Geralt of Rivia
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|Geralt of Rivia|
|The Witcher character|
Geralt as he appears in Wild Hunt
|First appearance||The Witcher (1986)|
|Last appearance||Blood and Wine expansion pack|
|Created by||Andrzej Sapkowski|
|Portrayed by||Michał Żebrowski
(film and TV series)
|Voiced by||Jacek Rozenek
(Polish; video games)
(English; video games)
Butcher of Blaviken
Assassin of kings
Hater of portals
Geralt of Rivia (Polish: Geralt z Rivii) is a fictional character and the protagonist of The Witcher series of short stories and novels by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, as well as its video game adaptations. Geralt, one of few remaining witchers on the Continent, is a travelling monster slayer for hire, mutated and trained from an early age to slay deadly beasts for coin.
Geralt, the central character, is a witcher. Shortly after being born, Geralt was forced (by the "Law of Surprise", a law that states that if one cannot pay for the services of a witcher, the witcher is entitled to something the debtor does not yet know they have) to undergo training and, eventually, become a witcher at Kaer Morhen — the stronghold of the Wolf School Witchers. Geralt survived numerous mutations during the Trial of the Grasses (alongside the extra mutations), thanks to which he gained practically superhuman physical and mental abilities with minimal side effects. He resisted the "changes" brought on by the Trial of Grasses better than most, which encouraged his makers to perform even more dangerous experimental procedures on him, making him lose all body pigmentation. Because of his pale skin and white hair, he is also known in the Elder Speech as "Gwynbleidd", the White Wolf.
Despite his name, Geralt does not come from Rivia (although he learned how to mimic a Rivian accent): young witchers were encouraged to make up surnames for themselves by master Vesemir, to make their names sound more trustworthy. He once claimed that his first choice was Geralt Roger Eric du Haute-Bellegarde, but this was dismissed by Vesemir as silly and pretentious.
After completing his witcher training, he received his Wolf medallion (the symbol of Kaer Morhen) and embarked into the world on his horse called Płotka — (literally, "Roach" with a dimunitive suffix. More accurately "Roachie" in English; he gave the same name to every horse he owned) to become a monster slayer for hire.
"I looked for the words "Witcher urgently needed". And then there'd be a sacred site, a dungeon, necropolis or ruins, forest ravine or grotto hidden in the mountains, full of bones and stinking carcasses. Some creatures which lived to kill, out of hunger, for pleasure, or invoked by some sick will. A manticore, wyvern, fogler, aeschna, ilyocoris, chimera, leshy, vampire, ghoul, graveir, were-wolf, giant scorpion, striga, black annis, kikimora, vypper... so many I've killed." - Geralt, The Last Wish (book)
Even though Geralt did not believe in destiny, he unknowingly demanded the unborn child of princess Pavetta and her husband Duny as a reward for his services by invoking "the Law of Surprise" . The child turned out to be a girl, Ciri (otherwise known as Ziri coming from the elder speech word Zireael meaning Swallow). At first, Geralt did not take her because women cannot become witchers. However, fate or blind chance caused Geralt and Ciri to cross their paths thrice, and after the death of her grandmother, Queen Calanthe of Cintra, Geralt ends up taking the girl into his care, training and loving her as his own daughter.
The events of the novels unfold as Geralt is pulled into a whirlwind of events in his attempts to protect Ciri from those who would do her harm, becoming reluctantly embroiled in the political contentions of monarchs and emperors.
Continuation in videogames
After seemingly being killed by a mob during a slaughter of non-humans at the end of the Witcher saga and taken, with Yennefer, to an island by Ciri, Geralt's story continues in more recent, non-canonical videogames (The Witcher, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt). Geralt returns to life with no recollection of the details of his sudden reappearance, and after Yennefer was captured by the Wild Hunt, he offered himself for her freedom. He was saved once again by Ciri, and left wounded and without memory of his past in the wood near Kaer Morhen. He is rescued by the last remaining witchers in the world and taken back to Kaer Morhen.
Sapkowski stated that the games are the work of art of their own and that they cannot be considered neither an "alternative version", nor a sequel, "because this can only be told by Geralt's creator. A certain Andrzej Sapkowski." 
Literary analysis and reception
Geralt is described as being emblematic of Polish popular culture's spirit of "neo-liberal anti-politics" in the 1990s. He is a professional, carrying out his duties and unwilling to become involved in the "petty quarrels" of the contemporary politics. Marek Oramus compared Geralt to Raymond Chandler's signature character Philip Marlowe. In 2012, GamesRadar ranked him as the 50th best hero in video game history.
- Purchese, Robert (7 November 2012). "Ever wondered what the author of The Witcher books thinks about the games?". Eurogamer. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- Péter Apor (2008). Past for the eyes: East European representations of communism in cinema and museums after 1989. Central European University Press. p. 198. ISBN 9789639776050. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- (in Polish) Marek Oramus. "Jedynie słuszny wizerunek wiedźmina", Polityka – nr 36 (2261) from 2 September 2000; p. 52-54.
- "100 best heroes in video games. The most memorable, influential, and badass protagonists in games".