Geralt of Rivia is not the most effusive fictional character of all time. He’s not dull-witted or brutish—quite the opposite, in fact—but he tends to keep his own counsel as he goes about his business. And as a professional monster hunter, that business definitely has the appearance of putting brawn ahead of brains.
We may see a different side of him in The Witcher season 2, which debuts on Netflix in December. Series star Henry Cavill told Total Film (via GamesRadar) that he lobbied to portray the character as more than just biceps with swords in the next season.
“This season, I really wanted to make sure that we represented the book’s Geralt more accurately, and that we saw him speak more,” Cavill said. “I pushed really, really hard for that.”
That’s not to suggest that he’s suddenly going to be competing with Jaskier for stage time, of course: “He’s still Geralt of Rivia, but he’s definitely coming across as more of an intellectual,” Cavill said.
I’m not as familiar as Cavill is with The Witcher novels, but Geralt’s cultured, intellectual side comes through clearly at times in The Witcher 3, too. In fact, a journal entry from the Avid Collector side quest in the Hearts of Stone expansion (in which Geralt swishes amongst the elite and buys some fine art) is quite explicit about it:
“Geralt is often taken for a boor. Nothing could be further from the truth: Though rough-and-rowdy in outer appearance, inside Geralt harbors a sensitive appreciation of beauty and the arts.”
He’s also revealed in the game as something of a wine connoisseur, and a quiet romantic.
Cavill’s remarks about taking a more cerebral approach to Geralt fits with recent comments from showrunner Lauren Hissrich, who said in October that the second season “plumbs completely new emotional depths for Geralt—as a lost love, as a father, as a son, as a brother, as a Witcher. It’s a delight to see.”
The actor also revealed how he spent some of his free time during Covid-19 lockdown: A Witcher 3 Deathmarch run. “I decided to put it on the hardest difficulty possible to play, which I’ve done before, and it was really quite stressful!” he said. “I forgot quite how stressful it was.”
The Witcher season 2 debuts on Netflix on December 17, and will feature a trip to Kaer Morhen and a bevy of new faces including Geralt’s fellow witchers Vesemir, Eskel, and Lambert.