‘The Witcher’ Season 3: Who Are the Rats? Why Did They Save Ciri?

Mistle Ciri and Iskra The Witcher s03e08
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As Ciri becomes Falka at the end of The Witcher’s third season, she joins a gang of teenage outlaws called The Rats. The gang is one of the most popular groups in Witcherverse, which is why Netflix is creating a spinoff about them. The group of six, including Ciri’s future lover Mistle, morally corrupts Ciri. So much of the show’s fourth season now depends on these outlaws, and Witcher fans want to know who The Rats are and what happens to Ciri after she becomes Falka.

Based in Geso, The Rats are a group of six survivors of war, brought together by their shared trauma and love for fancy clothing and beautiful stolen trinkets. The group steals from the rich to fund their fancy lifestyle but also revels in violence and kills for fun. They liked Ciri because of her sword skills and only accepted her into their ranks because they saw her as just a child.

“They stood out because of their arrogance and conceit, overconfidence, mocking truculence and impetuousness, and contempt,” Andrzej Sapkowski describes The Rats in Time of Contempt. The show’s version of the group doesn’t have the fanciest of clothing, but it is pretty close to Sapkowski’s description in terms of arrogance and truculence, judging by how they dealt with Ciri’s captors. With Ciri now in their ranks, let’s look at what happens to the group in the books.

Who are the members of The Rats gang in ‘The Witcher’?

The Rats in The Witcher

Before Ciri joined them, The Rats was a gang of six members comprising their leader Giselher, and Ciri’s lover Mistle. The elf outlaw Iskra, Ciri’s fellow captive Kayleigh, former Nilfgardian soldier Reef, and Mistle’s savior Asse.

Giselher

Giselher is a former soldier and the leader of The Rats gang, portrayed in The Witcher Season 3 by Ben Radcliffe. He was part of an unnamed army that joined the Ebbing insurgency against the Nilfgardians. Giselher was indisciplined, and when his commanding officer whipped him for being drunk on a mission, he deserted the army.

While on the run in the forest, he met other deserters who had formed a gang and started pillaging villages while constantly running from the Nilfgardians. While running from soldiers one day, Giselher and his fellow deserters strayed into elf territory and were attacked. The whole gang was killed except Giselher, who got pinned to a tree by an arrow that cut through his shoulder.

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He was found and saved by an elf who her people had banished. The Elf’s name was Aenyeweddien, but Giselher called her Iskar instead because the name was too difficult to pronounce.

Iskar also needed Giselher to survive because lone elves in human territory made an easy target for their enemies, so she treated his wounds and later became his companion.

Iskra

Iskra in The Witcher

Iskra is the elf- that saved Giselher in the forests, portrayed in The Witcher by Aggy K. Adams.

Having been banished by elves, Aenyeweddien saved Giselher from the tree, and he, in turn, helped her survive as a gangster among humans. Little is known about what happened to her and why she was banished since the books only reveal that her name means ‘child of fire.’

Kayleigh

Kayleigh, portrayed by Fabian McCallum, was in a stronghold in Ebbing when it was sacked by Nilfgardian soldiers, killing his parents and siblings. He was the one tied up alongside Ciri The Witcher Season 3, having been captured by The Nissirs.

Despite Reef being part of the army that killed his family, Kayleigh saved him, and the two became crime partners. They robbed and killed a tax collector before going on a rampage, drinking and throwing away stolen money. He also liked Ciri, especially after she helped save him from his captors, although Mistle accused him of trying to rape Ciri.

Reef

Reef was a Nilfgardian soldier that was abandoned by his crew after sacking the Stronghold at Ebbing because he was injured. In the show, Reef is portrayed as a woman, played by Juliette Alexandra.

Nilfgardian soldiers didn’t usually help their injured comrades, so he was left to die. Kayleigh, instead, chose to save him, and the two became companions, although Reef’s Nilfgardian accent always gave him away.

Asse

Asse, played by Connor Crawford in The Witcher, is the son of a village blacksmith who went in pursuit of Nifgardian soldiers seeking revenge for what they did to his village. While trailing the soldiers, he rescued Mistle, who had been captured by Nilfgardian Marauders, raped, and dumped in a ditch alongside the bodies of other victims. Mistle was the only survivor of the attack in the ditch.

Mistle

Christelle Elwin in The Witcher 1

Mistle is the daughter of the vassal of Duke Rudiger of Thurn in the Northern kingdom of Maecht. The city joined forces with the Insurgency against Nilfgardians, which was defeated.

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Afraid of the Gemmeran Pacifiers that started purging cities after the war, Mistle, and the other city inhabitants tried to flee. Unfortunately, she got separated from her family and ended up in the hands of manhunters who planned to sell her. However, the manhunters got attacked by Nilfgardian raiders who killed all the men and then raped the women, including Mistle, after which Asse rescued her.

How they became The Rats?

Mistle and Ciri in The Witcher

The three groups met in Geso during the region’s harvesting festivals. While they didn’t know each other before, their love for beautiful horses and trinkets made them stand out in the village crowds, so they started working together, led by Giselher.

According to the books, they were called The Rats by one of their many victims whom they killed. Despite appearing fancy and funny on the outside, the gang was dangerous since they robbed people violently and killed some just for fun.

They managed to keep a low profile by sharing their spoils with the poor folk, who would lie to the authorities or hide them when Nifgardians came. They were also extremely weary of outsiders and therefore didn’t recruit any new members, which is why informers could never infiltrate their ranks. Ciri was, therefore, the first outsider to join them.

Mistle was the first member of the gang to be introduced in the third season of The Witcher. She stole the money Yennefer had given Ciri in Thanned. However, Mistle also gave a knife to Ciri to kill a baby monster that had escaped from the cage of a charlatan.

When she saw Ciri again when the gang came to rescue Kayleigh, she gave her a sword to fight the leader of The Trappers, who had captured Ciri in the desert. The sword fight between Ciri and the Trapper endeared her to the group.

While Iskra and Giselher were against allowing Ciri to join the gang, Mistle and Kayleigh supported the idea. The group later agreed to allow Ciri to become the seventh member under the name Falka. The gang had no idea that Ciri was actually ‘the lost princess’ of Cintra throughout their time together.

What happens to The Rats in ‘The Witcher’?

The rats overconfidently took on the bounty hunter, Leo Bonhart, in the village of Jealously, but he had set a trap and ended up killing and beheading all of them.

The Baron of Casadei hired the bounty hunter to kill the gang members and bring Falka (Ciri) to him to be flayed. The gang had attacked the baron’s chariot and terrorized his daughter, and Ciri was identified because she stole her brooch.

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By the time the gang reached the village where Bonhart was, Ciri had decided to leave the gang to try and save her birthright after receiving news about the emperor of Nilfgard marrying her doppelganger to legitimize his control over Cintra.

However, before leaving, Ciri discovered that Bonhart had laid a trap for the grand and raced to the village to warn them, but she was too late. She arrived just as Bonhart killed Mistle, having killed the rest of the gang. Ciri also got captured by the bounty hunter, although Bonehart didn’t take her to the Baron to be flayed.

Bonhart had decimated other gangs throughout the continent, but the proud and overconfident Rats totally ignored the warning signs. Therefore, the end of the Rats gang had a lot to do with their overconfidence.

Ciri’s time with the gang also coincided with the worst decisions she made in her life. The group was a bad influence on her from the moment they met.

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