15 facts about The Witcher you may not know

The Witcher - Credit: Katalin Vermes
The Witcher - Credit: Katalin Vermes /

We’re still pretty far away from The Witcher season 3, but at least we have plenty of games, books and Netflix content to enjoy in the meantime! Considering The Witcher is one of Netflix’s biggest shows of all time and it has a vast fictional universe covering lots of terrain and lore, there are a lot of fun facts to learn about the series and what happens behind the scenes.

From interesting facts about the show’s stars and casting process to whether or not the show writers plan to stay true to canon, below you’ll find several interesting facts about the series that you might not have known!

15 facts about The Witcher you may not know

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The Witcher season 2. Image courtesy Jay Maidment, Netflix /

The show has book author Andrzej Sapkowski’s seal of approval

Sapkowski’s books are not easy to adapt, but the author officially gave The Witcher his seal of approval. Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich shared his thoughts on the recent second season via her Twitter, commenting that the knowledge of his blessing is all she needs to keep going.

Here’s what he said:

"I congratulate Lauren and her team on their excellent work. Adapting my books is not an easy task. I watched with great joy, and I hope for an even more epic season 3."

The author has talked about the adaptation before, adding that he’s okay with changes to his books. He isn’t involved with the overall creation of the Netflix series, but does receive access to the scripts and is allowed to offer input on certain details. He likes to know what’s happening so he isn’t blindsided.

Star Henry Cavill was originally turned down for the part of Geralt

Most fans of The Witcher know that star Henry Cavill is a massive fan of the story. He loves the books and the CD Projekt Red games. Stars, they’re just like us! When he heard about the Netflix series, Cavill went above and beyond to get a chance at playing Geralt. He wanted the role so bad, he fought tooth and nail for it.

As we all know, Cavill eventually landed the role and has proven himself to be a great Geralt, but it wasn’t always meant to be. Cavill was initially turned down for the role, in part because Hissrich actually found his insistence “really annoying.”

However, when it came time to actually cast Geralt, Hissrich couldn’t get Cavill’s voice out of her head. She invited him back for a proper audition and the rest, as they say, is history.

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The Witcher Season 2 – Courtesy of Netflix/Jay Maidment /

Henry Cavill does not want to diverge too much from the book canon

Cavill pushed for more dialogue in season 2 to ensure that Geralt wasn’t coming across as too sullen or one-dimensional. In the books, Geralt is quite smart, even an amateur philosopher. While it’s easy to write him off as a snarky grump based on some scenes from the first season, there is a lot more to him than that and Cavill wanted to ensure the show would reflect that in season 2, especially regarding Geralt’s relationship with Ciri (Freya Allan).

Joey Batey hates “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher”

Even though “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” became a huge breakout hit after Joey Batey’s character Jaskier sang it in the first season, the actor is really over the song in real life. It’s understandable that he would tire of it, considering how many times he has surely heard the tune on set and from fans. That said, Batey clarified that he doesn’t mind so much when people sing it to him.

"There are people who still sing it to me in Sainsbury’s, and when that happens it is good."

The actor said the music in season 2 is more of his style and more indicative of the show’s themes and the second season’s darker turn.

Henry Cavill dehydrated himself for the famous bathtub scene

To ensure that he looked as ripped as possible during his shirtless scenes (specifically the infamous bathtub scene from the books and games) Cavill had to go on an intense dehydration diet. If it’s as miserable as it sounds then he deserves a raise.

Essentially, Cavill would go three days without any water (well, the first two days he drank a little, but then none on day three) to ensure his skin would sit tight on his muscles. Watch the clip above to hear more about what the actor went through during those scenes.

Henry Cavill tore his hamstring while filming The Witcher season 2

Cavill sustained a very bad hamstring injury during filming on The Witcher season 2, to the point he feared the end of his action career altogether. He had to force himself to slow down and focus on his physical therapy to ensure he didn’t make things worse. The injury caused a delay in production, but thankfully the actor seemed to make a full recovery.

While chatting with The Hollywood Reporter, he talked about what it was like in recovery:

"“The difficulty was working while I was injured,” he says. “Because I wanted to do more for the production — I know how important it was for them to get stuff done. So it was having to find that balance between, ‘Yes, let’s push, push, push,’ and, ‘Whoa, hold on, if I tear this further, it’s the end of my action career.’ That was my worst moment of the past year — professionally.”"

