The Timeline Of 'The Witcher' Season One, Explained
The Witcher is a huge hit for Netflix, but despite all the love, there has been some confusion when it comes to the show's timeline. Throughout The Witcher's first eight-episode season, we see the world and story through the eyes of three characters: the witcher himself, Geralt of Rivia, the powerful mage Yennefer of Vengerberg, and child of destiny Princess Ciri. The confusing part comes when, halfway through the first season, it's revealed that the episodes aren't all taking place at the same point in time. Where Ciri's story covers about 2 weeks' time, Geralt's spans around 20 years, and Yen's stretches to nearly 70.
To help paint a slightly clearer picture, we've untangled the timeline's web and placed things in (mostly) chronological order.
Yennefer Trains As A Mage At Aretuza
When: Episode 2, "Four Marks," and Episode 3, "Betrayer Moon"
Yennefer's story covers the most ground – around 70 years – of the three timelines in Season 1 and begins in the second episode when Yen (who lives with a hunched back) is sold by her step-father and enrolled in a magic school. The second and third episodes cover the years Yen lives and trains at the school. While learning to wield magic she also fixes her curved spine, but it comes at the cost of no longer being able to bear children. By the end of episode three, Yen has successfully played some political chess and gets herself appointed to a position in Aedirn's court as opposed to Nilfgaard's.
Geralt's Mother Leaves Him With A Witcher
When: Episode 8, "Much More"
Geralt's origin is much less detailed than Yen's; the season finale reveals a few snippets of Geralt's past as he fades in and out of conciousness after a monster bites him. All that is really concrete from Geralt's childhood is that his mother abandoned him and left him in the care of a witcher named Vesemir. It was Vesemir who put Geralt through the trials that eventually made him a witcher as well.
Geralt's Reputation Spreads And Yen Strikes Out On Her Own
When: Episode 1, "The End's Beginning," Episode 2, "Four Marks," and Episode 3, "Betrayer Moon"
The first three episodes of the series show how Geralt operates as a witcher on the Continent and, in turn, how the people of the Continent view witchers. The first episode explains how Geralt earned his infamous "Butcher of Blaviken" title and his subsequent fall from grace – for a witcher – in the eyes of the common people. In the second episode, Geralt meets a bard named Jaskier and the two have an adventure involving elves and a Sylvan which Jaskier turns into a song called "Toss A Coin To Your Witcher." Geralt also meets the mage Triss Merigold in the third episode after she seeks him out to fight a Striga plaguing a town.
While Geralt is busy crushing his day job, Yen grows tired of life in a royal court so she leaves Aedirn and strikes out on her own. She spends all her time trying to undo the magic she performed on herself years earlier so she can have a baby.
Geralt Claims A Reward Using The Law Of Surprise
When: Episode 4, "Of Banquets, Bastards, and Burials"
Geralt and Jaskier attend a royal ball in Cintra, which Queen Calanthe is hosting to let suitors from other nations offer their hand to her daughter, Pavetta. Many show up with hopes of uniting their kingdoms with Cintra – including Nilfgaard, whom Calanthe (in a move that will come back to haunt her) insults and removes from the party. Eventually, a cursed knight named Duny appears, claiming that Pavetta was promised to him after he saved her father years ago and was offered the Law of Surprise: whatever surprise the person finds when they return home is the reward. The king returned home and learned Calanthe was pregnant with Pavetta.
After some court nonsense, which Geralt sorts out by siding with Duny and Pavetta, the now-uncursed knight offers the witcher a reward – and Geralt claims the Law of Surprise. Seconds later, it's revealed that Pavetta is pregnant with Ciri, which is how her destiny and Geralt's become linked.
Yen And Geralt Meet
When: Episode 5, "Bottled Appetites," and Episode 6, "Rare Species"
It's a bit after Geralt learns about Ciri that he and Yen finally meet. Their paths cross after Geralt and Jaskier run afoul of a djinn and the bard is cursed and on death's door. Yen helps them, or at least pretends to. What she really wants is to use the last wish the two men had to absorb the djinn and become more powerful, hoping to finally be able to undo her enchantment and have a child. The ritual goes wrong and Geralt makes a wish that sends the djinn off, and Geralt and Yen begin an on-again-off-again fling.
Later, the two cross again – though it's implied it isn't the first time they've met since the bout with the djinn – while hunting a dragon. After dealing with the creature, Yen learns that Geralt's wish to the djinn linked their destinies together, which could explain why they keep meeting and how they're beginning to feel about each other. Yen tells the witcher because of his wish, they'll never know if what's between them is real, and she leaves.
When: Episode 1, "The End's Beginning," and Episode 7, "Before A Fall"
Remember when Queen Calanthe insulted Nilfgaard and the man sent to potentially take Pavetta's hand in marriage? Well, 14 years later, Nilfgaard acts upon that long-held grudge by attacking Cintra and destroying the city. In the process, Queen Calanthe is killed and Ciri manages to escape on her own – which would be great if Geralt wasn't also in Cintra, looking for Ciri after finally accepting that the Law of Surprise had bound them together and the girl would be safer with him.