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The Witcher – Episode #8 Recap & Ending Explained: The Battle of Sodden Hill

Episode 8 – Much more: A terrifying pack of foes lays Geralt low. Yennefer and her fellow mages prepare to fight back. A shaken Ciri depends on the kindness of a stranger.

Ghouly, Ghouly, Ghouly, Ghouly Biting Everywhere

The episode opens where it left us as Geralt sneaks his way through a burning Cintra. He’s searching Ciri’s room and remembers the promise he made Calanthe before we cut to a man moving bodies in the woods. The older man is moving around a bunch of dead bodies when Geralt and Roach ride up. Geralt accuses the man of grave robbing, but It turns out the man is just one of the few good people left in this world and was attempting to lay all of these folks to rest before more crows take to their dead, rotting bodies. Geralt notices that something is afoot here and tells the man its not crows before riding off. The Witcher quickly returns, however, to the man’s screams after a squad of Ghouls appears from the ground. Geralt sends the man off to safety and ends up suffering a bite by the mouth of one of these hideous creatures. The Witcher immediately begins to feel the repercussions of the fatal bite as he passes out and falls to the ground in the woods.

Just as Geralt passes out, Ciri awakens back in the field she ended episode seven in. She is awoken by none other than the random woman who was trying to convince her to live with her last episode. She asks Cirilla what happened, to which she simply responds, “they came for me.” The woman tells her not to worry because she is safe now, and also that the men deserved what happened to them. As she tells Ciri that she is taking her “home” now (to the woman’s home that is), the camera pans out to quite the impressive blast zone from the Princess’s mindsplosion. The intro music fades in and we cut into the dopest of all intro sequences as each of the intro images from episodes one through seven forms into one white wolf for our final episode.

To All the Inconvenient A-holes

Yennefer and her ragtag team of misfit mages are heading to Sodden hill, which is apparently the only way to cross over into the northern kingdoms. There are roughly 60 mages with the group and they believe saving the keep they’re heading to is the only way to stop the Nilfgaardian forces from conquering the rest of the continent. Yen explains to the group that the Fringilla and Cahir are breaking down their people and then giving the slightest glimmer of life to cling on to (even if that silver is awful ale). The small group of mages makes it to the keep known as Sodden and find that it is quite possible the tiniest castle of all time. Yennefer, Tissaia, and Triss find themselves roaming the outer streets of the keep when they ask one of the men if he really believes they can hold off an army here. “As long as we have some help,” he replies, which seemingly sparks the three powerful female mages. This led us to an inspirational scene where we see all of the brotherhood mages helping the keepfolk by creating fletching, bottles filled with some special enchanted minerals, and other small items that would be used in the days to come.

We cut to that night where the people, and the brotherhood, are partying in what may be their last night alive. Yen finds a woman upstairs who wants no part of the commotions and instead is making arrows/bows for the battle. After listening to her story, Yennefer magically produces a few more feathers for the woman’s work, but then hits her with a cryptic message. “It’s magic, it isn’t real.” I was perplexed by this statement at first but eventually took it as Yen’s way of saying that her life wasn’t “real” because even though she thought this was what she wanted, she actually wanted to leave behind a legacy that involved children (she brings up this lack of “legacy” a handful of times throughout the rest of this episode). After this, we see more between Yen and Triss, who have quite an interesting dynamic when it relates to Geralt. Triss is curious as to what has become of our favorite white-haired Witcher whereas Yennefer spits on his name a little. This, of course, must relate to her thinking all of her feelings for him were created by his unheard third wish. The two friends don’t talk for long, however, and Yen finds her way over to her old mentor, Tissaia. They seem to be in a better place after Tissaia’s apology. It gets a touch awkward here though when Tissaia asks Yen if she’s ready to die and she answers with a quick “yupp”. Yennefer believes she has lived two or three lifetimes at this point and that life has nothing left to give. Tissaia reminds Yen that even though it may seem that way, Yen herself still has so much she can give to the world.

