In The Witcher, one of the things that we know is that Geralt used to love being alone in his journeys as a Witcher. The only company he didn’t mind before Jaskier joined him in his adventures was his horse named Roach. However, we saw Roach dying at the hands of a monster called a chernobog in season 2 of The Witcher. So, does Roach die in the Witcher books?
Every horse that Geralt has ever owned was named Roach. It is simply a personal preference for him, as he prefers mares with similar colors. Because of the fact that he names all of his horses Roach in the books, that means that every single one of his Roach horses has died.
A lot of people tend to forget that horses don’t get to live long lives, especially when they are in the service of Witchers, who live long lives and are always in the middle of dangerous situations. As such, a Witcher like Geralt has had plenty of horses under his service, but in a more implied way and not in an explicit manner. As such, even in the books, Roach dies.
Does Roach Die In The Witcher Books?
When we first met Geralt in the live-action adaptation of The Witcher, one of the things we saw was the fact that he is a loner who prefers to spend his time alone. It was only until Jaskier joined him that Geralt was no longer a loner, even though the bard was never his first choice of company. However, what we do know for a fact is that Geralt has always had a horse by his side because horses are the main mode of transportation for those who can’t use magic.
As early as season 1, we found out that Geralt’s horse is named Roach. From there, we have seen Geralt traveling around the continent with Roach by his side. This was true even until season 2, when he started traveling with Ciri, as both Geralt and the princess were riding Roach during their travels.
However, in episode 6 of season 2 of The Witcher, we see Geralt and Ciri traveling to the Temple of Melitele to go see Nenneke so that they can make sense of the abilities that Ciri can do. On their way to the temple, they were in the forest. However, Geralt suddenly stopped and warned Ciri to stay close to Roach because he sensed that some kind of a chernobog was nearby.
Take note that this some kind of a chernobog, which is a winged dragon-like creature, was first seen in the chasm that opened close to the toppled monolith in Cintra. It appeared when Ciri used her powers back in Kaer Morhen, as it might have sensed the princess’s powers and was on its way to get her.
When Geralt tried to kill the chernobog-like creature, it tried to get to Ciri before ultimately retreating. However, it got to Roach first before it got to the princess. The attack from the chernobog creature left Roach mortally wounded, as Geralt needed to mercy kill the horse to end its suffering.
In short, we saw Roach die at the hands of the chernobog in season 2. But while plenty of viewers was saddened by the loss of the horse, does it also happen in the books? Does Roach also die in the Witcher books?
The first thing you need to know about Roach is that this is the name that Geralt gives to all of his horses. Geralt prefers mares that are brownish in color. So, that means that all of his horses are actually named Roach. It also means that when one horse expires or dies, the next horse that comes in the service of Geralt is also named Roach.
Given the fact that The Witcher spans decades and that horses generally will not live long lives when they are in the service of a Witcher due to how dangerous the job is, we can assume that there have been a lot of horses that have come under the service of Geralt both in the books and the series. All of those horses are named Roach. As such, it is for certain that Roach has died at least once in the Witcher books and probably also in the series, considering that the Roach we saw dying in season 2 probably isn’t the same Roach that we saw in the very first episode of season 1.
How Did The Creators Decide Roach’s Fate?
So, while we can assume that Roach has died at least once in the past in the series version of The Witcher, there is a really good reason why the creators of the live-action series decided to have the horse killed in season 2.
Those who haven’t read the books or played the games probably don’t know that Geralt names all of his horses Roach. This could possibly mean that they believe that Roach has lived for decades since episode 1 of season 1, which is more than five decades before the events of season 2. So, in a way, the writers felt that they were already pushing the boundaries of reality because not everyone knew that every horse that Geralt owns is named Roach. And, if you must know, horses normally don’t get to live past three decades.
In that sense, killing Roach allowed the writers to show that Geralt gets new horses every now and then whenever the old one dies or expires. It is also a good way to show that Geralt names every horse Roach.