Of all the mages, witches, and sorceresses in the world of The Witcher, the one who stands out the most is undoubtedly Yennefer of Vengerberg. While she only properly appears in one of the three Witcher titles released by CD Projekt Red, her razor-sharp wit and immaculate sense of style have cemented her in the minds of fans.
Still, for all its accomplishments, there are many aspects of Yennefer's illustrious history that weren't captured in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and there is much that you may not know about her if your only view into the Witcher world is the game series. Let’s take a look now at 10 things you might not know about Yennefer of Vengerberg.
10 Never Ask A Lady Her Age
While it's mentioned at times that mages live unnaturally long, it's never stated outright how old Yennefer of Vengerberg actually is in the game series. Given that we know she was born in the year 1173, however, we can conclude that by the time the first game takes place in 1271, she would be around 98 years old.
This sharply contrasts with her own youthful appearance, as she still appears, for all intents and purposes, to be in her early twenties when players properly meet her in Wild Hunt – another benefit of being an exceptionally powerful sorceress.
9 Elven Blood
One of the predominant themes of The Witcher is racism directed towards non-human beings such as dwarves, elves, and others. As such, it's interesting to note that while Yennefer looks fully human, she is in fact considered a quadroon. In the real world, this term refers to someone who is one-quarter black by birth.
However, in The Witcher, this means that Yennefer is one-quarter elven, being the product of a human father and a half-elven mother. This heritage lends itself to her graceful features, although as we will soon see, it also had some drawbacks, especially early in life.
8 The Hunchback of Vengerberg
One would never know it just from looking at Yennefer, but she was not born with such ethereal features. Yennefer of Vengerberg was born a hunchback, complete with crooked shoulders and a distorted frame.
This deformity was the source of much strife in her childhood, ultimately leading her father to leave as he was disgusted by her appearance. He also blamed her mother, claiming that the elven blood Yennefer had inherited from her was the reason for her hunchback.
7 Abusive Childhood
Though she stands proud and confident in The Witcher 3, Yennefer's resolve was tempered by trauma and abuse. Throughout her childhood, she suffered at the hands of her father, who inflicted both physical and mental pain on her. Though he eventually left, Yennefer's youth did not get any easier for it.
Her mother then blamed her for his departure and began to beat her as well. This torment pushed Yennefer to the edge, to the point where she once attempted to take her own life. Fortunately, the mages of Aretuza, who recognized her innate magical talent, were able to save Yennefer before helping her find a path to a better life.
6 Study At Aretuza
Yennefer was discovered during her youth by the Aretuza Academy, a school for aspiring sorceresses. Though she had a difficult time adjusting to such a prestigious and elite institution, she quickly became its best pupil.
By the end of her first year at Aretuza, Yennefer's spinal column had been fixed, removing her hunchback. Subsequently, she graduated as one of the brightest and most talented students at the academy, setting her well on her way to becoming the dominating force that appears in the games.
5 Past Loves
Though in the video games Yennefer only has eyes for Geralt, her romantic life was much more tumultuous in the past. Significantly, she took two other lovers before solidifying her affections for Geralt: Crach an Craite and the sorcerer Istredd.
Though her affair with Crach (who also appears in The Witcher 3) was brief, her involvement with Istredd was complicated when he and Geralt met one another. Neither was willing to share Yennefer, with Istredd going so far as to propose marriage to her. In the end, Yennefer left both of them for a time, later reuniting with Geralt.
4 Blinded At Sodden Hill
Yennefer was also present during the climactic battle of the First Nilfgaard War, the Battle of Sodden Hill. It was at this conflict that the tide turned decisively for the Northern Kingdoms, as their mages and sorceresses were able to overwhelm the opposing Nilfgaardian forces. However, this particular fight was not without cost, as many perished and many others incurred terrible scars, both physical and mental.
During the course of the fighting, Yennefer was attacked and blinded by Nilfgaardian sorceress Fringilla Vigo, and while she was later able to heal the damage, the emotional impact of the injury is something she still carries with her.
3 Training Ciri
Sometime after the Battle of Sodden Hill, Geralt requested Yennefer's help in training a child who was a Source – someone with access to tremendous magical power. This child was Ciri, and as Yennefer instructed her in the magical arts at the Temple of Melitele, she grew attached.
From this point on, Yennefer's relationship with Ciri developed into one that was not merely teacher and student, but more akin to mother and daughter. While this relationship is certainly seen in the game series, its origins in Yennefer's magical tutelage are not discussed, leaving out the long history between these two characters.
2 The Thanedd Coup And The Lodge Of Sorceresses
At a meeting of the Brotherhood of Sorcerers – of which Yennefer was the youngest member – on Thanedd Island, there was a falling out between mages supporting Nilfgaard and mages supporting the Northern Realms. Yennefer was present during these events on the side of the North. which makes it that much more surprising that she aligns with the Nilfgaardian Empire in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
However, in the aftermath of the coup, Yennefer also refused to join the newly formed Lodge of Sorceresses as she disagreed with their goals, which leads us to believe that Yennefer's aim has never been power or patriotism, but rather a desire to find and protect Ciri from all who would use her against her will.
1 Malus Isle
Directly prior to the events of the CD Projekt Red games, Yennefer traveled with Ciri to Rivia, where they found Geralt bleeding out from a fatal wound. Yennefer's attempts to save him fell short, and in the end, it was Ciri (with the help of a unicorn, no less) who managed to bring Geralt back.
Ciri then took them to Malus Island, a mysterious isle hidden deep in the fogs of Loch Eskalott. It was there that Yennefer and Geralt recovered and rested before eventually being found by the Wild Hunt, kicking off the story depicted in the Witcher game series.