The Witcher Season 2 Recap: What to Remember Before Season 3

From "Burn Butcher Burn" to Kaer Morhen, here's everything you need to remember from the Witcher season 2

Geralt (Henry Cavill) and Ciri (Freya Allan) stare at each other in Kaer Morhen
Photo: Susie Allnutt / Netflix

After an emotional and revealing Witcher season 2 finale in 2021, it’s finally time to return to the Continent and see what’s next for Ciri (Freya Allan), Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), Geralt (Henry Cavill), Jaskier (Joey Batey), and everyone else in this magical world. The first part of The Witcher’s third season premieres on June 29, but before you dive into this next chapter, here’s everything you need to remember from season 2.

An Unlikely Partnership

Originally thought to be dead after the Battle of Sodden, Yennefer is revealed to be alive and a prisoner of Fringilla (Mimî M. Khayisa) and Nilfgaard. On the road back to Cintra, the two mages are captured by Francesca (Mecia Simson) and her loyal Elven warriors who are excavating a nearby monolith. Francesca has been having visions of a figure cloaked in white, who she believes to be the Elven prophet Ithlinne. After Yennefer and Fringilla reveal that they’ve been having similar visions of cloaked figures, Francesca agrees to let them accompany her to the dig site. There, they uncover the prison of Voleth Meir (Ania Marson), also known as the Deathless Mother, a demon who seeks to use their pain to grow stronger.

Fringilla and Francesca don’t realize Voleth Meir’s true intentions, and enter into an alliance at her behest, believing that it will help them reach their true desires. Fringilla offers the elves safe haven in their ancestral home of Cintra in exchange for alliance to Nilfgaard, believing it will garner her favor with Emperor Emhyr (Bart Edwards). Fringilla agrees, desperate to help her kind and provide a real home for her incoming child, potentially the first full-blooded Elf born in years.

Fringilla’s alliance with the elves makes the North uneasy and leads to an increase in prejudice against them. After Cahir (Eamon Farren) escapes the mages, he returns to Cintra. He is unsure of Fringilla’s new alliance at first, but after she threatens him by killing four of the White Flame’s generals, he pledges to vouch for her leadership skills when Emperor Emhyr arrives.

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Yennefer on the Run

After her first encounter with Voleth Meir, Yennefer leaves Fringilla and the elves and returns to Aretuza. While Tissaia (MyAnna Buring) and Triss (Anna Shaffer) are happy to see her alive, others like Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) are wary of her disappearance, believing that Yennefer has shifted alliances due to her Elven blood. In order to prove her fealty to the Brotherhood, Yennefer must execute Cahir in front of the Northern Kings. Powerless after the Battle of Sodden, Yennefer goes along with their plan until the last minute, freeing Cahir because she didn’t want to kill him and thought he could help her.

With the Brotherhood of Sorcerers and the Northern Kingdoms after them, Yennefer and Cahir flee to Oxenfurt, where elves are being persecuted and forced to flee. Hoping to gain safe passage to Cintra, Yennefer and Cahir track down a smuggler known as the Sandpiper, who has been helping elves flee the North.

The Ballad of The Sandpiper

In Oxenfurt, Yennefer and Cahir find themselves in a tavern on their journey to find the Sandpiper. They’re told to wait in the storeroom, but Yennefer hears a familiar voice and has to go investigate. It turns out that the mysterious Sandpiper is the Continent’s favorite bard, Jaskier, and his performances serve as a cover for elves to move safely through the town at night.

After a rendition of his new song “Burn Butcher Burn,” which is absolutely a breakup song about Geralt, Jaskier and Yennefer reconnect over drinks. They share their heartbreak over losing Geralt, and Jaskier tells Yennefer why he’s become the Sandpiper – he knows that persecuting the elves is a slippery slope that could lead to the persecution of anyone considered “other” by the powers that be and wants to do the right thing while he still can. 

Later, he travels with Yennefer, Cahir, and the elves, including Dara (Wilson Mbomio), Ciri’s companion from season 1, to the docks. He tries to distract the dockhand so that they can sneak aboard the boat to Cintra, but Jaskier can’t just let it go when the dockhand says that he’s not really into one of his songs. Jaskier then insults the guy and almost gets beaten up when one of the elves goads him into a fight instead. With the others safely on board, Jaskier says goodbye to Yennefer and tries to sneak away. After Yennefer hears a struggle and sees his lute broken on the ship’s deck, she decides to stay behind to help him, while Cahir and the others continue on to Cintra.

