Image via Netflix
One of the best things about Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher is that the British actor’s love for Andrzej Sapkowski’s source material has always been apparent. Perhaps no more so than now, given that he will part ways with the White Wolf after season three. When the time comes, Liam Hemsworth will take up his sword, but right now, Cavill is taking this opportunity to let audiences in on what to expect from his curtain call performance.
The first two seasons saw Cavill’s Geralt reconciling with his newfound calling as Ciri’s (Freya Allen) adoptive father figure. During this time, the world around them began grappling with the truth of Ciri’s existence — a princess with keys to an entire kingdom who has Elder Blood coursing through her veins. Now that virtually the whole Continent knows who and what she is, it is no longer a matter of running and hiding. War is here, and it’s time to fight.
While speaking with Tudum, Cavill highlighted the severity of their circumstances by calling their situation a “lion’s den.”
“Now, there is a real threat. It’s genuine; it’s no longer theoretical — it’s practical. And it’s very, very dangerous. They are walking into the lion’s den everywhere they go.”
Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich reiterated this by referring to the third season as a “culmination of what we’ve been building toward all along… We get to see everything on the Continent change, which is super exciting.”
All this change is not just surface level, though. It’s internal too. According to Cavill, Geralt’s new role as Ciri’s father figure is a job that fits him like a glove. Or in his words, “like a fish to water.”
“It’s quite lovely to see that underneath this cynical, acerbic, walls-up kind of nature is actually a very loving core.”
However, amidst what is undeniably a war heading their way, Cavill shares that Geralt is sticking true to his neutral nature. What do we mean? In the novels, Geralt is not one to get involved in the world of politics. He’s seen war and famine come and go, has seen what lust for power can do to people, and has no interest in being a part of it.
“Geralt has been very nonchalant about these threats of war and famine and the end times. He’s like, ‘Look. I’ve been there, done that. It’s not the end times. It’s just going to be another fight.’
“It’s still very much intact. Geralt has seen how politics work out. A lot of it’s incredibly selfish. No matter which side anyone’s on, they’re doing the thing for them. He’s like, ‘Why would I pick a side when the same thing’s going to happen?’”
It’s nice to see Cavill flex his nerd muscle with this bit of knowledge, as fans of the novel can attest to this vital aspect of the character’s personality. Nevertheless, Geralt will have to reconcile with the truth of this war, which is that it directly involves his de facto daughter. He will have to decide whether to act and apparently, a new-slash-old player might be the one to push him over the edge. According to Jaskier actor Joey Batey, “[The political atmosphere] is so different and so tense [this season].” A lot of that, he says, has to do with the addition of the characters Sigismund Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) and Philippa Eilhart (Cassie Clare), the spymaster and mage who we briefly met during the season two finale.
Batey goes on to say things will be “fairly representative of what happens in the text,” which is refreshing given the show’s history of doing away with details fans hold dear but the showrunners deem unimportant. I will say, personally, it is nice to see Netflix trying to stay true to Geralt’s source material by honoring his desire for neutrality, not to mention Batey’s stamp of approval for a text-accurate depiction. After all, it was the studio’s subtle disregard for the source material over the last two seasons that has been theorized as the reason for Cavill’s departure.
As for Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) — her mending relationship with Geralt is going to be at the forefront this season, as well as her ongoing efforts to train Ciri in the school of magic.
You can catch season three part one of The Witcher when it premieres on Netflix on June 29. Part two will premiere a month later on July 27.
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