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The Witcher – Episode #1 Recap: The Butcher of Blaviken

Episode 1 – The Ends Beginning: “Hostile townsfolk and a cunning mage greet Geralt in the town of Blaviken. Ciri finds her royal world upended when Nilfgaard sets its sights on Cintra.”

You can listen to this The Witcher Episode 1 recap through the video below, scroll down to read the transcript.

The scene opens with a disturbance across the top of the lake. We pan over to a doe grazing on a small patch of grass when out of nowhere Geralt comes soaring out of the water. He’s being attacked by a kikamora and all is not going so well. As the spider-like beast holds him underwater, Geralt fights for his life. He eventually reaches for his trusty sword that he dropped mere moments ago, slices the beast, then shoves the sword through the mouth of the beast. As the blade sticks out the back of the kikamora’s skull, wee see the Witcher’s patented black eyes before the incredible intro music finally plays.

The Plot Thickens

We jump to Blaviken, which is a well-known city for those of you with any Witcher background, as Geralt attempts to find the man who put the bounty on the hideous kikamora. He’s immediately greeted with hatred and disgust, as per usual for Witchers, before a young girl tells the men in the bar to quit harassing Geralt. Before too long an even younger girl, Malrika, comes along and tells Geralt she knows where the alderman is that he’s looking for. She explains that it’s her father, but that Geralt shouldn’t be expecting any reward from him. However, she can bring the Witcher to the local town mage who pays for odds and ends that he can use to make his elixirs.

Upon meeting the mage, Gealt quickly finds out that he was not accidentally brought here. The mage continuously calls it destiny, yet Geralt knows that is not true. This mage goes by Stregobor but is also pretending to be the town’s mage to keep himself hidden from a princess that he tried having killed years ago. Stregobor’s request for Geralt, kill the woman named Renfri and allow him to live his life free of worry that he will be murdered by this apocalyptic demon goddess princess baby. Our honest Witcher denies the request and meanders off to do what he does best… brood.

All Hail Princess Ciri

We catapult over to the kingdom of Cintra where our young Ciri is playing in the streets with some beggar boys. She is forced to return to the castle where she then stands behind her grandmother as she appears to be knighting/blessing the people of her fiefdom. All is fun and games until it no longer is and Nilfgaard begins a surprise attack on Cintra. We quickly realize that this is not going to end well for the queen and her subjects and before you know it she is lying up in the castle with an almost fatal wound. The city falls and the castle is next, but not if mage Mousesack has anything to say about that. He casts our first bit of magic for the show in a protective barrier that encases the front of the castle (FYI, this was totally badass!). He can’t hold it forever, however, and Ciri, Mousesack, and some random guard of her grandmothers get ready to leave Cintra. Before this happens, we do get a small glimpse into Ciri’s abilities. She lets out a deafening scream that shakes the room before all four people completely shrug off what happens.

We jump back to Geralt who is explaining to Roach, his horse, how his first “monster” kill went down. Funny thing is it actually wasn’t a monster, which is kind of the entire point that Stregobor was trying to make to him in his hidden mage castle. The young girl that originally saved Geralt in the bar comes strolling over to him and Roach. Geralt quickly figures out that she is the princess that Stregobor wanted killed, yet he has made his mind up that he will not do his bidding. Renfri then offers the same deal to Geralt that the mage offered but he still declines. He gives the former princess the option to leave and start her life over but we all know that will not be what she chooses to do. Renfri then seduces Geralt in stereotypical Witcher fashion before she pulls some hoodoo and plants some prophecy jargon in his brain.

Into the Thick of It

Geralt wakes up the following morning and immediately remembers the night before. He recalls Renfri mentioning something about a girl in the market and heads into town hastily. He is greeted by the goons from the bar the instant he arrives at the market. The imbeciles threaten Geralt and tell him that Renfri is off killing the mage as they speak (surprise, she isn’t). Unfortunately for them, Geralt is a master swordsman, and we see our first true fight scene with the man we all came to see. He absolutely hacks up these guys in a matter of seconds before Renfri pops out from around the corner. She holds Malrika hostage and threatens to kill her, but in the end, she throws her off to the side and charges in at Geralt. For a split second, she looks like she will be a good match for the Witcher, but she makes one mistake and finds her own dagger in her throat by the hands of Geralt of Rivia. As she’s dying she manages to hit Geralt with one more line of wisdom, “The girl in the woods will be with you always. She is your destiny.” We know she is talking about Ciri, but Geralt is still confused as to who she speaks of.

Ciri and her squad are now actively fleeing the castle with her two companions. Mousesack hears some noise and decides to stay behind in hopes of giving Ciri and random guard a proper chance to escape. I’ve got some news, it didn’t help. The guard gets domed by a Nilfgaardian arrow almost immediately which results in both he and Ciri tumbling form the horse they’re attempting to escape on. The soldier rides over and nabs Ciri and all hope seems to be lost for the young Cintran princess. Luckily for her, she has crazy magical superpowers and escapes the evil soldier with another shrieking yell that causes a building to fall down and split the earth between her and the soldier. He is distraught that he has lost her but Ciri vanishes off into the forest behind her.

The Beginning’s End

As we land back in Blaviken, Stregobor walks up to Geralt and is beside himself with joy. The mage orders to have Renfri’s body taken back for an autopsy when Geralt threatens to kill him if he touches a hair on her head. Stregobor begins rambling about how Renfir and her mutagens got to Geralt and that he is now “under her spell.” The Witcher disagrees, but the mage continues spouting nonsense as a crowd builds around them. “Witcher, you butchered bodies in the streets of Blaviken. You took the law into your own hands. You made a choice. And you’ll never know if it was the right one.” This here seemed as if the mage himself had a little magic working for him as the crowd turns against the clear hero. The mob then begins to throw stones at Geralt (assholes) before finally, even the sweet, young Malrika tells Geralt to leave her town. Thus, The Butcher of Blaviken is born and our first episode is in the books!

Be sure to watch out for the rest of our The Witcher reviews that will come out over the next few days. In the meantime, head on over to Summary.org to view the rest of our killer TV Show, Movie, and Gaming reviews. For more of my personal content visit DustyPosts.com.

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3 Comments

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  1. As I am not English speaker. I have a question about Geralt’s alias “Butcher of Blaviken”. I knew one of the meaning of butcher is someone who killed a lot of people. But I wonder there are many alias for this situation such as assassin, manslaughter, slayer. Why he is called butcher? Is it related to the event happen in the market or not?

    Thank you for your answer.

  2. Pinyo, when someone is called a butcher, it implies that they have committed murder in a gruesome way; like hacking people up like steak, or slicing them up in a marketplace. I’m sure there isnt an overly meaningful reason why Geralt is called ‘Butcher’, but it starts with a B and Blaciken starts with a B, so it sounds much cooler than “the Slayer of Blaviken’ dont you think?

  3. @Pinyo its just for the benefit of “alliteration”, making a catchy name. (Both words, Butcher and Blaviken , begin with the letter B).
    A butcher kills animals and processes meat, and the word is often used for someone who murders a LOT of people.
    You are correct. “Slayer” would also be a suitable word. Perhaps if the town had been called Slaviken he’d be the “Slayer of Slaviken”.

    Hopefully that makes sense.

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