Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ follows the story of Geralt of Rivia, trained and mutated to kill monsters that roam the Continent. Geralt’s destiny ties him with Ciri and Yennefer, and together, they try to find ways to save the Continent from war and chaos. In the first season, which takes place over different timelines, we get a glimpse into their pasts to discover how they meet each other. While there is a clear origin story for Ciri and Yennefer, a lot about Geralt’s life is kept in the dark.
Very little is known about Geralt before he became a Witcher, except that he was abandoned by his mother, Visenna, and picked up by Vesemir, who took him to Kaer Morhen. In the third season, Geralt discovers that his mother is dead. What happened to her? How did she die? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD
How Did Visenna Die?
Geralt’s mother, Visenna, appears in the final episode of Season 1. After sustaining serious injuries, Geralt goes in and out of consciousness and thinks about his childhood. We see him in a decrepit home but with a lavish meal in front of him. In another flashback, Visenna floats an apple in the air for her son. Then, she sends him to fetch water, and when he comes back, she is nowhere to be found. Geralt doesn’t see his mother again until the Battle of Sodden Hill when he lies injured and desperately needs help.
Visenna appears to him as if in a dream, but it’s lucid enough for Geralt to confront his mother. He asks her why she left him and if she knew he may or may not have survived the Trial of the Grasses before she left Vesemir to take him to Kaer Morhen. Visenna doesn’t reveal anything about her intentions and her emotions for him. She heals him, mentioning she is a sorceress and healing people is the only thing she is good at. When Geralt keeps poking at her for answers, she leaves.
Geralt doesn’t see Visenna again and finds out about her death in the third episode of Season 3 when he visits Anika, his mother’s close friend. Like Visenna, Anika is a druid and a healer, and she is the only one Geralt trusts enough to help Teryn, the half-elf Ciri-lookalike who has been mind controlled to believe she is Ciri. Anika reveals that she learned the art of making potions from Visenna, remembering her fondly. When Geralt asks whether his mother suffered in death, Anika reveals that Visenna’s death wasn’t as peaceful as he had hoped.
Being a healer, Visenna tried to help as many people as she could. She didn’t care about what was going on in the world or who was fighting whom. Meanwhile, the sentiments against elves were rising exponentially, and the situation was so bad that anyone even suspected of being an elf would pay the price. In another scene in Season 3, we witness Cahir being attacked by northern soldiers, who consider him as good as an elf.
Anika tells Geralt that Visenna was helping a villager when they were attacked. It could be because of her powers or simply because her attackers were looking for an excuse to be violent, but they mistook her for an elf. They beat her so severely that she succumbed to her injuries and died soon after. When Geralt discovers this, he feels bad for his mother, even though he hated her for abandoning him as a child. He reveals that he hoped she would go peacefully, but there is nothing anyone can do about it now.
The conversation between Anika and Geralt reveals that he never forgave Visenna for what she did to him. He knew that times were difficult for them, and as a single mother, it was difficult for her to raise him on her own. But she could have chosen another path to ensure both of their survival. Instead, she abandoned him in the middle of the forest to be taken away to a cold and cruel place that would turn him into a Witcher. He is sad about Visenna’s death, but the only lesson he has learned from his mother is not to abandon your child when they need you the most. He vows to be there for Ciri, no matter what.
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