The Witcher Season 2 Ending Explained: Everybody Is Looking For Ciri

Season 1 of the Netflix sword-and-sorcery fantasy series "The Witcher" was admittedly a bit confusing, encompassing more than 40 years in our characters' lives before bringing it all around to their present day at the end of the season finale. The first season followed the titular Witcher, Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), the powerful mage Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra), and a young princess named Cirilla, or Ciri (Freya Allan), who is bound to Geralt by destiny. Geralt and Ciri first meet in the final moments of season 1, uniting the various timelines to propel the series forward. When the second season begins, Ciri and Geralt are on their way to Kaer Morhen, where Geralt was raised and trained as a Witcher, and they're going to try to figure out how to forge ahead in the face of whatever the fates throw at them.

If season 1 was Geralt's hunt to find Ciri, his child of surprise, then season 2 and beyond are a hunt for everyone to catch Ciri. The season finale leaves most of its most important plot points teetering on a cliff's edge, both literally and metaphorically, setting fans up for an explosive beginning to season 3. Just as Ciri is the key to unlocking ancient prophecies and possibly winning wars, she's also the center of "The Witcher" season 2, a shining star with many powerful beings orbiting her. Entire armies are out searching for this one stubborn girl, so she must be something special; whoever controls Ciri will likely control the fate of the Continent.

Let's take a look at the big moments that led us to that shocking season 2 finale, from that surprise mid-season death that shook book fans to their core to the many character reunions.

Warning: Major spoilers for "The Witcher" season 2 below. 

Reunions at Kaer Morhen

After an eventful visit with an old friend of Geralt's named Nivellan (Kristofer Hivju) and his roommate the bruxa, Ciri and Geralt make it to Kaer Morhen, the mountain keep where Geralt trained to become a witcher in the School of the Wolf. His mentor, Vesemir (Kim Bodnia), greets Geralt with glee, but some of the other witchers don't seem quite as excited to see their brother return. Geralt is hugged and has his back slapped by many of his fellow witchers, but Eskel (Basil Eidenbenz) seems a little uneasy with Geralt's arrival. Even those who welcome Geralt are unsure of Ciri. There aren't exactly any women hanging around Kaer Morhen unless someone brings home some sex workers, so having a princess nearby kind of kills their whole bachelor pad vibe. 

Geralt and Ciri are bound together by the Law of Surprise, which Geralt claimed to Ciri's father before she was born, then again to the merchant whose wife rescued Ciri in season 1. Geralt himself is a child of surprise, someone whose fate has been forged by destiny. Just as Vesemir was Geralt's surrogate father, Geralt becomes Ciri's proud papa. It takes some time, but Ciri eventually earns the trust of many of the other witchers by putting herself through their rigorous training exercises over and over again, in spite of getting knocked around and bloodied. 

At Kaer Morhen, Geralt also reunites with Triss (Anna Shaffer), a mage who is especially talented at healing magic. He asks her to help him with Ciri, who is exhibiting unique powers, and she agrees. The witchers are even more leery of Triss than they are of Ciri, but the Temerian holds her own. 

The Series Kills Off a Book Fan Favorite

The Netflix series has implemented small deviations from the source novels and short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski, but a major departure in season 2 has left some fans furious. Fans of the book series were excited to see Eskel brought to life in the series, as he is one of the other best-developed witcher characters in the novels. In the books, Eskel is like a slightly less serious Geralt, but the series paints him as a cursed, angry drunk. He's the one who brings a whole gaggle of sex workers back to the keep, and he's crass and cruel to Ciri. It's revealed that he fought a leshy, and though he was able to sever its hand, it poisoned him and turned him into a freaky tree monster as well. The leshen's poison spreads from a wound on Eskel's back, and soon he turns into a tree-beast bent on killing humans, including Geralt, Ciri, and anyone else at Kaer Morhen. 

Geralt eventually kills Eskel, which never happens in the books. Though Geralt and Vesemir give Eskel a proper School of the Wolf-style funeral, removing the tree bark from his body so wolves may consume his flesh, some fans still felt this turn was a disservice to a more complex character. 

A Mage, a Witcher, a Bard, and a Princess

Each of the major players from season 1 is eventually reunited, and as season 2 ramps up into its big climax, Yennefer, Geralt, and Jaskier the bard (Joey Batey) are all doing their best to protect Ciri. Remember that giant monolith that split open and allowed the monsters from other worlds to enter the Continent? It turns out Ciri had something to do with that, as she is the prophesied "Child of Elder Blood," a mage more powerful than any who has ever lived. Ciri is the descendant of an Elven mage named Lara, who cursed humanity when they turned on her and her (human) lover. Lara was believed to be the last carrier of Elder Blood, a mutant gene which allows a mage to channel energy strong enough to break open doors between worlds. 

