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Warning: spoilers ahead for Season 1 of The Witcher on Netflix.
The Witcher finally premiered on Netflix to allow subscribers to end 2019 on an epic, action-packed, and somewhat monstrous note thanks to the adventures of the monster-hunting witcher Geralt of Rivia (the impressive Henry Cavill), the sorceress Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), and the princess-turned-fugitive Ciri (Freya Allan). All three main characters were pushed to their limits in the first season, but Ciri's journey took her from a naive princess to somebody who must survive on her own wits while not quite understanding her own abilities.
Speaking with CinemaBlend about Ciri in The Witcher, Freya Allan explained her character's development and the "brutal" circumstances that should carry her into a very dangerous second season. Here's how Allan began describing Ciri coming of age under the very trying circumstances of The Witcher:
So at the start, she's been in a bubble her whole life. She's always been surrounded by people who have kept her very hidden from the realities of the world, and she's always been curious to learn but they've kind of kept her away from it. Naturally as a result of that, is very naive to what the real world is.
Unbeknownst to Ciri from the very beginning of her existence, she was destined for a life very different than what her grandmother wanted for her beloved granddaughter and sole heir. Despite the best efforts of those around her in Cintra, Nilfgaard sacked the city, and Geralt's efforts to claim the Child Surprise and get her out before the fall failed.
How would her journey have been different if she hadn't been kept in the "bubble," as Freya Allan described it? Or if she had at least known this "Geralt of Rivia" would come into her life at some point? Or if she'd known that there were powers that ran in her family line?
Unfortunately for Ciri, she was out of blood family members by the end of Season 1, but meeting Geralt means that she could begin to build a found family. A dangerous found family headed by a mutated monster-hunter, but family nonetheless.
Freya Allan elaborated on how Ciri changed by the time she met Geralt at the end of the first season and heading into Season 2:
And so when there's a huge shift in her life and she's suddenly having to survive on her own in this very brutal world, she has to very quickly learn to adapt and to see things from different points-of-view and learn from other people's mistakes and to try and understand and to see people's perspectives, open her mind. And also because she sees so many horrific things in such a short space of time that she also has to, you do see her, begin to build a harder shell and almost be a bit more cold because she feels like she can't be putting too much of her emotions, her feelings out there because she has to just keep on going. She can't let herself be brought down by those feelings. She's feeling fear, loss. She's terrified but she has to keep going, so you definitely see that change.
Thanks to the Dunkirk-esque timeline twists, all the horrors Ciri encountered throughout Season 1 happened in quick succession, whereas those of Geralt and Yennefer could be spread throughout decades. People who tried to help her tended to come to unfortunate ends, with even her alliance with Dara the elf not ending well.
Her rush to embrace Geralt at the end of Season 1 proves that Ciri is still a child at heart who needs protection, but readers of Andrzej Sapkowski's source material know that her brutal journey almost certainly isn't over just because she finally found Geralt. The "shell" will come in handy, even if there are some like Geralt and potentially Yennefer (after her intense physical transformation) who can pierce it.
Freya Allan described how Ciri will become a "lot more brutal" due to her trauma before Season 2, saying this:
She goes from being innocent but determined at the start and also seeing that kind of stubborn, feisty side to being incredibly vulnerable but also having a huge amount of determination to be able to continue on despite that, and then you also see her start becoming a lot colder and a lot more brutal. She's almost taking on what's around her and shaping that in herself. So there's definitely a big change in her character.
Ciri may not look like somebody whose brutality is to be feared, and she'll need some witcher-esque training if she's going to be a formidable force with a weapon, but she wreaked enough havoc with her magic throughout Season 1 that it should be a valuable tool for her in Season 2 and beyond, if she can learn to harness it.
Her magic use in Season 1 resulted from heightened emotional states, and the same was true for her mother when she appeared. Could Yennefer be key to honing Ciri's abilities, to make them safer for her and those around her but deadlier to her enemies? She certainly still has a lot of foes out there, and her meeting with Geralt at the end of Season 1 opened the door for an upcoming meeting with Yennefer.
Unfortunately for viewers ready for more Witcher action sooner rather than later, filming for Season 2 hasn't yet commenced. The very good news is that there's plenty of source material already completed, so The Witcher doesn't run the same risk of outpacing the books like Game of Thrones did. In fact, The Witcher already avoided a much-publicized flub from Game of Thrones' final season!
If that's not enough, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich told CinemaBlend that the show could run for many more seasons:
It's funny, because I said in an interview that I could write seven seasons. I also said I'm sure later that day I could write twenty seasons if given the opportunity. I could keep writing the show for a very long time. As long as people are interested in it and as long the source material is there to organically build from
That said, the first season didn't receive overwhelmingly positive reactions from reviewers, although I was personally a fan of how Season 1 tackled Andrzej Sapkowski's short stories before diving into the Witcher saga so viewers could get to know the characters first. Lauren Schmidt Hissrich had the best response to negative reviews, though.