Ever since CD Projekt RED acquired the video game adaptation license to The Witcher novels, the stunning redhead Triss Merigold has always fought the icy brunette Yennefer for the spotlight, or, a special place in Geralt's heart, to be exact. It was an odd narrative choice on CD Projekt RED's part, since, canonically, Yennefer was Geralt's one true pair in the books.
Still, Triss made for a competitive love interest to Geralt and a refreshing change of pace compared to Yennefer's manhandling. In fact, several polls from the Triss vs. Yennefer fan club have been initiated with more players seemingly favoring Triss. Hence, it's only fair to reveal some lesser-known facts about her (they're not all good). So, read on about these, then maybe cast your vote again.
10 She Was Never Meant To Be With Geralt
We did mention that Yennefer was the one and only for Geralt, right? At least, that's how Andrej Sapkowski (the books' author) envisioned it. In the novels and short stories, Triss didn't even get the same level of exposure and priority as Yennefer. She was mostly a side character there; one of Geralt's friends.
As such, it's safe to say it didn't cross Sapkowski's mind for Triss to replace Yennefer, as she did in the video games. It just so happens that certain circumstances forced Yennefer to disappear at the end of the last book, then CD Projekt RED wanted a follow-up to the saga instead of just a digital retelling and Triss was the closest thing to a Yennefer.
9 She Was Envious Of Yennefer
While Triss wasn't meant to be with Geralt, she still wanted a piece of that grey beefcake. The books even portrayed her as infatuated with Geralt and her obsession was arguably more sexual than romantic in the books, depending on how you interpret it as a reader.
As a result, Triss was often envious of what Yennefer had with Geralt. It's not just any witcher hunk she wants but Geralt himself; otherwise, she could have just gotten together with Geralt's other witcher colleagues like Eskel or Lambert. In the books, Triss never really got the chance to have a blossoming relationship with Geralt, which is why her romance with him in the games can give off a fanfiction feel.
8 "Master Manipulator"
Now, Triss being a really jealous and obsessed sorceress can be quite a harmful thing for her friends, particularly for Geralt. In the books, she even tried to seduce Geralt through magic. She pretty much goes behind Yennefer's back to steal Geralt, and even Yennefer knew this at one point and harshly confronted her about it.
Meanwhile, in the games, Triss was morally corrupt and can only be summed up as a snake in the grass for Yennefer. The first chance she gets at stealing Geralt without any opposition (due to his amnesia and Yennefer's disappearance), she takes it right away. Basically, Triss lies to Geralt so she can have him all for herself. It's a lot more complicated than that, of course, since Triss also loved Geralt, apparently.
7 Selfish Tendencies
Now that you're aware of Triss' most heinous betrayals and misdeeds, let's top it off with one last bad quality she possesses. Triss (at least in the books) also happens to have a sociopathic and selfish side especially when intense emotions are involved. This happened near the end of the book saga where a peasant mob was slaughtering all nonhumans in their path.
Triss grew scared of the commotion and wanted to flee right away despite having friends in the fray (including Geralt). She would have left and preserved only herself if not for Yennefer, who urged her to stay so they could help their friends and the innocents. This did show that when push comes to shove, Yennefer might actually be the more reliable one.
6 People Once Thought She Died In Battle
Now, here come the positive qualities of Triss Merigold. Despite her being a bad friend and her maltreatment of Geralt, Triss is still a powerful, loyal, brilliant, and wise sorceress. She was also the adviser to King Foltest of Temeria, and, prior to that, she participated in the legendary Battle of Sodden Hill during the first war with Nilfgaard where 22 sorcerers and sorceresses joined the against them.
Triss was one of the 14 who heroically held their ground against a horde of Nilfgaardian soldiers and supposedly perished while doing so. Hence, she was designated as the "Fourteenth of the Hill" and came down in history as Merigold the Fearless. Alas, Triss actually survived the battle, but with a nasty scar. Regardless, it cemented her status as a war hero.
5 She Preserved Ciri's Humanity
Despite betraying Ciri's surrogate mother and father, Yennefer and Geralt, Triss is not devoid of a caring side. She does look after her friends (Geralt, mostly) and even became close to Ciri. She also took care of her, lending her magical expertise to help Ciri overcome the Trial of Grasses for witcher mutations.
It's the final stage of the initiation rites for witchers and could have easily stripped away Ciri's human nature, just as it did with Geralt's emotions; that's because the chemicals used in the trial subjects the would-be witcher to extreme hormonal changes. Triss was luckily nearby to prevent this from happening to Ciri. This resulted in Ciri being a one-of-a-kind witcher that somehow managed to retain her humanity.
4 One Of The Youngest Sorceresses
All those negative traits Triss had probably come as shocking to those who aren't familiar with the books but really, the rest of Triss' colleagues in the Lodge of Sorceresses make her look like an innocent and lovely girl. They (including Yennefer) are a bunch of scheming, manipulating, and heartless witches who seek to have their own kingdom, even if it meant having to resort to regicide or other malevolent means.
Triss, on the other hand, provided a contrasting facade to the rest of her kind. She was lively, sweet, and radiantly pretty, as opposed to the wintery elegance of older sorceresses. It did help that she was one of the youngest sorceresses in the Lodge and probably didn't need too much shapeshifting for a fake beautiful appearance.
3 Potion Allergy
Despite her young age for a sorceress, Triss was still a great magic-user and can easily turn the tide of battle. This was made more apparent in her ability to cast the most enveloping of spells. Oddly enough, Triss is allergic to potions—even to the ones she brews. The irony is that Triss was also a skilled healer.
She regularly brews potions for use as a magical medic, but she can never really use them for herself. It is worth noting that Triss is only allergic to magic potions, natural healing potions are safe for her to consume and use. It's certainly a weird quirk to have for a magic-user.
2 Her Name Literally Means "Happy"
Triss' name (from Latin origins) translates to either "happy" or "blessed," which does well to reflect her personality. Triss' temperament contrasts well with Yennefer's more straightforward and cold maturity, making her a perfect choice for a third party in a very complex love triangle involving magic, politics, war, and monsters.
Even Geralt's other friends such as Dandelion (Jaskier in the books) regard Triss as a warm person—someone who can easily make others smile with her presence and demeanor. For a sorceress in the world of The Witcher, that's quite a rare character.
1 She Made the Cover of Playboy
Not an hour into your gameplay of the first or second Witcher game, you'll immediately be greeted with Triss' lavish display of skin. It seems CD Projekt RED went great lengths at making Triss generously sexier, especially when compared to the third game. Heck, they even partnered up with Playboy magazine for Poland to make Triss a cover girl. We have to warn you though, it's obviously NSFW.