The Witcher Saga: A Character Guide and Explainer
From Geralt of Rivia to Triss Merigold, we've rounded up the characters of The Witcher Saga to help you keep them straight.
February 18, 2021
The Witcher Saga by Andrzej Sapkowski is a Polish fantasy series that has been translated into many languages and adapted into both a popular video game series and a Netflix show. But who are the characters behind the story? How are they all connected to one another? And how do they fit into the overall Witcher narrative? If you're new to the series and looking for some background information about the characters, this character guide is a great place to start. (Gentle warning: some light spoilers for the series may follow.)
The saga focuses on the stories of Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher, and Ciri, a princess who becomes a witcher-in-training. Geralt, with the help of Yennefer of Vengerberg, must keep Ciri safe from the many people who wish to use her for political gains, all while training her in the ways of being a Witcher. Because Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer are the main characters of this saga, this guide is organized by those three central protagonists, followed by the secondary characters who they encounter on their journey.
Geralt of Rivia
Geralt, also known as White Wolf or Butcher of Blaviken, is about a century old when the saga starts. The short stories that were published before the saga follow Geralt’s adventures at a younger age. As a Witcher, Geralt underwent mutations and training in childhood that gave him superhuman abilities to hunt monsters, such as super strength and speed. One of the effects of these mutations is Geralt’s bright white hair. Geralt has a romantic relationship with Yennefer of Vengerberg, which is sometimes on and sometimes off, but ultimately, Yennefer is the love of his life. Geralt’s destiny is tied to that of his ward, Ciri of Cintra.
Dandelion – “Dandelion” is the nickname given to Julian Alfred Pankratz, Viscount de Lettenhove. Dandelion is a bard and a poet and he becomes one of Geralt’s closest friends. He accompanies Geralt in many of his adventures in the short stories leading up to the saga. By the time we reach the timeline of the Witcher Saga, Dandelion is in his early 40s. He writes many ballads about the love between Geralt and Yennefer.
King Foltest – King Foltest is the ruler of Temeria. He has a romantic relationship with his sister, who becomes pregnant with a daughter. Although both the mother and child die in childbirth, King Foltest’s daughter returns to life as a monster called a Striga. Foltest hires Geralt to lift the curse off his daughter.
Milva – Maria Barring is better known as “Milva.” When Ciri is taken, Milva joins Geralt’s quest to find the missing princess. She is a talented archer.
Regis – At the start the Witcher Saga, Emiel Regis Rohellec Terzieff-Godefroy, or Regis, is around 400 years old. Geralt is at first suspicious of Regis because he is a higher vampire. However, after Regis rescues Dandelion and Geralt, they invite him to join their party. Regis is a barber-surgeon who is fond of intellectual conversations.
Angoulême – Angoulême is a fair-haired girl who resembles Ciri so much that Geralt initially mistakes her for Ciri when they first meet. She is a loud-mouthed girl who loves to curse and dreams of one day opening up a bordello. She leaves her rich Cintran family behind to join a gang called the Nightingales, and later she becomes a member of Geralt’s hansa.
Roach – Perhaps the most steadfast of Geralt's companions is his trusty steed. In Baptism of Fire, fans learned that Geralt names each and every one of his horses "Roach," a peculiar convention that he never truly explains. Roach is typically female, as Geralt prefers to ride mares, and though the consistent naming might seem to imply that the White Wolf cares little for his equine companion, it's worth noting that he will not voluntarily part with Roach. The bond between Geralt and Roach is an affectionate one, born from exhaustive travels and shared skirmishes. (And as for the name itself? In taking the stories from Polish to English, a bit was lost in translation: "Plotka," Roach's moniker in Polish, is a feminine term of endearment that further underscores Geralt's connection with his horse.)
Ciri of Cintra
Ciri is the heir to the throne of Cintra, which was recently overtaken by the Nilfgaardian Empire. Now Ciri has become a target for many who wish to use her as a pawn for political gain. Ciri is also Geralt’s ward, and is being trained to become a Witcher herself at the start of the saga. She is in her early 20s for the events that take place during the saga. Because of her ancestry, she has Elder blood that allows her to travel through space and time.
Cahir – Cahir Mawr Dyffryn aep Ceallach was an intelligence officer in the Nilfgaardian army who fell in love with Ciri during the attack on Cintra. He was supposed to capture her and bring her back to Emhyr var Emreis, but fails to complete his mission and is imprisoned. Later, Cahir ends up joining Geralt’s hansa and swears to protect Ciri from harm.