Henry Cavill personally rewrote the first Roach’s death scene

Fans of The Witcher know that Geralt has seen many horses come and go throughout his monster-hunting adventures. He christens each new mare as “Roach,” so there is not necessarily just one Roach.

In season 2, fans witnessed the first Roach of the show die after a chernobog got the best of her. It was a tragic scene and one that was almost more humorous in tone as a meta-reference to the books. But according to Hissrich, Cavill wanted a more heartfelt scene, hence why he ended up rewriting it and utilizing a speech from Sword of Destiny.

The Netflix series is not the first adaptation

Did you know that the popular Netflix series is not the first television adaptation of The Witcher? The books were adapted into a movie in 2001 and a television show in 2002, both titled The Hexer. Each one was a Polish adaptation and neither was very well-received although the show was considered a step up from the movie.

The writers intend to showcase Ciri’s bisexuality in the future

I can’t find the exact source but Redanian Intelligence reported that Ciri was originally going to have a “school girl crush” on Triss in the show’s second season so they could begin developing her bisexuality in the series.

But Freya Allan looked too mature for it to come off that way and the writers weren’t sure how to tackle what could be a complicated relationship between the pair (especially given Geralt’s own romantic entanglements with Triss). Instead, they opted to postpone Ciri’s romantic storyline until they can establish it at a better point. We can also expect the show to explore more regarding Philippa’s sexuality in the coming seasons.

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The Witcher – Credit: Katalin Vermes /

Anya Chalotra declined a body double for her nude scenes

Despite being offered a body double for her nude scenes and sex scenes, Chalotra opted against it because she felt it would conflict with her portrayal of Yennefer.

She told Metro.co.uk:

"I had a body double for the sex scenes, and she was always there. Flora. But I didn’t, I only used her for the first sex scene because I realised very quickly in that first sex scene that actually, I didn’t feel comfortable anyone else portraying Yennefer, because it’s still acting isn’t it?"

The scene she mentioned was the first one with Istredd, but watching someone else perform it made her realize she wanted to do the scenes following that herself.

"I found [watching] that really hard, so if we were going to talk about the sex scenes then it would be how we were best going to film them, so that I was comfortable and you’d get you’d still get what we needed for the story to move on. But with the audience, yeah, but the wide shot isn’t me. The intimacy between Yennefer and Istredd is. Those close up shots."

Joey Batey already knew how to play the lute before he was cast

Batey learned to play the lute a few years before he even became involved with The Witcher. If you watch the video above, you can see Batey playing the instrument and listen to him discuss his experience. He opted to learn the lute when he performed in the theatrical version of Wolf Hall.

Henry Cavill does most of his own stunts

Most stunts performed by Geralt on The Witcher are actually done by Cavill himself. The same can be said for Chalotra as mentioned above. You might have already figured that out given the injury Cavill suffered during the filming of season 2.

There was originally a rule against casting Game of Thrones actors

According to actor Ian Beattie, there was originally a rule that The Witcher would not cast any actors from Game of Thrones. Beattie says there was a line at the bottom of the casting call saying, “No ‘Game of Thrones’ actors.”

This was done so that The Witcher could stand apart from the massive fantasy series without people constantly comparing the two or being reminded of the HBO series while watching The Witcher. That said, the rule wasn’t all that strict because a couple of Game of Thrones alums have been cast on the show since it started, including Francis Magee, who played Yoren on the HBO show.

Elder Speech is a real language created by Andrzej Sapkowski

Did you know that Elder Speech, the language used by elves, was created by Sapkowski for the show? It is based on several real languages, such as French, Irish, Latin and Welsh. Netflix hired an actual linguist to help create the dialogue used on the show.

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The Witcher season 2 – Credit: Jay Maidment /

Freya Allan was cast in a different role before landing the part of Ciri

Before landing the lead role of Ciri, Freya Allan was told she had been cast as Marilka, one of the first characters Geralt meets in season 1, episode 1. Marilka is hired by Stregobor to lure Geralt to him. Allan says the casting process was somewhat confusing as she didn’t really know who she was playing and after being told she was Marilka, they called her back to be considered for the part of Ciri. As we know, she actually got cast as Ciri shortly after and Marilka was played by Mia Mckenna-Bruce

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