Yennefer finds Jaskier back at the tavern, but he’s not alone. He’s been captured by the mage Rience (Chris Fulton), who was freed from imprisonment by a sorceress named Lydia (Aisha Fabienne Ross) and a mysterious benefactor who want to find Ciri. Even without her powers, Yennefer is able to outsmart Rience, leaving his face burned by his own fire magic. Yennefer and Jaskier flee, but are separated and captured by the Oxenfurt guard. Yennefer uses the incantation of the Deathless Mother to evade capture by promising to deliver Ciri to her, but Jaskier isn’t so lucky and is thrown in jail.

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After Rience attacks the Temple of Melitele looking for Ciri, Geralt is separated from her and must track down Jaskier to help him find her and figure out what the mage even wants from her. Geralt breaks Jaskier out of jail and learns from him that Yennefer lost her magic and is working with Voleth Meir to get it back. Geralt and Jaskier run into the dwarf Yarpen (Jeremy Crawford) and his crew, who agree to help them stop Yennefer from giving Ciri to the Deathless Mother.

Kaer Morhen

When Geralt learns of Yennefer’s disappearance and probable death after the Battle of Sodden, he takes Ciri to Kaer Morhen, a fortress where Witchers go to rest and train. On the way, they come across an old friend of Geralt’s, Nivellan (Kristofer Hivju), who has been cursed and turned into a boar-like beast after vandalizing a nearby temple. They take refuge in his castle, but soon learn that Nivellan isn’t alone – he’s been harboring a vampire-like creature called a Bruxa. Even though the immortality that comes with Nivellan’s curse allows the Bruxa to feed on him without dying, that’s not enough for the creature and she continues to hunt the nearby villagers and anyone who wanders into town. Geralt kills her, breaking Nivellan’s curse and forcing him to live with the consequences of his actions.

Geralt and Ciri arrive at Kaer Morhen soon after, and are greeted by his mentor Vesemir (Kim Bodnia) and other Witchers seeking refuge. Arriving late, the young Witcher Eskel (Basil Eidenbenz) arrogantly strides in after defeating a tree-like creature called a Leshy. Thrilled to be in each other’s company once again, the Witchers drink and party into the night. Despite his arrogance, Eskel didn’t come away from his battle with the Leshy totally unscathed. He was stabbed in the shoulder by the creature, allowing it to leave a piece of itself behind. This causes Eskel to transform that night, attacking Vesemir and the others. Geralt is forced to kill him before he hurts anyone else, adding another medallion to the memorial of fallen Witchers. 

The Leshy situation forces Geralt to realize that even Kaer Morhen isn’t totally impenetrable, and agrees to let Ciri start training in combat so that she can learn how to defend herself. She dives into her training, refusing to let any of the others see her as a weak, spoiled princess.

Meanwhile, Vesemir studies Eskel’s corpse to figure out why he turned into a Leshy as they normally don’t infect people like this. After Ciri realizes she has a connection to this creature through her powers, she and Geralt track the mutated Leshy into the woods. Before they can kill it, however, a mutated Myriapod kills it. The Myriapod then sets its sights on Ciri, chasing her and Geralt through the woods before he gains the upper hand and slices its head off.

Monoliths, Prophecies, and Destiny

Triss arrives at Kaer Morhen to help Ciri with her powers and to help Geralt and Vesemir get to the bottom of their mutated monster problem. When they discover that the mutated monsters have traces of stellacite from the Continent’s mysterious monoliths, Ciri reveals that she accidentally knocked over a monolith outside of Cintra with her powers when she was fleeing the city. Triss sends Geralt to talk with Istredd (Royce Pierreson), a mage who has dedicated his studies to learning about the monoliths and how they work.

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Geralt and Istredd have a tense introduction, but decide to go investigate the monolith outside of Cintra together. While investigating the ruins, the two deduce that the monoliths serve as gateways between different spheres and that something is using them to send the mutated monsters to the Continent. This is also when Geralt finally learns that Yennefer survived Sodden and is on the run.

Meanwhile, Vesemir and Triss discover that Ciri has Elder Blood after the rare flower Feainnewedd is found where her blood has spilled across Kaer Morhen’s training course. Elder Blood or Hen Ichaer is a gene found in the descendants of the powerful elven warrior Lara Dorren and usually indicates that they possess a rare and powerful magic. Since Elder Blood is one of the primary ingredients found in the Witcher mutagen, he asks Ciri to let him use some of her blood to make more. The last of the Witcher mutagen was lost in the sacking of Kaer Morhen, and Vesemir sees this as an opportunity to finally make more Witchers to protect the continent.

