"Evil is evil, lesser, greater middling makes no difference. If I'm to choose between one evil and another .. Id rather not choose at all."
Geralt of Rivia is the main protagonist in Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher and CD Project Red's The Witcher video game series. He is a legendary Witcher who operated in The Continent. He loved the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg, despite their tumultuous relationship, and was tied by destiny to the young princess Ciri, whom he acted as her adoptive father.
"Many cannot fathom the friendship Geralt of Rivia and I, Dandelion, have shared all these years. When we first began breaking bread together, spiteful tongues said he'd be better off cutting my throat and dumping my body in a hollow tree - before I provoked someone else into doing the same to us both. Those individuals spoke out of pure jealousy, for Geralt was my dearest friend, a fact which he gave ample evidence of on numerous occasions.
I could say a great deal about that world-famous monster hunter, the man known in Elder Speech as Gwynbleidd, or, in our younger (yet no less noble) tongue, as the White Wolf. For Geralt of Rivia is a truly exceptional individual. A brief encounter might tempt one to label him a mere swinger of swords, a simple monster-catcher, a rough-and-tumble practitioner of a dirty trade - but peer closer and you will soon discover he is a man of unplumbed depths, unique views and vast, world-spanning experience.
On the surface, he is introverted, tight-lipped, one might even say gruff, but underneath lies an overflowing sea of goodwill, good humor, and an honest readiness to help his friends, be it with a bit of sound advice or the masterful application of his blade.
Setting aside cumbersome false modesty, I can say that I know his story better than any man alive. I was with him through hard times and good, helping with wise advice, warm words and razor wit. As a result, I am a vital part of his story, both in its earlier and present portions. It is thus my duty to continue my chronicle and, for the benefit of future generations, put in writing the next chapter of his deeds and exploits."
Childhood & Early life
Geralt was born in 1174 as the son of the sorceress Visenna and presumably the warrior Korin. Shortly after his birth, his mother left him at the School of The Wolf in the stronghold of Kaer Morhen where he was made and trained to become a Witcher. As a child, he was subjected to the Trial of The Grasses, (of which only 3 out of 10 survive). Geralt survived the many blistering mutations required to grant Witchers their abilities. After displaying unusual tolerance, Geralt was selected to further experimental mutations which granted him considerably greater strength, speed, endurance, resilience, healing, senses, complete immunity to diseases and conventional poisons, and extreme resistance to pain. Geralt was the only witcher to survive these experiments. This resulted in his hair turning white and received the nickname ‘White Wolf’.
He was trained by his mentor Vesemir whom he came to regard as a father-figure. Geralt underwent many years of rigorous training with one infamous obstacle course known as ‘The Pendulum’. He soon met his fellow classmate Eskel and the two became good friends, almost as close as brothers. One time they captured a large forest bumblebee and tied it to a jug. The pair laughed at its antics until they were discovered by Vesmeir who punished them with a leather strap. He also befriended Lambert and Coën. As young witcher's were encouraged to make surnames for themselves in the interest of appearing trustworthy towards their clients, Geralt initially chose the name "Geralt Roger Eric du Haute-Bellegarde" however this was regarded as silly and pretentious by Vesemir, and so instead he chose the name 'Rivia' and even adopted a Rivian accent to make himself sound more authentic. Geralt also spent time training with Mother Nenneke at the Temple of Melitele in Ellander.
His final test was the Trial of The Medallion where Geralt was instructed to journey to the Circle of Elements to retrieve his witcher medallion and if he managed to return alive, he would prove himself worthy to set off onto The Path. Geralt travelled through the pond side to the mountains where he used Axii to distract one cave troll whilst the other two were busy. After collecting his medallion, Geralt successfully returned to Kaer Morhen passing the trial and graduated from the School of the Wolf . After this Geralt set off into the world on his horse named Roach, a name which he would bestow upon every horse he mounted and thus he became a monster slayer for hire.
Originally, Geralt was convicted, enthusiastic, incentive and held faith that he was needed in a world full of monsters and beasts to protect the innocent, although his mentor advised him not to play an errant knight or uphold the law. After travelling fifty miles from the blue mountains, his first monster was a bald man with rotten teeth who stopped a peasants cart and pulled a young girl out whilst his companions held her father down as the bald man tore off her dress yelling it was time for her to meet a real man and attempted to rape her. Geralt rode up and told him the time had come for him to meet one too, believing it as a witty remark. The bandit released the girl and charged at him with his axe, Geralt managed to strike him twice and successfully killed him. Geralt then turned expecting gratitude from those he saved, instead the father fled with the attackers and the girl who was drenched in the man's blood vomited, grew hysterical and fainted in fear when Geralt approached her. This event prompted him to rarely interfere in such matters.
