The Witcher‘s first season featured was filled with different characters, subplots, locations, and even numerous timelines. To help make sense of it all, Netflix has created an interactive map. It tracks the show’s history, lore, storylines, characters, and places. We’ve used the map to break down all of The Witcher canon’s major events, from both before and after the series began. It will hopefully help answer all of your questions from season one, and get you ready for season two.
(Note: Where things take place isn’t important to understanding what happened. You mostly need to know that there are many kingdoms, and Nilfgaard is huge and sits at the bottom of the Continent. But if you want to track the characters’ movements in the world, you can follow along with the interactive map.)
Before the Year 500: Conjunction of the Spheres
Long ago, elves ruled the Continent, a forest-rich land where they mostly controlled chaos. Then an “inexplicable” and “cataclysmic” event brought humans and monsters to the world. Humans know little about this time and its civilizations. Another race might have even existed before elves.
Istredd the Mage, Yennefer’s first love, dedicated himself to researching the Continent’s past history.
786: Birth of Stregobar
839: Laws of Magic and the Opening of Aretuza
Mages founded the Brotherhood of Sorcerers, the “oldest and most influential organization of mages.” It determined how magic (a.k.a. chaos) could and should be used and controlled. It also sent mages to every major court in the realm.
Aretuza, the magical academy, also opened that year. Elves built the dark and imposing structure. White lighting powers the building. What few know though is that power comes from failed students who were turned into eels.
967: The Creation of the First Witcher
Mages met at the castle Kaer Morhen high in the Northern Blue Mountains to create the first witchers to fight the many terrible monsters terrorizing the Continent. The young boys there underwent intense training, extreme mental and physical conditioning, and mysterious rituals. All of which left them mutated superhumans who can also use magic. As a result, witchers live very long lives.
1160: Birth of Geralt
Geralt’s mother was Visenna, a sorceress.
1187: The Great Cleansing
Elven elders taught humans how to control chaos and use magic. Once humans learned everything they needed they began taking the elves’ land. Mankind crushed the elves rebellion that followed. That terrible event is known as “The Great Cleansing.” Some humans think it was their proudest moment. Others consider it a great shame. Elves still exist, though they are mostly in hiding, living in caves high in the mountains—not the “golden palaces” humans think they possess.
Having elf ancestors can be dangerous, which is why Yennefer was so angry Istredd betrayed her secret.
1192: Birth of Yennefer
Yennefer is born with a hunchback. She is a bastard of a human mother and a half-elven father.
SHOW TIMELINE AND EVENTS
1206: Tissaia Recruits Yennefer to Aretuza
1210: Yennefer’s Transformation and the Royal Ceremony
Yennefer convinced the mage Giltine to transform her. In exchange for losing her hunchback and becoming a great beauty she had to sacrifice the ability to ever have children. After her transformation she went down to the Royal Ceremony, where the new graduates would meet the rulers they would serve as mages. King Virfuril of Aedirn was completely smitten with Yennefer. She was then placed in his kingdom instead of Fringilla, who was instead sent to Nilfgaard. It was a moment that unexpectedly changed the course of history.
1213: The Curse of the Black Sun/Renfri Is Born
The first solar eclipse in roughly 1,200 years was considered a dark omen by some mages and rulers. Stregobor believed it was a sign the demon goddess Lilit was returning. He also thought women born during the eclipse were themselves part of a dark prophecy that said, “sixty woman wearing gold crown” would “fill the river valleys with blood.” This included Renfri, a Creyden princess.
Stregobor hunted down these women, imprisoned them, and conducted monstrous experiments on them to find mutations. None survived except for Renfri who escaped.
1216: Birth of Calanthe
1222: Jaskier Is Born
Full name: Julian Alfred Pankratz, Viscount de Lettenhove.
1229: Birth of a Striga
A cursed child/monster of the incestuous Temerian royal twins was born.
1230: Calanthe Becomes Queen of Cintra
Calanthe ascended to the throne of Cintra at the age of 14 after her father died.
1231: Calanthe Defeats Nazair Army/Geralt Kills Renfri
Calanthe earned the moniker the Lioness of Cintra after defeating the Nazair army at the Battle of Hochebuz.
