Geralt of Rivia

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Geralt of Rivia
The Witcher character
Geralt of Rivia Witcher.png
Henry Cavill as Geralt in the television series The Witcher
First appearance"The Witcher" (1986)
Last appearanceSeason of Storms (2013)
Created byAndrzej Sapkowski
Portrayed byMichał Żebrowski
(The Hexer film and TV series)
Henry Cavill
(The Witcher TV series)
Voiced byJacek Rozenek
(video games, Polish)
Doug Cockle
(video games, English)
In-universe information
AliasesWhite Wolf
Butcher of Blaviken
Ravix of Fourhorn
Butcher of White Orchard
FamilyVisenna (mother)
Significant othersYennefer of Vengerberg (lover)
Triss Merigold (lover)
Fringilla Vigo (lover)
ChildrenCiri (adopted daughter)

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 author Andrzej Sapkowski. He is a magically enhanced monster-hunter known as a "witcher", who possesses supernatural abilities due to his mutations. He was described by Péter Apor as a character embodying "the neo-liberal anti-politics" spirit of the Polish popular culture of the 1990s, following his debut in the books.[1]

Geralt of Rivia is also the protagonist in CD Projekt Red's series of video games based on The Witcher. In television adaptations, he is portrayed by Michał Żebrowski in The Hexer film and TV series, while Henry Cavill portrays the character in Netflix's The Witcher TV series.[2][3]

Fictional biography[edit]


Geralt is a witcher. Shortly after being born, Geralt's mother, Visenna, gave him away to undergo training and, eventually, become a witcher at Kaer Morhen – the stronghold of the witchers. Geralt survived mutations during the Trial of the Grasses, thanks to which he gained various witcher traits: high resistance to injury, poison, and diseases, as well as slowed aging, but also infertility; all witchers are infertile. 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" (close to the Welsh translation "Blaidd Gwyn"[4]), the White Wolf. From the arduous training of Witchers, he became a master swordfighter and learnt how to use the Signs, simple spells used by the witchers.

Despite his name, Geralt does not come from Rivia (although he learned how to mimic a Rivian accent and is later knighted for services to the queen of Rivia): 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" ; 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, in Andrzej Sapkowski, The Last Wish, "The Voice of Reason 4"

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, Cirilla, commonly known as Ciri; since then the two are linked to each other. At first, Geralt did not take her because women cannot become witchers. However, fate caused Geralt and Ciri to cross their paths thrice, with him claiming her for a second time when he invokes the Law of Surprise on a traveling merchant he saves from monsters during a random encounter; 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.

Following the short stories, 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.[5][6]

Literary analysis and reception[edit]

A mural of Geralt in Łódź, Poland

Péter Apor described Geralt as being emblematic of Polish popular culture's spirit of "neo-liberal anti-politics" in the 1990s.[1] He is a professional, carrying out his duties and unwilling to become involved in the "petty quarrels" of the contemporary politics.[1] Sapkowski has stated that he personally abhors politics and considers his books to be politically neutral.[7] Marek Oramus compared Geralt to Raymond Chandler's signature character Philip Marlowe.[8] In October 2021, a mural of Geralt was painted on the side of a skyscraper in Sapkowski's hometown of Łódź. Spanning three 70-meter-high walls and covering almost 2,000 sq/m, it is the largest mural in Poland and one of the largest in the world.[9] In 2018, GamesRadar ranked Geralt as the 6th best hero in video game history.[10] In 2018, he was included in Tom's Guide Top 25 Best Video Game Characters of All Time.[11]

In other media[edit]

Film and television[edit]

Michał Żebrowski portrays Geralt in the 2001 Polish film adaptation, The Hexer.[12] He continued the role in the television series of the same name that followed in 2002. Żebrowski also provides the dub voice of Cavill's Geralt in the Polish-language dub of Netflix's TV adaptation.[12]

Henry Cavill portrays Geralt in the Netflix television series The Witcher, the first season of which was released in December 2019.[13] Sapkowski served as a creative consultant on the project.[14]

Video games[edit]

Geralt's adventures continue in a non-canonical version by CD Projekt Red's video game trilogy (The Witcher, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt), where he is still alive. He is voiced by Jacek Rozenek in Polish and Doug Cockle in English.

