Geralt of Rivia: 25 Most Interesting Facts About The Witcher

Geralt of Rivia
Henry Cavill as Geralt getting ready to butcher Renfri's gang

Do you truly know Geralt of Rivia?

The Witcher franchise has soared in popularity in recent years. From Netflix making a TV show starring Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia to the widely successful video game franchise from CD Projekt Red. But our genetically modified monster hunter actually started in a series of short stories and novels by the Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. With eight books, four games, two TV shows, and several comic book series, the lore behind this great character is immense. So, without further ado, here are the 25 most interesting facts about Geralt of Rivia

25. Geralt participated in a rigged gladiatorial arena in which he fought a Vigilosaur

Geralt takes on a monster without any weapons

During the events of the novel Season of Storms, Geralt must make a deal with a criminal known as Pyral Pratt. In exchange for information regarding the whereabouts of Geralt’s missing swords that had recently been stolen, Geralt promises to fight in a gladiatorial arena. Here’s the catch though, he must fight a genetically altered monster known as a Vigilosaur without any weapons. Unbeknownst to Geralt, Pyral Pratt was paid in advance to rig the match in his favor, so a bit of loose railing conveniently falls into the arena for Geralt to use as he sees fit.

24. A doppler, in the form of Geralt, once crossed blades with Geralt himself

Geralt comes face to face with himself

In the short story Eternal Flame, Geralt and Dandelion encounter a doppler named Dudu that is pretending to be the halfling merchant Dainty Biberveldt. When confronted, the doppler ran, taking many forms in order to avoid capture. Inevitably, our monster hunter caught up to the doppler who had just taken Geralt’s form. The shapeshifting ability of dopplers not only replicate physical features but mental ones as well. The confrontation turned into an equally matched fight between the two Geralts until the real Geralt outsmarted his copy.

23. Geralt had to cure Princess Adda of the Striga curse twice

Geralt rescues a princess through a series of bizarre circumstances

The first-ever short story published, The Witcher, details the events of Geralt attempting to cure a princess of a curse. In a wonderful retelling of Sleeping Beauty, King Foltest’s daughter Adda, who was born from incest, is cursed to awaken every night as a disgusting monster known as a Striga. Geralt manages to subdue the creature and remove the curse, but as he warns, it is not guaranteed that it won’t come back later in her life. In the video game, The Witcher, the curse comes back and it is up to the player to decide if Geralt will cure poor Adda of this curse once again.

22. Geralt tries to avoid killing monsters and in some cases even befriends them

“The Witcher: Geralt & Nivellen” by Egor Gafidov

Geralt is a stubborn man who is set in his ways, but even he frets with the morality of taking a life. Monsters that are sentient and sapient he struggles over whether it is right to kill them and, in some cases, has flat out refused contracts as a result. In the book Baptism of Fire, Geralt and his company come across a doctor by the name of Regis. This doctor seems suspicious and it is eventually revealed that Regis is, in fact, a Higher Vampire. Instead of killing Regis, Geralt befriends him and sees him as his most trusted advisor.

21. Yennefer and Geralt get married in an alternate timeline

Geralt with Yennefer, his one true love

The ending of The Witcher Saga is a heartbreaking tragedy with Yennefer and Geralt brutally and coldly murdered. Even Andrej Sapkowski knew that people would want an alternate ending to mend their hearts. So, as a wedding gift to a personal friend, he wrote and published the short story Something Ends, Something Begins. In this non-canonical ending to The Witcher Saga, Yennefer and Geralt end up happily married and living a normal life with their adopted daughter Ciri.

20. Geralt, Yennefer, Dandelion, and Yarpen Zigrin went on an expedition to kill a dragon 

“Golden dragon - The Witcher fanart” by Wieszcza

In the short story, The Bounds of Reason, Geralt, Dandelion, and Borch Three Jackdaws are hired onto an expedition heading to kill a dragon that has been plaguing the local area. It is on this expedition that he reunites with his lover Yennefer and meets the dwarven mercenary Yarpen Zigrin. When the expedition finds the dragon, they discover that it is a Golden Dragon, a species previously thought extinct. Borch Three Jackdaws then reveals that he is, in fact, the human form of the dragon known as Villentretenmerth. Geralt along with Yennefer, Dandelion, and Yarpen stand in defense of Villentretenmerth in order to protect him and his young child.

19. Geralt is willing to break part of The Witcher’s Code which states that witchers do not kill other witchers

Geralt faces down the mighty Letho of Gulet

In the prequel novel Season of Storms, Geralt encounters a witcher from the Cat School named Brehen. Brehen massacred an entire village and Vesemir himself banned him from ever stepping foot in Kaer Morhen. Geralt tells Brehen that he doesn’t care about what the code says and is more than willing to kill him if ever steps out of line again. Throughout three of the games, the player can have Geralt choose to break this code and kill several witchers including the infamous Letho.