Ciri agrees, but only if she’s allowed to be the first person to try the mutagen. She believes it will help her protect herself and Geralt from the monsters, both human and otherwise, that are after her. Triss attempts to talk her out of it by conducting a ritual that is supposed to allow them both to see where Ciri’s power comes from, but instead shows them both Ithlinne’s prophecy. This prophecy foretells that a child of Elder Blood will one day come and destroy the world, and they both believe that Ciri could be this child. The ritual and revelation of the prophecy causes Ciri to unconsciously unleash some of her power, which opens a portal in the Cintran monolith. A Chernobog comes through and immediately sets off to find Ciri. Istredd sends Geralt back to the woods near Kaer Morhen, where he fights and defeats the Chernobog. Unfortunately, Roach is fatally wounded, and Geralt is forced to say farewell to his trusty companion.

Back at the fortress, Vesemir and Triss are forced to fight off Rience. They keep him away from Ciri, but he leaves with the only bottle of the new Witcher mutagen. Triss returns to Aretuza and tells Tissaia of Ciri’s powers and her destiny. Geralt and Ciri leave Kaer Morhen for the Temple of Melitele, where Geralt hopes she’ll learn more about her powers. During their time there, Geralt and Yennefer reconnect briefly before Rience appears once more. Yennefer teaches Ciri how to make a portal and escapes with her, leaving Geralt behind.

The White Flame’s Arrival

Before Emperor Emhyr arrives in Cintra, Francesca gives birth to a healthy baby, causing the elves to spend their time in celebration rather than fighting for Nilfgaard. Soon after Fringilla convinces Cahir to vouch for her, the baby is found murdered by Francesca. Believing this to be a political play by the Northern Kingdoms, she takes her revenge on Redania, killing all human babies instantly with her magic.

When the Emperor finally arrives, Fringilla and Cahir try to take credit for the baby’s death, believing it will gain them favor with him. Instead, Emhyr reveals that he had the baby murdered to redirect the elves’ attention and has Fringilla and Cahir arrested for their deception. This is the first time we get to see the infamous White Flame in person, and we learn that we’ve actually met him before. Emperor Emhyr is Duny, Ciri’s father, who had supposedly died along with her mother when she was a child. Nilfgaard hasn’t just been looking for Ciri because of her powers, but because her father is desperate to reunite with her.

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Voleth Meir and the Wild Hunt

Despite her hesitations, Yennefer brings Ciri to the Cintra monolith for Voleth Meir. When they arrive, Ciri senses Yennefer’s betrayal with her powers and causes another rift with her anger. Nilfgaardian soldiers come to investigate just as Geralt, Jaskier, and Yarpen’s crew arrive. Geralt sends Ciri back to Kaer Morhen with Jaskier while he uses Yennefer to reach Voleth Meir’s hut. Geralt and Yennefer arrive to find the hut empty, the pain from Francesca’s loss finally giving the Deathless Mother enough power to leave her prison. She escapes and takes over Ciri’s body.

Geralt and Yennefer hurry back to Kaer Morhen to find a possessed Ciri killing the other Witchers. Voleth Meir then uses Ciri and her powers to uncover a monolith hidden within Kaer Morhen’s memorial tree. She opens a portal and unleashes monsters on the surviving Witchers. To make up for what she did, Yennefer offers herself as a host to Voleth Meir, freeing her from the demon’s control. Free from Voleth Meir’s control, Ciri opens a portal that sends her, Yennefer, and Geralt to another sphere. Finally home, Voleth Meir leaves Yennefer’s body and joins the Wild Hunt, who are closing in on the trio. Ciri is able to send them back to Kaer Morhen, where Yennefer uses her newly regained powers to help heal the wounded.

Redanian Intelligence

In Redania, spymaster Sigismund Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) and court mage Phillippa Eilhart (Cassie Clare) convince King Vizimir (Ed Birch) that if they find Ciri, he could use her to gain control over Cintra. They use Dara as a spy to learn of weaknesses within Francesca and Fringilla’s partnership until he decides to fight for his people rather than himself. After Tissaia betrays Triss and tells Vilgefortz of Ciri’s powers and her potential destiny, the other Northern Kingdoms decide that they can’t let Redania or Nilfgaard hold that much power, and set a bounty for Ciri and anyone who helps her.

The Witcher season 3 vol. 1 is available so stream on Netflix now.