The Witcher

That 'Witcher' Timeline Theory Might've Been Debunked By This Casting News

by Ani Bundel

When The Witcher first arrived on Netflix in December of 2019, fans were puzzled by the setup. Three main characters were wandering through the kingdom: The Witcher, Geralt, the Sorceress Yennefer, and the runaway Princess, Ciri. And yet, for some reason, they weren't running into each other. It turned out that's because the three of them were all in different parts of the timeline. So far, all theories have suggested Season 2 will be more linear now that the characters have met up. But it turns out this Witcher timeline theory might be wrong.

There was a good reason for The Witcher Season 1 to lay things out as it did. The books were released as two short story collections followed by several novels. The short stories are all Geralt-focused. If the show had gone in timeline order, Season 1 wouldn't have introduced Yennefer until the final episodes and Ciri wouldn't have turned up until Season 2. Leaving out these significant characters until a second season wasn't an option, so linear order was out the window too.

To make room for Yennefer and Ciri, Season 1 also didn't include all the early short stories. But when Season 1's finale reached the beginning of the novels, most assumed any short stories left unused would remain that way. With showrunner Lauren Hissrich assuring viewers Season 2 would be "less confusing," it seems like the series would follow a linear path from here on out. But a new casting throws doubt on that theory, as Kristofer Hivju (Game of Thrones) is joining the cast as Nivellen.

Emily Assiran/Contour/Getty Images

On the one hand, it's exciting to find out the man best known for Tormund Giantsbane (and those Wyndham Hotel commercials) is going to be part of the Witcher universe. But Nivellen isn't just any character; he's one from a very early set short story.

Known as "Fanger" or "Degen," Nivellen is a man the locals mistake for a monster. Geralt is hired to kill him in "A Grain of Truth," in the first short story collection, The Last Wish. It's a retelling of Beauty & The Beast, except Geralt doesn't kill the Beast, because he determines Nivellen isn't a monster on the inside. It's also thought to be Geralt's second-ever adventure.

On the one hand, fans are pleased to know that Geralt's days of wandering around the countryside monster-hunting aren't over yet. On the other, it does raise the question of how the show plans to backtrack and add this in. Could it be a flashback sequence? Could Nivellen find his way into Ciri and Yennefer's lives? Perhaps, but a better bet is that there will still be "Young Geralt" monster hunts in every episode. It will just be "less confusing" now that fans know those happened in a different era from the jump.