For fans of popular video games series, ‘Witcher’, its TV adaptation by Netflix, ‘The Witcher’, might prove to be a surprising watch. This is because the TV series has little or nothing to do with the video games! The games were developed as spin-offs of the original books and short stories, but the shows are based purely on these.
Thus, if you’ve either read the books or played the games, there are a number of hidden details, bonus scenes, and references for you to spot throughout the first season of The Witcher.
While it would take some work to list every reference to the books – the show features quite a number of them – we’ve made a list of our favorites. Keep scrolling to see some of these scenes. Also, let us know in the comments if there’s any we might have missed out.
1. Ear Worms
Due to some nasty treachery by the Nilfgaardians, the Northerners almost lose the Battle of Sodden Hill. The use of mind-controlling “ear worms” in the battle is an entirely new concept, hence viewers were shocked by its appearance at the end of the season.
2. Conjunction of the Spheres
The Conjunction of the Spheres is briefly discussed during Ciri’s scenes in the forest Brokilon. This is a legendary event in the series’ lore in which several planes of reality merge, bringing magic coupled with deadly magical creatures to the world of men.
3. The Sacking of Kaer Morhen
Another thing mentioned in this episode is the Sacking of Kaer Morhen: the traditional home and training ground of the witchers. This incident took place before the events of the show, and it caused the witchers to become much more discreet.
4. The Butcher of Blaviken
Occurences in this episode lead to Geralt picking up one of his most notorious nicknames: the Butcher of Blaviken. In the books, this plays out differently as a result of Geralt learning beforehand that Renfri’s thugs are about to take the marketplace full of civilians hostage.
5. The Puppet Show
The puppet show Ciri witnesses in Episode 7 appears to be mocking the sacking of Cintra. This scene can be compared to Arya Stark watching the mummer troupe recreate the Red Wedding onstage in Game of Thrones.
6. Ciri’s Powers
Taking place at almost the same time as in the original stories, Ciri had yet to uncover or use the powers she displays in this episode. However, these powers are like the ones her mother, Pavetta, used during the feast that Eist Tuirseach mentioned earlier.
7. The Lute
The lute gifted to Jaskier by the elves as they let the bard and Geralt walk free remains with him for a long time in the books. Compared to his former lute, this new one is much nicer, a fact reluctantly acknowledged by Jaskier in the short story, ‘The Edge of the World’.
8. The Hirikka
In the series, Eyck brutally slays a creature known as a Hirikka. According to Witcher lore, it’s almost extinct, and even more rare than a dragon – which makes Eyck’s actions even shittier.
9. Multiple Timelines Hint
Hidden in this episode is yet another hint that the storylines are taking place years apart: King Foltest, who tasks Geralt with killing the Striga, shows up as a young boy at the party Yennefer attends. This can easily go unnoticed if you’re not paying attention to every single line of dialogue.
10. The Selkiemore
A man describes Geralt’s battles with a “selkiemore” – a creature that hasn’t been mentioned in the series before, either in the books or in the games. Consequently, from his accounts, it can be inferred that a selkiemore is some kind of water-dwelling sea monster.
11. Geralt’s Story
Directly adapted from the books is Geralt’s story about killing his first monster – a rapist. Although in the story ‘The Voice of Reason’, rather than tell his horse, he narrates his experience to a priestess named lola.
12. The Aard sign
Geralt unleashes one of his most popular powers from both the games and the books, the Aard sign, during the market fight in Blaviken. This move knocks opponents back with a telekinetic blast.
13. The Harry Potter Tent
Yennefer’s queer Harry Potter tent – which is bigger on the inside can’t be found in the books. Nevertheless, it is quite cool.
14. The White Flame
Talk about the White Flame alludes to Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, the ruler of Nilfgaard who boasts a cult-like following.
15. The Sword of Destiny
“The sword of destiny has two edges” is a quote lifted directly from the books. The second book of short stories is called ‘Sword of Destiny’ and the “two edges” part refers to Geralt and Ciri.
16. Lilac and Gooseberries
Geralt observes that Yennefer smells like lilac and gooseberries, a scent he’ll not be forgetting in a hurry. In the books, it’s one of the foremost things he remembers whenever he thinks about her.
17. Eyck of Denesle
Yenn’s escort, Eyck of Densele, is a minor character in the books. However, in the source material, he’s stubbornly against sorcery.
18. Meet Istredd
Istredd isn’t one of the well known characters from the books, but he has assumed a greater role for the show. In one of the short stories, ‘A Shard of Ice’, he dueled with Geralt over Yennefer’s affections. Yennefer and Istredd have history as past lovers, but it’s never explored. Hence, the character’s role in the books has been reinvented for the show.
In Episode 5, Yennefer is threatened with dimeritium, a metal which minimizes the effects of sorcery. It pops up severally in the books. It can also be used to make equipment in the video games.
20. The Last Wish
Following from the books, Yennefer realizes how Geralt saved her from the djinn.This takes place towards the end of Episode 6. Geralt achieved this by using his last wish to merge their fates.
21. The Stars Reflecting in the Pond
“You can not mistake the stars reflecting in the pond for the night sky” is a quote that appears several times in the books, especially in “Time of Contempt.”
22. Ithlinne’s Prophecy
The line “The time of the sword and axe is nigh” from Cahir and Fringilla’s conversation is a line from the Prophecy of Ithlinne, a key moment from the books.
23. Your Daughter’s Betrothal Feast
When Eist Tuirseach tells Calanthe that these festivities “remind [him] of your daughter’s betrothal feast,” he’s talking about a pivotal event from the series – one that is reenacted onscreen in Episode 4.
24. Meet Vilgefortz
Vilgefortz is a major character in the books, but he seems to have taken a back seat in the show, at least, for now.
25. The Kikimora
The creature Geralt slays in this episode is called a Kikimora. It’s described as having a “spidery shape with its dry black skin, that glassy eye with its vertical pupil, [and] needle-like fangs in the bloody jaw” in the short story ‘The Lesser Evil’.