Everything to Remember Before Starting 'The Witcher' Season 2

His name is Geralt. He's a Witcher. Any questions?

the witcher henry cavill

The first season of The Witcher, Netflix's adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski's book series about a magical monster hunter who loves taking baths, made a big, bloody splash on its debut, partially due to how unexpectedly good it was, and partially because it was so darn difficult to understand what was even going on. Halfway through the eight-episode season we realized that the show was jumping through time in order to tell the full scope of its narrative and knit all of its main characters together—a bold storytelling choice that only made sense once you got to the final episodes. The good news is that the second season will do no such time jumping and will keep things on a more linear path. The other good news (there's no bad news!) is that we've collected a few important reminders for those of you who would rather just dive into Season 2 rather than do a full rewatch. Toss a coin to your blogger….

The Conjunction of the Spheres

First, we're going way back for a refresher on why things on the Continent are the way they are. The second season does dive a bit more deeply into this, but all you need to know is that the worlds of humans, elves, and the various monsters Geralt of Rivia spends his time hunting used to be separate, until a cosmic catastrophe forced them all together into one world and brought chaos, otherwise known as magic, in as well. After that, the very first Witcher was created to keep humanity safe from the monsters, and Geralt's fate was sealed.

The Law of Surprise

Speaking of fate being sealed, halfway through Season 1, Geralt showed up in the kingdom of Cintra claiming the "Law of Surprise," an ancient custom by which someone to whom you owe a debt can claim that debt at any time in any way they see fit. Geralt uses it to claim the Queen of Cintra's granddaughter Cirilla, who possesses a mysterious and powerful gift, and after some trickery (queens don't give up their heirs so easily), Geralt and Ciri finally found each other in the final moments of the season finale. This fate has followed Geralt since the first episode, when he was told by one of his victims that "the girl in the woods" is his "destiny." Funny how these things work out.

Nilfgaard's invasion

Geralt and Ciri managed to find each other smack-dab in the middle of a war between two kingdoms. Nilfgaard is in the process of invading the citadel of Cintra, pursuing the Cintran army to their stronghold at Sodden Hill after sacking the city. A number of mages, including the sorceress Yennefer and her mentor Tissaia, have allied themselves with Cintra, and use all the magic at their command to fight off the forces of Nilfgaard, when finally, Yennefer uses a power she didn't even know she had to channel a ton of fire and decimate the Nilfgaardian army. Sick.

Yennefer has disappeared

After that, Yennefer disappeared without a trace, and neither Tissaia nor any of the other mages know where she could possibly be. She and Geralt went their separate ways toward the end of Season 1 when Yennefer figured out that Geralt had used a wish granted to him by a Djinn to save her life by binding their fates together, which Yennefer believes has merely magically engineered their attraction to each other. In a rage, she abandons him, and now that she's vanished on the field of battle, it's not looking good for her chances of survival.

Geralt and Jaskier split up

And speaking of breakups, right after Yennefer left Geralt in the dust, he took his feelings out on his poor bard buddy Jaskier, who is so fed up with Geralt's moody behavior that he gets outta dodge as well, lute and all. So, Geralt is left friendless and single, with only his horse Roach to keep him company on the road before finally finding young Ciri. Don't worry about Jaskier, though. It takes a lot more than a Witcher's disdain to keep a good bard down.

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.