How Fire Magic In The Witcher Season 2 Really Works

Magic in "The Witcher" is complicated. Most magic is drawn from Chaos, a kind of power that resides in the elements, which mages learn to control within themselves. Though many kinds of magic are taught throughout the Continent, fire magic is considered one of the forbidden magics, along with necromancy and daemonology — though those who speak of it in hushed whispers don't exactly explain why. 

While the first season of Netflix's hit fantasy series showed the horrifying power of fire magic in its finale, the second season of "The Witcher" more fully details why fire magic is unique, and why it is so much more dangerous to play with.

Minor spoilers for "The Witcher" season 2 after the cut. 

The Consuming Power of Fire Magic

At the end of the first season of the hit Netflix series, mages working for Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni) and the forces of Nilfgaard cast massive fireballs under Fringilla's orders. The moment they launch these incredible attacks, however, they burst into flames themselves, consumed by the sheer amount of magical energy that coursed through them. Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) is able to channel some of the fire herself, though in doing so she also pays a massive price. While Yennefer doesn't die when she channels an already-existing barn fire through her hands, she does lose her connection to Chaos, rendering her without magic from that point forward. 

The other elements of Chaos that come from the world, including water, earth, and air, can all be creative forces as well as destructive. But fire can only destroy and consume, leaving ash in its wake. For that reason, it consumes the mages who channel it. Fire magic requires great sacrifice, which can come in the form of blood, life, or even one's connection to Chaos itself. It's no surprise that the ruthless Nilfgaardians are willing to end the lives of their own mages in order to create powerful magic, but Fringilla trained alongside fellow mages Yennefer and Triss (Anna Shaffer) and should have understood the exact cost. Perhaps the Nilfgaardian tendency towards violence has rubbed off on Fringilla more than she's willing to admit, even as she tries to explain her morally ambiguous reasoning for resorting to such dark magic.

Power that Burns

So how exactly does the fire mage Rience (Chris Fulton) use so much of the hot stuff without burning up himself? He explains to Jaskier (Joey Batey) while torturing him that in order to channel fire though oneself, they have to sacrifice something. In Rience's case, it's whatever a soul is within the "Witcher" universe. The forsaken mage has given up any chance at redemption in order to tamper with such dangerous magic, feeling that the cost was worth the power. 

The temptation of power and the damage it can cause is a major theme throughout "The Witcher" season 2, and fire is an apt metaphor for that power. Whether a character is seeking political power, the power to protect their loved ones, or magical power, they're all learning that such quests can burn. 

"The Witcher" season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.