Witcher Timeline Explained: Get Ready For Season 2

Witcher Timeline Explained: Get Ready For Season 2

The Witcher is one of the most popular fantasy series that Netflix has produced. Of course, while we can credit the amazing cast for its success, the best part about it was how it was able to adapt the games and the books into a good story. As good as The Witcher is, the problem that people tend to have is that they need the timeline to be explained properly.

Yes, The Witcher’s timeline is a bit too complicated in some instances because of how it revolves around three characters that each have their own timelines. As such, some people are still confused about what happened during the first season, even though season 2 is right around the corner. So, with that said, we are here to help make The Witcher’s timeline easier to understand.

Does The Witcher Timeline Jump Around?

The Witcher is not only a successful video game franchise but has also become one of the most successful fantasy shows that you can stream on any video streaming service. Netflix hit it big with The Witcher when it decided to adapt it into a live-action series because of how successful it has become and how it became a hit for fans of the video game franchise and even for those who have never played the games before.

That said, the one thing that many people find confusing about The Witcher series is that it does have a few things that are not explained properly by the series. Most notably, it seems to have different timelines depending on the character that is featured at a certain point in the series. So, does The Witcher timeline jump around?

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Basically, yes, The Witcher follows a timeline that jumps around from story to story. That’s because this series follows four different time periods that happen in different parts of The Witcher’s entire timeline. So, from Geralt and Jaskier’s story, we get to jump to Yennefer’s story, which is in an entirely different time. After that, we also get to see the timeline jumping to Ciri’s story, which also happens in a different time period.

The problem that people usually have about this is that the timeline isn’t linear. From the present, we go back to the past and then to the future. After that, we see the timeline going back to the past again. And the issue that people have about this is that they don’t even know which timelines are the past, present, and future.

Nevertheless, the good news we have for you is that we are here to help make things easier to understand by explaining The Witcher’s timeline. This will make it easier for you to get yourself refreshed on the events that happened in season 1 as we gear up for season 2, which will be released for streaming on December 17, 2021.

The Witcher Timeline

The Witcher timeline
Witcher Timeline Credit: Netflix

The Witcher may be great at adapting the games and the books into a live-action series. But its timeline can get a bit too confusing. Luckily for you, we are here to make things a bit simpler so that it will be much easier to understand what happened in the entire timeline.

Introduction to the Timelines

The first season of The Witcher primarily follows four different timelines, which are:

  • Geralt and Jaskier’s adventures
  • Yennefer’s backstory
  • Geralt and Yennefer’s story
  • Ciri’s story

All four of those timelines happen in the same linear timeline, but season 1 presented the character’s stories in a way where we see one timeline jumping back to the past and then to the future, and then to the present. 

And then, we were introduced to the animated movie called The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, which is also part of the same linear timeline but happens at a different period. Nightmare of the Wolf follows the story of a Witcher named Vesemir and his backstory. You will understand the important role that Vesemir plays when you watch the movie and when season 2 gets released.

So, because of the prequel film, we now have five different timelines that we need to understand. The different timelines are the very elements that turned off a few critics, who penned and submitted their reviews before they tried to make sense of what happened in the first season. However, despite how confusing the timeline may be, it was part of the mystique of the entire first season.

The Timelines Explained in a Linear Way

Now that we have introduced you to the five different timelines (four timelines in season 1 plus Nightmare of the Wolf), it would be easier for us to show you the timelines explained in a linear way so that it’s not going to be difficult to understand.

It never hurts to go over the entire timeline in The Witcher in preparation for the second season. This is where we will do our best to make a quick rundown of what happened and to explain the timeline of events in a way that is far less confusing than the approach that the series took when it premiered the first season of The Witcher.

Timeline 1 – 1100

Nightmare of the Wolf

Timeline 1 is basically the events that happened way before all of the events that transpired in the first season of The Witcher. This started in 1100, which is more than 150 years before the “main” timeline of the events of The Witcher. And you probably already guessed that timeline 1 revolves around Vesemir’s story.

We said that Vesemir’s story started in 1100 because there are flashbacks in Nightmare of the Wolf that allowed us to see the beginning of the animated film’s main character. However, the events of Nightmare of the Wolf actually took place in 1165, which is right around a hundred years before the events of season 1.

In Nightmare of the Wolf, we are brought back to 1100 to see Vesemir’s childhood and to understand why and how he became a Witcher. We also see the life he chose to leave behind so that he could follow his dream of making money as a Witcher, which is basically a monster slayer with magical powers and is capable of living for centuries.

