Is Geralt of Rivia gay or queer? And what, exactly, is a Witcher? We answer your burning questions
The Witcher really is absolutely everywhere you look at the moment.
Whether you were first introduced to the immersive fantasy world through the bestselling books, or the game, or latterly the high-budget TV series starring walking thirst trap Henry Cavill: the chances are you were instantly hooked.
However, if you’re one of the few people who aren’t that familiar with the The Witcher (er, have you been living under a rock this whole time?) we thought we’d pull together a handy guide that will teach you everything you need to know about this worldwide phenomenon.
The tale begins with a series of six fantasy novels and 15 short stories written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. They centre on a group of fictional monster hunters called witchers, who develop supernatural abilities at a young age that allow them to battle wild animals and arcane creatures.
The books follow the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, also known as Gwynnbleid (“White Wolf”) and the Butcher of Blaviken, who travels the land hunting monsters in return for payment (coin).
The Witcher short stories were first published in Polish science fiction and fantasy magazine Fantastyka, back in the beginning of the mid-1980s. After becoming a cult classic in Eastern Europe, the subsequent novel saga was adapted into several films, television shows and a video game trilogy that we’ll get onto shortly.
The video game trilogy is considered the most successful adaption. The fantasy action RPG was first developed by CD Projekt Red and published by CD Projekt back in 2007. Based on the book series, the games released include The Witcher, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Taking place in a fictional fantasy world based on Slavonic mythology, players get to control Geralt of Rivia, a monster slayer for hire known as a Witcher. Players battle the game’s many dangers with weapons and magic, interact with non-player characters, and complete quests to acquire experience points and gold, which are used to increase Geralt’s abilities and purchase equipment.
Originally released on PC and Mac OS X, the game first came to console back in 2011 when The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released on Xbox 360 with its follow up The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt releasing on both Xbox One and PlayStation in 2015. As of 2020, the third instalment is the most successful game in the series selling over 28 million copies, with the critically-acclaimed series as a whole selling over 50 million copies.
The Netflix series
Starring Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, the show, like the novels, is set on a fictional, medieval-inspired landmass known as the Continent. Based on The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny books that precede the main saga story, the TV show is arguably more political than the games. As monsters become fewer and The Continent’s politics become more intense, the typically neutral Geralt will be forced by destiny to pick a side *cough* Game of Thrones, much? *cough*
The first season was released in December 2019 and Netflix have announced a second eight-episode season to be released in 2021. Based on Netflix’s description of Season 2, this new season sounds like it’s going to be tackling the first official book in The Witcher’s main saga: Blood of Elves. Without giving too much away, here’s what Netflix had to say about the highly-anticipated sequel:
“Convinced Yennefer’s life was lost at the Battle of Sodden, Geralt of Rivia brings Princess Cirilla to the safest place he knows, his childhood home of Kaer Morhen. While the Continent’s kings, elves, humans and demons strive for supremacy outside its walls, he must protect the girl from something far more dangerous: the mysterious power she possesses inside”.
Is Geralt gay or queer-coded?
The answer to this is….possibly? His main love interest in both the books and the video game is the powerful sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg, however many fans have speculated about, and even picked up on, some simmering sexual chemistry between Geralt and the bard Jaskier – otherwise known as Dandelion – most notably in the TV show.
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me knowing Nothing about the witcher but watching it anyway cause im gay and geralt is Hot: pic.twitter.com/gvVfHgZ7AI
— dentdeleon ✨💜✨ (@dentdeleon1) December 22, 2019
In the Netflix adaption, the show never outright states whether Jaskier (played by Joey Batey) is actually queer, however, what is clear is that the LGBT+ audience seems to believe he is queer-coded at the very least. In the first season, Jaskier follows Geralt obsessively around like a lost puppy, singing songs to praise him while also relying on his protection when needed.
And by episode six, the pair even share a lovers’ tiff of sorts after it’s made clear that the Bard disapproves of Geralt’s romantic interest in Yennefer. Then there’s the specific language Jaskier uses too. How often would a “friend” say something like, “Oh, you usually just let strangers rub chamomile onto your lovely bottom?” Lovely. Bottom.
Having just wrapped up filming for season two, fans are anticipating what to expect from the show. Since there’s no sign of a release date or a trailer in sight, we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not Geralt and Jaskier actually get it on. And if not, we can always just watch that bath scene again.