Philippa Eilhart – Philippa is a powerful sorceress who has the ability to polymorph. She is considered to be the leader of the Lodge of Sorceresses. At one point, she tries to use Ciri as a political tool in order to create a state run by mages, but her attempts fail.
Sigismund Dijkstra – Dijkstra is a spymaster who is good friends with Philippa and also in love with her. He’s known for his imposing presence, being nearly seven feet tall with a large belly. He’s also bald. Dijkstra is also a part of the plans to use Ciri as a political tool.
Leo Bonhart – Speaking of imposing men who are nearly seven feet tall, meet Leo Bonhart. Leo is described as being ghoulish-looking, with fish-like eyes. He’s an excellent swordsman who is hired by Stefan Skellan to kill Ciri. Instead, Leo kidnaps Ciri and uses her as a pit fighter.
Stefan Skellan – Stefan Skellan is also know as “Tawny Owl.” He’s a Nilfgaardian coroner and member of the Imperial Secret Service who is tasked with capturing Ciri and bringing her to the Imperial court. However, Skellan has designs of his own for the princess, and rather than attempting to kidnap her, he puts together a band of mercenaries who aim to kill Ciri.
Eredin – Eredin Bréacc Glas, also known as “King of the Wild Hunt” or “Sparrowhawk,” is the commander of an elven cavalry whose goal was to capture Ciri.
Mousesack – Mousesack is a druid who cares for Ciri in her young age and helps raise her before the slaughter of Cintra. He is also a close friend of Geralt’s.
Emhyr var Emreis – Emhyr var Emreis is Ciri’s birth father. More details of Ciri’s lineage will be revealed as the saga continues, so to avoid major spoilers later in the series, we’ll just leave it at that.
Pavetta Fiona Elen - Pavetta is the granddaughter of Queen Adalia, the daughter of Queen Calanthe, and the mother of Ciri. She is a Source, which means she has access to magical abilities but not the power to control them. Such abilities can lead to mental illness and catatonia if the Source cannot find a way to control them.
Queen Calanthe – Queen Calanthe is the Queen of Centra and Ciri’s grandmother. She dies during the Slaughter of Cintra.
Yennefer of Vengerberg
Yennefer mentions that she is 94 years old in the fourth installment of the saga, so she's around the same age or a few years older than her lover, Geralt. She’s often nicknamed “Yen” or “Yenna.” Unable to have children of her own, Yennefer considers Ciri a daughter, caring for the princess as if she were her own flesh and blood. Yennefer is one of the most powerful mages, and the Lodge of Sorceresses tries to recruit her at one point in the story. However, after Yennefer sees how the Lodge attempts to use Ciri for political gain, she declines. Yennefer is famous for her beauty as well as her powerful magic. She has violet eyes and black hair.
Triss Merigold - Triss Merigold is a sorceress and one of Yennefer's closest friends. She's in love with Geralt—at one point, she uses magic to seduce the Witcher. When the spell wears off, however, their love affair ends. Triss is also close with Ciri and views the princess as a younger sister. Triss has chestnut hair and blue eyes. Her exact age is unclear, but she did befriend Yennefer during their studies together at Aretuza, a magical academy for young ladies, which suggests they are around the same age.
Margarita Laux-Antille - Margarita is a sorceress and a rector of Aretuza. She's also a founding member of the Lodge of Sorceresses and one of Yennefer's close friends. At one point in the saga, Yennefer rescues her from execution.
Vilgefortz - Vilgefortz of Roggeveen was a member of the Chapter of the Conclave and a sorcerer that Yennefer considered to be very powerful, especially for someone so young. Unlike most mages, Vilgefortz did not decide to become a mage until he was well into adulthood.
Tissaia de Vries - Tissaia de Vries is a sorceress and a member of the Chapter of the Gift and the Art. As a rector of Aretuza, she became Yennefer's teacher and mentor. Tissaia also became a sort of mother figure to Yennefer.
The world of the Witcher Saga is vast, so while this is not an exhaustive list of every character you will meet, this guide should help you find your footing as you make your way into the series.
While some plot details have been revealed here to help you better understand the characters, many of their secrets—past, present, and future—still remain to be uncovered. Enjoy the journey!