The third installment of the trilogy, like its predecessors, follows Geralt through his final adventures. Following the events of Witcher 2, Geralt has regained his memory of the past and prepares to embark on a new journey. In the Witcher 3, Geralt is on the hunt for the only person he considers kin, Ciri. Along his journey, Geralt must face the Wild Hunt in order to protect the people he cares about. In the new open world, Geralt has the opportunity to complete quests that are both part of the main story and side quests. He will also interact with old friends Dandelion and Vesemir along with potential lovers Triss Merigold and Yennefer.[15]

Sapkowski stated that the games are a work of art of their own and that they cannot be considered either an "alternative version", or a sequel, "because this can only be told by Geralt's creator. A certain Andrzej Sapkowski."[16]

Geralt, voiced by Cockle, appeared as a guest character in the 2018 game Soulcalibur VI.[17][18] He also appeared in special content for Monster Hunter: World[19] and Daemon X Machina.[20]

See also[edit]

Media related to Geralt of Rivia at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ a b c 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 978-963-9776-05-0. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
  2. ^ Otterson, Joe (4 September 2018). "Henry Cavill to Star in 'Witcher' Series at Netflix". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  3. ^ Townsed, Benedict (16 February 2018). "Henry Cavill has been cast as the lead in a HUGE new Netflix show". PopBuzz. Retrieved 16 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Gemmill, Allie (21 December 2019). "Here's What You Should Know About Geralt of Rivia in Netflix's 'The Witcher'". Geek. Archived from the original on 22 December 2019. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  5. ^ Edwards, Richard (30 June 2020). "How to read The Witcher books in order". TechRadar. Retrieved 16 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Gwynne, Edward (9 January 2020). "REVIEW: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski". Grimdark Magazine. Retrieved 16 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Maher, John (28 January 2020). "Toss a Coin to Your Author: PW Talks with Andrzej Sapkowski". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  8. ^ Oramus, Marek (2 September 2000). "Only the right image of a witcher" [Jedynie słuszny wizerunek wiedźmina]. Polityka (in Polish). Poland. pp. 52–54. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Łódź, Piotrkowska Street. The witcher on the walls of a skyscraper, Geralt of Rivia on the largest mural in Poland". Polish News. 10 October 2021. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  10. ^ "The best heroes in video games". GamesRadar+. Future Publishing. 28 February 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  11. ^ July 2018, Tom's Guide Staff 07 (7 July 2018). "The 25 Best Video Game Characters of All Time". Tom's Guide. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Polish Dub of Netflix's Witcher has Geralt of Rivia Voiced by Himself". GamePressure. 6 December 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  13. ^ "Netflix'S The Witcher casts pivotal roles of Ciri & Yennefer". Netflix. 10 October 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  14. ^ "'The Witcher' Saga TV Series Adaptation Ordered at Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. 17 May 2017.
  15. ^ "The Witcher 3 Wiki Guide". IGN. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Purchese, Robert (7 November 2012). "Ever wondered what the author of The Witcher books thinks about the games?". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Play as Geralt of Rivia in SOULCALIBUR VI!". CD Projekt Red. CD Projekt. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  18. ^ Wong, Alistair (17 June 2018). "Geralt Shows Off His Sword And Signs Gameplay In Soul Calibur". Archived from the original on 29 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  19. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (8 February 2019). "Monster Hunter World x The Witcher contracts earn you Geralt and Ciri armor and weapon sets". VG247. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Daemon X Machina Meets The Witcher 3 With New Geralt and Ciri DLC". DualShockers. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.