Fans of The Witcher book series will know that the second season is majorly based on The Blood of Elves. But one short story that the showrunners put in the midst of it was A Grain of Truth. Considering how it has quickly become the most talked-about episode of the series, the decision was certainly not a bad one. Here is The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich talking about why they brought the story of Nivellen and Vereena to life.
Nivellen, Vereena and The Witcher
The tale of Nivellen is one that has been spoken of many a time. The man seemed a monster on the outside when fans first met him on the Netflix live-action series. Eventually, they learn that he is actually a very likable person who bears no ill intent towards Geralt and Ciri. But right when the episode is about to end, the father-daughter duo learns of the reason behind Nivellen’s curse. He had raped a priestess who cursed him into a horrible form. Her curse also prevented him from killing himself, a feat he apparently attempted many times.
Meanwhile, he came across Vereena, a powerful Bruxa. In his solidarity, he found a deranged form of peace with her. The Bruxa needed blood to stay alive and so he let her feed on him. But it wasn’t just Nivellen that Vereena fed on. She ended up killing multiple innocent villagers, something Nivellen chose to turn a blind eye to. By the end of episode 1 of the second season of The Witcher, Vereena had been killed by Geralt and Nivellen was reaping what he had sown.
How did A Grain of Truth impact Geralt and Ciri?
A primary theme of A Grain of Truth in the Netflix Original was that of monstrosity. Nivellen tells Ciri how “monsters are more than just horrid looks and claws and teeth. Monsters are borne of deeds done- unforgivable ones.” Both Ciri and Nivellen are pondering on the probability of them being monsters on the inside.
The difference is that Nivellen has actually committed sins that would deem him a monster. Ciri, on the other hand, is just a young girl caught up in a web of lies, prophecies, and conspiracies- things that are much larger than someone of her age can deal with.
During the course of the episode, we watch Geralt kill Bruxa, a creature he deemed a monster because she was responsible for the deaths of innocents. Ciri, as she mentions many times, holds herself responsible for uncountable deaths, as well. This makes her question her own existence.
However, by the end of the episode, Geralt and Ciri have a wholesome conversation by the campfire. This sets the tone of their father-daughter dynamic.