18. Geralt doesn’t actually love Triss

“Geralt and Triss in Kaer Morhen” by Tanya Anor

While the games may have elevated Triss to a major player in the story of Geralt, she is quite a minor character in the books. Appearing in only a handful of the novels starting with the third book, Blood of Elves, she doesn’t get much screen time. The longest time spent with her is the first couple of chapters in Blood of Elves in which she is ill and Geralt has to take care of her. One night, Geralt and Triss have a frank conversation where he admits he has no feelings for her as the only time they slept together was when he was magically seduced by her. She is his friend and nothing more.

17. Despite trying to remain neutral during the Second Northern War, Geralt participated in The Battle for the Bridge on the Yaruga

Geralt is knighted in a humorous manner

From Baptism of Fire all the way to The Lady of the Lake, Geralt, Dandelion, Regis, Milva, and Cahir were on a quest to rescue Ciri. They had no interest in the war that was raging around them, this was a personal mission. At the end of Baptism of Fire, Milva has a miscarriage when they were about to cross the bridge on the Yaruga and at the same time, the armies of Nilfgaard and Rivia clashed on said bridge. In order to both cross the bridge and save Milva’s life, Geralt leapt into battle. His courage did not go unnoticed, resulting in Queen Meve knighting him for his actions.

16. The meaning of the runes on Geralt’s silver sword

"How do you like that silver?"

Much like all witcher swords, Geralt’s are made to perfection in Mahakam with specific materials. While the silver sword is not completely silver, as that would prove too brittle and easily break, it does have other qualities to make up for it. Some swords have runes put on them by their manufacturer, these range from well-meaning to crude jokes. However, Geralt’s silver sword is inscribed with runes that in  Elder Speech translate to “My gleam penetrates the darkness, my brightness disperses the gloom.

15. During the Battle of Stygga Castle, Geralt cut a magical fireball in half

Geralt may be old but he is determined

Thinking Ciri is dead, Geralt and his company risk everything to rescue Yennefer from the clutches of Vilgefortz. Each and every member of Geralt’s company meets with a grim fate, as Geralt fights against all odds to rescue the one person he truly loves. Ciri magically teleports to Stygga Castle and fights her own battle against the wicked assassin Leo Bonhart. While their daughter fights against her worst nightmare, Geralt and Yen fight Vilgefortz, who is far more powerful than the two of them. But an old dog still has tricks, which Geralt proves when he cleanly cuts one Vilgefortz’s fireballs in half with the Mahakam Sihil gifted to him by Zoltan.

14. The story of Geralt and Ciri is so legendary that it is told to children hundreds of years later

Like father, like daughter

Much of The Witcher Saga is told in the form of framing devices placed at different points in the history of the Continent. One of the more interesting ones is Nimue in The Lady of the Lake. Nimue is a sorceress obsessed with the legend of The Witcher and Witcheress and has strange encounters with both Ciri and Geralt throughout her life. But here is the catch, she first hears the legend from a storyteller when she was a child in the mid-1300s, over one hundred years after the death of Geralt.

13. Geralt accidentally saved the life of Emhyr var Emreis, Emperor of Nilfgaard

Ciri's two fathers

In the short story A Question of Price, Geralt is brought to the Cintrian court in the disguise of Ravix of Fourhorn and told by Queen Calanthe to be present during her daughter’s engagement ceremony. Disrupting this ceremony is a man with a hedgehog head named Duny. He has had an affair with Pavetta and Calanthe wants Geralt to prevent this cursed man from taking her daughter’s hand in marriage. Geralt comes to the defense of Duny, protecting him from being killed by other courtiers, wanting to hear him out. Many years later, Geralt would find out that Duny was an alias for the Emperor of Nilfgaard and Ciri’s father, Emhyr var Emreis.

12. The elven goddess Dana Meadbh saved Geralt from being executed 

Dana Meadbh, The Queen of the Fields

The short story The Edge of the World follows Geralt and Dandelion on one of their early adventures together. When tracking down a satyr that was provoking the nearby human peasants, they are kidnapped by a group of elves. The elves are members of the Scoia'tael and are barely scraping by. In their anger, the elves attempt to execute Geralt and Dandelion for crimes they didn’t commit. Dana Meadbh appears to everyone and stops the execution, telling the elves to have hope and to trust each other.

11. Geralt was forced to kill Sorel Degerlund, a mage thought to have been possessed by a demon

“Season of Storms” by Maxim Samarin

In the book Season of Storms, Geralt is contracted by the sorcerers of Rissberg Castle to capture a demon. Geralt did not trust the sorcerers as their leader, Ortolan, was known for his incredibly dangerous experiments. He was told that Sorel Degerlund, Ortolan’s lover, had summoned a demon which went on a killing spree. Upon discovering that this was false and actually a trap to get a hold of witcher mutations, Geralt killed Sorel. Ortolan died shortly after, thus ending the horrific experiments and killing the true demons of the story.

10. The physical embodiment of Death follows Geralt

“Sword of Destiny. Chapter 7” by Steamey

The short story Something More concludes Geralt’s character arc through the short stories and leads into the novels. Geralt was resistant to destiny, refusing Ciri on numerous occasions even though it was his actions that bound them together. When visiting the memorial for the Battle of Sodden Hill, Geralt fears to find Yennefer’s name on the list of the dead. The physical embodiment of Death appears to Geralt and tells him that destiny has its own will and it cannot be denied. Death dogs at his footsteps, but she has not come for him or Yen yet, that will happen later.

