The Witcher franchise remains a priority at Netflix. The streamer recently released a spinoff, The Witcher: Blood Origin, setting the stage for the show’s third season, which will premiere later this year. Although the show rides on the talent and likability of its trio of leads — Henry Cavill (for now, anyway), Anya Chalotra, and Freya Allan — The Witcher also benefits from a cast of compelling and likable supporting characters.
These figures keep the show interesting and compelling, especially as it ventures further away from the source material. And while many fans disagree with Netflix’s numerous changes to Andrzej Sapkowski’s beloved novels, these characters are easy to root for and support, keeping audiences invested in the otherwise divisive story. Whether they’re stoic monster hunters-turned-reluctant father figures, powerful but misunderstood sorceresses in search of redemption, or clumsy bards along for the ride, these characters are a key source of The Witcher‘s popularity.
Although Vesemir doesn’t arrive until season 2, his presence quickly becomes vital to the show. Played by veteran Danish actor Kim Bodnia, Vesemir is Geralt’s mentor and one of the oldest and most experienced witchers left on the Continent. The animated spinoff The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf features him as a cocky and vain young man, further adding to his layered characterization.
Vesemir is an incredible character. As a young man, he is selfish and overly confident but never unlikable or exhausting. As an older witcher, he is wise but still vulnerable to misjudgment. Like other characters in the world of The Witcher, Vesemir is far from perfect. However, he never runs away from his mistakes and is always ready to deal with the consequences of his actions. Vesemir acts to protect his and his fellow witchers’ interests, especially in a world that treats them with contempt and mistrust.
Princess Cirilla is still very much a mystery. Fans know she wields massive power thanks to her Elder Blood, making her a prime target of many enemies across the Continent and in the realms beyond. However, the true extent of her abilities is still unknown, as is her role in the Continent’s larger story.
Massive props must go to Freya Allan for making Ciri such a compelling character. In other circumstances, a figure like Ciri — the almighty fantasy child with power beyond her comprehension — might be uninteresting. Yet Allan keeps Ciri relatable, playing up the character’s sense of awe and surprise. Her time at Kaer Morhen shows her vitality and further develops her as an active heroine rather than the mostly passive role she played in season 1. Ciri’s journey is only beginning, but that’s what makes her so likable. She’s not someone who has all the answers; on the contrary, she’s just as in the dark as the fans at home, which makes her a perfect lead character.
Audiences love a complicated female character, and as played by the underrated Anya Chalotra — who I cannot believe isn’t part of a major film franchise yet — Yennefer is The Witcher‘s best character. Yen is a former hunchback-turned-powerful sorceress who made some serious sacrifices on her way to the top. She wields massive chaos magic and forms a deep bond with Geralt and his adoptive daughter, Ciri.
Fans of the novels and the games know Yen becomes a surrogate mother to Ciri, something audiences will surely see in season 3 of The Witcher. The first two seasons established Yen as a complicated figure, self-serving but not entirely blinded by greed. Thanks to Chalotra’s brilliant performance, Yen is one of television’s most interesting characters. Despite her mistakes, it’s nearly impossible for fans to turn their backs on her; she’s a relatable and deeply human figure who keeps The Witcher on its toes. Yen isn’t perfect, but who needs perfection when you have such a captivating character instead?
It isn’t an overstatement to say Henry Cavill is The Witcher‘s beating heart. He is the perfect Geralt of Rivia, from the look to the attitude. Cavill keeps Geralt’s complexity while finding ways to peel the layers, revealing the truth lurking underneath. Although not one for conversation, Geralt is a deeply sympathetic character, an insecure loner who lives on the edge and never knows if he’ll make it to tomorrow.
Through his relationships with Yennefer, Ciri, and Jaskier, Geralt opens himself to life’s possibilities. He remains overly serious and detached but never uncaring or selfish. Geralt is a brilliant character because of the contrarieties he embodies: he’s a fearsome warrior with a gentle heart, an amateur philosopher posing as a monster hunter. He might never win a “Most Personable” award, but he is a fascinating figure and one of the show’s most likable characters. Fans will never stop rooting for him because he will never stop trying — that’s Geralt for you.
Joey Batey plays Jaskier, based on the character Dandelion from the novels and games. Jaskier is a traveling bard with a penchant for getting into trouble because of his galavanting ways. He becomes a close friend and ally of Geralt and forms a love-hate relationship with Yennefer. Jaskier is not part of the main trio, but perhaps he should be; every family needs the slacker uncle who adds much-needed chaos to the dynamic. Plus, his songs are fire.
Is he annoying? Sure, he is. However, Jaskier is also The Witcher‘s secret weapon. Like a bothersome little brother you can’t help but miss when he’s not around, Jaskier might be the show’s heart. His banter with Geralt is perfect, with Batey’s anxious energy perfectly complementing Cavill’s stoicism. Jaskier is the character every fantasy story needs: he might be comedic relief, but his relationship with Geralt is among the show’s best, adding further layers to the White Wolf’s characterization. Toss a coin to your witcher, but also his bard.
You can watch The Witcher on Netflix.
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