That same year, far to the north, Renfri and her men attacked Geralt. He refused to choose the lesser of two evils after Stregobor, the local mage, and Renfri both asked him to kill the other. After Renfri’s death Geralt became known as the Butcher of Blaviken. During her final moments she told him to find the girl in the woods, because she was his “destiny.”
1232: Calanthe Marries Her First Husband
Calanthe married King Roegner of Ebbing, her first husband (never seen on the show).
1233: Lord Urcheon Saves Cintra’s King and Claims the Law of Surprise
King Roegner was rescued by Lord Urcheon (the cursed hedgehog knight). In return for saving Roegner’s life Urcheon claimed the Law of Surprise, “that which you already have but do not know.” He would come to claim his prize years later.
1234: Birth of Pavetta, Urcheon’s Child of Surprise
Calanthe’s daughter Pavetta was born. She would come to be Urcheon’s Child of Surprise.
1237: A Striga Attacks Temeria
The people of Temeria begin being attacked by an unknown monster. The King would hide the truth about the striga for years out of shame.
1239: Nilfgaard Begins Its Long War
Nilfgaard, the Southernmost kingdom of the Continent, began its long war of conquest by defeating Ebbing to its North,. Nilfgaard is a massive realm known for its skilled and ruthless warriors who leave no survivors in their wake.
1240: Geralt Meets Jaskier/A Mage Attacks Yennefer and Queen Kalis
Geralt and Jaskier meet. Some historians say it’s the most important thing to ever happen in any world. (That’s actually not what the historians say, but they should.) Elves captured them shortly after. The ancient race still hates humans, but the Elven King Filavandrel let them go free after they were captured. Geralt told the King to seek out better lands for his people rather than become a monster, and Filavandrel listened to him.
That same year Ronin the Mage attacked Yennefer and Queen Kalis of Aedirn. He was sent by the King because Kalis could not provide him a male heir. Yennefer tried saving the Queen’s daughter, but both mother and child were killed. Yennefer never returned to Aedirn.
1243: Triss Hires Geralt to Save the Striga
The sorceress Triss Merigold hired Geralt to save the Striga who had terrorized Temeria. It had already killed another Witcher. Geralt learned that a jealous Ostrit, King Foltest’s trusted adviser, had cursed the dead queen’s child.
Geralt used Ostrit as bait to lure the Striga out, then survived long enough to make the monster see sunlight. It freed the feral child, the now teenaged-Princess Adelaide, inside, killing the Striga forever.
1249: Lord Urcheon Makes a Surprise Appearance/Geralt Claims the Law of Surprise/Cintra Celebrates a Double Wedding
Geralt accompanied Jaskier to a Cintran feast designed to find Princess Pavetta a suitable husband. But her mother Queen Calanthe had already determined who would marry her daughter. But during the event a helmeted knight barged in and claimed Pavetta as his own, claiming her by the Law of Surprise.
It was Lord Urcheon, who had saved the now deceased King Roegner years earlier. Calanthe refused and ordered Geralt to kill the cursed hedgehog knight. But Geralt would not, citing a duty to uphold a promise (rather than respect destiny).
Calanthe refused to accept the knight’s claim. But when it was revealed Pavetta and Urcheon already loved each other, Pavetta unleashed a power no one knew she had. She began screaming, knocking everyone over, as her and Urcheon began floating in the sky. When they were finally stopped Calanthe agreed to the marriage. Urcheon’s curse was then lifted. Calanthe also announced she was accepting the marriage proposal of Eist of Skellige and that night Cintra would see a double wedding.
Before Geralt could leave though Urcheon insisted the Witcher claim a prize for saving his life. Geralt did not want to, but finally asked for the Law of Surprise too. But he also said hed never return to claim it. As soon as he did Pavetta threw up, revealing she was pregnant. Her child would be Geralt’s Child of Surprise.
Geralt then left, ignoring his friend Mousesack the Mage’s advice not to ignore destiny.
1250: Birth of Ciri
Ciri’s parents, Pavetta and Urcheon, disappeared at sea not long after her birth. Her grandmother Calanthe and her step-grandfather Eist raised her.
