The Witcher ended on an emotional note, as Geralt and Ciri found each other after a long path through time. For Geralt, it was a moment of at long last accepting his fate. For Ciri, it was the first step in finding her way in the world. But one person was missing from this reunion, someone who will one day become an essential part of the tale: Yennefer. Unfortunately, fans have no idea what happened to her. Is Yennefer dead? The showrunner couldn't help but weigh in.
What exactly happened to Yennefer isn't clear in the series. In the final two episodes of the season, which all occur within a few weeks of each other, Cintra falls. The loss of this once-great city leaves the Northern kingdoms in disarray, with no one to lead the charge against the Nilfgaard armies. Yennefer is there with the Brotherhood of Sorcerers when they vote to join with the remaining troops in a desperate last chance to turn back the invaders.
But The Battle of Sodden Hill doesn't go well for the Sorcerers and their forces. Unbeknownst to them, they've been betrayed from the inside. As the Nilfgaard armies advance, Tissaia de Vries, Yennefer's mentor and tells her she's their only hope.
Yennefer steps up to the plate and knocks the war out of the park. The entire battlefield burns, the Nilfgaard army retreats, and those on the side of the Northern Armies are magically spared.
But Yennefer is gone.
Speaking in a Reddit AMA, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich addressed fans who were worried that the Sorceress' disappearance was a sign she had died.
As she pointed out, many of those fighting the battle did die, especially those who created fire from nothing, much like Yennefer does.
We tried to always keep a ‘cost’ to magic so that it couldn’t ever be an easy solution to a problem or circumstance... In terms of Sodden, Nilfgaard’s use of fire magic - creating fire from nothing, literally from the chaos in their bodies - was meant to be the ultimate sacrifice for their kingdom. Like Fringilla’s shriveled hand to the millionth degree.
But Yennefer is part Elf. That means she can transfer fire from Elven places, instead of creating it from the chaos of her own body. She's the conduit, not the kindling.
Yennefer, on the other hand, transfers the fire from the elven keep to her body; she isn’t creating it, just harnessing it. But it weakens her enough to allow for her disappearance.
So the good news is Yennefer isn't dead, which explains why actress Anya Chalotra is back for Season 2. She just doesn't have the energy to hold a corporeal form at the moment. Give her time for a good long rest, and eventually, she'll come back to herself. And if she can't, Ciri seems to be the one who's going to get on the case of finding her.