Throughout the entire first season of The Witcher, one of the things we noticed is the fact that sorcerers and mages are incredibly powerful because of how they are capable of controlling chaos. One of the more powerful sorcerers shown throughout The Witcher is Yennefer, who is one of the three central characters of the series. However, in a good part of season 2, we noticed that she doesn’t use any of her magic because of the very fact that she lost her powers. So, how did Yennefer lose her magic?
In the series, Yennefer loses her power when she uses fire magic at the end of the first season so that the mages can defeat the forces of Nilfgaard at the Battle of Sodden. Because fire magic is forbidden and due to the fact that Yennefer expunged all of the chaos from her, she lost her ability to control the chaos.
As smart and experienced as he is, we heard from Geralt that Yennefer is one of the most powerful mages he has ever encountered in the entire continent. She was able to prove her power when her might was enough to defeat Nilfgaard at Sodden. However, as Tissaia herself said, what she did was a “sacrifice”. And such a sacrifice led to the loss of her powers.
How Did Yennefer Lose Her Magic?
The Witcher is a story that focuses a lot on things that you only see or read from fantasy. As such, a good part of the entire Witcher lore is focused on magic and the ability to control it. Of course, only a select few have the ability to control magic, which is also called the ability to control chaos, as all forms of magic come from chaos. Some of those who are capable of controlling chaos include the mages.
One of the central characters of the entire Witcher series is a sorcerer named Yennefer. Throughout the first season of The Witcher, we were able to see the things that Yennefer could do with her powers. Even Geralt himself said that she is one of the most powerful mages he has ever encountered in the entire continent. That speaks volumes of how powerful Yen is.
Tissaia, one of the most experienced sorcerers in the entire continent, said it herself that Yennefer’s power was incredible. And this led to the events that we saw in episode 8 of season 1, which focused a lot on the Battle of Sodden Hill.
But, after the battle, we found Yennefer in the company of her former friend Fringilla and the remnants of the Nilfgaardian forces that they defeated at Sodden Hill. And one of the things we noticed was that Yen could not perform magic. She even admitted that she lost her ability to control the chaos.
In that regard, how did Yennefer lose her magic? And where did it go?
To get to know how Yennefer lost her powers, we need to make a quick recap of what happened during the final two episodes of season 1 of The Witcher, as this will shed some light on why the powerful mage lost her ability to control the chaos.
In episode 7 of the first season of The Witcher, we saw the mages debating on whether or not they were going to stop the advances of the Nilfgaardian army, which had just taken over the Kingdom of Cintra. While the mages resolved to leave things as they were, a select group of mages such as Tissaia, Triss, and Vilgefortz defied the mages and went off to try to stop the advancing Nilfgaardian army. Of course, Yennefer reluctantly joined them.
As the Battle at Sodden Hill unfolded, the Nilfgaardian Empire seemed to have the advantage over the mages and the army that they were leading. The turning point was when the Nilfgaardians flung a tremendous ball of flame to the forces of the mages.
When everything seemed lost, an injured Tissaia told Yennefer that she had an incredible power within her and that she was capable of something greater than what all of the other mages were capable of doing. In a last-ditch effort to turn the tide of battle in their favor, Yen summoned all of the chaos within here and contained the projectile of flames while flinging it back to the Nilfgaardian army.
What Yennefer did was ultimately the act that allowed the army of the mages to defeat the Nilfgaardian forces. As such, the mages were the victors of the Battle of Sodden Hill, but not without losing a lot of mages and allies in the process. After that, we never saw Yennefer for the rest of season 1, as she seemingly disappeared.
It was only during season 2 that we once again saw Yennefer. This time, she was a prisoner of war at the hands of the remaining Nilfgaardian forces and their mage Fringilla. From then on until the latter portion of the second season, Yennefer was no longer capable of controlling chaos and using magic.
Why Did Yennefer Lose Her Powers?
As mentioned, after the events of the Battle of Sodden Hill, Yennefer could no longer use her powers. But why is it that she could no longer perform magic even though she was one of the most powerful mages in the entire continent?
One of the things that were revealed as early as the first season of The Witcher was the fact that fire magic is forbidden among the mages. The reason why fire magic is forbidden is that fire has always been volatile and unpredictable. On top of that, fire magic tends to take away something from the user because of how dangerous it is.
We have seen fire magic in play in The Witcher. In season 1, Fringilla ordered some of her mages to conjure up the fire, which was the same fire that the Nilfgaardians used when they nearly defeated the army of the mages during the Battle of Sodden Hill. We saw that those mages had a visible look of concern on their faces, but they ultimately obliged only to end up dying as a result of conjuring up a massive fireball.
You probably already know what we are getting at here when it comes to Yennefer and how she lost her powers.
As mentioned, fire magic tends to take away something from the one who conjured it up. That was basically what happened to Yennefer when she lost her ability to control chaos following the victory of the mages at the Battle of Sodden Hill.
When Yen mustered up all of her power and might to control the flames that the Nilfgaardian empire conjured up, she was basically summoning all of the chaos within her. By tapping into the innermost part of her being, Yennefer was able to use up all of her chaos to control the flames and return it back to the senders.
So, in a sense, what Yennefer did was that she expunged all of the chaos from her body so that she could control the flames. Losing all of the chaos essentially made Yen lose her ability to control the chaos. And with that, she could no longer perform magic at any kind of level.
As such, Yennefer essentially sacrificed her powers so that she could turn the tide in favor of the mages. This is what Tissaia meant when she said that what Yen did was a great sacrifice, as many other mages also sacrificed a lot during the Battle of Sodden Hill.
Does Yennefer Lose Her Powers In The Books?
So, in season 2 of The Witcher, Yennefer losing her powers was one of the central themes involving the major antagonist of that season. She was on a journey to get her powers back throughout much of the entire season, and that led to how the Deathless Mother was able to easily manipulate Yen.
However, even though Yennefer losing her ability to perform magic is one of the biggest themes of the second season, what you should know is that this was never in the books. Of course, the same goes for the Deathless Mother, who was also never in the books.
In the books, Yennefer never lost her ability to perform magic after the Battle of Sodden Hill. Instead, what happened was that she was temporarily blinded when Fringilla flung a fireball right at her face.
So, while Yennefer never lost her powers in the books, she did become useless at one point in the story, especially after getting blinded temporarily. After the battle, she spent a long time recovering.
Does Yennefer Lose Her Magic In The Games?
Similarly, because the games were cut out from the books, there was never a point in time when Yennefer lost her magic.
As such, Yennefer losing her magic and the Deathless Mother using this fact to her advantage so that she could gain control over Ciri are elements that you will only see in The Witcher series.