If you’re not familiar with the world behind the new Netflix series The Witcher, then you might have some questions about Geralt of Rivia and the entire “Witcher” line. It’s OK to be a little confused. This is a complex series, especially if you didn’t play the games or read the books. So if you’re wondering whether or not the Witchers, including Geralt, are human and if they really don’t have emotions, then read on for more details. This article will have minor spoilers from the books and games in terms of Witchers’ background, along with minor spoilers from the show, but nothing related to major plot twists.
Here Is the Background on Witchers & Their Species
Geralt of Rivia and the other Witchers are human, but they’ve been changed. Bear in mind, all of this information comes mostly from the books and the games, so it’s possible that some of the background has been changed slightly for the TV series. (In addition, the games do differ a bit from the books.)
In the TV series, Geralt says from time to time that he does not want to be referred to as a human. Others call him “monster” and refer to him as not having any emotions. So what’s the truth? Here’s the background on witchers.
According to The Witcher wikia, humans are the dominant race. When they arrived, they conquered many lands that the Elder Races had inhabited. Non-human races include elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, and others that are referred to as “nonhumans.” Humans aren’t originally from this land, but arrived in an event called the “Conjunction of the Spheres.” This is said to be when “monsters” arrived too.
In general, according to game and book backgrounds and The Witcher wikia, Witchers are typically assumed to have been humans (although there may be some nonhuman Witchers, depending on your viewpoint. It’s debated.) So it’s assumed that Geralt is of human origin. When he tells people not to call him human, it’s assumed this is Geralt identifying with the mistrust that other races feel toward humans and no longer considering himself among the humans, according to the Witcher Wikia.
Witchers are created, not born. They undergo training and mysterious rituals to become a monsterslayer. This starts from when they are children and includes “consumption of mutagenic compounds.” So perhaps Geralt is being accurate when he says he’s not a human and shouldn’t be called one.
A discussion with some spoilers on Reddit points out that in the books, Geralt gets scolded by elves who see him as human and by humans who see him as a freak. Redditor u/DatShadi wrote: “He is simply a mutated human. Andrzej Sapkowski made Geralt an outcast of all intentionally I’m sure. Geralt is a nomad with no real place in the world.”
In a discussion of Witcher 2 online, anime295 wrote: “I think that’s mostly his opinion when there’s a racial matter at hand, because he doesn’t think the elder races (elves, dwarves, etc) are inferior… So he retorts with ‘I’m not human, I’m a mutant.'”
Do Witchers Have Emotion?
As far as not having emotions, as is said about Geralt in the series, that’s up for debate. The Witcher Wikia notes that this is a “common belief” but it’s also “debatable.” It certainly seems in the TV series that Geralt has emotions.
The question of emotion is answered more in the first game, so there are minor spoilers below.
In an online discussion, GuyNwah wrote that the first game addresses the emotions question quite a bit. He said that emotion can get in the way of doing the Witcher’s job, so their training focuses in part on putting emotion aside. He noted that for Geralt and some others, that training didn’t seem to take as well, and it’s not known if he succeeded in putting aside emotions as well as other Witchers or not. Meanwhile, others said that this is also based a lot on how people see Witchers, rather than how they actually feel internally. Many believe that “not having emotions” is more of a myth than truth, since Witchers are simply very good at putting their emotions aside for their job.