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 (2019–present)
First appearance
Last appearance
  • Literature:
  • Season of Storms (2013)
  • Film:
  • The Hexer (2001)
  • Television:
  • "Ciri" (2002)
    (The Hexer)
Created byAndrzej Sapkowski
Adapted byLauren Schmidt Hissrich
(The Witcher)
Portrayed byMichał Żebrowski
(The Hexer film and TV series)
Henry Cavill
(The Witcher TV series)
In-universe information
AliasesWhite Wolf
Gwynbleidd
Butcher of Blaviken
Ravix of Fourhorn
Butcher of White Orchard
SpeciesHuman
GenderMale
OccupationWitcher
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 writer Andrzej Sapkowski. He is a magically enhanced monster-hunter known as a "witcher", who also possesses supernatural abilities due to his mutations. He has been described 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] In its televisions adaptations he was portrayed by Michał Żebrowski in The Hexer film and TV series, while Henry Cavill portrayed the character in Netflix The Witcher series.[2][3]

When he was a child, his mother gave him to the School of the Wolf at Kaer Morhen to be trained and transformed as a witcher. After supporting many mutations that granted him abilities, Geralt became one of the few remaining witchers on the Continent, is a traveling monster slayer for hire, mutated and trained from an early age to slay deadly beasts. He eventually ended up unknowingly invoking "the Law of Surprise" as a reward, which eventually causes a great connection with the Princess Cirilla. When they finally meet, Geralt takes care of her, and trains her to become a Witcher. He also fell in love with sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg and considered her the love of his life despite their tumultuous relationship.

Geralt has grown to become one of the most iconic and influential video games characters of all time, now is widely considered by many fans one of the greatest characters of all time.[4] Cavill's performance in the Netflix television series has received largely positive reviews from critics and many considered it to be the best adaptation of the character in a television series.[5][6]

Fictional biography[edit]

Novels[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 disease, slowed ageing, but also infertility. 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"[7]), the White Wolf. From the arduous training of Witchers, he became a master sword fighter 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.[8][9]

Video games[edit]

Geralt of Rivia
First gameThe Witcher (2007)
Last appearanceSoulcalibur VI (2018)
Adapted byArtur Ganszyniec
Sebastian Stępień
Marcin Blacha
Voiced byPolish:
Jacek Rozenek
Russian:
Vsevolod Kuznetsov
English:
Doug Cockle
Japanese:
Kazuhiro Yamaji
In-universe information
Aliases
  • White One
  • Geralt Roger
  • Eric du Haute-Bellegarde

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 after being killed by a mob during an anti non-human riot at the end of the Witcher novel saga and his body was taken in a boat by his daughter Ciri to Avalon.

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.[10][11]

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."[12]

TV adaptations[edit]

Hexer (2002)[edit]

In this television series, Gerald of Rivia is based loosely in the books series The Witcher, and is portrayed by Michał Żebrowski. The Polish series follows his life from his childhood, training and eventually transformation to a Witcher.[13][14]

The Witcher (2019-present)[edit]

Season 1[edit]

After fighting a kikimora in 1231, Geralt arrives to the town of Blaviken and meets Renfri, a cursed princess-turned-bandit who is being hunted by the wizard Stregobor, who thinks that she is evil for being born during the eclipse. Geralt meets Marilka who takes him to Stregobor and the latter attempts to convince him to kill Renfri, but the former refuses. Renfri also offers to Geralt a counter-proposal, but he refuses with an ultimatum: leave or die. After that Geralt meets Renfri again, and she tells him that she is leaving town. However, when he wakes up the next day, Geralt finds out that she is not leaving and she will not stop until Stregobor is dead and he rushes to stop her. After killing her men, Renfri takes hostage Marilka, then Geralt convinced her to release her and fights her. Gerald manages to mortally wound her, and before dying Renfri tells Geralt that the girl in the forest who is his destiny forever. Stregobor arrives and to take Renfri's body for autopsy, but Geralt refuses to let him do it. Afterwards Geralt is forced by the townspeople including Marilka to leave and never return urged by Stregobor.[15][16][17]

In 1240, Geralt is seen drinking in a tavern. Then he meets Jasker a mediocre bard who asks him to give a review, in which Geralt tells him that the monsters mentioned in the song do not exist. Then Geralt is hired to investigate mysterious grain thefts in Posada, where he is followed by Jaskier much to his dismay. They encounter and confront a Sylvan named Torque, who manages to knock them unconscious. After waking up they are in a mountain cave, where they meet Filavandrel, the elven king. He tells that they have been stealing to help their sick and starving populace, driven out from their lands by the humans, which Geralt urges him to fight, and lead his people to better lands. Filavandrel spares their lives and let them go and decides to take Geralt words to heart.[18][19][20]

