After two long years of waiting, Netflix’s The Witcher Season 2 has finally arrived with a whole new adventure to uncover. It’s exciting to see everyone again, from our broody witcher Geralt (Henry Cavill, Man of Steel) and badass mage Yennefer (Anya Chalotra, Sherwood) to young and strong Ciri (Freya Allan, Gunpowder Milkshake) and, of course, everyone’s favorite bard Jaskier (Joey Batey, The White Queen). The Witcher Season 2 starts off with a slow build, similar to how the first season took a while to lay the groundwork for the show, but this time it plunges into the world of politics, magic, and family, as the whole season revolves around these themes. The question is, as the stakes begin to climb higher, how well can the story keep up? There are minor spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution!
The Witcher Season 2 begins right where we left off, with the Battle of Sodden over and Geralt and Ciri united, on the hunt for Yennefer. They’re unable to find her, but we do get to see Tissaia (MyAnna Buring, Ripper Street) and learn that pretty much everyone thinks Yennefer is dead. Geralt and Ciri have their own story for the first few episodes as Ciri trains under his direction (even though she wants to do more). This season, a lot of the focus is on Ciri and her powers, which is really significant for Ciri’s character development, and even Geralt’s. Even before the premiere, we knew that the Child Surprise would play a huge role in this season. We see a new side of Geralt that fights against feelings as he truly cares for Ciri as his own daughter.
Meanwhile, Yennefer is battling a whole new demon, and she has to do so without her magic. This detail leads to Yennefer making a lot of interesting choices this season, but they don’t focus as much on her development, which is unfortunate. When she wakes up, she, Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni, Black Earth Rising), and the queen of the elves, Francesca (Mecia Simson, Brave New World), end up forming a magical bond based on their dreams, which leads to a world of trouble this season. It’s nice to see Fringilla get more screen time, and she’s not the only one as we see Cahir (Eamon Farren, Twin Peaks) more often too, as the pair navigate politics in Nilfgaard, allying with the elves. This is complicated because the humans and elves have always fought one another and the humans would rather oppress the elves. It’s honestly kind of confusing and gets even more complicated as the mages get involved.
There are a lot of new characters and characters we see more of, which definitely gives this season a different feel. Triss Merigold (Anna Shaffer, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) has a bigger role, helping Ciri, along with Geralt’s old friend and witcher Vesemir (Kim Bodnia, Killing Eve). They uncover secrets about Ciri’s blood, which many people are supposedly after because of its power (and the fact that it may be able to create more witchers). Mage Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu, Marco Polo) also has a role to play this season, and the scenes revolving around the mages in which they try to dissect politics and make power plays seem jumbled, but in the end, it would seem they are also after Ciri and/or her magic, like almost everybody else. And the season ends with a sort-of-predictable reveal that’s still suspenseful regardless because it’s shocking, even if you figured it out beforehand.
This season still carries on the monster-and-witcher fights, albeit in smaller doses because there are bigger factors at play now, and keeps in line with the humorous yet dark aura that makes The Witcher what it is. At the same time, since the plot is more complex and there are a lot of new characters, explanations of history, and elements to the magic, there’s less time for jokes and mini-adventures. Still, it’s a breath of fresh air when we finally see Jaskier again and get to laugh after scenes that are slower and heavier. Especially with his new song “Burn Butcher Burn.”
Many have voiced concerns over the show not being accurate to the book or to the game, while others have put trust in the showrunners and writers to follow the main themes of the source material, despite the way the plot strays from the original. Only time will tell how this particular issue will play out in the future, but anyone can see that The Witcher is a series that’ll definitely have a few more seasons under its belt.
Another thing that’s fairly obvious when watching The Witcher is that there could be more representation. An example is how a lot of characters of color needlessly die after being introduced for approximately five seconds. It’s clear that the series is trying hard to include more diversity into this fantasy, something that lacks in this genre, which is great, but it’s just something to take note of.
The action is still top-tier with the fight scenes being gripping and exciting. Sometimes it’s hard to understand how exactly they get from point A to point B as Ciri’s magic is not fully explained yet and we as an audience should just accept that she’s super powerful. It’s also because we don’t know all that much about the dark forces, a.k.a. Voleth Meir, that are at work this season (specifically in Yennefer’s storyline). We just get a few hazy hallucinations and evil-sounding voices to make up for it, which doesn’t quite do the job.
Still, The Witcher is a show all fantasy-lovers should watch. This season proves that the story will only become more and more immersive and intense, even if there are slower patches, and that the magical war is only beginning. And it’s a series that has a great dose of fun entwined in it as well. It’s an exciting adventure with thrilling fight scenes and dynamic characters, and so if some of this season is a little bewildering, it’ll likely prove worth it in the end.
The Witcher Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.