19 Biggest Changes To The Book In The Witcher Season 3

Warning: spoilers for The Witcher season 3


  • The Witcher season 3 stays more faithful to its source material, with key events from the book portrayed accurately.
  • Characters like Codringher and Fenn face a different fate in the series compared to the book.
  • In the books, Yennefer follows Ciri when she runs away, leading to a chance for reconciliation with Geralt.

Just like the previous seasons, The Witcher season 3 is based on one of Andrzej Sapkowski’s books, and though it’s more loyal to the source than other seasons, it still made some significant changes to it. The universe of Netflix’s The Witcher keeps expanding, now with the highly-anticipated third season of the main series. Following the steps of other Netflix TV shows, The Witcher season 3 has been split into two parts, turning it into an event not only due to its story but because it’s Henry Cavill’s final season as Geralt of Rivia.

The Witcher season 3 is based on the novel Time of Contempt, but unlike seasons 1 and 2, and after the backlash that season 2 received, The Witcher season 3 is more faithful to its source material. The Witcher season 3 saw key events like the Thanedd Coup and the battle between Geralt and Vilgefortz, all of which can be found in the book, but the series still made a couple of changes to the source material. Here are the biggest changes to Time of Contempt in The Witcher season 3, Parts 1 and 2.

19 Codringher & Fenn’s Deaths

Codringher and Fenn were the founders of a law firm and detective agency, and they were known for getting the job done for the right price. In The Witcher season 3 Part 1, Codringher and Fenn were burned alive at their office by Rience, who learned that Geralt was looking for him and Cordringher and Fenn gave him information. In the books, Codringher and Fenn also died, but it happened slightly differently. One day, Codringher and Fenn were visited by three assassins – Schirrú, Millet and Nazarian – who stabbed Codringher and set the agency on fire, killing Fenn as well. In the books, this happened during the Thanedd Coup.

18 Geralt’s Journey To Vuilpanne & Theryn’s Rescue

The Witcher season 3 part 1 Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in a tomb

In Time of Contempt, Geralt is looking for information on Rience, hence why he visits Codringher and Fenn, but the information he’s given is very different. Geralt never traveled to Vuilpanne in search of Rience, meaning he didn’t find kidnapped girls and a monster made of their bodies. Geralt didn’t rescue an Aretuza student named Theryn who was experimented on to make her believe she’s Ciri, and instead, Codringher shared some details about Rience’s origin with Geralt. Geralt traveled to Hirundum to answer a call for a witcher and later reunited with Ciri.

17 Yennefer Follows Ciri When She Runs Away

The Witcher season 2 Yennefer

In The Witcher season 3 Part 1, Ciri quickly grows tired of how the women of Aretuza treat her and runs away, using a charm to communicate with Geralt and locate him. In the book, Ciri also refused to be treated as a servant by the Aretuza women and ran away to meet Geralt at Hirundum, but Yennefer wasn’t far behind and followed her. This allowed Ciri, Yennefer, and Geralt to reunite before heading to Thanedd Island, giving Yennefer and Geralt a chance to reconcile.

16 Yennefer, Geralt, & Ciri Travel Together To Thanedd Island

The Witcher season 3 part 1 Geralt Ciri Yennefer

In the Netflix series, Geralt found Ciri as she was being followed by the Wild Hunt, and together they met Jaskier to travel to Thanedd Island together. Meanwhile, Yennefer stayed with Tissaia and the rest, waiting for Geralt and Ciri to arrive at Aretuza. In the book, after Ciri and Yennefer reunited with Geralt following the princess’ escape from Yennefer and company, the three traveled to Thanedd Island together. Unlike the series, Ciri and Geralt didn’t have to fight an aeschna on their way to Thanedd Island.

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15 Radovid Is Vizimir’s Brother In Netflix’s The Witcher

The Witcher season 3 part 1 Radovid

Radovid is a character taken from the Witcher books, but the Netflix adaptation changed his role in the story and his place in the Redanian royal family. In the books, Radovid V the Stern was the son of King Vizimir and Queen Hedwig of Redania, and had two older sisters: Dalimira and Milena. Radovid became King of Redania years after his father’s death, as he was too young to take the throne when King Vizimir passed away. Netflix’s The Witcher changed Radovid’s story and made him Vizimir’s brother, as well as his right-hand man when he grew tired of Dijkstra not delivering Ciri to him.

14 The Fate Of Queen Hedwig of Redania

The Witcher season 3 part 1 Dijkstra Philippa

Queen Hedwig of Redania is also a character found in the Witcher books, but her fate in the source material was a lot different. In the books, King Vizimir was murdered by an elven assassin under Philippa’s mind control, and the sorceress’ guilt was eventually revealed to Dijkstra. However, before Dijkstra could arrest her, Philippa sent an assassin to kill him, but Dijkstra managed to escape. Queen Hedwig should have taken over as regent of Redania until her son, Radovid, became of age, but instead, the Regency Council held the true power and the kingdom was ruled by Philippa and Dijkstra.

