The Witcher Season 1 is hard to follow, to say the least. Newcomers to The Witcher universe have found it near impossible to keep up with the scenes jumping back and forth throughout the timeline.
In fact, the pace of the Netflix series isn’t too far off from that of Sapkowski’s The Last Wish, which also intermingles the timeline. The difference with the book is Sapkowski used a secondary storyline, “The Voice of Reason,” to transition between Geralt’s various adventures.
Warning: Book Spoilers Ahead!
Nenneke is the High Priestess at the Temple of Melitele in Ellander. Readers are introduced to this practiced healer after Geralt’s near-death encounter with the Striga in Temeria.
Nenneke is a headstrong but attentive female character who takes on a motherly role over Geralt, though she doesn’t take kindly to people calling her mother. Incorporating her role into the show could’ve smoothed out confusing transitions. Namely because Nenneke’s not only well acquainted with Geralt, but also his best friend Dandelion- known as Jaskier in the show- and main love interest, Yennefer.
The Voice of Reason Interludes
“The Voice of Reason” passages follow Geralt’s recovery under Nenneke’s care at the temple while simultaneously providing background on the white-haired witcher and those few who are close to him. Passage four lays events out particularly well as the entire chapter is a monologue from Geralt, summing up his background and the struggle of learning his role as a witcher.
Here Geralt references his nickname, “The Butcher of Blaviken,” indicating the events with Renfri and Stregobor have already transpired. He also eludes to the events at the Cintran ball and claiming the Law of Surprise, along with an approximate time elapse by way of estimating Ciri’s birthdate. Lastly, there is a brief mention of Yennefer, indicating their initial meeting in Rinde has also already taken place before Geralt’s run-in with the Striga- though readers still have to meet the sultry Sorceress themselves.
“The Voice of Reason 5” introduces Dandelion through Nenneke when she announces his arrival at the temple. After philosophizing about the future, the bard and the witcher begin reminiscing on the events that led to their first adventure at the Edge of The World.
Nenneke’s most pertinent contribution to unraveling the timeline takes place in “The Voice of Reason 6.” This passage gives a lot of insight into Geralt and Yennefer’s relationship through a conversation held between the high priestess and the witcher while she tends to her greenhouse. Nenneke also knows Yennefer quite well and mentions she came to the temple a couple of months prior. Nenneke notes Yennefer was furious with Geralt, at which point the reader gets a glimpse of where things stand with the lovers at the time of Geralt’s injury.
The passage goes on to enlighten readers to Yen’s pursuit of a nondisclosed cure and her intent to undergo expensive surgery. Those who’ve seen season 1 of The Witcher could easily correlate these hints to Yen’s pursuit of regaining her fertility. Additionally, this information determines that Geralt and Yennefer have already built up a history well before the events with the Striga.
A Mother’s Guidance
Though Geralt’s brief confessions to Roach in the Netflix series are highly enjoyable, the witcher didn’t have as much time to reflect on his background as he would’ve at the temple with Nenneke. Bits of dialogue throughout the show also hint at the non-linear timeline. However, a consistent character with close ties to the other main characters could’ve provided the clarity and guidance the show was missing amongst the three separate timelines.
Nenneke and the temple of Melitele provide a grounding point in both place and time. The brief period in which Geralt is taking respite at the temple, and the insightful conversations that take place help to map out the other events that have occurred over Geralt’s prolonged lifespan.
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