The Witcher season 2 delivered in most respects, with compelling storytelling, even more compelling characters and an ending that left us hoping we could get season 3 right about now. And though yes, some parts didn’t stick the landing — oh, the elves, the elves — one of the things that worked best was, no surprise here, the relationship between Henry Cavill’s Geralt and Freya Allan’s Ciri.
It was to be expected, if we’re being honest. Their relationship is at the center of this story, and it was the one thing season 1 was building towards and that we never got to see them develop. But there’s working, and then there’s working as well as this relationship did, to the point we’re considering dumping Mando and Baby Yoda as our favorite Surrogate Dad/Child, at least momentarily.
What made it work? How did their relationship help both characters? And how will the changing dynamics work in season 3? We discuss as we break down the main relationship of The Witcher season 2, that of Geralt and Ciri:
A Father Figure
Geralt didn’t sign up to be a father figure. In fact, he actively avoided the possibility of becoming one for years and years, only resigning himself to the fact when he realized Ciri needed urgent protection. But even then, we can see that Geralt doesn’t really understand how to be what Ciri needs, at least not at first. Parents never do. No one comes with an instruction manual, and the younger a kid is the more a parent has to balance respecting their wishes with the reality that being a parent means protecting your child, sometimes against themselves.
Protecting is something Geralt does well. When he goes in search of Ciri, it’s because he understands this. He can keep her safe. If/when monsters attack, he can wield a sword and protect her from them. But can he be more than that? Can he be the comforting face when she needs that, the patient teacher, the loving father? Geralt before Ciri would have said no. The Ciri who first met Geralt might have had some doubts. But season 2 proved that as unconventional as it is, love — and not just romantic love — can indeed change a person.
It can make Geralt all the more likely to use words instad of grunts, and it can make Ciri trust someone else’s instincts above her own, something she was never really good at doing, not even when she was safe as the Princess of Cintra. And though this part of their relationship can and will continue to grow, the most important part is that there’s never a sense of obligation to why Geralt and Ciri have suddenly become a family.
They just have. The reasons don’t matter. Only what they do going forward does.
Season 2 gives both Geralt and Ciri a defining moment, a moment of choosing each other, of vocalizing what they meant o each other in ways the world can understand. For Geralt is not just his anger at Yennefer, the person he cares most about in the world, but his clear words as he holds a sword to her throat, ready to kill her for the crime of putting Ciri in danger: Mine. He’s talking about Ciri, of course. And he’s making it clear what his choice is, above all things. He’s a father now, and that’s the way things go. He might not have realized that he’d become one before this, but in this moment, in front of Yennefer, he doesn’t just know it, he owns it.
For Ciri, it is actually putting into words what Geralt has come to mean to her, what he’s become. It’s not just about him protecting her, not just about physical safety. Ciri is clear: he’s the father she never had. And that doesn’t mean they’ll agree on everything, or that there won’t ever be conflict, but it does mean they’re together …for good. A family by choice, not blood. There might be nothing more powerful than that.
What’s in a family?
Ciri — unlike Yennefer and Geralt, has had a family before, a loving one, made up of people she’s actually related to. Both the people who have now made it their life’s purpose to protect her have only really had the kind of family you make for yourself, the kind you choose. Well, and each other and Ciri. So, in one respect, Ciri has a leg up over both her new “parents.” But she’s also got a much closer relationship with one of them, and it’s not the one teaching her magic.
We’ll discuss the relationship between Ciri and Yennefer in another article, because this is about Geralt and how adding Yennefer will affect his very close bond with Ciri. On the surface, Yennefer is the outsider in the situation, and it’s unlikely she can come close to the level of closeness those two share, at least not right away, but one thing Yennefer can do is bring out the side of Geralt Ciri hasn’t gotten to see as much.
The soft one. The loving one. The one who uses words, instead of a sword.
Not because Geralt won’t be able to help himself in regards to his feelings for Yennefer, but because Yennefer, as a woman, understands better what a young girl like Ciri needs from a father figure. And one thing Yennefer has never been afraid of is giving Geralt the truth, whether he likes it or not.
This, in turn, can positively impact his relationship with Ciri. Sure, he loves her. He’s shown that, again and again. He’s always there for her, even when she might not want him to, actually. He protects her, no matter the personal cost. But words are nice, too. No, words are necessary. Someone’s gotta remind Geralt of that.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of The Witcher season 2? Share with us in the comments below!
The Witcher season 2 is available to stream on Netflix.