If you have watched the show The Witcher, you most likely know who Marilka is. If you only read the books – maybe not so much. Some characters play a certain role important for the story but not the biggest and long-lasting role in the series. From the title itself, we find out that she betrayed Geralt. But why? And how and when did it happen? You might have many questions. And we answer them for you!
Marilka is a young girl who appears in the first episode of the first season of Netflix’s show The Witcher. She is a character that was used to tell you, the viewer, the storyline behind the Butcher of Blaviken. She was not originally in the books as the character who catalyzed the events in the story about Renfri but was only added as such in the show. Marilka may have turned against Geralt in the end because she wanted him to leave and survive, or was afraid of him because she did not know why he killed Renfri’s people.
Why did she turn against Geralt all of the sudden? What was the reason behind their doomed relationship? And how was Stregobor involved in the story? We find out in the following text below!
Who is Marilka in The Witcher?
Marilka is the daughter of the alderman of Blaviken and Libushe, the alderman’s wife. In the first episode of the first season, we find out that she was hired by Stregobor to bring him The Witcher.
Stregobor is a wizard from Kovir, well known as the believer in the Curse of the Black Sun. The curse refers to a solar eclipse during which the girls who were born would become creatures so cruel with the destiny to end the world as they knew it. Their births would mark the return of the goddess Lilith. The prophecy in the first book of the series included this:
The Black Sun was to announce the imminent return of Lilit, still honored in the East under the name of Niya, and the extermination of the human race. Lilit’s path was to be prepared by “sixty women bearing gold crowns, who would fill the river valleys with blood.
Stregobor served king Idi when Geralt killed an amphisbaena as requested by the contract, but Stregobor convinced the king not to pay him for his services calling him fake and a cheater.
Stregobor was later sent to Creyden because of Renfri. When queen Aridea became suspicious and concerned about her adopted daughter Renfri, born during an eclipse, she asked for someone to find out if Renfri was a real threat or not.
Just like Snow White, Renfri was running through the forest with a thug on her tail sent to kill her. However, when the hired killer assaulted her, she killed him in return. Stregobor was once again called to track Renfri when the word of her being alive got out. She was at the time known as Shrike and was accused of killing Aridea.
Geralt was in town for an unrelated reason and when Stregobor found out he was near, he needed someone innocent enough to fool him, gain his trust, and inevitably betray him and hand him over to Stregobor himself.
Marilka first met Geralt in Blaviken in a tavern by mentioning the coin for the kikimora he killed. She told him that her father, the alderman, would not have any use of it, but a sorcerer she knows would like to buy it for the elixirs.
The sorcerer she mentioned was introduced under the name of Master Irion, which was nothing more than Stregobor’s alias. Marilka explains to Geralt that she sold her dog to Master Irion after it died…mysteriously. That raised our suspicions on her moral compass, especially after she continues calling him yappy.
Geralt reluctantly agrees to go see the sorcerer and tells Marilka to take him there. On their way, she kept asking him about the monsters he had hunted and killed in the past. She was a young girl but she was not afraid of Geralt like most people were afraid of witchers. Or at least she kept saying that and acting like it.
They seemed to have an honest conversation about Blaviken, travels, and ambitions. It seemed as they understood each other, however, Marilka never turned against Geralt – she was never on his side, to begin with.
Why did she turn against Geralt?
Marilka was actually hired by Stregobor, she was supposed to lead Geralt to him. Now, if you wish to understand what happened, you need to know more about the context. So let’s recap the first episode of the first season of The Witcher.
Geralt is on his way to Blaviken, where the villagers want him to leave the town. As already explained, Marilka takes him to Stregobor because he wants a favor from Geralt. Geralt’s task is to kill Renfri (Shrike) because she is a monster – a cursed princess and one of the girls born during the night of the Black Sun.
Stregobor insists on explaining it is the lesser evil and a necessary one, but Geralt is not too keen on killing a human simply because of a prophecy that might not even be talking about her. It seems unnecessary and cruel.
As Renfri was deemed as one of the bringers of death, she was chased and almost killed, which resulted in her actually becoming a part of the gang. She truly was the bringer of death and blood wherever she went. It was in a way a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Renfri is, of course, keen on getting her revenge and killing Stregobor, and also tries to convince Geralt that he is the evil that needs to be eradicated. This is a great example of Geralt’s contracts he was often offered but refused.
He was not going to kill humans. Not completely out of the goodness of his heart or because he thought of them more highly than other creatures – it was simply not his job and he would not meddle until he realized the possibility of a real greater evil just because of one revenge.
He thought that the two people who wished to inflict harm upon one another had no business involving him or others, just like he was not going to get involved until he felt like there was no other choice. And there was, but leaving a town full of dead people because of Renfri’s anger and Stregobor’s beliefs did not sit well with him.
Marilka was taken hostage by Renfri, which might have been problematic in the show since the villagers were only supposed to see Geralt killing the gang without protecting anyone. But for some reason, the creators of the show have chosen a different path for him.
Geralt was forced to kill Renfri to protect the villagers. He forbade Stregobor to touch her body to do an autopsy because he was not on his side either. Stregobor made the villagers believe Geralt was a threat and acted under Renfri’s magic killing all of her people. Marilka was one of the many who cast stones at him telling him to leave.
One interpretation is that Marilka actually liked Geralt and wanted him to leave before the villagers would hurt him. As wonderful and heartful as that would be, the other explanation is equally plausible.
Marilka was young and did not know what was really going on with Renfri, what happened between her and Stregobor, or why Geralt killed her gang. Maybe she was afraid he would do the same to her.
However, since the show decided to show her being taken hostage by Renfri who then released her to go and attack Geralt, maybe she really was trying to save him because he wanted to save her life as well.
We can never be sure since, in the books, a lot of this just does not happen. It is still open for interpretation depending on how you estimated Marilka’s character. Or maybe, Stregobor cast a spell on villagers and Marilka?