The Witcher, the Netflix original series based on the award-winning novel series of the same name, is a thrilling fantasy journey full of sinister wooded spirits and other fantastic beings. However, what truly makes this series captivating is the unexpected bond between Geralt of Riviera and Cirilla. As a Witcher, Geralt is both needed and feared by other people, and can thus easily sympathize with Ciri, who is similarly marginalized because of her mysterious magical abilities. Slowly, Geralt becomes a mentor and father-figure to Ciri. Ultimately, the endearing depiction of these two fascinating characters demonstrates how the Witcher is a prime example of storytelling done-right, and provides an important and worthwhile fantasy experience. 

Throughout the course of the series, Geralt and Ciri come to a mutual understanding over their shared experience of trauma and loss. After losing her home and family, Ciri is alone and stranded. Through this upbringing, she is shown to be a distraught and misunderstood figure who must overcome tremendous adversity while counterintuitively being incredibly powerful and resolute. Ciri’s losses created a longing for companionship, which is ultimately fulfilled when she finally meets Geralt, her promised guardian, at the conclusion of season one.

Ciri @Netflix

With Geralt’s guidance, Ciri grows from a helpless child into a strong character able to defend herself. Geralt consistently reasons with Ciri when her determination leads her to put herself in danger. Having suffered many traumatic losses in his childhood, such as undergoing the horrific treatment that transforms young boys into witchers, Geralt understands the true hardships and dangers that Ciri may face on her journey. 

Geralt, then, is not only a grounded and helpful role model in Ciri’s life, but ultimately the only person she can trust.  In the final episode of season 2, Ciri is afflicted by the curse of the “deathless mother” that feeds off her power, effectively becoming a monster herself. Geralt, as a witcher, is of course tasked with hunting down and eliminating monsters, and  killing Ciri would allow him to kill the Deathless Mother and fulfill his duty. However, Geralt believes that Ciri has the strength and resolve to overcome the deathless mother, and he also cares deeply for her, which made me care about their relationship even more. This moment is the climactic build-up to everything Geralt warned Ciri about on her journey, serving as the ultimate test to how powerful their relationship has become and demonstrates how Ciri almost succumbs to her chaotic nature. Indeed, she almost harms herself and those close to her rather than the people who genuinely did her harm. However, Ciri ultimately finds the strength within herself to conquer the deathless mother, showing how far she has come in her retributive journey, and illustrating that perhaps she and Geralt really can eventually defeat their oppressors together. 

Indeed, throughout the series, Geralt and Ciri are shown to have to endure heavy oppression and exploitation by those in control; Geralt because of his witcher blood, and Ciri, because of the threat given to her by the Nilfgaardian army due to her unrivaled power. Geralt sees himself in Ciri on account of her circumstances, and understands the cruelty of the world; he understands Ciri’s anger towards her oppressors, and decides to team up with her so they can face-off against the world together, with him teaching her along the way. In spite of their circumstances, both Geralt and Ciri are strong characters who fight back against their oppression rather than simply being victims.  

Ultimately, these two inspiring and likeable protagonists, backdropped against a harsh and systemically unjust world, creates an epic tale of revenge and overcoming oppression and makes the Witcher a staple of fantasy-storytelling. If you are looking for a character development master class, look no further than this fantastic Netflix original series. 

Geralt and Ciri @Netflix