The Child of Elder Blood is supposed to wreak vengeance upon humanity for the suffering they've caused the Elves, leading to a new age that sounds a little apocalyptic. It's going to be up to Yennefer and Geralt to be her surrogate parents and help her through her upcoming ordeal as she comes fully into her power. They're going to need all of the help they can get, and with Triss, Vesemir, and Jaskier, have forced their own found family of f***ed-up magic users.

Things on the Continent Get More Complicated

For awhile, it looked like the Elves, led by Francesca (Mecia Simson), were going to fight alongside the forces of the war-mongering Nilfgaardians as they seek to take over the entire Continent. But Francesca gives birth to the first pure-blooded Elf in centuries, and decides to change her focus. Instead of war, she longs to take her daughter and form an Elven society apart from humanity. Not only does she have a child to think of now, but she doesn't trust Cahir (Eamon Farren), who has returned and started bossing head mage Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni) around. Fringilla forged the bonds of trust with Francesca, and Cahir's arrival frayed them too much to hold after giving birth. 

Fringilla takes things into her own hands, having the Elven baby killed in one of the series' most heart-wrenching and gut-churning scenes. She keeps this a secret from everyone except Cahir, whom she is trying to impress with her ruthlessness. It turns out that the killing was ordained by their religious leader, "The White Flame," in order to spur the Elves into war with the Northern Kingdoms.

In retaliation, Francesca, an impressive mage, goes around Redanian City, putting sigils on the doors of every home. She then calls up powerful magic, killing all of the babies in the entire city. That's one way to start a war. Oh, and that "White Flame?" It turns out he's Ciri's biological father, Emhyr var Emreis, also known as "Duny."

No Quarter from Nilfgaard

Ciri's father being the White Flame of Nilfgaard complicates their dogged pursuit of the princess. The Nilfgaardian soldier Cahir has stopped at nothing to find Ciri, and his determination only strengthens as season 2 unfolds. The White Flame has commanded him to find the girl, and so he will, or die trying. The council of mages, once held dear by Triss and Yennifer, are also quite interested in finding the Child of Elder Blood for their own nefarious, power-grabbing reasons. Pretty much everyone on the Continent is after Ciri, though very few of them actually want what's best for her. 

In the prophecy describing the Child of Elder Blood, there is a mistranslation. Originally, it was believed that the Elves forged Elder Blood as a weapon, but Geralt's former teacher, Nenneke (Adjoa Andoh) realizes that the word is actually warrior, not weapon. Ciri is not a weapon, as the many who seek her believe, but a fully defined warrior who is capable of making her own decisions.

So Who is Voleth Meir?

Throughout season 2, a mysterious old woman's voice has called to both Yennefer and Ciri, encouraging them to take certain actions intended to bring Ciri closer to her. That woman turns out to be Voleth Meir, a powerful being from one of the other realms, brought over when Ciri's scream broke open the monolith and the door between worlds. She doesn't know how to get back, though, and finding the key to her door — Ciri — is a good place to start. The season finale features a massive magical battle between Voleth Meir and the witchers, as Voleth Meir uses Ciri's body as a vessel. Yennifer summons Voleth Meir into her own body, and then Ciri opens a portal which takes them all to another realm. This realm belongs to Voleth Meir, who appears in her true form and joins a pack of inhuman hunters. This is The Wild Hunt, another prophecy involving creatures who will wreak havoc upon the land and bring about an apocalyptic event. They want Ciri to join them as the Child of Chaos, but she returns everyone back to their rightful realm just in time. 

Looking Forward

Ciri and her found family have a world of troubles ahead of them. The princess is still only partially trained in both the use of magic and in fighting like a witcher, plus she's pretty young to take on so much responsibility. (With great power ... I know, I know.) Now she not only has to contend with the vengeance-seeking Elves, the bloodthirsty Nilfgaardians, and her manipulative and secret paternal father, but she also has to worry about a whole host of wild hunters trying to break through the barriers between the realms in order to get to her. As for Triss, Jaskier, Geralt, and Yennifer? They just have to keep from killing one another long enough to keep Ciri safe. 

Season 3 looks like it will be following the events of the Wild Hunt from the "Witcher" novels, which were turned into the highly popular "Witcher 3" video game. Get excited, because things on the Continent are just heating up.