What to expect from Season 3 of The Witcher on Netflix: everything we know and all the theories

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Warning: This article contains spoilers for the first and second seasons of The Witcher on Netflix, as well as the second book in The Witcher saga, A Time of Hate.


The cast of The Witcher (Henry Cavill as Geralt, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer and Freya Allan as Ciri) returns for the third season. Although The Witcher universe is pretty vast today, with the RPG series, card game, manga, and even a cookbook, Netflix’s iteration goes back to basics by following the original book series from Andrzej Sapkowski.

It was revealed at Netflix’s Tudum event that The Witcher Season 3 will finally arrive in the summer of 2023, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a clue what to expect. Combining clues from the last season, comments from the cast, and insights from the books, there is much to speculate about what’s coming in Season 3.

What is The Witcher Season 3 about?

Since the first season of The Witcher is based on Sapkowski’s two collections of short stories, and the second on the first novel in the main series, Blood of the Elves, it is certain that the third season will follow the plot of the second book: Time of hate. Although there is a bit of preparation, the meat of this novel begins when Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri come together and get their happy family moment, much like the end of the second season of Netflix.

And this is where the third season is likely to begin, further confirmed by its official plot synopsis: “As monarchs, wizards and beasts of the Continent vie to capture her, Geralt takes Ciri of Cintra into hiding, determined to protect his newly reunited family. against those who threaten to destroy it.”

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“Charged with Ciri’s magical training, Yennefer takes them to the sheltered fortress of Aretuza, where she hopes to discover more about the girl’s untapped powers. Instead, they discover that they have landed on a battlefield of political corruption, dark magic, and betrayal. They must fight, put it all on the line…or risk losing each other forever.”

Aretuza, set on the island of Thanedd, is at the center of A Time of Hate, and Henry Cavill, along with showrunner Lauren Hissrich, have made it clear that the series will generally stick to the plot of the books. Yennefer will attend the Thanedd Wizards’ Conclave, a gathering of the continent’s most influential magic users, alongside Tissaia de Vries (MyAnna Buring), Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu), Philippa Eilhart (Cassie Clare) and dozens of others, both known as no.

Although wizards are by no means a novelty at this point in the books, it’s definitely the time we learn to what extent the worlds of magic and politics are entangled. But this is not the case with the Netflix series, which has put a much heavier emphasis on wizards so far.

Yennefer’s origin story, for example, is only mentioned in a handful of paragraphs in the books, but was told throughout several episodes of the first season. Another example occurs at the end of the first season, with the Battle of Sodden Hill, an event that, while equally important in the books, is only mentioned retroactively.

This means that the Netflix series has already advanced the events in Thanedd, making the tension between the wizards clear. In the third episode of the second season we see Vilgefortz arguing with Stregobor and the rest, and Yennefer accusing Tissaia of being manipulated into her lover’s power game. All these characters together in Thanedd, together with dozens of other magicians with Geralt and Ciri mixed in, can only go in one direction.

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Who is the villain of The Witcher Season 3?

The great villain of the series has also been introduced: the mysterious character that has been talked about throughout the second season. We’re given some hints about the off-screen villain’s identity, and if Netflix sticks with the books as promised, is someone we already know very well.

Rience described this person as someone with vision, and he is also someone who teleported him away from Geralt’s wrath at the end of the second season, meaning he is a powerful sorcerer. Lastly, he’s about the person who hired Rience in the first place, so we know he’s after Ciri.

Although many characters encapsulate these qualities separately, only one contains all three. This person made a play for more power among wizards, demonstrating his vision, and his participation in the Battle of Sodden Hill demonstrates his prominence as a wizard.

But his cards were really revealed in the seventh episode of the second season. When Tissaia tried to get information out of Triss about Ciri, this character completely lost her cool for the first time. “This girl has the potential to end the entire war forever,” Vilgefortz yelled, “political corruption, dark magic, and betrayal.”

We must also remember the larger political context outside of the wizarding gathering. The Battle of Sodden took place recently, so tensions between the northern kingdoms and Nilfgaard to the south are still very much alive. We already know that the emperor of the south, Emhyr var Emreis, is a master tactician, so when his entire northern invasion was bungled by mages, who should be his next target?

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the input of Phillipa Eilhart, who spent most of the second season as an owl, is also too convenient to ignore. In Time of Hate it is she who finds out about Emhyr and Vilgefortz’s plan, and prepares her own preemptive strike against the traitor mages who allied themselves with Nilfgaard.

what follows is essentially a civil war, as Geralt and Ciri find themselves in the midst of pure chaos erupting on the island, in what is known as Thanedd’s Coup. While this is obviously unconfirmed, it matches the plot synopsis perfectly, and the Netflix series has done a great job of establishing this historical event.