Netflix's The Witcher: 36 Easter Eggs, References, And Other Tidbits You Might Have Missed
Witcher spoilers ahead!
Netflix's The Witcher may prove a surprising watch for fans of the beloved Witcher video games, as the streaming show has nothing at all to do with the games. The games are pseudo-sequels to the original books and short stories, and it's those on which the show is based.
That said, if you're a fan of the original books or of the games, there are plenty of hidden details, Easter eggs, and references for you to spot throughout the eight episodes that compose The Witcher Season 1.
We've watched all eight episodes already, and while it would take an entire book (or several) to list every reference to the source material--the show is a surprisingly faithful adaptation in places--we picked out some of our favorites here. Scroll down and let us know what we missed in the comments at the bottom of the page.
1. The Kikimora
The creature Geralt slays in this episode is called a Kikimora. It’s described as having a "spidery shape with its dry black skin, that glassy eye with its vertical pupil, [and] needle-like fangs in the bloody jaw" in the short story The Lesser Evil.
2. Geralt's Story
Geralt's story to Roach about killing his first monster--a rapist--is straight from the books, although in the story The Voice of Reason, he tells a priestess named Iola, not his horse.
3. The Aard sign
During the market fight in Blaviken, Geralt uses one of his most well known abilities, from both the games and the books: the Aard sign, which knocks opponents back with a telekinetic blast.
4. The Butcher of Blaviken
The events of this episode are how Geralt gets one of his most notorious nicknames: the Butcher of Blaviken. Granted, the scene plays out differently in the books, where Geralt learns that Renfri's thugs are about to take the marketplace full of civilians hostage.
5. Your Daughter's Betrothal Feast
When Eist Tuirseach tells Calanthe that these festivities "remind [him] of your daughter's betrothal feast," he's referring to a pivotal event from the series--one that plays out onscreen in Episode 4.
6. The Wild Hunt
During the same scene, Calanthe mentions the Wild Hunt. These mythical, ghostly riders play an important role in the series, appearing in the book Time of Contempt, and later factoring heavily in the video game The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.
Image: The Wild Hunt from The Witcher 3
7. Ciri's Powers
At around the same time in the original stories, Ciri had yet to discover or use the powers she displays in this episode. However, these powers are similar to the ones her mother, Pavetta, demonstrated during the feast that Eist Tuirseach mentioned earlier.
8. Multiple Timelines Hints
The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich made the show's multiple, interwoven timelines deliberately vague in the hope that viewers would simply go along for the ride. However, there are some hints in this episode: Mousesack warns Ciri about when girls used to be locked in towers "many years ago," events that are much more recent in the scenes involving Geralt and Stregobor. And Calanthe and Ciri discuss Calanthe's victory in the distance past during a battle at Hochebuz--a battle that Renfri remarks about to Geralt as if it's just taken place.
9. Cahir's Winged Helmet
Ciri takes particular note of this Nilfgaardian soldier's feathered helmet, which is described in the books as having "wings." The soldier is named Cahir, and if the show continues to follow the source material, he'll play an important role in the future. For now, he haunts Ciri's nightmares.
10. The Lute
The lute Jaskier receives from the elves as they let the bard and Geralt walk free remains with him for a long time in the books. It's much nicer than his previous lute, which the character grudgingly notes in the short story The Edge of the World.
11. Meet Istredd
Istredd is a minor character from the books whose role has clearly been expanded for the show. In the short story A Shard of Ice, Geralt and he spar over Yennefer's affections. Yennefer and Istredd have history together, but it's never explored, so the character's role in the show has been invented for the screen.
12. Yenn's Uterus
When Geralt meets Yennefer in the books, her transformation from what he suspects was likely a hunchback into the beautiful sorceress she is now had taken place long ago in her past. The show took some liberties--in the source material, all sorceresses are infertile, but the idea that the physical transformation requires the uterus to be removed is something invented for the show.
13. Another Multiple Timelines Hint
There's another hint in this episode that the storylines are taking place decades apart: King Foltest, who tasks Geralt with killing the Striga, appears as a young boy at the party Yennefer attends. This one is easy to miss if you're not paying attention to every single line of dialogue.
14. The Selkiemore
This many describes Geralt's battles with a "selkiemore"--a creature that hasn't been mentioned in the series before, either in the books or in the games. It sounds like some kind of water-dwelling sea monster, though.
15. Geralt Takes a Bath
Geralt taking a bath is not just significant because he so clearly needed one. It's become a fairly major meme thanks to one scene in The Witcher 3. The show seems at the very least to be aware of that, considering a shot of Geralt in the bath is one of the things Netflix showed off at San Diego Comic-Con this year.
