If you haven’t seen The Witcher Season 2, stop reading now before you mess up one of its twists and one of the biggest deviations from the books. Okay, so, in the second episode of season 2, we visit Kaer Morhen, who looks a lot like video games, and meet an expanded cast of Geralt’s fellow witcher. Vesemir, Lambert, Coen and Eskel are among the brothers Ciri met during her stay, although one less than the others. In a major departure, Eskel was infected with a monster. At the end of the episode, he is completely transformed and must be shot by Geralt.
Fans of Scarred Eskel – who survives the books and also appears in games, helping Geralt pull off a drunken prank involving cross-dressing at one point – aren’t too happy about it. During the behind-the-scenes documentary The Witcher: Unlocked it had to happen. “Can you explain your decision to kill him so soon?” asks the host of the show, Felicia Day. “Because people want to know.”
“In all honesty,” replies showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, “the very first version of the script we wrote, [there] was a brand new witcher that we had never met before, that we had never heard of, and all of a sudden we were like, ‘Oh, our audience is going to meet Coen and Lambert and Eskel and, you know, John. Who is going to die? John is going to die. So we thought about it really hard, and I know there are fans out there who love Eskel and are like, “Why would we do this?” But honestly her death is what changes everything for Geralt and I think it pushes Geralt to figure out what’s going on with Ciri and do it quickly, as he knows he risks losing her and her brothers. ‘he doesn’t. “
In a season whose final reveal is well known to readers of the books, it’s a shocking moment. From that point on, it seems anything can happen. In a funny way, the actors felt the same. “It keeps us on our toes,” said Paul Bullion, who played Lambert. He mimics flipping through the script to find out if he’s about to be killed in the next episode. “Now we’re like, no one is safe.”
If you’d like to read The Witcher Season 2 recaps, ours starts with Episode 1 here.