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Just How Old Are the Characters on The Witcher?

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia

Netflix’s hit series The Witcher likes to play with different timelines, which can feel tricky to navigate because it seems like the characters don’t really age throughout the show. So how many candles on the cake should we be lighting for Geralt and company?

In The Witcher, we’re dealing with a world steeped in magic, where regular rules don’t apply. Magic and mutations are responsible for the youthful Tuck Everlasting appearance and longevity of several main characters, particularly Geralt and Yennefer. Geralt’s trials by alchemical mutation gave him his distinct white mane of hair, the variable eye-shade, and considerable bodily stamina. His witcher training also prolongs his lifespan. Yennefer, like most sorceresses, has undergone a beautifying ritual that freezes her looks in time. As it turns out, some of our fresh-faced heroes are actually senior citizens or quite comfortably into middle age.

Geralt of Rivia

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia

Actor Henry Cavill is 36. But his character, Geralt, is about a century old. Geralt has seen a lot, which may account for why he needs a nap. The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich explained how old Geralt is in the first episode, as IGN highlights: “Geralt is almost 100 years old when the series starts and we find him in the middle of a journey,” Hissrich said. “Then there’s the death of a character and that’s what launches him off onto his journey.”

So Geralt is almost but not quite 100 when the whole Renfri/Butcher of Blaviken stuff goes down. Which means when his timeline finally matches up with Ciri’s at the close of the first season, he’s well into living as a centenarian. This fits with Geralt’s age in both Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher books and the Witcher video games, where Geralt is pushing 100. For Schmidt Hissrich, Geralt’s advanced age is a particularly interesting point at which to pick up his story, after life gets complicated “for a man who thought he’d had it all figured out,”

Yennefer of Vengerberg

Yennefer in the Witcher

Actress Anya Chalotra is 23. Though we first see Chalotra playing Yennefer in her early teenage years, after Yennefer’s ritual, she appears to be Chalotra’s age—23—for the rest of the series. But in the “present day,” Yennefer is 71 on the show. In book/video game lore, however, she mentions being 94 and is usually considered to be a few years older than Geralt. Yennefer’s timeline as we watch it develop on the show is the oldest one, beginning at the earliest date.

Yennefer’s friend and fellow timeless sorceress Triss Merigold (Anna Shaffer), who helps Geralt with Princess Adda the striga and who plays a larger role in the video games, is said to be younger than Yennefer. Fans argue whether that makes her around 50, or more like 80. Either way, there’s no denying that magic makes for an excellent skincare routine. Other magic-users, like Tissaia, Fringilla, Mousesack, Stregobor, and Istredd also don’t appear to age much in varied timelines, though not all of them (namely, the men) seem bound to youthful forms.

Jaskier

Joey Batey as Jaskier the Bard in The Witcher

Actor Joey Batey is 26. Here’s where things start getting a bit wacky. Jaskier the bard is a human, so we presume that he looks to be around Batey’s actual age. However, Jaskier accompanies Geralt on adventures in different decades and does not visibly age. When Jaskier talks to Yennefer years after their first meeting over the Djinn, Yennefer makes a remark about his “crow’s feet,” but we don’t really see that evidence on Batey.

According to the official Netflix timeline, 22 years pass between Geralt and Jaskier’s first encounter and their trip up the mountain to see about a dragon. So, let’s say Jaskier was 18 when they first met, as the timeline implies—he should be about 40 when he and Geralt have their falling out. This would also match up with Jaskier/Dandelion’s age in the books/video games, where fans estimate he is 40-50 years old and has been Geralt’s best friend for many years. The show seems to age its humans slowly on purpose—likely to preserve the “secret” of the varied timelines, which doesn’t become perfectly clear until episode four, when Geralt and Jaskier go to Queen Calanthe’s court and Geralt comes out of it with a certain Unexpected Child.

Ciri

Freya Allan as Princess Ciri in The Witcher

Actress Freya Allan is 18. The first season of The Witcher takes pains to make Allan appear younger, as Princess Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon is meant to be around 12-ish here. Ciri’s timeline is the one that takes place most prominently in “the present day,” so the character ages the least over the course of the show.

Later seasons of The Witcher will likely focus more on Ciri as a protagonist and her training with Geralt, and see her in her early 20s as she appears in the book series and video games. By the time those seasons emerge, Allan will be right around later canon Ciri’s age.

Calanthe and Geralt in The Witcher

Considering how much effort went into costume, makeup, and special effects for The Witcher, it’s clearly a conscious choice on the show’s part that even “regular” humans like Jaskier, Queen Calanthe (Jodhi May) and her husband Eist (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson) do not age at the speed that we’d expect—they stay looking nearly the same for decades.

The Witcher wants to keep the fact that the story is unfolding in three different timelines murky at first. To show these characters as drastically older would immediately indicate where we are in time, rather than have it as a reveal later on, so this decision makes sense. Let’s just say that since the humans invaded a land full of magic, they’re seeing some of the preservation benefits, too. That’s what I’m going with.

Geralt and Roach the horse on The Witcher

Alas, poor Roach: it’s unlikely that Geralt’s beloved horse on the show is meant to be the same horse throughout the years. Geralt, as it turns out, names every horse that he has Roach. According to The Witcher fandom wiki, “the name refers to the roach (Rutilus rutilus), a common European fresh water fish,” and Geralt’s “preference is for mares,” a choice that we appreciate.

The wiki also explains that the name in its original Polish, “Płotka,” is a diminutive, and gendered female, but that “the tender tone as well as the gender of the name is lost in the translation.” One more piece of evidence that the fearsome Geralt of Rivia is a big old softie at heart, adorable nickname for his horse(s) and all.

(images: Netflix)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.