16. Conjunction of the Spheres
During Ciri's scenes in the forest Brokilon, there's mention of the Conjunction of the Spheres. This is a legendary event in the series' lore in which several planes of reality merged, bringing magic--and deadly magical creatures--to the world of men.
17. The Sacking of Kaer Morhen
Another thing mentioned in this episode is the Sacking of Kaer Morhen. Kaer Morehn is the witchers' traditional home and training ground. The sacking took place before the events of the show, and it caused the witchers to become much more secretive.
18. The Law of Surprise
It's not really adequately explained in this episode, but the law of surprise plays a massive role in the story of the books, and, thus, the show. When someone is owed a debt, they can invoke the law of surprise and claim something the indebted doesn't yet know they possess. In the case of Duny and Pavetta, that something is their unborn daughter, Ciri.
19. The Waters of Brokilon
Ciri drinks the Waters of Brokilon in this episode, which apparently does not have the significance it does in the source material. In the books, girls who drink the Waters forget who they are and transform into Dryads. Clearly not so in the show, where Ciri simply has a vision of a tree in a desert.
Yenn is threatened with dimeritium in Episode 5. This metal has a dampening effect on sorcery. It comes up several times in the books, and you can also craft equipment out of it in the games.
21. The White Flame
Mentions of the White Flame refer to Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, the ruler of Nilfgaard. His followers are devoted to him with a nearly cult-like fervor.
Image: Emperor Emhyr in The Witcher 3
Cahir hires a doppler, a sentient being that can transform its body into the shape of other beings with similar body weights. However, the doppler in the show is much different from dopplers in the books. For one thing, his natural appearance (as we see in a later episode) is different. More importantly, dopplers in the source material are generally non-aggressive, using their ability mainly to hide in plain sight.
23. The Sword of Destiny
"The sword of destiny has two edges" is a quote straight from the source material. The second book of short stories, set after The Last Wish but before the first novel, Blood of Elves, is called Sword of Destiny. The "two edges" part refers to Geralt and Ciri.
24. Lilac and Gooseberries
Geralt notes that Yennefer smells like lilac and gooseberries, a distinctive scent that he'll never be able to shake. In the books, it's one of the primary identifiers he remembers whenever he thinks of Yenn.
25. Dandelion's Name
In Episode 6, Jaskier reveals his full name: Julien Alfred Pankratz. Although he's cut off, it does sound like he's about to add his title as well: Viscount de Lettenhove. Here's a related fact: "jaskier" means "buttercup" when translated to English. In the Western localizations, Jaskier is named Dandelion. For the show, they went with his original name, probably because it sounds the least stupid.
26. Eyck of Denesle
Eyck of Denesle, Yenn's escort, is a minor character in the books. However, in the source material, he's adamantly anti-sorcery.
27. The Hirikka
The creature Eyck gruesomely slays is called a Hirikka. In Witcher lore, it's almost extinct, and even more rare than a dragon--which really makes Eyck seem like an even bigger dickhead.
28. The Harry Potter Tent
Yennefer's Harry Potter tent--which is bigger on the inside (does that make it actually a Doctor Who tent?)--is not a thing from the books. That said, it is cool.
29. The Last Wish
It's not until near the end of Episode 6 when Yennefer realizes how Geralt saved her from the djinn (by using his last wish to tie their fates together). In the books, this is much more explicitly laid out.
30. The Stars Reflecting in the Pond
"You can not mistake the stars reflecting in the pond for the night sky" is a common quote from the books, particularly "Time of Contempt."
31. Ithlinne's Prophecy
The line "The time of the sword and axe is nigh" from Cahir and Fringilla's conversation is a line from the Prophecy of Ithlinne, an important plot point from the books.
32. The Puppet Show
The puppet show Ciri witnesses in Episode 7 appears to be mocking the sacking of Cintra. This scene calls to mind the Arya scenes from Game of Thrones in which she watched the mummer troupe recreate the Purple Wedding onstage.
33. Meet Vilgefortz
Vilgefortz is a major character in the books, although at least for now, his role seems to be slightly different in the show.
34. Time of Contempt
There's a reference in this episode to the "time of contempt." This is the name of the second novel (and the fourth book overall) in the original Witcher saga. The meaning of the phrase is up to interpretation, though its apparent ambiguity may also be a translation issue.
35. The Battle of Sodden Hill
A huge chunk of Episode 8 is taken up by the Battle of Sodden Hill. This is a crucial event in the books, but it's not one that was ever actually described--Geralt only heard about it in the aftermath. It was definitely cool to see, though that move where they shoot tiny glass bottles with arrows seemed a little dubious.
36. Ear Worms
The Northerners almost lose the Battle of Sodden Hill because of some particularly icky treachery from the Nilfgaardians. These mind-controlling "ear worms" are not a thing in the books, which made it extra shocking (and confusing) when they popped up at the end of the season.
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