From there, we are brought to 1165 to the main events of Nightmare of the Wolf. The entire premise of the film focuses on how the Witcher’s, who were once great in number, were reduced to a countable few due to the events that happened in Nightmare of the Wolf. And we also see the child that would soon become Geralt, as it was revealed in the final parts of the movie that Vesemir was the one who trained Geralt and some of the surviving young Witchers.

The important part about Nightmare of the Wolf is that it allows us to understand why there are very few Witchers remaining in the main timeline and how the events of the film affected the way people see Witchers even after a hundred years.

Timeline 2 – 1210

Yennefer

Timeline 2 is set 110 years after Vesemir’s childhood, which transpired in 1100. Timeline 2 was also when much of the early portion of The Witcher season 1 happened, as this dwells mostly on Yennefer’s backstory.

The confusing part is that those who don’t know anything about the lore of The Witcher probably don’t know that sorcerers like Yennefer and Witcher’s like Geralt get to live for hundreds of years. That is why they won’t be able to tell that there are decades that separate the different timelines in season 1.

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For those who want to know, it was also in timeline 2 when the episode 1 meeting between Geralt and Renfri happened. Let’s look at the events of Timeline 2 in a more linear fashion.

  • Episode 2. Episode 2 of the first season of The Witcher is basically the start of the entire timeline of this season. It explored Yennefer’s younger years when she was sold to Aretuza to become a sorcerer. This is also where we are introduced to Tissaia de Vries, who also plays a big role in the series.
  • Episode 3. Yennefer makes a big sacrifice by transforming her deformed body into the beautiful woman she ultimately became. We see her introducing her new self at the ball at Aretuza, where we also see a young Foltest, who we would later see as an adult in one of the other timelines.
  • Episode 1. Episode 1 is when we are introduced to Geralt. This was when he became the Butcher of Blaviken, following the events that transpired after he met Renfri. Of course, episode 1 is where a lot of us got hooked into the series because of the cool sword fight that happened near the end of the episode. Oh yeah, we also met the mage Stregobor in this episode.

Timeline 3 – somewhere between 1239 and 1249

Butcher of Blaviken

Timeline 3 is mainly about Geralt’s adventures as a Witcher after becoming the famous Butcher of Blaviken. This is also the timeline where we got to see a fan-favorite character named Jaskier, who works as a minstrel. He eventually became the unofficial bard who sings songs of the adventures of Geralt to earn some money on the side.

The confusing part about this timeline is that Jaskier was supposed to be about 18 years old when he first met Geralt. It was also supposed to be several years between his meetings with Geralt, as it took a while for him to actually become Geralt’s traveling companion. And what’s confusing about all that is the fact that Jaskier, despite being a normal human, never aged a bit despite all of the years between his meetings with Geralt.

Still, let’s look at timeline 3 in a more linear way.

  • Episode 2. We estimate that part of episode 2 happened in 1239 when Geralt met Jaskier. In this episode, they are both abducted by a group of elves. However, instead of fighting, Geralt was able to talk his way out of the mess, and we are introduced to Jaskier’s over-the-top song “Toss a coin to your Witcher”, which basically retells the story of what happened in the episode and of Geralt’s heroic adventures. Thanks to Jaskier’s attempts, he was able to steadily improve Geralt’s reputation as the Butcher of Blaviken.
  • Episode 4. Yenn is now a sorcerer working for Queen Kallis of Lyria in a carriage when they were attacked by a mage assassin. The assassin succeeds in killing the queen, while Yennefer attempts to save the queen’s baby, which still ends up dead. She ultimately failed, and Yenn went rogue and was no longer working for a king as an adviser. We also learn in the episode that all that Yenn wanted to have (which was something she gave up for when she transformed her body) was to have a baby of her own. We also learn that the queen and her baby were assassinated because the king of Lyria wanted a son and not a daughter.
  • Episode 3. Episode 3 is when we are introduced to an older version of King Foltest, as this confirms that Yenn’s backstory and a good part of Geralt’s timeline are decades apart. However, the part that they got wrong here is that Foltest seems to be older than he should be because he seems like he is in his 50s or 60s rather than his 30s, which should be the case. Nevertheless, in this episode, we see Geralt taking on a job from Foltest, who asks him to kill his daughter-turned-Striga, who became such when she was cursed.

