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'The Witcher' has a lot of backstory, and the more you know going in, the more you’ll be able to get out of the show. Who's Geralt of Rivia? Let's find out.

Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’: Who is Geralt of Rivia?

Fans of The Witcher book series and video game franchise are already familiar with the silver hair hero Geralt of Rivia. The protagonist for Netflix’s new series, played by Henry Cavil, has plenty of tragic backstories and fight for any fantasy fan to fall in love with. A new look at the character gives fans a closer look at what to expect come December 20th. 

The sneak peek gives an explanation of what exactly being a witcher entails, and how that defines Geralt. With such a huge part of the show being Geralt’s destiny as a witcher, it’s important fans know what’s going on. The Witcher focuses around Geralt breaking trends to do something outside of the life of a witcher.

For those who have no clue what a witcher is, you got a bit of homework to do. Fortunately, we’ve summarized everything you need to know about witchers and Geralt before the show premieres on December 20th. The Witcher has a lot of backstory, and the more you know going in, the more you’ll be able to get out of the show.

What makes a witcher a witcher?

A witcher is a special type of monster hunter that spends their life training for this one skill. One of the main places witcher apprentices were educated was the School of the Wolf, where our hero Geralt of Rivia trained. Basically, since birth, Geralt was in the School of the Wolf training for his future as a witcher. 

The defining moment in their training is the Trial of the Grasses, where witcher apprentices are fed a variety of herbs that completely alter their physiology. Only three out of ten apprentices survive this, and those who do are completely different people. The ones that survive are granted cat-like eyes, quick reflexes, strength beyond belief, and other improvements.

Thanks to this treatment, witchers can take various potions to help strengthen their abilities even further. They also can cast minor, yet powerful magic spells to assist with their assignments. These spells are referred to as signs.

Why is The Witcher’s Geralt, special?

Somehow, Geralt not only survived the Trial of the Grasses, he basically had no side effects during it. Those in charge of him at the School of the Wolf ended up experimenting on him further, making him arguably the stronger witcher there ever was. These additional experiments removed all pigmentation from his body, turning him pale as snow and giving him the signature silver locks. 

The defining characteristic of Geralt, in particular, is his compassion. Even though everything he’s been through, all the training and mutation, Geralt still sees the good in people. Geralt can still find love. Most witchers lack compassion after all their effects, but Geralt has some depth that most witchers don’t. 

Where does Geralt’s name come from?

While training, witcher apprentices are encouraged to come up with new names for themselves. These names are intended to make them more trustworthy. Geralt is not from Rivia but took on the name for the sake of acting as if he was from the city. Geralt even took on a Rivian accent to make the name more convincing. 

Where do witchers rank in society?

Witchers are considered at the bottom level of society. The general masses are disgusted with the sorcery and witchcraft that makes witchers who they are, so they treat witchers like scum. They’re viewed as emotionless killing machines, with no compassion. While Geralt is definitely one of the most legendary witchers, he’s more infamous than famous for his skills. 

All episodes of The Witcher come to Netflix on December 20th.

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