Netflix’s The Witcher has proven a divisive show. Those expecting an action-packed monster-slaying adventure have found themselves dealing with an unexpectedly complex story split across three separate timelines. Unpicking these can be a little tricky if you’re not paying attention, but those who’ve stuck with the series really appreciate its ambition and scope. So, to give you a bit of a leg up if you’re planning on digging in over the holidays, here’s how the timelines in The Witcher work.
Essentially, the three major characters get one timeline each. The earliest is Yennefer’s, which takes place roughly thirty years prior to Geralt’s first scene. This timeline shows us Yennefer finishing her magical training and learning the skills she’ll need to survive the political machinations of The Witcher‘s violent world.
Next, providing the meat of the story, is Geralt’s adventures as a Witcher. This shows the titular monster hunter navigating the world left in the wake of Yennefer’s time. We don’t know exactly when this is, but given that Geralt’s an experienced monster-hunter and the Queen is a very different character than in Yennefer’s timeline, it’s safe to assume that multiple decades have passed.
Finally, set furthest in the future is Ciri’s timeline. The supernaturally powered (sorta) daughter of Geralt and Yennefer is one of the most important characters in The Witcher mythos, and the show devotes an appropriate amount of time to fleshing her out as a person. Her story takes place about a decade and change beyond Geralt’s timeline.
Caught up with that? We hope so, as this is a bold narrative structure for a show that could easily have gone down the ‘monster of the week’ route with a sprinkling of politics on top. Instead, the series has chosen to focus on the most complex elements in Andrzej Sapkowski’s world. I personally think it’s a smart move as audiences have proven their appetite for medieval wheelings and dealings with Game of Thrones. Here’s hoping that second season of The Witcher comes sooner rather than later.