Timeline 4 – 1249

Geralt and Yennefer

In the fourth timeline, we get to see more of Geralt and Yennefer in what seems to be the timeline wherein the two of them meet. This is already 39 years since timeline 1, wherein Yennefer was sold to Aretuza. However, it has only been a few years (by The Witcher standards) since Geralt and Jaskier met.

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A huge part of the fourth timeline is dedicated to the different adventures that Geralt and Yennefer encounter together. We are also introduced to the origins of the fifth timeline (Ciri’s story) in this timeline, as we get to meet Queen Calanthe and Pavetta (Ciri’s mother).

  • Episode 4. In this episode, we see Cir’s mother, Pavetta, refusing to marry the man Queen Calanthe wanted her to marry. An armor-clad knight suddenly appears to claim Pavetta while invoking the “Law of Surprise”, which basically means that a man saved by another is expected to offer to his savior a boon whose nature is unknown to one or both parties. When the knight (named Duny) takes his helmet off, he is shown to have the face of a porcupine due to a curse, but that didn’t stop him and Pavetta from falling in love with one another. Unwilling to give her daughter up to Duny, Pavetta starts a fight, which eventually leads to Geralt siding with Duny due to the sacred nature of the Law of Surprise, and all of these events lead to the breaking of the curse. 

Duny offers to repay Geralt for his trouble, as the Witcher invokes the Law of Surprise in an attempt to walk away without a reward but ends up unknowingly owed the right to Ciri when everyone finds out that Pavetta was actually pregnant. In short, the episode shows us how Geralt’s destiny is ultimately tied to Ciri’s own fate. This is why the events of this timeline are so important when it comes to understanding the story of The Witcher.

  • Episode 5. In this episode, we see Yenn and Geralt meeting for the very first time while Geralt is trying to save Jaskier from a mortal wound inflicted by a djinn. Yenn wanted to capture the djinn for herself so that she could wish back her ability to bear a child. After Geralt saves Yenn from the djinn, that was when things between the two become steamy.
  • Episode 6. Shortly after meeting one another, Geralt and Yenn cross paths again while they are hunting a dragon. There weren’t a lot of things going on in this episode, except for how we got to see the fact that Geralt was really head over heels in love with Yenn.

Timeline 5 – 1963

Ciri

Timeline 5 focuses on Ciri’s story, as she was born following the events in timeline 4. At this point, she is around 13 or 14 years old, as about 53 years have passed since Yenn’s backstory and 24 years have passed since Geralt and Jaskier met. This is actually the “main” timeline of the story, even though some people think that this is the future and that Geralt’s adventures with Jaskier and Yenn happen in the present. As such, everything that happened before Ciri’s story is a flashback.

  • Episode 7. Geralt knew of the impending doom of the kingdom of Cintra, the very same kingdom that Queen Calanthe ruled. His only reason for returning to Cintra was to claim Ciri as his right by virtue of the Law of Surprise. However, Calanthe didn’t want to abide by the law, as she ordered Geralt to be arrested. Meanwhile, the Niflgaardian Empire was basically on its way to destroying Cintra.
  • Episode 1. This is where we first see Calanthe, who loses a battle to the Nilfgaardian Empire, which is an empire that grew so strong in only a matter of a decade. Take note that Calanthe basically ridiculed Nilfgaard in the grand ball during the events of episode 4. So, the empire was just paying her back, but there were some people within the empire who wanted to get their hands on Ciri.
  • Episode 7. We once again return to episode 7, where we see the sorceresses and the mages working together to find a way to battle the powerful Nilfgaardian Empire. This is also where we see Yennefer’s returning to her people as she goes back to work with her other sorcerer sisters.
  • Episode 1. We see Cintra getting sacked by the empire while Geralt is still locked up. When we see this happening for the first time, we don’t even know why Geralt was locked up and how many decades have passed since his meeting with Renfri. As the Nilfgaardians are on their way, Calanthe tells Ciri to find Geralt of Rivia before throwing herself down the window to face an instant death rather than risk the chance of getting captured. Ciri flees with the druid Mousesack, who has been loyal to her family for years, all while having a black knight pursuing them. From this point, everything follows the main timeline of the story.
  • Episode 8. Yennefer and the other sorcerers and mages fight Fringilla and the empire. This is where we see Yenn’s magical powers in full display. She vanishes after that. At the end of the episode, Geralt and Ciri finally meet, as the final scene sets us up for the events of season 2.

  • Hrvoje Milakovic is co-owner of Fiction Horizon and a big cinephile. Apart from that, he likes to read comics, play games and collect action figures. He has been featured on LifeWire, Yahoo and IMDb, to name a few.