‘The Witcher’: How Geralt Became a Witcher and the White Wolf According to the Netflix Series

Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) is one of the central characters in The Witcher. The brute, emotionless, grunting character has a tragic backstory with a few mysteries. Geralt became one of the most notorious witcher’s in his generation and one of the rare few with certain physical features. Geralt’s history of becoming a witcher and his story might play a more prominent role in season 2.

Geralt of Rivia from 'The Witcher' series wielding a sword in the snow.
Geralt of Rivia from ‘The Witcher’ series | via Netflix

What is a witcher?

Throughout The Witcher, Geralt gives small details of what he went through as a child. While the number of witchers is dwindling, Geralt is one of the more notorious ones. This is due to his unique white hair and bright yellow eyes. Each witcher has an emblem. Geralt’s is the white wolf because his skin is incredibly fair and his hair.

In the series, witchers are well known and feared by most people. They are seen as abominations and created to kill monsters. They are often grumpy and emotionless. According to Inverse, a witcher is made by “a combination of luck, brutal training, and even more luck.” In the series, Geralt explained that his eyes are a result of a mutation all witchers in training are subjected to.

Witchers in training go through a series of tests. “The best-known of these is called the Trial of the Grasses, where would-be witchers are forced to consume multiple alchemic compounds,” explained Inverse. The combination of herbs and potions could be fatal and result in a select few surviving.

Geralt’s mother abandoned him in ‘The Witcher’

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In The Witcher Episode 8, Geralt’s childhood is revealed and what led him to become a witcher. When a monster wounds him, he has a fever dream and possibly hallucinates. His dream shows his mother is also a sorceress.

While traveling, Geralt’s mother has him fetch water from a nearby creek. When Geralt returns, his mother is nowhere to be found. Instead an unseen witcher named Vesimir says, “Geralt, I’ve been waiting for you.” Further into his halluciantions, a red-haired woman approaches a wounded Geralt.

Her face is still unknown until she says,” People linked by destined always find each other.” This alerts Geralt of who the woman is. The woman is his mother Visenna. He asks her to look at his eyes and asks her how she likes them. Geralt explains if she knew what they do to young boys to improve their eyesight. But he angrily laments most boys do not survive.

The Netflix series does not delve deeper into why Visenna abandoned Geralt. He asks his mother is she knew what would be done to him in order to become a witcher. She never answers.

What are Geralt’s powers in ‘The Witcher’?

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Geralt displays an array of powers as a witcher. His bright yellow eyes allow him to see in the darkness. After becoming a witcher, he also ages at a slower rate than normal humans. This explains why he looks the same throughout the multiple timelines in The Witcher. Geralt also has rapid healing abilities.

Inverse explains Geralt and other witchers can use a type of magic called “signs.” Witchers are not necessarily mages or sorcerers but can use a bit of magic to their advantage due to their mutations. All witchers have heightened senses, agility and speed. When consuming certan potions, their abilties become stronger.

Much like Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), posessing magic and mutations come at a cost. Witchers become sterile and cannot reproduce. This is the main reason why all witchers are young boys who have been abandoned.