In 1243, when Geralt learns of a rumor that another Witcher called Remus was hired but left with the Gold, he decides to go the kingdom of Temeria to pay off his debts leaving Roach, his horse, behind. Geralt arrives at the kingdom to find that the workers on the brink of the revolt, and confronts them. Later the courtier Ostrit, arrives with several guards, and forces Geralt to leave with several guards escorting. When the guards falls asleep, he meets Triss Merigold a sorceress who hires him to revert the curse of the monster. Then she shows Geralt the corpse of Remus which she hid to hide the fact that a monster killed a Witcher. After finding his heart missing Geralt realizes that the monster is a striga. After learning about the rumor that the late Princess Adda gave birth to a daughter after an affair with her brother King Foltest, Geralt confronts the latter and demands to know who is really the father but Foltest refuses to cooperate. Gerald and Triss eventually discover that Ostrit was in love with Adda and that he is the one who put the curse after learning of the affair. Geralt realizes that has to fight the monster until dawn to lift the curse, and he uses Ostrit as a bait to lure the striga and fight. Ostrit is killed, and Geralt fights the striga until dawn managing to break the curse, but he is wounded in the process. When Geralt recovers from his injuries, Triss gives him the money, returning him the gift to the now cured princess as well.

In 1249, Geralt accompanies Jaskier as a bodyguard to the betrothal feast of Princess Pavetta, Queen Calanthe's daughter, as several of the nobles in attendance might recognize him as the man who cuckolded them with their various wives, concubines, and sometimes mothers. He meets Queen Calanthe who invites him to dinner with him. Afterwards Urcheon of Erlenwald (also named Duny) interrupts to demand Pavetta's hand through the Law of Surprise, having saved her father years earlier. Dune suffers from a curse that transformed him into a hedgehog/man creature. Calanthe refuses to allow Duny to take her daughter's hand, and attempts to kill him beginning with a brawl. Geralt and the King Eist Tuirseach intervene and fight the guards until Calanthe eventually orders to stop. Eist tries to reason with Calanthe, but Calanthe attempts to kill Duny only to be stopped by Pavetta who causes a vortex revealing that she has powers. Geralt manages to bring them down, while Calanthe finally realizes that they are meant to be together by the destiny, she marries Duny and Pavetha. Eist also proposes to Calanthe in which she agrees. Duny, thankful for Geralt's aid, insists he take a reward, which Geralt jokingly invokes the Law of Surprise but Pavetha reveals that she is pregnant much to his dismay. Before Geralt can leave, Mousesack an old friend of former, warns him that the connection will grow and eventually the two of them will meet.

In 1256 Geralt again meets Jaskier, meanwhile he is looking for a Djinn and finds one. Jaskier accidentally releases it and initially seems to be the master, but he ends up seriously ill. Geralt takes him to the nearest healer, the elf Chireadan, who finds out they need a mage to heal Jaskier. Geralt forces Chireadan to tell him that the mage is in the mayor's house. Arriving there Geralt meets the mage, Yennefer of Vengerberg. Jaskier is cured by Yennefer, however she wants to use Jaskier to capture the Djinn and force him to grant her wish of regaining her fertility. She curses Geralt, with the latter being imprisoned alongside Chireadan. Geralt is beaten by a guard, however the former wish to burst, which ends up with the guard's head exploding. There Geralt finds out that he is the one who granted the wishes and not Jaskier. This is also proven when Yennefer forces Jaskier to make his last wish but it does not work. Geralt manages to escape from prison and rushes to save Yennefer by making his last wish, to Yennefer be freed of the Djinn. Afterwards Geralt, and Yennefer now free from the Djinn have sex. Yennefer asks Geralt what was his last wish but Geralt finally falls asleep as he wanted. As time passes, Geralt and Yennefer begin to stumble into each other repeatedly on random occasions for some time, and every time they would have sex and Yennefer would leave him afterward.

In 1262 Geralt and Jaskier are recruited to join a dragon hunt by adventurer Borch and his two bodyguards Téa and Véa. After learning that Yennefer is joining the party too, Jaskier is reluctant to join but Geralt agrees having developed feelings for her after they first met. They join the party alongside Yennefer's knight, a band of dwarves and Reavers, professional monster hunters. After camping overnight they find the knight's dead and the Reavers have departed. The dwarves suggest a mountain shortcut, however arriving there, the bridge gives way. Having no choice, Borch and her bodyguards sacrifices themselves to save the party. Geralt latter realizes why Yennefer wants to kill the dragon, and then the two express they love to each other. The following morning they find out that the dwarves are missing, having abandoned them to kill the dragon alone. Yennefer immobilize them, and arrive at the cave, only to find the dragon death, and that Téa, Véa and Borch still alive. Borch reveals himself as Vilentretenmerth, a golden dragon, and confesses that the real reason why he recruited Geralt is to protect the egg. The five eventually protect the egg fighting the Reavers. Afterwards the dwarves arrive, and Borch convinces them that the dragon is dead by giving them proof. Afterwards Yennefer finds out that Geralt's wish bound their fates together and she accuses Geralt of taking away her freedom. Believing that her feelings are artificial Yennefer declares that she cannot be with Geralt and leaves. Afterwards Geralt blames Jaskier for all of his misfortunes and hopes that they never meet again.