 What’s in the Box?

Across the valley from Sodden, we find the brunt of the Nilfgaardian army setting up camp. It’s announced that their army currently sits at 50,000 strong and that they should have no problems taking what they need. Fringilla appears out of nowhere to tell Cahir The Brotherhood of Mages has made their way to Sodden Hill and will be helping defend the keep. They must move now before they reinforce their walls to heavily or receive reinforcements from the north, and Fringilla promises to deplete them personally until they are “empty and powerless.” Cahir decides that what Fringilla said holds the most truth, and tells her to begin testing the defenses of Sodden.

We get a brief scene with Ciri, the woman, and her son, while they witness a massive fireball flying across the dark night sky. Yen awakens to the fireball hurtling down towards her, but her quick thinking allows her to fling the fireball away from the keep. We jump back across the valley to Fringilla who orders her mages to launch another fireball. The toll is deadly, as the woman who casts the spell crumbles to ash after she creates the fireball. It is somehow loaded onto a catapult and flung once more at the keep atop the hill. Fringilla watches as it is cast away from the keep once again, and then raises her arms into the air to cast another spell. She summons a strange, rather tiny box that she hands over to another of her Nilfgaardian mages. She then tells that mage to draw the Brotherhood out of the keep. “We will not lose to them,” or so she thinks.

It is now daylight and The Brotherhood seems confused at how quickly their foes have arrived at Sodden hill. They’ve also suffered a defeat from within since nearly two-thirds of their mages have fled after the attacks the previous night. Twenty-two now remain to guard the hill, and none of them know if that will be enough. We briefly cut to Fringilla’s box-man, who is slowly trodding his way towards Sodden with a trail of thick smoke following closely at his heels. Tissaia and Yen are hashing out the details of their defense when Tiss tells her pupil that she needs to stay within the tower and conserve her chaos. Yennefer, and I to be quite frank, were confused as to why their most powerful sorceress is being held at bay, but it’s a good thing Tissaia has such a brilliant head upon her shoulders.

 Let the Battle Begin

Geralt now awakens from his poisoned stupor in the back of the cart of the old man who he saved in the woods. Our Witcher is still tripping mad balls from the ghoul bite and the man proclaims to Geralt that he will be taking him to his farm. This sent shivers down my spine as I immediately wondered if this was the same farm that Ciri was just seen at with her random townswoman. Geralt drifts back and forth between his altered state of mind and real life here, and we get our first glimpse back into his past. We see a happy young boy who wanted to be a monster hunter, but his mother didn’t seem too happy. She explains to the boy that they need to live and let live because that is their code.

Back atop the Sodden Hill tower, Yen watches as everyone below scrambles to defend the keep. She appears to be listening in to everyone’s thoughts, but it also could have just been that from her height it sounded as if everyone was whispering. She then begins to use some form of telecommunication to reach out to the other mages, but no one really responds to her calls. Tissaia and Triss are standing out in front of the keep and Tiss tells her fellow mage that it is time. Triss kneels to the ground, places her hands on the grass, and begins reciting an incantation. We see mushrooms slowly begin to sprout out in the fields that the Nilfgaardians are traversing. As the soldiers step on the mushrooms, spores release and begin making the soldiers vomit and foam at the mouth. We then see another brotherhood mage flick her wrist and wipe out what looked to be about fifty or so Nilfgaardian’s who were about to attack. Then, time for magical bottle tossing. Sabrina, the mage in the blue dress, tells her fellow companions to launch the bottles out over the Nilfgaardian forces. While in the air, the whizzing bottles are shot with arrows and they rain some sort of hot, skin-melting, star fall upon their enemies. After witnessing all of this, Cahir decides to move his army to the rightmost front of the battle, which in turn causes Yen to tell Vilgefortz that his time to strike is now.

