This article contains spoilers for The Witcher season 3 part 1.
For much of the first part of The Witcher season 3, we follow Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), Geralt (Henry Cavill), and Ciri (Freya Allan) on the run from the powers that be across the Continent who want to use Ciri’s Elder Blood for their own personal gain. After discovering that mages Rience (Chris Fulton) and Lydia (Aisha Fabienne Ross) are after Ciri for a mysterious benefactor and Rogue Mage who is experimenting on young girls from Aretuza, Yennefer proposes a Conclave to find out who the Rogue Mage is and whether or not Aretuza will be a safe place for Ciri to learn how to control her powers.
While Geralt and Yennefer prepare to attend the Conclave and confront Stregobor (Lars Mikkelson) – who they believe to be the Rogue Mage – Jaskier (Joey Batey) and Ciri take refuge in a cabin nearby. Radovid (Hugh Skinner) shows up to woo Jaskier and the two spend the night together in the barn outside of Yennefer’s protective spell. But even though this is an important moment for Jaskier, the real magic (pun absolutely intended) happens during the ball in episode 5 “The Art of the Illusion.” As the bard Valdo Marx (Nathan Armakwei Laryea) sings throughout the final episode of part 1, “All is not as it seems.”
Geralt and Yennefer Reconcile
Geralt and Yennefer shippers eat well in this episode, as it begins with them sharing a lot more than just the information they learned during the Conclave of Mages. They recount the events of the night to each other to try and figure out who is and isn’t on their side. Geralt also tells Yennefer he loves her for the first time, cementing their status as the Continent’s hottest couple and proving that Geralt has fully forgiven her for almost giving Ciri over to Voleth Meir last season.
The Conclave of Mages
During the ball set to kick off the Conclave of Mages, Geralt and Yennefer chat with a variety of people to figure out how to expose Stregobor and who they can trust to protect Ciri. While talking to Philippa (Cassie Clare), Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) approaches Geralt, trying to convince the Witcher to forgo his neutrality and choose a side – preferably by sending Ciri to Redania “before it’s too late.”
Geralt leaves the conversation to confront Stregobor after seeing him berate a member of the waitstaff. Their conversation is tense, but Geralt restrains himself and doesn’t attack him despite his growing desire to. He tries to escape the ballroom for a moment fleeing for the balcony, but Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu) finds him and talks to him about the mural of the First Landing and the formation of the Brotherhood. Vilgefortz is clearly playing an angle, not only trying to appeal to Geralt by bringing up that they both grew up as outcasts, but also by telling Geralt that Istredd (Royce Pierreson) and Yennefer used to be a couple as they can be seen talking to each other among the party guests.
Before Istredd finds Yennefer, Philippa pulls her aside to talk about her falling out with Tissaia (MyAnna Buring). Philippa tried to convince Tissaia not to ally with Vilgefortz before the Battle of Sodden. She tries to convince Yennefer to forgo her loyalty, bringing up Lydia’s painful romance as an example of what loyalty will get you, but Yennefer stays strong in her convictions and her plan for the Conclave.
After Yennefer leaves Phillippa, Istredd lets her know that he and Triss (Anna Shaffer) have tracked the Book of Monoliths to Stregobor’s chambers and warn her of what he could do with it and Ciri’s powers. This changes Yennefer’s mind about waiting until the next day to take action against Stregobor. She and Geralt decide to use the Melange as cover so that she can sneak away to Stregobor’s quarters to find the book. Geralt fakes a fight with Istredd, accusing him of trying to win Yennefer back.
Who is the Rogue Mage?
While Geralt and Istredd are “fighting,” Yennefer leaves for Stregobor’s quarters. She unlocks his safe, triggering a magical alert that sends the mage her way. She doesn’t find the book, but does find belongings from some of the missing novices. Stregobor confronts her, but Geralt arrives soon after to back her up. Stregobor doesn’t bother to hide his disdain for elven blood or others he deems “mutants.”
As soon as Triss realizes that Geralt and Yennefer have disappeared from the ball, she, Istredd, Tissaia, Vilgefortz, and Artorious (Terence Maynard) head for Stregobor’s quarters. Geralt and Yennefer share their knowledge of Stregobor’s plan with the others. Even though Stregobor denies having anything to do with the missing mages and the experiments, Istredd finds the Book of Monoliths hidden in his vault, convincing Tissaia to hold him for trial after the Conclave concludes.
However, even though all signs have pointed to Stregobor thus far, Yennefer and Geralt realize while going through the events of the night that they got the wrong guy. While Yennefer is talking about Lydia and her conversation with Philippa, Geralt realizes that Lydia is the “woman with the funny voice” that Teryn (Frances Pooley) mentioned. He realizes that Tissaia’s bracelet is made from the same material as Lydia’s earrings, scarlet ammonite. Not only is this material found in the region where Geralt found the girls locked in the castle, but it’s also rumored to protect loved ones and valuable property. This means that Lydia’s lover, and the Rogue Mage that she’s working to collect Ciri for, is Vilgefortz, not Stregobor. Yennefer also remembers that the corrupt portal took her to the location of the First Landing, which is Vilgefortz’ favorite painting.
An Attack on Aretuza
After realizing that Vilgefortz is the true enemy at Aretuza, Geralt leaves to confront him while Yennefer stays behind to find Tissaia with a locator spell. As soon as Geralt leaves the bedroom, a fight can be heard in the distance, potentially the “battle to come” that Vilgefortz warned him of. He goes to investigate and is met with the blade Dijkstra, who says menacingly “should have chosen a side, Witcher.” Is Vilgefortz behind the attack? Are Dijkstra and Phillipa making moves for Redania? I guess we’ll have to wait for part 2 to see what’s happening at Aretuza.
Part 1 of The Witcher season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.