Among fans of The Witcher, it’s a well-known fact that Netflix series star Henry Cavill is an enthusiast of Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy world. But that passion for the Continent and its monsters isn’t all that drives the actor’s performance as Geralt of Rivia. His performance is also inspired by the armed forces.
In an interview with Polygon, Cavill began by explaining his view on the witcher guild. “This warrior brotherhood, which lives in the mountains and is misunderstood, both deliberately and accidentally, has gone through things that people don’t recognize or understand.” He continued, “I have the very good fortune of knowing people who have done extraordinary things in the armed forces. And the warrior brotherhood that I see represented in those people, you realize how soulful these individuals are, and the bond that they have with one another.”
The cast of Netflix’s The Witcher is well-aware of the associations between Cavill’s performance and the military. Actor Paul Bullion has said numerous times, including at 2021’s WitcherCon, that Cavill often compared witchers to Navy SEALs.
Cavill went on to discuss the option he had to serve as part of the British Royal Marines, explaining, “I was very keen on joining the armed forces when I was younger, and had acting not got me first and I would have joined the armed forces. The opportunity to play a Witcher was similar, in a sense, this very tightly knit warrior brotherhood, with an added element of intense sorrow.”
Season 2 of The Witcher adapts the events of Blood of Elves and introduces mainstream audiences to a handful of other witchers roaming the Continent. Part of the series takes place in the mountain fortress of Kaer Morhen, where the remaining witchers from the School of the Wolf reside for the winter. Following the events of Season 1, Geralt takes Ciri, the lost Cintran princess, to the ancient keep for protection. There, she attempts to ready herself for the dangers to come by throwing herself into training alongside the monster slayers, under the guidance of Lambert, Coën, Geralt and their mentor, Vesemir.
It was the tight bond between the witchers of Kaer Morhen that compelled the series creators to make certain creative decisions to propel the story and each character forward. Showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich recently explained that the decision to kill off one of the witchers was specifically because the death of a new character would not have had as powerful of an emotional impact, though an original character was considered.