The Witcher universe is one of the most interesting fantasy worlds ever created. Combining complex geopolitical events, magic, and spooky Slavic folklore, it’s filled with philosophy, drama, and comedy.
Both books and games are filled with characters you either want to meet, or never see again. And the witcher himself is quite a character.
Although the world of Witcher is full of monsters, there aren’t that many powerful creatures of inhuman origins. The majority on this list are humans who rule kingdoms, and those who use magic to aid them. And this is the genius of Witcher. If you read the books, you’ll see that he is but a mere speck in the big bad world of the strong and powerful, while he is the best at hunting and killing monsters and lifting curses.
If you felt like you were on top of the world in the Witcher games, here are a few characters that could make Geralt disappear from the face of the Earth, if they only wanted to, but for their own reasons didn’t. To be fair, he, too, could let a few of these heads roll, and actually did.
If you haven’t read the books or played the games, be prepared for major SPOILERS ahead.
18. Sigismund Dijkstra
The first rule of being a spy is not to look like one. Sigismund Dijkstra, however, succeeds in more than just that. Incredibly astute and sharp, he can hold his own against kings, aristocracy, and sorceresses, which makes him a perfect statesman.
Yeah that’s right, after the death of King Vizimir II, Dijkstra actually ruled the kingdom of Redania until a certain point. One of his political achievements was stopping the Nilfgaard invasion.
After becoming a target of mercenary assassins, Dijkstra fled to Zerrikania, assuming an alias of Sigi Reuven. In the third Witcher game, he is shown to be back at the Northern Kingdoms, namely the Free City of Novigrad. He hasn’t left his royal ambitions, and even may want to take after Emhyr himself.
17. Calanthe Fiona Riannon of Cintra
Named Lioness of Cintra, Queen Calanthe is Ciri’s grandmother, and a powerful ruler of Cintra. She is firm and calculated, and quite unconventional. Not content with the role of an heir-bearer, although she could never bear a son, she longed for, she marries the prince of Ebbing, Roegner whom she can easily sideline and rule.
When her husband dies, Calanthe isn’t ready to give up her power yet, but the aristocracy breathes down her neck, and tries to marry off her daughter Pavetta as young as 10. Calanthe refuses offers of marriage until her daughter turns 15, but even then has no power to change Destiny that binds Pavetta with a certain man.
Calanthe is not only a queen, but a brave general who led her own battles that made her famous. She also has great influence over Skellige islands, where she meets her new husband Bran an Tuirseach.
When Cintra is attacked by Nilfgaard Calanthe together with her husband fights in a battle of Marnadal. When he is killed, she manages to break through Nilfgaardian encirclement, but receives a serious wound. After ordering her knights to get Ciri out of Cintra, she kills herself by jumping from a bastion’s balcony.
16. King Foltest
King Foltest is not just one of the kings in the Witcher world. Aside from ruling Temeria, he is also a prince of Sodden, sovereign of Pontaria and Mahakam, and the senior protector of Brugge, Angren, Riverdell, and Ellander. That’s a lot of power!
With that many titles, Foltest has to show strength and decisiveness. He is described as a fearsome but respected ruler, who does not back down from his decisions. Unapologetic as he is, Foltest, for instance, never strived to get rid of a cursed daughter he fathered with his own sister.
One has to be a truly distinctive character, especially if he wears a crown, to be able to persuade Geralt of Rivia serve at his side, and not just as a simple witcher but a loyal and watchful protector.
15. Striga, Adda the White
When King Foltest and his sister Adda had an affair, they produced a daughter, who appeared to die as did her mother shortly after childbirth. Seven years passed before the child returned as a striga haunting the kingdom, and prompting Foltest to hire someone who could kill it. When the king found out that the curse could be lifted, though, he forbade her killing.
Geralt was the one who lifted the curse, of course, but Adda is still in danger of turning into a striga. That’s why she wears a magical amulet, and has to perform certain rituals to ward off the curse.
14. Emhyr var Emreis
Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, also known as “the White Flame Dancing on the Graves of his Foes” is the Imperator of the Nilfgaardian Empire of highly aggressive and ambitious rule. He led two wars against North in order to expand the borders of his empire, and gain even more land and subjects, who already fear him. Since he doesn’t trust sorcerers all that much and with additional titles like King of Cintra, Lord of Metinna, Ebbing and Gemmera, and Sovereign of Nazair and Vicovaro, you can bet Emhyr has a strong army to sustain his imperialist ambitions.
Like all characters, real and fictitious, Emhyr has a past. At the age of 13 he was cursed, and had to hide under a different alias in the Northern Kingdoms. As a young man he saved King Roegner’s life, and asked of him ‘what you find at home yet don’t expect’, which happened to be the king’s daughter Pavetta.
