The Witcher season 3: Why does Yennefer call Ciri “my ugly one?”

The Witcher. Cr: Netflix.
The Witcher. Cr: Netflix. /

Yennefer adopts an interesting new term of endearment for Ciri in The Witcher season 3 part 1. Why does she call Ciri her “ugly one?” Book readers will recognize the phrase as it plays out almost exactly as it did in the text on-screen.

“Ugly” isn’t usually considered a term of endearment, but that’s more or less how Yennefer means it when she refers to Ciri as such. There has been some debate in the fandom over whether or not Yennefer is calling Ciri “ugly,” as it’s possibly a phrase that got lost in translation.

You’ll find a lot of different interpretations of Yennefer’s meaning, so there isn’t necessarily one clear answer. Perhaps actresses Anya Chalotra or Freya Allan will give us their take on it during The Witcher season 3 promo tour.

Significance of Yennefer calling Ciri ‘ugly one’ in The Witcher season 3

In The Witcher season 3 part 1, Ciri eventually asks Yennefer why she keeps calling her “my ugly one.” Yennefer says it’s because she promised to always be sincere with her. That’s almost verbatim what Yennefer says in the books.

The Polish word in question is “brzydulka,” which does mean ugly, but it has a more affectionate intonation than what we would refer to in English. Yennefer’s usage of the word appears to be more out of fondness and irony than cruelty. She calls Ciri that because she’s being cheeky. Ciri is obviously beautiful, but beauty isn’t everything.

In the show, Ciri asks Yennefer why she calls her that right after Yennefer brings Ciri to her old home and shows her flashbacks of what she was like before Aretuza and her magical transformation. Yennefer understands the dynamics of power and beauty more than anyone, so her calling Ciri “ugly one” seems to be a nod to her past and Ciri’s journey.

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