Now that Netflix's The Witcher is finally out, fans are getting to know Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri throughout the first season. All of them have their own journeys and transformations, but Yennefer's journey might be the most extreme, since hers is both internal and external, and it's a transformation that will not leave your memory anytime soon. We had the chance to speak to Yennefer actress Anya Chalotra about Yennefer's transformation and sacrifice to become the powerful sorceress fans known from the novels and games, and she broke down how important that transformation was. By the way spoilers incoming so you've been warned.
"The sacrifice she makes in episode three, in the transformation scene, to become the Yennefer we know from the books, to make that transformation, it's huge, and I think that aspect of this Yennefer is one of my favorite parts," Chalotra said. Because it was such a gift as an actor because it gave me such a drive and determination, and I had such a strong goal I suppose, in that. It was witnessing something so real and tragic.
For those who watched the show, that enchantment sequence is intense and at times brutal to watch, and Yennefer doesn't jut experience pain to make it happen, but also gives part of herself to complete the process. That said, the goal here wasn't to be intense and painful just for the sake of it.
"It wasn't, I don't think it was crucial to make it intense," Chalotra said. "I think it's an intense scene, as it's written. She has to go through this painful physical transformation, without any medicine to numb the pain. And that in itself is a very intense thing that's happening to her. I think we just have to try and get the truth of every moment in Yennefer's story, to make it as believable as we can. And I hope we did."
The loss we previously referred to comes into play later in the season, when Yennefer tries to save a young child but fails to do so, something that makes Yennefer question some of her choices.
"Yeah, that's a turning point for Yennefer, so that was actually one of my favorite scenes to film," Chalotra said. "I think because of the sacrifice, you make a necessary physical transformation to be what society wants her to be, and that came at a huge consequence. Something that she didn't realize, that thing she would be giving up at that moment. So, her seeing that and saving the child just brings back so many memories for her, about her childhood, about how women are treated, and about how you didn't really know why you were making the choice you were making. You trusted the people who were running the show, and that's something that we look quite deeply into, into that scene. And actually that scene feeds the rest of her journey."
That internal conflict is a huge part of Yennefer's journey in season 1, and will likely also be a significant part of season 2, and we can't wait to see what Chalotra's Yennefer does next.
You can find the official description for Netflix's The Witcher below, and you can check out my full review right here!
"Based on the best-selling fantasy series of books, 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," Netflix said. "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."
Henry Cavill (Geralt of Rivia), Anya Chalotra (Yennefer), Freya Allan (Ciri), Jodhi May (Calanthe), Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (Eist), Adam Levy (Mousesack), MyAnna Buring (Tissaia), Mimi Ndiweni (Fringilla), Therica Wilson-Read (Sabrina), Emma Appleton (Renfri), Eamon Farren (Cahir), Joey Batey (Jaskier), Lars Mikkelsen (Stregobor), Royce Pierreson (Istredd), Maciej Musiał (Sir Lazlo), Wilson Radjou-Pujalte (Dara), and Anna Shaffer as Triss.
Also don't forget to enter for a chance to win some sweet The Witcher swag from Dark Horse Comics, and you can find out all about it right here!