In The Witcher season 3 Part 1, Philippa and Dijkstra ordered Queen Hedwig’s murder and arranged for her head to be delivered to Vizimir in a box, with a note claiming to be a gift from Nilfgaard. Philippa and Dijkstra blamed Queen Hedwig for the awful deal with Nilfgaard that Vizimir agreed to, and got rid of her in order to end the agreement with Nilfgaard and earn Vizimir’s trust again.

13 Ciri’s First Meeting With Mistle Is Different

The Witcher season 3 part 1 Fabio Sachs and Ciri

Mistle is a member of the Rats, a gang of criminals known for stealing from the rich to satisfy their own material wants. All members of the rats come from troubled backgrounds and were drawn to each other due to their shared interest in different luxuries and their trauma. However, the Rats also kill for entertainment, and because they share their stolen goods with the poor, the Rats aren’t easy to track as the citizens give false information in order to protect them. Mistle is important in Ciri’s story as they developed a romantic but toxic relationship when Ciri joined the group under the false name of “Falka”.

In the Netflix series, Ciri meets Mistle when she’s going around town with Fabio Sachs. They take a look at a sideshow where a basilisk is supposedly going to be shown, and that’s where Ciri briefly interacts with a girl, who ends up being the one who takes Ciri’s money from her pocket. In the book, Ciri meets Mistle and the Rats until the very end, following her escape during the Thanedd Coup. Ciri is captured by bounty hunters of Nilfgaard but is able to escape with the help of the Rats, just like in season 3’s finale.

12 Jaskier Isn’t Used As Bait & Ciri’s Babysitter

Jaskier sits on a hill in The Witcher season 3 part 1

Jaskier is still very close to Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer, so much so that he continues to help them in any way. At the beginning of The Witcher season 3 Part 1, Jaskier was used as Ciri’s escort while she was used as bait to attract Rience, which also put Jaskier in great danger, and later on, he was told by Yennefer to look after Ciri during the mages’ party in Aretuza. In the book, Jaskier is never used as bait and babysitter, and instead, Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer don’t try to lure Rience in, and Ciri was invited to the Conclave of Mages in Thanedd by Yennefer.

11 Vilgefortz Isn’t Turning Half-Elves Into Fake Ciris

Ciri in The Witcher Season 2

One of the most shocking reveals in The Witcher season 3 Part 1 was that Vilgefortz had been kidnapping novices from Aretuza to experiment on them, with the purpose of mastering mind-control in order to manipulate Ciri. Geralt rescued one of these girls, who believed she was Ciri, and he and Yennefer eventually realized Vilgefortz was the mage responsible for this. In the books, Vilgerfortz didn’t kidnap half-elf girls to turn them into fake Ciris, but there was a false Ciri (more on that later).

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10 Yennefer & Geralt Don’t Discover Vilgefortz’s Plans

The Witcher season 2 Vilgefortz

Vilgefortz is an enemy to defeat in the books of The Witcher, but the Netflix series made various changes to his story. As mentioned above, in The Witcher season 3 Part 1 Vilgefortz is revealed to be the mage backing Rience and the one experimenting on young girls, with Geralt and Yennefer finding all this out after the party. In the book, however, Geralt and Yennefer don’t find out Vilgefortz’s plans and alliances, but the witcher fights the powerful mage during the Thanedd Coup. Vilgefortz’s betrayal is made public, which leads to more conflict and to the death of a character who has been very important in Yennefer’s history, both in the books and the Netflix series.

9 Yennefer Is Turned Into A Jade Figurine

Francesca leads a group of elves in The Witcher.

While fighting the Scoia’tael during the Thanedd Coup, Yennefer comes across Francesca Findabair, and even though the elven queen let the Scoia’tael in and sided with Nilfgaard, she doesn’t fully agree with the Emperor. Francesca also knows that Rience has a personal vendetta against Yennefer and decides to save the sorceress, though she uses an unusual method. Francesca captures Yennefer through an artifact compression spell, with Yennefer becoming a jade figurine that Francesca carries with her, safely smuggling the sorceress off the island. Yennefer spends over 40 days like this before Francesca finally decides to free her.

8 Rience’s Death Is Different

Rience burns a wooden staff with his hand in The Witcher season 3.

One of the biggest changes Netflix’s The Witcher made to Time of Contempt is Rience’s death. After the Rats are killed by bounty hunter Leo Bonhart, Ciri confronts him but she’s defeated and kidnapped. Bonhart was secretly hired by Imperial coroner Stefen Skellen, and Bonhart has Ciri fight for her life in a gladiatorial arena. Bonhart, Skellen, and Rience meet months later and Ciri escapes with the help of a traitor in Skellen’s group, but her face is wounded by Skellen. After taking refuge with an elderly philosopher named Vysogota, Ciri takes a pair of ice skates and leaves as Skellen’s agents are waiting in an ambush.