The Butcher of Blaviken
Another famous task of his was the curing of Foltest's Daughter, Adda, of the Striga curse. This resulted in him going through a gruelling battle against the creature and nearly dying due to a serious neck injury, yet Geralt managed the task in the end. He was rewarded greatly, and while he may not have realized it at the time, this established his foothold in Temeria, which would shape his life greatly. Another important event in his life was his dealing with a group of people in Blaviken; they were a threat to the people of the settlement. Geralt knew of their danger and slew them all violently to protect the town from them, however to the people it appeared as if he just randomly killed otherwise innocent people. This earned him the alias "The Butcher of Blaviken" which haunts him still.
Through his adventures Geralt met with many interesting figures, one such was the poet Dandelion whom which formed a friendship with him. They have twice visited a place known as The Edge of The World where both times they found themselves mixed in with serious groups and events. As well he was hired by the Queen of Cintra, Calanthe. In her service, he ended up seeing the resolution of one path of destiny while opening up another. While dealing with the effects of a Genie upon Dandelion, Geralt ended up in Rinde where he met the Sorceress Yennefer, and it was then that they first started to fall in love.
On 6th June 1268, Geralt was present in the town of Rivia when a a violent Pogrom massacre errupted which resulted in the murder of 184 non-humans including elves and dwarfs. Geralt valiantly fought against the raging crowd until he was stabbed in the chest with a pitchfork by a young man named Rob. Yenefer perished alongside while trying to heal his wounds. The couple were then rescued by Ciri who transported them onto a boat, sailed them to the Island of Avalach before Ciri departed to another world.
The Witcher 1
Eventually, Geralt appeared mysteriously outside of Kaer Morhen being chased by unknown assailants. He was wounded and nursed back to health by the witchers of the Wolf School and the sorceress Triss Merigold. It was discovered that Geralt had amnesia and could recall next to nothing about himself, as he recuperated a group raided the fortress led by the rogue mage Azar Javed and a crossbow for hire known as The Professor. Many of Geralt's comrades were slain during the assault while the alchemy tools required to create more witchers were plundered, Vesemir was the only one of the instructors left after this attack. In response those that survived decided to go to the four corners of the continent, with Geralt heading South as his cardinal direction. He ended up going to Vizima, the capital of Temeria, where a conspiracy was revealed that the White Wolf had to deal with. Geralt ended up having to decide between siding with an order of non-human hating knights known as The Order of the Flaming Rose, the Scoia'tael, a group of human-hating elves and dwarves, or the civilians trying to escape the burning city. Regardless of his choice Geralt ended up being tasked by Foltest with killing the crazed Grand Master of the Order of the Flaming Rose, Jacques de Aldersberg, whom which had secretly been behind the conspiracy and used the alchemy tools to create mutant knights that were slaughtering all. The witcher was brought into a strange vision of a barren, frozen world by Jacques whom which was a powerful Source, though eventually, Geralt managed to overcome his visions and kill the Grand Master. As the man's blood drained onto the snow, the King of the Wild Hunt appeared to claim his soul. After returning to Foltest, King of Temeria, Geralt was handsomely rewarded for his work, but his celebration was cut short as he barely managed to rescue the ruler from an assassin. This assassin had yellow cat-like eyes and turned out to be a witcher.
The Witcher 2
Due to his actions in Vizima, Geralt had attained a level of respect within Temeria, Foltest wished to keep the man around as a powerful ally and guard. He was charged with aiding the king in regaining his children, afterwards, he would be allowed to leave with the sorceress Triss Merigold. Both Foltest and Geralt saw each other as allies, though their loose friendship ended after the battle at La Valette Castle. While Geralt stayed back to allow Foltest to pray with a blind monk, the monk turned out to be a bulky witcher in disguise whom which assassinated the king then fled before Geralt could catch him. Soldiers arrived just then and it was believed that Geralt had committed the regicide, he was then thrown into the Temerian dungeons and sentenced to be executed. Vernon Roche, the leader of the special forces of Temeria, staged Geralt's escape and both went on a hunt to discover who the real assassin of kings is. Their first stop is the town of Flotsam where Geralt deals with a number of issues involving monsters in the woods and the Scoiat'tael attacks upon the settlement. Through his investigation he discovers that the assassin has been working with the elves, he faces off against the other witcher and is beaten. Letho is his name, and he has a history with Geralt that is lost due to his amnesia. After defeating a large mutated swamp monster, the Kayran with the help of Sile de Tansarville, so that they can leave the port Geralt learns of something horrible. The town of Flotsam has become a battleground with the guards killing non-humans, during the ruckus it is discovered that Letho has kidnapped Triss Merigold and teleported away with her. Geralt then sides with either Iorveth or Roche and heads to the Aedern in the hopes of finding