13. Esterad Thyssen
Esterad Thyssen, was the king of Kovir, Poviss, Narok, Velhad, and Talgar. Aside from being a powerful ruler, he was brave and very handsome. During his father’s rule, the power struggle got too brutal, and Thyssens were forced to escape to Talgar, where Esterad spent his youth, and met his beloved wife Zuleyka.
All that time while he was in exile, Esterad was planning and gaining allies through pacts and agreements. The night Idi and Rhyd, who usurped the power, and their families were killed was called the ‘Night of Knives and Torches’. After that Thyssen got his throne back.
Even though he never partook in a war against Nilfgaard, King Esterad helped Northern Kingdoms through financing, supply, and mercenary forces. One of the books details his meeting with Dijkstra, who crossed the sea to ask the king for a million Bizants (currency of Kovir) to help stop Nilfgaardian invasion.
12. Saskia, The Virgin Of Aedirn
Saskia, the Virgin of Aedirn, also known as the Dragonslayer, leads the revolt in the kingdom. With a full of name of Saesenthessis, and a polymorphism ability, she is the best fit non-humans have for a ruler of their own prospective state of Pontar Valley.
Young and beautiful, Saskia is also very brave when it comes to fighting a battle. The tales of her valor spread far and wide, and even cynical old men like Iorveth are emboldened by the prospect of her rule.
Among her famous achievements were, of course, thwarting of Kaedwen’s armies, survival of Sabrina’s flaming rain, and killing a dragon. That last one, though, was an actual rumor conjured by Iorveth to add to the image of the rebellion leader. In reality, she’s even cooler because she can turn into one.
11. Golden Dragon Villentretenmerth, Borch Three Jackdaws
Her father, Borch Three Jackdaws or the golden dragon Villentretenmerth is an original book character. He saves Geralt on a regular job, and the two proceed to acquaint at an inn in the company of Borch’s two Zerrikanian associates Téa and Véa and copious amounts of food and drink.
Unlike Saskia, Borch is a true golden dragon. He can assume any shape. And he is also believed to be a legend, which Geralt does not believe until the events compel Borch to come to Geralt’s party’s rescue in his dragon form.
Beside having beautiful golden scales, Villentretenmerth has an ability of telepathy and fiery breath. He moves incredibly fast, that is, for humans. But, as you can find out from the book, Geralt doesn’t kill dragons because they don’t hurt humans.
10. Emiel Regis, Vampire
Another one of Geralt’s friends is a higher vampire Emiel Regis. The two first meet in the book Baptism of Fire, where he introduces himself as a scientist and a medic. When Geralt suspects Regis’s nature, he asks him to leave, but with time accepts his help and medical expertise.
Regis shares his story about being a vampire youth, cruel and perpetually drunk. On one occasion he gets himself caught and killed in a very grim manner— his head removed, heart pierced, body drenched in holy water— by some villagers. During his regeneration, which took fifty years, he reconsidered ‘drinking’ and his ‘addiction’ to blood.
Regis almost wins in a fight against Vilgefortz, but the latter manages to rip him apart and melt with the glass into a shapeless lump. The book doesn’t state that the vampire died, however, Geralt doesn’t take any action to help him regenerate. In the Witcher 3 Blood and Wine Expansion, Regis is alive and well thanks to some Dettlaff.
9. Letho of Gulet
Letho, the Kingslayer should probably go before Geralt, as he beats him on more than one occasion, and kills King Foltest on Geralt’s watch, but as Yennefer and other sorcerers note, the witcher’s potential is far greater than simply killing monsters in sewers for coin.
Coming from School of the Viper, Letho is no ordinary witcher. Instead of hunting monsters he kills kings under the patronage of Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, who promised him land, where witchers could live without hatred and condemnation they usually experience in a society as pay.
Although you are given a chance to kill Letho in the end of Witcher 2, you learn that he doesn’t do what he does out of anything other than personal interest. Besides, you’ve already saved his life once, presumably when looking for Yennefer in the forests of Angren.
8. Geralt of Rivia
Geralt is an infamous witcher, monster slayer from Rivia. He is a mutant like all witchers, but unlike the most, he could endure a more extensive exposure to mutations, which resulted in his glorious white hair.
Both Yennefer and Vilgefortz sensed that there was more to him than the simple witcher reputation, he tried to create for himself, suggested. But years of experience taught him to stay out of human-related issues as well as magic.
Geralt’s mother is a sorceress that hails from the druid circles, so perhaps both of those aren’t wrong. But the witcher still prefers to rely on his swords, senses, and sometimes elixirs instead of delving into magic arts. He also manages to come out alive from hairy situations thanks to a circle of friends who are always ready to aid him.