Ciri lures Bonhart, Skellen, and Rience to a frozen lake, where Skellen forces Rience to use his fire magic to stop Ciri. Rience, though scared, casts a spell that half-works, cracking the ice where they are standing. Rience falls into the freezing water and clings to the edges of the ice while the rest quickly escape. Rience calls for help and tries to negotiate with Ciri so she saves him, but the Princess skates on the edge of the ice, slicing through Rience’s fingers and drowning him. The Witcher season 3 went for something simpler by having Geralt decapitate him with his sword.

7 Stregobor’s Fate

Netflix The Witcher Stregobor

Stregobor only appears in the book The Last Wish, but his role in the world of The Witcher was expanded in the Netflix series. In the book, Stregobor’s story ends when Geralt kills Renfri and Stregobor attempts to take her body to do an autopsy on it, but Geralt threatens to kill him if he touches her. Stregobor returns to Kovir, and he’s not seen again in the books. Netflix’s The Witcher expanded Stregobor’s story by establishing him as a powerful but dangerous mage, though one that was framed by Vilgefortz in The Witcher season 3 Part 1. Stregobor redeems himself in Part 2 by defending his fellow mages and Aretuza and using fire magic to fight the Scoia’tael and Nilfgaardian soldiers, sacrificing himself in the process.

6 Tissaia’s Death Is Slightly Different

The Witcher season 3 part 2 Tissaia

Tissaia’s death in The Witcher season 3 is one of the most heartbreaking moments in the series, and it was equally tragic in the books, though the time setting was different. In Time of Contempt, Tissaia also broke the barriers in Aretuza to allow the use of magic and freed the Nilfgaardian traitors to give them an even fight, but what was unleashed after that was devastating. After attacking various Redanian soldiers with lightning and fire, and teleporting Triss and a severely wounded Geralt to safety, Tissaia committed suicide by slitting her wrists. Though she killed herself the same way in The Witcher season 3, in the series it happened some time after the Thanedd Coup.

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5 Ciri’s Visions In Korath

Ciri in Korath in The Witcher season 3 part 2

In Time of Contempt, Ciri also lands in the Korath desert after going through a portal at Tor Lara, but her journey is different in the series. In the book, Ciri also tries to make her way out by heading west, only to discover that she had been wandering in circles. Dehydrated, weak, and starved, Ciri eventually met the unicorn Ihuarraquax, who she named “Little Horse”. Ihuarraquax led her to where she could find water, but he was wounded by a sand monster. In order to save him, Ciri used fire magic, but went unconscious as she started having pyromantic visions, which included the mysterious Falka. All this was included in The Witcher season 3, but the series added Ciri having hallucinations of her mother, Pavetta, and her grandmother, Queen Calanthe, pushing her to kill herself.

4 Yennefer Doesn’t Reunite With Geralt In Brokilon

The Witcher season 3 part 2 Yennefer in the shadows

The Witcher season 3 Part 2 saw Yennefer traveling to Brokilon to briefly reunite with a wounded Geralt and let him know that Ciri is missing again before they part ways again. In Time of Contempt, this reunion doesn’t happen, and a lot of time passes until Geralt and Yennefer are reunited again. While Geralt is taken to Brokilon to recover after being defeated by Vilgefortz, Ciri ends up in Korath, and Yennefer (as mentioned above) is turned into a jade figurine that Francesca Findabair keeps with her.

3 King Vizimir’s Death

The Witcher season 3 King Vizimir

The death of King Vizimir of Redania happens slightly differently in Time of Contempt. On the night of the Thanedd Coup, Vizimir is killed by an elven assassin, allegedly under the mind control of Philippa. In the Netflix series, Philippa arranged Vizimir’s murder and had one of his servants (who is also her lover) kill the king, all as part of a bigger plan. Vizimir’s death in the series happens days after the Thanedd Coup.

2 Radovid Becoming King Of Redania

The Witcher Prince Radovid season 3

In the books, Radovid doesn’t become king immediately after his father’s death. As Radovid was only 12 years old when Vizimir was killed, for many years after the king’s death Redania was governed by a Regency Council. In Netflix’s The Witcher, Radovid was crowned as the new King of Redania by Philippa right after his brother’s body was found, but seeing how much influence and control Philippa has over the whole royal family, it’s likely that she will be the real ruler and use Radovid for her own plans.

1 Fake Ciri Isn’t Delivered By Vilgefortz

The Witcher Theryn season 3

Fake Ciri is also part of The Witcher books, but her story is different from the one in the Netflix series. In the books, the false Ciri is an orphaned girl of Cintran nobility, who Codringher and Fenn tried to persuade Geralt to use as a decoy so Rience would back off, as this girl was very similar in age and appearance to Ciri. Geralt refused, but when Rience sent Schirrú to deal with Codringher and Fenn, he found the notes on the false Ciri. After telling Rience about her, they kidnapped the girl and had her transported to Nilfgaard. In Netflix’s The Witcher, the false Ciri, Theryn, is an Aretuza student kidnapped by Vilgefortz and mentally manipulated to have her believe she’s the real Ciri, and in the season 3 finale, she was presented to the rest of Nilfgaard as the real Ciri while she stood right next to the White Flame and Vilgefortz.

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