He portals up to where Cahir and a few of his troops are and begins dispatching his Nilfgaardian foes. Once the lesser minions are dead, he moves his focus to Cahir. Unfortunately for Vilge, he’s not half the swordsman that the Nilfgaardian commander is. The mage is using his chaos at a rapid clip and continues creating magical swords from thin air. Yennefer warns him to slow down, but he ignores her cautions. He eventually runs out of chaos and is no longer able to defend himself, and then essentially asks Cahir why he’s trying to take the whole continent. The Nilfgaardian commander responds by saying that he wants to get to the center of it all and then proceeds to kick Vilgefortz off the side of the hill they’re atop. Vilge falls and nails his head on a log and it’s uncertain if he survives.

Fringilla has clearly been working on her spell power because she whispers the word “break” and the gates to Sodden Hill split open. She summons a portal on the ground near her troops and we see another open just outside the gates of the keep. “Loose,” she commands her troops, and we witness arrows fly through one side of the portal and out the other, right into the Sodden Hill defenders chests. The box-man emitting fog now walks into the gate before disintegrating, and then we notice the small creepy box lying in the dirt. Yen tele-whispers to Tissaia that they MUST take out Fringilla, but apparently Tiss already had that on her mind. We see the mage trainer meet with another of her former students, but this meeting doesn’t go so well for the elder. Fringilla hits Tissaia with a handful of dimeritium and renders her powerless. While doing this, Fringilla proclaims that she does not need any help from the brotherhood and that she was also the reason for the sinking of the Cintran fleet that started this war. As she leaves Tissaia lying on the ground to think about everything she’s said, Fringilla whispers something in the elder tongue and we watch the creepy black box open and spew some slithery worm-like creatures onto the ground.

 Death and Destruction

As the Witcher lies upon the old man’s cart, he is told that Nilfgaard has made their way to Sodden Hill. Geralt jolts up and reaches for his bag. He grabs one of his handy-dandy elixirs and slams half of it before pouring what remains in the vial onto his bite wound. This makes him go a little wonky again and he barks at the old man to take him to the other side of the blue mountain. “He will save me”, he whispers, which is clearly referring to Vesimir and Kaer Morhen. He then falls back into his childhood memories, but more specifically the one where his mother abandons him on Vesimir’s doorstep.

Back at the hilltop battle, we find that the Brotherhood’s mages are dying left and right. We see Coral, the mage who looks like she’s straight out of Hocus Pocus, begins to cast a spell before its abruptly cut short (no pun intended) when a sword removes her right arm from her body. Triss then buys the people of Sodden some time by creating a door made of roots but ends up getting poked with a torch before all is said and done. We jump to Sabrina, who looks to be under some sort of spell, who hands two jars of the star fall bombs to two children who also appear to be under the influence of something. The two children walk up to opposite ends of the ramparts and drop the bottles, causing massive explosions that wipe out a good chunk of the remaining forces defending Sodden Hill. As this goes down, entranced Sabrina appears behind Yen and stabs her in the gut with an arrow. She leans in to whisper something to Yennefer and we see the creepy little black worm thing sticking out of her ear. Yen gets the last laugh, however, as she flings Sabrina over the tower wall and makes her way out to find Tissaia.

As Yen walks through Sodden Hill, there are an exorbitant amount of bodies missing limbs strewn across the courtyard. She passes by a dying Triss (which, by the way, was extremely confusing since you know, she was poked with a torch) before tele-calling out to all the other mages. At first, no one answers, but then we hear Fringilla making her case for Yen to switch sides. The evil mage tells Yennefer that a there are no limits to their powers with the Nilfgaardian forces, and that she can finally have the legacy she desires if she gives up the defense of Sodden hill. Yen knows she is better than this and continues her search for Tissaia. We see Vilgefortz bounce back into consciousness in the woods. The mage wanders through another battlefield littered with dead bodies and stumbles across one of his fellow Brotherhood mages. The dying man is begging for help, yet Vilgefortz kicks a bludgeon from the ground up to his hands and brings it down upon the poor mans head. It’s now clear that Vilge had some sort of plan to double-cross the Brotherhood at this battle. We then see Vilge hear Yen’s call for help, but he sighs and continues ignoring his old comrade.

