The Witcher games by CD Projekt Red are some of the best to come out this millennium (so far), and their protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, is the stoic and steadfast witcher at its helm. With three games under his belt, we’ve seen a lot of Geralt as he recovered his memories, contended with sorceresses and conspiracies, and battled against the Wild Hunt to save his surrogate daughter Ciri.
However, Geralt of Rivia has a lot more to his story than what is revealed in the video games. Here are 10 things you might not have about about everyone’s favorite witcher.
10 Old Man Geralt
Witchers are known to live for a very long time, with the oldest one who's appeared in the games being Vesemir, Geralt's mentor and teacher. While Geralt's age is never specified, information from the books that the games are based on, combined with some basic math, puts his age at the beginning of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt somewhere in the 90-95 range, making him very much the senior of nearly every other character we meet.
Given that witchers can often live for centuries if they are not killed in battle, it's likely that Geralt will be around for a long time to come as well.
9 Son Of A Sorceress
Art by Kasia Krzysztofowicz
While most sorceresses are infertile due to their use of magic, this is not always the case. In fact, Geralt's mother was a sorceress named Visenna, a druid who specialized in healing magic. She gave him up to the witchers of Kaer Morhen and the School of the Wolf as a child, though Geralt never knew why.
Years later, when gravely injured, Geralt met Visenna again. The witcher intended to ask his mother what had led to her decision to give him away, but was too weak to do so and passed out. When Geralt woke up, his mother was gone and his question was still unanswered.
8 Geralt Of Kaedwen
Although Geralt has taken the surname "of Rivia," it's actually not known where he was born. Since Kaer Morhen is located in Kaedwen and that is where he was trained as a witcher, Geralt may actually be from Kaedwen instead of Rivia. He appended "of Rivia" to his name as he started work as a witcher, under advice from Vesemir that folk would be more trusting of him if he had a surname.
Years later, he aided Queen Meve of Lyria and Rivia during a crucial battle, after which she knighted him, officially granting him the title Geralt of Rivia.
7 Unnaturally White Hair
Art by Alexey Kruglov
Although Geralt is very old, his white hair is not due to age. Other witchers of similar years, such as Lambert and Eskel, have retained their natural hair color. For Geralt, his hair changed during the Trial of the Grasses, where young boys undergo mutations to create witchers.
Geralt displayed remarkable resilience and fortitude during the Trial, and so additional mutations were applied to him, enhancing his abilities beyond that of ordinary witchers. As a byproduct of this process, his hair was bleached white, granting him the nickname "White Wolf."
Speaking of Geralt's nickname, he is often called "Gwynbleidd" by elves and other nonhumans he encounters in the world. This term is a phrase in Elder Speech, the old language of the Aen Seidhe elves, which translates to "White Wolf."
At times in the series, Geralt has been called this name, along with "Vatt'ghern," meaning "witcher," and "d'hoine," meaning "human." As another interesting note, the Elder Speech is heavily based on Celtic and Welsh languages. In Welsh, "white wolf" translates to "Blaidd Gwyn."
5 Butchery In Blaviken
One of Geralt's recurring monikers is the Butcher of Blaviken, even though the events that led to this title are never really discussed in detail in the game series. Geralt earned this name as he was in the town of Blaviken and encountered a feud between the sorcerer Stregobor and the exiled bandit princess Renfri.
Geralt decided not to take sides in this fight, although each of them asked for his aid. However, when he learned that Renfri was planning on ordering her gang to murder townspeople in the market square until Stegobor gave himself up, he acted first, killed all the bandits – including Renfri – before they could harm anyone. The people, who were ignorant of the danger they'd been in, saw only the slaughter, and from that day onward Geralt was known as the Butcher of Blaviken.
4 Meeting Yennefer
Geralt met the sorceress Yennefer when he and his friend, the bard Dandelion, had gotten in trouble dealing with a Djinn. Dandelion had been gravely injured; therefore, upon hearing that a sorceress was nearby, Geralt barged into Yennefer's chambers to ask for help.
This initial meeting was rocky, with Yennefer throwing a spell at Geralt, who used a witcher sign to ward it off. As they continued to work together and saw more of each other, the two of them fell deeply in love.
3 Fates Entwined
Geralt's and Yennefer's fates have been conjoined for a very long time, as is briefly touched upon in an optional side quest in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. As mentioned above, they first met when Geralt was trying to deal with a rogue Djinn. He had, by accident, bound the Djinn to himself and had already used two of his three wishes. While the genie could not harm Geralt, the final confrontation saw the Djinn trying to kill Yennefer.
To save Yennefer, Geralt used his last wish to entwine his and Yennefer's fates, ensuring the Djinn could not hurt her without hurting him. With this wish made, the Djinn returned to its own world while Geralt and Yennefer were forever bound together.
2 The Child Of Surprise
One element from the Witcher books that seldom shows up much in the games is the "Law of Surprise." This is an ancient tradition where, if invoked, means a debt must be paid with the first thing the debtor finds at home but did not expect. Usually, the result is a child.
It is through this Law that Geralt met his surrogate daughter Ciri, as the protagonist saved her father from death and, for his reward, revoked the "Law of Suprise." Ciri’s mother was already pregnant with her. This simple act once again bound Geralt to destiny; years later, he and Ciri would form a close, familial bond.
1 The Hunt For Ciri
Those who have played The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt know that the vast majority of the game is spent searching for Ciri in order to protect her from the Wild Hunt, led by Eredin and his Red Riders. However, looking for Ciri is something that has happened before, albeit with slightly lower, less apocalyptic stakes.
In the books, Ciri is being hunted by various parties who either want to kill her, manipulate her power, or force her to marry the emperor of Nilfgaard (who was also her father). Stuck in the middle is Geralt of Rivia and his allies, whose goal is much the same as it is in the games: Find Ciri and protect her from those who would bring her harm. It is this bond between Geralt and Ciri that forms the basis for much of Geralt's story, both within the games and without.