9. Geralt’s death and rebirth mirrors Arthurian legend

“Not the last episode” by Risel

The connections to Arthurian legend in The Witcher Saga are intentional by Andrzej Sapkowski. Nimue is the real name of The Lady of the Lake, Yennefer’s name is passed down the generations as Guinevere, etc. However, this all comes to a head at the very end of the series in The Lady of the Lake. Geralt and Yennefer die, and their bodies are placed on a boat heading to the island of Avalon. As seen in the epilogue of Season of Storms, Geralt will return when he’s most needed just like King Arthur, the once and future king.

8. Geralt is afraid of commitment and has left and returned to Yennefer on numerous occasions

"Love is like a pear. A pear is sweet and has a distinct shape. Try to define the shape of a pear."

As mentioned before, Geralt is incredibly stubborn and hates change. In the short story The Last Wish, Geralt and Yen were each other’s equals in many respects and had suffered many of the same hardships, so their love was intense. But a fire that burns twice as hot, dies twice as quickly. Fearing he was getting too attached, Geralt left Yen without a word, just leaving a rose behind for her to remember him by. In the story The Bounds of Reason, they reunite again and the pattern repeats, only to be broken by Yen in the short story A Shard of Ice.

7. Geralt hates the life of a witcher and wishes to live a normal, quiet life

"Witcher Moment" by Chakhabit

The life of a witcher is a difficult one that is surrounded by death and will only end in death. There is no happiness to be found, and Geralt was content with that, or so he claimed to be. Upon meeting Yennefer, understanding what love is, and caring for a surrogate daughter in Ciri, he realized that he wasn’t living the life he wanted. When Geralt and Yennefer rekindle their once lost love in the book Time of Contempt, they agree that in the future they will have a quiet house in which to live out the rest of their days. A peaceful existence for two people who have lived tragically violent lives.

6. Geralt became The Butcher of Blaviken due to his neutrality

"Blaviken butcher" by Roman Tishenin

Witchers are supposed to take a neutral stance on issues, they only exist to kill monsters, nothing more. In the short story The Lesser Evil, Geralt is confronted with two sides that are both unquestioningly evil. Renfri is an abused woman who takes out her anger by brutally murdering anyone she sees fit. Stregobor is an abuser and bigot that believes he is superior to everyone. Geralt chooses to not take a side and inevitably comes to blows with Renfri and her gang, killing them and earning the title The Butcher of Blaviken.

5. Yennefer pays Geralt’s contracts as a sign of affection

Yennefer” by Anna Helme

Geralt travels all over the Continent in order to earn money as a witcher. The issue is that many of the people willing to hire him are penniless themselves and can barely afford his services. As revealed in Time of Contempt, Yennefer keeps tabs on Geralt’s whereabouts and ensures Geralt gets his payment. In some cases, Geralt is paid more than the contract initially warranted as a result of her funding the contracts.

4. The three wishes Geralt made when he met a Djinn

“The Last Wish” by Vladimir Kafanov

Geralt accidentally releases a Djinn in The Last Wish. He makes two of his three wishes out of mistake due to believing that the Djinn was bound to Dandelion. His first wish was an exorcism whose meaning was only revealed to him later “Get out of here and go fuck yourself.” The second wish was for a prison guard to burst after he was arrested later in the story. The final wish was stated with purpose, the exact wording is unknown to the reader, but it bound his fate to Yennefer’s in order to save her life.

3. Geralt pretends to not have emotions

A shard of ice may live in his heart

The common misconception of witchers is that they have no emotions. This is completely false, and they know it too. As revealed in A Shard of Ice, Geralt and many other witchers keep up the ruse that they have no emotions as a negotiation tactic. Keeping up the myth of the emotionless killing machines known as witchers ensures that no one cheats them out of anything. However, this can also come back to haunt them, such as when Yennefer left Geralt as he refused to admit that he loved her.

2. Geralt suffers from an injury that will never fully heal after a battle with Vilgefortz

Geralt isn't without his faults

During the Thanedd Coup at the end of Time of Contempt, Geralt faces off against Vilgefortz for the very first time. Geralt knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy fight, Vilgefortz was a powerful sorcerer, an ex-mercenary, and the hero of Sodden Hill. But Geralt is a witcher, his enhanced abilities could counterbalance the fight, or so he thought. Vilgefortz takes Geralt out in a matter of seconds, permanently damaging Geralt’s leg in the process. This injury would be a constant reminder in the years to come that Geralt could not defeat Vilgefortz without help.

1. Geralt’s mother, Visenna, is a druid

"Mother's hands" by Steamey

The short story The Road With No Return follows a young druid by the name of Visenna as she discovers certain secrets about magic and falls in love. This was never originally intended to be connected to The Witcher Saga and was part of its own separate universe. A few years later it was suggested to Andrzej Sapkowski that he should write another story about Visenna. As a result, Visenna makes an appearance in Something More where it is revealed that she is Geralt’s mother and gave him up to the witchers at an early age.

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