The Witcher Showrunner Explains the Law of Surprise

When it comes to every version of the Witcher, source material and adaptations both, the Law of Surprise is an important aspect of its most important relationship: Geralt of Rivia and Princess Cirilla. Through a series of different Law of Surprise instances in the show, Geralt ends up with Ciri. But what is the Law of Surprise, exactly? Showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich explained what it is, especially in relation to the Netflix show, on a recent behind-the-scenes podcast.

Major spoilers for the first season of Netflix's The Witcher follow. You've been warned.

"If you save someone's life, that person is then indebted to you," Hissrich explains. "If they do not have the money to pay you at the time, they can offer you something called the Law of Surprise instead. And basically, the Law of Surprise means that you will get the first thing that they find at their homes that they didn't know existed. So it's got a lot of parameters in it."

As an example, Hissrich uses someone who had their life saved, with the one that saved them claiming the Law of Surprise, coming home to find a new calf or a crop of grain that they weren't expecting. But that's not the most prominent Law of Surprise in the show or source material.

"What we see happen most often, and when the Law of Surprise really becomes interesting, is when a character goes home and finds that they have a child that they didn't know they have," she adds. "In this case, that their wife is pregnant and gives birth shortly after they get home."

In the show, Duny's relationship with Pavetta, Ciri's mother, begins with a Law of Surprise, and then Geralt ends up claiming the same -- but it turns out, right after he claims the Law of Surprise, that Pavetta is pregnant with Ciri.

What do you think of Netflix's The Witcher? Were you familiar with the books -- or maybe the games -- prior to the show? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming!

Here's how Netflix describes the series:


"Based on the best-selling fantasy series, The Witcher is an epic tale of fate and family. Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. But when destiny hurtles him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a dangerous secret, the three must learn to navigate the increasingly volatile Continent together."

The first eight-episode season of Netflix's The Witcher is available to stream on the platform now. It has already been renewed for a second season. Lauren S. Hissrich serves as showrunner. It stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer, and Freya Allan as Ciri. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the latest and greatest adaptation right here.