The Unbottling of Chaos

Geralt awakes from his trip yet again, this time with Renfri standing over him. “There’s magic in the air”, he manages to choke out, before claiming that the woman helping him is not actually Renfri, but a sorceress. The woman claims that she heard the merchants cry and had to help, especially since magical healing was the only thing she was ever good at. She then whispers to Geralt that people linked by destiny will always find each other, which in turn causes the Witcher to realize the sorceress helping him is his own mother. He immediately goes to town on her for abandoning him. He asks her if she knew that three out of every ten boys survived the trials of the Witcher’s and wondered if she knew what they did to make Witcher eyes the way they were. She asks Geralt to stop because answering these questions will only cause them both more pain. The mother of the century then forces her son to go back to sleep, but whispers “go find her” just before he nods off.

The Witcher jumps up as if from a nightmare and asks the old man how far Sodden Hill is from his farm. He clearly plans on going to look for Yennefer, who he believes is the “her” he was told to go find. The man tells Geralt that he owes him a debt and wants to offer him The Law of Surprise (LOLOL) to which Geralt quickly shoots down. “Give me an ale and your debt will be paid”, Geralt yells, as the two set off for the old mans farm.

Back at Sodden Hill, the Nilfgaardian forces seem to be making light work of whatever soldiers they are still facing. They’re bum-rushing up the hill and it appears as if all may be lost. Yennefer stumbles across Tissaia who looks to have given up, but then she tells Yen that it’s now her turn to be the savior of the continent. A very heartfelt interaction between the two leads Tissaia to tell Yen that she needs to let her chaos explode. Yen knows what she must do, and she begins a short walk up to a stone that overlooks the valley below Sodden Hill. She digs deep within herself and draws forth the flames that are burning through Sodden Hill behind her. We then see an unleashing of fury and chaos as we have never seen before. Yennefer completely engulfs the valley below in flames. Her spell wipes out nearly half of the valley and Cahir watches in terror from atop the other side. The Northern Kingdom’s army has arrived and it looks as if the brotherhood may just pull off a dub here at Sodden Hill.

A Simple Life

We cut back to Cirilla at the woman’s house. The woman is trying to explain to Ciri that she could die tomorrow and know that she had everything her heart ever wanted. Besides, of course, a daughter, which she believes she has just been graced by the gods. The young princess goes to sleep after the woman leaves and we see both Tissaia and Geralt shouting Yennefer’s name. The spell she cast caused her to vanish, and as Geralt lets out one last scream for his lover, Ciri’s eyes widen. “Find Geralt of Rivera. He is your destiny.” Ciri now knows that she cannot stay at this farm with the nice woman, and jogs off into the woods yet again. Almost immediately after her departure, we see the old man’s cart pull into the farm. The wife sprints out to her husband and exclaims that she’s found a girl, but she’s just run off unto the woods. Geralt overhears this and slowly begins making his way out after who he now knows is Cirilla. I am not sure how far he wandered out, but he gets to a point where he believes Ciri isn’t actually out in the woods and turns back for the farm. Just as he does though, he hears something and turns around again to find the child surprise he’s been searching for running towards him. They embrace with a big hug as Geralt tells her that people intertwined by destiny will always find each other. Ciri looks happy for a brief second but then confused. “Who’s Yennefer?” She asks as the screen cuts to black and the first season of The Witcher comes to an end.

And that’s a wrap on season one! What a ride it was, but it’s not over yet. Be on the lookout for a number of other posts we will be releasing while we wait for season two. Best of’s, Power Player Lists, and Season Two Theories are just a few pieces of content that will be gracing your screens over the coming weeks and months. Be sure to keep an eye out for them on our site, and for more of my personal content head to DustyPosts.com.

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