[Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Witcher. Read at your own risk!]
The Witcher gave us so much in its first season – a terrifying battle with a striga, a potentially world-altering war with a powerful empire, Jaskier’s (Joey Batey) almost-too-catchy earworm about tossing some coin to you-know-who – but it did leave one big question unanswered: What was Geralt’s (Henry Cavill) last wish?
In the fifth episode, “Bottled Appetites,” Geralt becomes the master of a djinn after looking for help to cure his insomnia. However, before he figures out that he, not Jaskier, is the djinn’s master, Geralt unknowingly uses up his first two wishes demanding some peace and quiet (and accidentally causing Jaskier’s life-threatening health issues in the process. Oops!) and making the prison guard literally burst. But Geralt is very purposeful when it comes to his third wish. When Yennefer’s (Anya Chalotra) attempt to become the vessel for the djinn in the hopes of curing her infertility put her life at risk, Geralt begs her to stop. Yennefer refuses, and so Geralt uses his third wish in a way that results in the djinn leaving town and sparing Yennefer’s life.
The show, like Andrzej Sapkowski’s short story “The Last Wish,” which inspired the djinn storyline, leaves the exact content of Geralt’s last wish unknown – although it makes clear that a consequence of Geralt’s wish was to keep Yennefer in his life. (And no, Geralt didn’t just wish for Yen to fall in love with him. He has far too strict a moral code to be that manipulative!) However, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich did tell TV Guide that the writers decided before filming what Geralt wished for.
“We know,” she confirmed. “I’m not sure anyone else will ever know. But to know the story, we had to very much decide on, ‘This is what we’re hearing,’ so that we can make sure that as the dominoes fall in later seasons we all understand what it is.”
When asked whether the audience would find out what Geralt wished for, Hissrich played coy, saying that she likes “to let the audience keep guessing on that one” for the moment. However, Anya Chalotra is confident that the series will reveal what Geralt wished for… eventually. “Absolutely. Yeah. I’m sure,” she said.
But who wants to wait for an answer that may or may not ever come? Book readers have been waiting over a decade for answers about Geralt’s last wish, and they are still no closer to getting confirmation. “The Last Wish” does provide many more context clues about what Geralt may have wished for than the Netflix series does, though. If we assume that what the series chose for Geralt’s last wish lines up with what we know from the books, even if some of the specifics of the storyline weren’t directly included in the adaptation, then we know three things about what Geralt asked the djinn for: It was asking for something pretty surprising, it saved Yennefer’s life, and it bound Geralt and Yennefer’s destinies together.
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“I don’t know whether there’s such a Force in Nature that could fulfill such a wish. But if there is, then you’ve condemned yourself. Condemned yourself to me,” Yen tells Geralt in “The Last Wish.”
So what could Geralt have asked for to elicit such a response? And in what ways are their destinies now intertwined? There are two main theories:
1. Geralt wished to have a child with Yennefer, since that would prevent the djinn from killing her in that moment and would bind their lives together through this fate and their future child.
2. Geralt wished to die alongside Yennefer. Since a djinn can’t kill its own master, this wish would provide a nice loophole that would save Yennefer’s life and also ensure that Geralt and Yennefer’s lives are bound together until their very ends.
While we can’t get too into the strengths and weaknesses of each theory without sharing major spoilers from the books (which you should read if you haven’t already!), it does seem reasonable to assume that these two popular theories from the books are still the most likely two options for what Geralt’s last wish in the show will be. That’s because while The Witcher is very much its own unique take on Sapkowski’s source material, Hissrich has been clear about her intentions to honor what was written.
“Obviously, it’s an adaptation, so there are things that we have to change, there are characters that we can’t meet, or characters that we must meet earlier in order to sort of set up the right dominoes,” Hissrich explained to us. “But we go back to the books again and again because it’s all there. So to us, it’s really just about keeping that spirit alive.”
One of the aspects of “The Last Wish” storyline that Hissrich added for the series is Yennefer’s complicated feelings on the matter. Once Yen learns that Geralt used his wish in part to keep her in his life, she becomes outraged and begins to assume that everything she feels for Geralt isn’t real, it’s just the result of the djinn’s magic.
“Yennefer is linked to Geralt in some way, she has that pull,” Chalotra said. “She’s constantly, I think, quite confused about the role destiny has to play and whether her feelings are actually true. So we see her go on that journey of frustration and anger.”
Meanwhile, Cavill has a different take on the matter, saying that, whatever role Geralt’s last wish played in binding Geralt and Yennefer together, their feelings for each other are very much real. “It’s that thing where these two people love each other,” Cavill said. “They see something similar in the other. And even though it can be very, very painful at times, you don’t choose who you fall in love with. And that’s the truth of it. Even though it’s painful, even though sometimes destructive, I don’t think they want to love anyone else, no matter how hard they try.”
But whether or not Geralt and Yennefer’s love proves to be real or long-lasting, the question of what Geralt wished for will remain. Readers of Sapkowski’s books have been debating between theories he wished they’d have a child and he wished they’d die together for literally decades, with fans still largely divided. It looks like that trend will continue as new fans of The Witcher universe will now parse through their own theories about one of the biggest burning questions in the entire franchise. However, even if the Netflix series does eventually confirm what they decided Geralt’s last wish was, it will still remain a mystery in the books since what Hissrich decided wasn’t dictated by Sapkwoski. (For more on their working relationship, check out our full interview with Hissrich here.)
That means even if you’re firmly in the camp that Geralt wished to die alongside Yennefer, but the show confirms that it’s he wished to have a child with Yennefer, it’s truly the rare “you can have your cake and eat it too” situation – and that there will likely never be an end to these debates.