7. Philippa Eilhart
Philippa Eilhart you may know from the second Witcher game. She is a cold and calculated sorceress with a strong hunger for power. It’s about time the real rulers got out of the shadows, and did what needed to be done.
A leader of the Lodge of Sorceresses, Philippa was an advisor to an assassinated King Vizimir of Redania, and a former lover of Sigismund Dijkstra, with whom she tried to keep amicable and mutually-beneficial relationship to a certain point. Or at least that’s what it was pretended to be.
She is one of the few mages who can polymorph, and likes to take a form of an owl. In the book Philippa traps Yennefer in a miniature (what they did to Triss in the game), and is able to track Yennefer almost every step of the way. Let’s just say, it’s best not to piss her off.
6. Yennefer of Vengerberg
Though Philippa was able to trap Yennefer, the black-haired yin to Geralt’s yang managed to trick the entire Lodge of Sorceresses, and get away and on with her mission. Stubborn and ambitious, Yennefer is a former royal advisor to king Demavend of Aedirn.
Aside from performing various feats of magic, Yennefer is smart and willful. At times, she’s far more ruthless than the witcher. She was the one who taught Ciri magic, and tracked Vilgefortz. She also managed to withstand inhumane interrogations by his associates, who were looking for Ciri.
To add to that, Yennefer is a quarter elf, and maintains a great deal of magic to appear young and beautiful. In reality, she’s around 100 years old, and used to be a hunchback.
5. Eredin, King of the Wild Hunt
Eredin or King of the Wild Hunt is an Aen Elle elf and the commander of an elven cavalry of Red Horsemen or Dearg Ruadhri. Also known as Sparrowhawk thanks to his piercing green eyes, Eredin wants Ciri to produce an heir to the throne in elven world with the old King Auberon Muircetach.
Eredin can travel between human and elven worlds, and apparently take wraith form. He wants Ciri’s power to be able to open Gate of the Worlds, and rule over everyone. In the meantime, Wild Hunt passes over villages and kidnaps people to serve as slaves in the elven world, which Ciri finds out was once a human world, too.
His friend Aen Elle Sage Avallac’h was the one to reveal Ciri’s prophecy and her lineage from Lara Dorren to Geralt in a human world, which suggests that Avallac’h like Eredin can cross between worlds.
In Witcher 3 you can find out that the elven Sage later became Ciri’s mentor, and saved her from the Wild Hunt on more than one occasion. He also helps Geralt to defeat Eredin, and defend Kaer Morhen in the game.
He should have been the one to father powerful children like Ciri with his beloved Lara Dorren, but alas she chose another. Probably that is one of the reasons he’s been obsessed with Ciri’s power, and later sworn to protect her from the Wild Hunt.
3. Vilgefortz of Roggeveen
Powerful as much as he’s obsessed, Vilgefortz is one of the main villains in the Witcher saga. Young-looking, handsome, and talented, this member of the Chapter of Sorcerers had a long history before joining the mages. He’s been raised by druids, later worked as a mercenary and a spy, and was even sentenced to death.
After successfully escaping his execution, and a one failed romance later he finally began practicing magic arts.
Long before Emhyr was an emperor, though, the two became in cahoots with one another. Vilgefortz helped the royal to take over his throne, and the latter promised him the North, when all is conquered. But that wasn’t quite enough, Vilgefortz also wanted the emperor’s daughter Ciri for her blood, containing great power.
Pavetta was a daughter of Lioness of Cintra and the Source. Just like Ciri, she is a descendant of Lara Dorren, and was promised by her father King Roegner to then Duny, the Urcheon of Erlenwald. When her mother Queen Calanthe decides to marry her off to appease aristocracy, who didn’t like the queen’s singular rule, Pavetta almost brings the palace down with her uncontrollable power.
It is during this moment that Geralt, who helps Duny lift off his curse, asks from him ‘what you find at home yet don’t expect’, which turns out to be Ciri.
Cirilla, Child of Prophecy, Princess of Cintra, Ciri is Geralt’s adopted daughter, and is arguably the most powerful character in the witcher world. A descendant of Lara Dorren, Ciri pumps Hen Ichaer or Elder Blood through her veins, which gives her great power. She can also talk to unicorns and travel through space and time.
Trained at Kaer Morhen, Ciri was the only one to be recognized as a witcher without enduring the necessary mutating rituals. She was also trained in magic by her adoptive mother Yennefer.
When she was a little kid, Ciri escaped an arranged marriage, and wandered into the deadly woods of Brokilon, where she met Geralt for the first time. A grown up could envy her bravery and boldness, which somehow dried up with years.