We’re here, at last, the final relationship breakdown in our exploration of The Witcher season 2. And don’t think I left the ship for last because there’s little to discuss. Oh no, there’s plenty to discuss as we get into the betrayals, the mooning, and the almost murder of the relationship between Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) and Geralt (Henry Cavill) in season 2. Because if we thought season 1 was a roller-coaster, well, then season 2 was akin to skydiving.
Throughout it all, however, one thing remained clear: the feelings these two had for each other were present and impossible to deny. For Yennefer, however, the doubt remained: were they real? For Geralt, the question was different, particularly after Yennefer’s betrayal. His question was: were they enough? Could they ever be?
Answers to questions such as these are never easy. But as the two of them step into season 3 a unit, the sworn protectors of Ciri, there’s much to discuss where their relationship stands, why they are where they are and where they need to go next.
A WISH + A BETRAYAL MAKE WHAT?
Geralt and Yennefer love each other, that’s never been in question. But they have never truly trusted each other. More importantly, they have never truly trusted the feelings they had for each other. Geralt was the first to doubt, the first to leave. That planted seeds of doubt in Yennefer, who kept subsequently leaving, so she wouldn’t be left.
But the truth is, they spent years hoping they wouldn’t have to leave each other, years hoping that they weren’t the only one feeling the way they felt. And then, when it seemed like they might, perhaps, see eye to eye, Yennefer found out about the wish and that was that.
Of course, the problem wasn’t the wish, but what the wish entailed. Though we don’t know the exact nature of what Geralt wished for, it’s clear the wish binds them together. And for Yennefer, that means neither her feelings nor his can be trusted. It isn’t as simple as that, of course. But Yennefer has never been one to sit and reflect – instead, she’s one to react, harshly.
In season 1, Geralt’s wish is as much about him as it is about Yennefer. Sure, he wants to save her, but he doesn’t even know her. Instead, he’s pushed by his desire to be a white knight, to be the hero of her tale. In season 2, Yennefer’s betrayal – of Geralt, of Ciri – has about as little to do with Geralt as his wish had to do with her in season 1. But it is a betrayal, nonetheless.
How do they go on from here? How do they forgive each other? It sounds cliché, but perhaps all they need to do is actually …try. Yennefer never really tried to forgive Geralt for what he did – which, in her eyes, was taking away her choice. Geralt, however, is quicker to accept, if not forgive Yennefer, for her arguably worse betrayal of almost delivering Ciri to Voleth Meir, because he needs her. Because Ciri needs her.
But that doesn’t mean the two of them are anywhere near where they should be, just trying. For two people who care so much for each other, Geralt and Yennefer don’t really know each other that well, don’t truly understand what makes the other tick …or make the decisions that led Geralt to his wish, and Yennefer to his almost betrayal. And with knowledge comes understanding.
Either way, as they prepare to protect Ciri, one thing is clear – they will need to be a team. The two of them and Ciri are a family unit. That’s true. But Geralt and Yennefer are the adults. And if they can’t trust each other, if they can’t see eye to eye, then Ciri will get hurt. So now it’s not about wanting to get along. It’s about wanting to deal with the feelings and the baggage and having to.
What is that something more than they needed? And why can Ciri be the thing that truly binds them together? Well, she can at least be the thing that forces them to try. The rest is, of course, up to them.
But for Yennefer, the one whose fondest dream wasn’t of magic, but of a family with Geralt, and for the Geralt that would have given up everything for Yennefer, no questions asked, there might be no bigger gift than being put into a position when it’s not that easy to run away. Because the more you love someone, the scarier it is. And when you have never had a real family, much less someone who puts you first, it’s hard to imagine anyone ever could.
And though, yes, their relationship will now be dictated by Ciri and their desire to protect her, it’s impossible to exist around someone who you love as much as Geralt and Yennefer love each other without reexamining what that love means, and how they can, perhaps, find common ground going forward.
Yennefer is important to Geralt. Geralt is important to Yennefer. The rest …the mistakes, the wishes, the fear, the times they chose everything but each other because reaching for one another seemed too hard, that’s in the past. Now the choice has been made. Geralt made it when he went after Ciri. Yennefer made it when she sacrificed herself for the girl.
Now, it’s about moving forward, together. As a family, yes, but also …as a unit. Love might not have been enough, but when you add responsibility, proximity, and a choice that you have already made, unequivocally, to the mix, well …what else can you do but examine that love that you didn’t feel you deserved or could ever have?
It’s not that they needed “something more” because their love wasn’t enough, no. It’s that they needed something more to be able to get to a place where they could accept and understand what being together means. And that …well, that’s a journey I cannot wait to see.
The Witcher season 2 is available to stream on Netflix.