5 Ways The Witcher: Nightmare Of The Wolf Set Up Henry Cavill's Witcher Season 2

the witcher nightmare of the wolf vesemir defending kaer morhen
(Image credit: Netflix)

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for Netflix's The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf.

The world of The Witcher has finally returned to Netflix nearly two years after the first season debuted, and The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf took viewers back to a time when there seemed to be more witchers than monsters for them to kill, long before Henry Cavill's Geralt of Rivia was meeting Yennefer and chasing his destiny in the form of Ciri. Centered on the witcher Vesemir in his younger days, the anime movie only featured Geralt for a few brief scenes, but it still served to set up Season 2 in some key ways worth noting.

So, with still some months to go before Henry Cavill and Co. return to Netflix with the second season of The Witcher, check out the big ways that The Nightmare of the Wolf anime movie set up what comes next!

the witcher nightmare of the wolf tetra attacking kaer morhen with monsters

(Image credit: Netflix)

What Happened To Kaer Morhen

Fans who keep up with The Witcher news have known for a while that Season 2 will introduce more witchers and their stronghold at Kaer Morhen, but not exactly a lot of witchers and not exactly the strongest of strongholds anymore after a massacre. Now, thanks to Nightmare of the Wolf, fans can know why it is the way it is when Geralt and Ciri arrive. In the movie, powerful sorceress Tetra Gilcrest fanned the flames of fear among the people of The Continent when it came to the witchers, and seized the opportunity to attack their stronghold.

When Deglan, the leader of the witchers, dismissed her intention to attack because they were mere humans against an army of witchers, she used her magic to unleash more monsters on the witchers than they could handle, and that was enough for her and her forces to take Kaer Morhen and slaughter the witchers and their mages. Kaer Morhen was left a shell of what it once was by the time the assault ended with nearly everybody on all sides dead. With the limited number of witchers that survived, there was no way that it could have been restored to its former state.

the witcher nightmare of the wolf screenshot vesemir and the survivors

(Image credit: Netflix)

Why So Few Witchers Survived

Despite Vesemir leading the army of witchers into using magic of their own to try and ward off the initial wave of monsters, there were just too many enemies, and they were too taken by surprise by how suddenly the attack happened. It was as much lucky timing as his formidable skills that Vesemir survived to reach the final battle, and Tetra's death was too little and too late to prevent the near total genocide of the witchers. Other than Vesemir and four young boys, there seemed to be no survivors.

And Tetra timed her attack well, since the witchers had retreated to Kaer Morhen for the winter and would head out on fresh monster hunts in the spring. So, there could have been the odd witcher here and there spread throughout the Continent who didn't make it back to the stronghold for the winter, or had taken a turn as mercenary, but a winter massacre at Kaer Morhen devastated the witcher numbers far more than an attack would have at any other time of year.

How Geralt's Journey Started

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf was very much the story of Vesemir, and the anime movie didn't give away until the very end that one of the boys who survived the massacre was none other than Geralt. Introducing him with a shaved head was a good way to throw off viewers who were keeping an eye out for the White Wolf, and Vesemir didn't name him among the boys he thought would survive being thrown into the midst of monsters in the wilderness. Plus, he smiled once, and who among us really associates Henry Cavill's Geralt with smiles?

But young Geralt did survive, and his attempt to run away from Kaer Morhen meant that he had discovered a secret way out for him and the other three boys. He also seemed uncertain about whether or not to go with Vesemir after the massacre, saying that "they hate us." Vesemir's response of "There'll always be another monster" was enough to convince Geralt to pick up a witcher medallion. Nightmare of the Wolf revealed that Geralt was a bit of a rebel at the beginning, at least insofar as he tried to run away, and he had his doubts about the witcher lifestyle.

the witcher nightmare of the wolf witcher training kid netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Why Ciri Probably Can't Become A Full Witcher

Before Nightmare of the Wolf, any fans of The Witcher series who hadn't read Andrzej Sapkowski's source material had every reason to think that maybe Season 2 would be the beginning of Ciri's journey to become a witcher. Coming into Geralt's custody, traveling to Kaer Morhen, and training under the surviving witchers seemed like the right recipe for beginning the transformation... except that Nightmare of the Wolf pretty definitively shut down that possibility by killing off the mages who made the Trial of the Grasses possible without leaving records of their craft behind. No more witchers with their particular set of powers can be made.

Plus, the Trial of the Grasses weren't the only obstacle that young witchers had to overcome, as viewers saw the ranks of young recruits get seriously thinned when they were dropped into a swamp full of murderous monsters. It seems unlikely that Geralt would do that to Ciri even if making witchers was still a possibility. Embracing his destiny doesn't seem like something that would involve tossing her to bloodthirsty monsters, after all! Ciri may get some witcher training with weapons, but fans shouldn't expect Ciri to gain golden eyes and witcher powers like Geralt's in Season 2.

the witcher nightmare of the wolf kid survivors screenshot

(Image credit: Netflix)

Introduced The New Witchers

Vesemir dropped some more interesting names to go along with Geralt's, as The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf introduced two characters who will have important roles in The Witcher Season 2. The four boys who survived the massacre by escaping Kaer Morhen were Geralt, Remus, Eskel, and Lambert. Henry Cavill of course plays Geralt, and Remus debuted in Season 1 but came to a swift end courtesy of a striga. Eskel and Lambert both have parts to play in Season 2 when Geralt and Ciri come back to the witcher stronghold.

Basil Eidenbenz of Victoria will play Eskel, replacing Thue Ersted Rasmussen after Rasmussen had to pull out of The Witcher due to scheduling complications. Lambert will be played by Peaky Blinders alum Paul Bullion, and will have a hand in teaching Ciri combat with a sword. Vesemir himself is also coming to live action. Theo James of Sanditon fame voiced Vesemir for Nightmare of the Wolf as well as for Vesemir's small voice cameo in The Witcher Season 1, but will be played by Kim Bodnia for Season 2.

The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is available streaming on Netflix now, while Season 2 of The Witcher will make its long-awaited debut on the streamer on Friday, December 17. That marks almost exactly two years from the premiere of Season 1, so fans have been waiting a long time to find out what happens next for Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).