her. The witcher either sides with Saskia the Dragon Slayer or King Henselt, all the while solving numerous other issues that the people face. Geralt either removes the curse from Henselt or cures Saskia of her curse that ails her depending upon his choices. He learns more of the assassins and that they are all witchers, and that likely Letho will be at Loc Muinne along with various other important figures. His arrival is not well accepted but non-the-less Geralt ends up helping to resolve various events surrounding Loc Muinne. He may save Philippa Eilhart, Anais La Valette, or Triss Merigold depending upon choices made and sides taken. A plot by the Lodge of Sorceresses is discovered and foiled by the witcher, then a dragon attacks the city as many flee and others begin a bloodbath. There is a great deal of strife, the severity of deaths depends upon Geralt's actions, with it culminating in Geralt defeating the dragon and either killing it or leaving it to regenerate and live on. Afterwards, he meets with Letho and has everything explained to him. He learns how Yennefer had been taken by the Wild Hunt, and that Geralt had stumbled across the witchers of the Viper School one of which being Letho. He rescued them and in turn, they swore to aid him in his search for the Wild Hunt, eventually, they came upon the riders whom which had Yennefer. The witchers assaulted them and in this battle they slew many of the wraiths discovering they were in actuality elves from another world, however, a stalemate was reached. Geralt met with the leader of the elves and struck a deal, his soul in exchange for Yennefer. Afterwards, Letho and the other witchers of the Viper School protected her all the way to Nilfgaard where Letho met with the Emperor of Nilfgaard after they had been captured. He was offered a mission to slay the kings of the North and destabilize the land for a future invasion, the reward being a new school of witchers being established in Nilfgaard. After their chat Geralt then either slew Letho in single combat or let the man go.
The Witcher 3
After clearing his name among those who count and learning of Yennefer's location, Geralt has begun a journey South. It has been six months since Nilfgaard invaded the North causing a great deal of chaos. The witcher has stopped meddling in the affairs of politics and nobles for the time being to instead travel and hunt monsters as he was trained to do long ago. By doing this work, he can pay for his travel towards Nilfgaard in the hopes of finding his lost love, Yennefer. However, the Wild Hunt is still active, and these wraiths have continued to slaughter and kidnap those they see fit.
Abilities and Skills
The White Wolf is considered to be one of the most skilled and talented witchers found within the land. He is an excellent sword fighter capable of defeating multiple skilled warriors at once alone through a combination of the use of his swordplay and of his witcher magic. Geralt spends nearly every moment he is not working or socializing to train. Every known witcher Sign appears to be at his disposal with the witcher having a great affinity for its use. While not as powerful as a skilled mage he can still manage to protect himself from most spells. His physical prowess is so great that he is capable of deflecting projectiles with his weapon, in combat Geralt appears to dance as he spins with his blade striking arteries and other critical points of his foes. As well he tends to read when he can gathering as much information about a task as is inhumanly possible. Few know more about the monsters of the world than Geralt, and he tends to learn from those who have heard of beasts and creatures unknown to him. Even in regards to politics, the witcher can hold his own. He can be quite perceptive of the intentions of others and usually knows when to guard himself against the listening ears of threats.
- Yennefer is the love of Geralt's life, the two of them met in the town of Sinde and after this encounter fell deeply in love with one another.
- Triss Merigold
- Vernon Roche
In the Books
There are key differences in how Geralt acts in the books compared to how he acts within the games. For instance, due to player agency, Geralt may do some acts he would never commit in his novel incarnations, such as the killing of a dragon. The Witcher would never do this; he'd likely sooner let a city burn than slay even one of these creatures due to his incredible respect for them.
Geralt of Rivia has completely different combat animations when compared to other characters. CD Projekt RED wished for him to appear as if dancing in combat, as is described in the novels, as such a master swordsman actually does the motion capture for Geralt. This can be seen here, Game Informer Interview with CD Projekt RED about Motion Capture in The Witcher 3.
- Geralt is an Irish baby name meaning ‘fanner. ’His name in the Elder Speech is Gwynbleidd which is similar to the Welsh translation of 'White Wolf' (blaidd gwyn). Rivia is a meaning 'Blessing' or 'Gift of God'.
- Geralt dose not hail from Rivia, in fact his birthplace is unknown, he presumably originated somewhere from the Kadewen Realms.
- Geralt is the only witch
- Geralt bears several scars on his body. One large scar across his left eye which he sustained battling the Cokatrice of Spalla. Shani mentions that he has gained twenty-seven new scars since she last saw him.
- Geralt hates Teleportation as he notes that portals make his stomach turn.
- Geralt's height appears to be roughly around 5ft 10 to 6lft.
- In Blood and Wine, Geralt mentions to Syanna that he is a capable singer and can perform a rendition of The Maids of Vicovaro.