How Fringilla Became the MVP of The Witcher Season Two
I want to give special attention to the work of Mimî M. Khayisa, who played the female mage Fringilla on The Witcher. During the previous season, she was set up to be the evil powerful sorceress of Nilfgaard, but thankfully we got a lot more layers to in season two.
Spoilers for Season Two of The Witcher
Last season when we saw Fringilla, she was the niece of an important member of the Brotherhood of Mages, who was snubbed for a big position in favor of Yennefer leading to her being aligned with the evil Nilfgaard. As a result of her time there, Fringilla turned into something of a blood mage, but season two evolved it beyond that.
After Yennefer burns pretty much all of the Nilfgaard troops allowing the other side to get reinforcement, she ends up losing her magic and being captured by the remaining forces of Fringilla’s army. Then those remaining forces are slaughtered by the elves who capture the two mages. The elves are being led by the efl Francesca, who has been having visions of a robed figure in white.
Yennefer and Fringilla both have similar visions but of someone in red and black. They end up being led to the Deathless Mother, a mysterious witch who offers them all power in exchange for something. Yennefer doesn’t accept, but still ends up freed. Fringilla decides to follow the elves and forge an alliance between the elves and Nilfgaard.
Once Fringilla arrives at Nilfgaard she gets a new outfit, great new hair, and attempts to actually protect and help the elves. This was a turn I hadn’t expected since last season she’d come across as more of a zealot than anything else. Something showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich admits she never saw her as.
“Fringilla is one of those characters that we’re going to delve into even more. One of the things that I did hear is that she seems like a fanatic or a zealot, which is interesting,” Schmidt Hissrich said. “I’ve never seen her that way, perhaps because, even by the time that we were putting it on the air, I knew where we were going with season two. We’re digging deeper into her past and how she ended up at Nilfgaard, who she is as a person, and how she and Yennefer ended up on such different paths. She gets to do a lot more. I’m so excited. Mimi Ndiweni did such a fantastic job portraying her.”
Fringilla’s role in Nilfgaard is interesting to watch because when it is just her running things, there is an easy confidence and empathy she radiates. In her conversation with Francesca, they both speak about longing for partnership. As soon as the men of Nilfgaard arrive, everything Fringilla does is under a microscope, pushing her to be crueler.
Then her relationship with elves begins melting away from one of partnership to one of manipulation—something that she seems uneasy with. Fringilla seeks out guidance from her uncle, but he responds to her in such a pompous way that it makes Fringilla decide: it’s time to murder.
Using her sorceress training, she weaponizes her knowledge of botany to poison the leadership of Nilfgaard. Fringilla paralyzes them and kills all save one as she monologues about not letting anyone steal her shine again. It’s a stunningly acted and choreographed scene.
To quote Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, “I don’t believe in the glorification of murder. I do believe in the empowerment of women.”
Sadly Fringilla ends the series in an awkward place for our girl boss as the Emperor returns and imprisons her for not being harsher with the elves.
What I love about Fringilla is her moral complexity. I am so happy to see a dark-skinned Black woman in a fantasy series serving a bigger function than just diversity decoration. Her actions have consequences on the Continent. She is someone who can help bring a baby into the world with warmth one episode, and then brutally kill a bunch of men later. That is the representation that matters.
In all seriousness, the show did a great job of making Fringilla’s storyline one of the most engaging with actions that moved the larger plot forward besides training Ciri. I enjoyed the layers Mimî M. Khayisa brought to the character and I’m so excited about where her story goes moving forward.
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