In 1263, with Nilfgaard about to invade Cintra, he decides to invoke his Law of Surprise and claim Ciri to protect her. However Calanthe refuses to allow him to take Ciri, and imprisons him. When Cintra is successfully invaded, Geralt manages to escape successfully and leaves the city, but not before seeing the lifeless body of Calanthe. Geralt defends a merchant from undead monsters, but he is wounded in the process and passes out. Geralt wakes up the following morning in the merchant's cart. Once they arrive at the merchant's farm, he hears the woman talking with the man about Ciri. Realizing she is closer, Geralt heads into the forest, where he finally meets Ciri and embrace, thus fulfilling his destiny.[21][22][23]

Literary analysis and reception[edit]

Geralt is described 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] Marek Oramus compared Geralt to Raymond Chandler's signature character Philip Marlowe.[24] In 2018, GamesRadar ranked him as the 6th best hero in video game history.[25] In 2018, Geralt was included in Tom's Guide Top 25 Best Video Game Characters of All Time.[26]

In other media[edit]

Film[edit]

Michał Żebrowski portrays Geralt in the Polish-language adaptation movie The Hexer.

Television[edit]

Michał Żebrowski reprised his role from the film to portray Geralt in the polish-language adaptation series The Hexer that came out in 2002.

Henry Cavill portrays Geralt in the Netflix adaptation of the books, the first season of which was released in December 2019.[27] Sapkowski served as a creative consultant on the project.[28]

Video games[edit]

Geralt, voiced by Doug Cockle, appeared as a guest character in the 2018 game Soulcalibur VI.[29][30]

Geralt also appeared in special content for Monster Hunter: World[31] and Daemon X Machina.[32]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  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.
  4. ^ "The Top 50 Video Game Characters of All Time". The Ultimate Resource for Video Game Design. 12 March 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  5. ^ Kain, Erik. "The Critics Must Be Crazy: The Witcher's Henry Cavill Is The Best Geralt Of Rivia". Forbes. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  6. ^ "The Witcher: 10 Reasons Why Henry Cavill Is A Great Geralt Of Rivia". ScreenRant. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  7. ^ Gemmill, Allie (21 December 2019). "Here's What You Should Know About Geralt of Rivia in Netflix's 'The Witcher'". Geek. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  8. ^ Edwards, Richard (30 June 2020). "How to read The Witcher books in order". TechRadar. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  9. ^ Gwynne, Edward (9 January 2020). "REVIEW: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski". Grimdark Magazine. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  10. ^ "The Witcher 3 Wiki Guide". IGN. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  11. ^ Lowe, Mike (28 April 2020). "The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt review: A stone cold classic". Pocket-lint. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "La serie polaca que adaptó 'The Witcher' incluso antes que los videojuegos". www.elconfidencial.com (in Spanish). 21 December 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  14. ^ Copeland, Wesley (4 September 2018). "There Was a Witcher Movie and Series in 2001". IGN. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  15. ^ Meslow, Scott (20 December 2019). "The Witcher Series Premiere Recap: I Put a Spell on You". Vulture. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  16. ^ Holmes, Martin. "'The Witcher' Is a Sword-Swinging Delight in Season Premiere (RECAP)". TV Insider. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  17. ^ Kelly, Andy (20 December 2019). "The Witcher episode 1 recap: Geralt of Rivia's Netflix debut is a violent delight". PC Gamer. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  18. ^ Meslow, Scott (20 December 2019). "The Witcher Recap: Do You Believe in Magic?". Vulture. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  19. ^ Kelly, Andy (20 December 2019). "The Witcher episode 2 recap: Yennefer's tragic origin story is revealed". PC Gamer. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  20. ^ Holmes, Martin. "'The Witcher' Episode 2 Digs Deep Into the Show's Mythology (RECAP)". TV Insider. Retrieved 26 February 2021.
  21. ^ "Netflix | The Witcher | Map of the Continent". www.witchernetflix.com. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  22. ^ Meslow, Scott (26 December 2019). "The Witcher Season One: A Straightforward Chronology". Vulture. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  23. ^ January 2020, Richard Edwards 16. "The Witcher Netflix timeline explained: How the season 1 storylines fit together". Total Film. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "The best heroes in video games". GamesRadar+. Future Publishing. 28 February 2018. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  26. ^ July 2018, Tom's Guide Staff 07. "The 25 Best Video Game Characters of All Time". Tom's Guide. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Netflix'S The Witcher casts pivotal roles of Ciri & Yennefer". Netflix. 10 October 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  28. ^ "'The Witcher' Saga TV Series Adaptation Ordered at Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter.
  29. ^ "Play as Geralt of Rivia in SOULCALIBUR VI!". CD Projekt Red. CD Projekt. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  30. ^ Wong, Alistair (17 June 2018). "Geralt Shows Off His Sword And Signs Gameplay In Soul Calibur". Siliconera.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ "Daemon X Machina Meets The Witcher 3 With New Geralt and Ciri DLC". DualShockers. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.