and Sabrina gives a bomb to each of them.
At the gate, Triss’s shoulder is burned by a torch, as the Nilfgaardian soldiers begin burning her wall of thorns. As Yennefer calls out for Tissaia, Sabrina arrives at the tower and stabs Yennefer with an arrow. Sabrina and the two boys are shown to each have a black worm in their ear, controlling their actions. The boys drop their bombs…on top of the bomb stockpiles. The explosions devastate the defenders and knock both Yennefer and Sabrina off of the tower. With the worm dead, a badly injured Sabrina apologizes. Yennefer goes to find Tissaia.
Amidst the devastation, Yennefer telepathically calls out to the other mages. She passes by a badly wounded Triss at the gate and begins using her spells to fight the attacking Nilfgaardians. Fringilla telepathically urges Yennefer to join Nilfgaard, and the power offered by the White Flame could be the legacy that Yennefer desires.
Yennefer’s telepathy awakens Vilgefortz, who stumbles upon a badly wounded Northern mage. The mage begs for help, but Vilgefortz instead takes a weapon and kills the mage. Yennefer realizes that Vilgefortz has changed allegiances. Recovering from the dimeritium and hearing Yennefer, Tissaia crawls back to the keep.
By the fireside of a camp, Geralt continues to hallucinate. He first sees a hallucination of Renfri (Emma Appleton), offering a concotion of juniper and burdock to neutralize the toxins. He then hallucinates Yennefer, who reassures that Geralt will be alright. Feeling magic in the air, Geralt realizes that there’s someone in his head, listening to him. Geralt then sees an unknown woman, who reveals that she is a sorceress and that Geralt’s slower-than-normal pulse saved him from being immediately killed by the ghoul’s toxic bite. Geralt thanks the sorceress, who claims that she was with the Northern mages defending Sodden Hill when she heard Yurga’s cry for help. The sorceress says she is a healer, and it’s the only thing in life she’s ever been good at. Geralt is glad their paths crossed, to which the sorceress replies that people linked by destiny will always find each other.
Geralt realizes that the woman he is talking to is his mother Visenna. Geralt taunts her by remarking on his eyes. Visenna asks Geralt to stop it, but Geralt says that she doesn’t get to use that name. As far as Geralt is concerned, it was Vesemir who raised him. Geralt asks why Visenna gave him up to the witchers of Kaer Morhen, but Visenna claims that no answer would satisfy Geralt. Geralt reveals that only three out of ten boys survive the Trial of the Grasses which mutate boys into witchers. Geralt asks if Visenna knew this when she abandoned Geralt to Vesemir? Visenna urges Geralt to sleep. Geralt asks why Visenna never tried to find him, but Visenna refuses to answer any questions. She claims the answers would only hurt them both. Visenna tells Geralt to move on, to find “her”, and that Visenna was only just a dream.
Geralt awakes in the middle of the night, and asks Yurga where the woman went? Yurga laughs and asks which one: a feverish Geralt had called out for several. It is unclear if Visenna was really there to heal Geralt, or if it was all just another of Geralt’s hallucinations? Geralt wants to ride for Sodden Hill, and Yurga informs him that his farm is only an hour’s ride away from the keep. Yurga is just a simple merchant, so he offers the Law of Surprise to repay Geralt for saving him from the ghouls: “That which I have but don’t know”. Geralt says if Yurga will throw in an ale too, he’ll consider the debt repaid. Geralt urges Yurga that they must leave as soon as possible.
At Sodden Hill’s gate, the few mages left desperately hold the keep against the advancing Nilfgaardian mages. Yennefer manages to find Tissaia. She urges Tissaia to not give up. Yennefer confesses to Tissaia that she saved Yennefer when she purchased Yennefer all those years ago. Tissaia replies that now it’s time for Yennefer to save them all. Tissaia states that the Continent itself will be Yennefer’s legacy. Yennefer insists she can’t defeat Nilfgaard alone, so Tissaia encourages Yennefer to “forget the bottle” (recalling the lightning trial when Yennefer “failed” by catching the lightning inside herself, instead of inside a bottle). “Let your chaos explode,” Tissaia urges.
Yennefer embraces her emotions and memories. Using her magic, she drains the fires of Sodden Hill (simultaneously putting them out). Releasing all her frustration and rage, Yennefer unleashes a firestorm upon the Nilfgaardian soldiers (sparing only her fellow mages). Cahir watches in stoic silence as the entire forested hillside between his encampment and Sodden Hill is set ablaze. After the fires die down, Tissaia looks up to see that Yennefer is nowhere to be found. At the head of the Temerian and Kaedweni armies, King Foltest (Shaun Dooley) arrives at Sodden Hill.
Near Sodden Hill, Ciri is put to bed and reassured that Nilfgaard has no reason to come to their farm. The woman admits she has a simple life, but she has everything she has ever wanted: her health, a roof overhead, and a headstrong son and husband. Everything…except a daughter. The woman believes she was meant to find Ciri, and she urges Ciri to sleep. Ciri dreams of Tissaia and Geralt, all calling out for Yennefer.
The next morning, Ciri awakes and quietly leaves the farm. Remembering her grandmother’s wish to find Geralt of Rivia, she runs into the woods…just as Yurga and Geralt arrive. Yurga’s wife (the woman Ciri had met) reveals that she found an orphan girl in the woods nearby. Geralt remembers Renfri’s prophecy: “The girl in the woods will be with you always. She is your destiny.” As Yurga has his wife fetch Geralt an ale, Geralt walks off into the woods.
Geralt wanders around, but cannot seem to find Ciri. Losing hope, he starts to walk away…until he hears approaching footsteps. A girl runs toward him, and suddenly stops. They stare at each other. Despite never having met each other, they somehow know who the other is. Ciri runs to him and they embrace. Geralt repeats his mother’s words: “People linked by destiny will always find each other.” Ciri stares at Geralt and asks, “Who is Yennefer?”
And that’s the end of Season 1 of Netflix’s The Witcher! What did you think? Will Geralt and Ciri find Yennefer? Will Geralt be able to keep Ciri safe like he promised? Let Geek Girl Authority know, and keep an eye here for more information on all your favorite fantasy shows!
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