1256: Geralt and Yennefer Meet Each Other and a Djinn
Unable to sleep, Geralt went searching for a djinn. It cursed Jaskier, who he had just run into for the first time in years. Geralt took him to the nearby town looking for a mage to heal the bard. There he found Yennefer. She employed magic to mind control the town and host an orgy. Yennefer saved Jaskier from his magical malady, but she also double-crossed Geralt. She was hoping to use the djinn to grant her fertility.
Geralt escaped his imprisonment, but he knew Yennefer wouldn’t survive the encounter with the djinn. He went back and saved her by using his final wish. She didn’t know exactly what he wished for, but the two then slept together for the first time.
1262: Geralt and Yennefer Go on a Dragon Hunt
Over the years Geralt and Yennefer kept meeting. They would sleep together, but then one would leave (only seen in in brief flashbacks). They met again during a dragon hunt in the far north at the edge of the Continent. Borch Three Jackdaws hired Geralt to accompany his group as its fourth member.
During the trek Yennfer and Geralt decided to stay together. They also protected a priceless dragon egg after learning Borch was really a golden dragon named Villentretenmerth. But the two separated after being told they were bound by the djinn’s magic. Geralt had made a wish to never lose her. Yennefer believed that made their love unreal.
Geralt Returns to Cintra
Geralt went back Cintra for the first time in over 12 years. He claimed the Law of Surprise he earned for saving Urcheon’s life. But after ignoring “destiny” for over a decade, Geralt merely wanted to protect Princess Ciri from a potential Nilfgaard attack. He did not want to take her away forever. Queen Calanthe didn’t care and tried to trick him into taking another girl. When he discovered her ruse King Eist had him locked up.
A Magical Army Gathers
Shortly before Nilfgaard took Cintra, Vilgefortz tricked Yennefer into returning to Aretuza. He was hoping to convince his fellow mages and sorcerers to fight against Nilfgaard with him.
Fringilla, who had also attended Aretuza with Yennefer, also arrived to defend Nilfgaard’s action. The Brotherhood of Sorcerers voted not to help Cintra. But Yennefer agreed to fight alongside some of her fellow mages to help protect the Northern kingdoms.
Many mages died fighting, but they barely held on at the Battle of Sodden Hill. Yennefer kept Nilfgaard’s forces back until the Northern kings arrived, including King Foltest, whose cursed child was the Striga Geralt saved.
Nilfgaard Attacks Cintra
Nilfgaard defeated an overconfident Calanthe at the Battle of Marnadal Valley. King Eist died during the fighting. The Queen made it back to the castle, but soon after Nilfgaard broke through Cintra’s borders. They ransacked the city and killed most of its citizens. A dying Calanthe called for Geralt to take Ciri, but he had already escaped during the raid. The Queen then told her granddaughter to find him, because he was her destiny. The Lioness of Cintra then killed herself after sending Ciri away.
Ciri Finally Finds Her Destiny
Nilfgaard knight Cahir captured Ciri while she was fleeing Cintra, but the princess escaped almost immediately after. She screamed and the ground opened up.
Ciri was then present during a non-human rebellion at a Cintran refugee camp. After fleeing she met Dara, a young elf. The two ended up in Brokilin Forest where each drank the forest’s magical water. It had no effect on Ciri though, so she was brought to the “source.” The massive tree transported her to another plane and asked her who she is. Ciri was then lured out of Brokilin by a shape-shifter disguised as Mousesack.
Former friends from Cintra then attacked the princess. In response she unleashed a terrible power she had never displayed before. She went into a trance and spoke about a frightening prophecy.
When she awoke they were all dead. A local woman, Zola, found Ciri and took her in.
Meanwhile, before the Battle of Sodden Hill, Geralt was attacked by ghouls after saving a man named Yurga. To thank him, Yurga took Geralt back to his home. Geralt’s mother Visenna might have saved him along this journey. He might have seen her in a fever dream.
Yurga turned out to be the husband of Zola, the woman who had taken Ciri in. Geralt and Ciri finally met near their home in the woods.
Now all we need to know is how Ciri knew Yennefer’s name.
Featured Image: Netflix