Geralt de Riv is a special witcher with his white hair and yellow eyes in the universe of The Witcher, but season 2 shows that this is not a common trait of his companions.
Season 2 of Netflix’s The Witcher introduced us to the very closed world of witchers. The opportunity to meet the brothers in the arms of Geralt de Riv. But that begs a question: why is Geralt the only witcher with that iconic hair color and yellow eyes?
When you meet Geralt de Riv (Henry Cavill) in the first season, the character makes a strong impression: by his size and his impressive build. But what sets him apart from all the other characters are his striking yellow eyes and shoulder-length white hair. Given this unusual appearance, it’s natural to assume that all witchers possess similar characteristics, but Season 2 makes it clear that’s not the case.
During the first season, Geralt is the only monster slayer featured on screen. In Season 2, the now-reunited Geralt with Ciri (Freya Allen) travels to his home in the mountains, to the fortress of Kaer Morhen. It is home to the remnants of the tribe of witchers, those mutated monster hunters who make up Geralt’s family. And there, it quickly becomes clear that none of these men share his physical characteristics.
The white wolf
Contrary to popular belief, Geralt’s white hair has nothing to do with him being nearly a century old. The answer lies elsewhere. Witcher apprentices begin their training at a very young age. Not only are they trained for arduous physical and magical combat, but their very physiology is altered to heighten their senses and abilities to the extreme.
The chemical process that gives wizards like Geralt their powers is called “The Trial of the Herbs”. And those who suffer it, do so at the cost of excruciating pain. So much so that only “3 out of 10 boys survive the process”. Geralt not only successfully mutated, but he is also the only child to be subjected to further experimentation due to his remarkable ability to handle the process well.
The side effects of these additional modifications caused his hair to turn white (earning him the title “White Wolf”) and his eyes to turn yellow, which is why other witchers don’t have his unique pigmentation.
Season 2 Episode 2, “Kaer Morhen,” introduces what remains of the witcher clan – a handful of 12 men, including Vesemir (Kim Bodnia), Eskel (Basil Eidenbenz), Lambert (Paul Bullion), and Coen ( Yasen Atour). Although they react quickly to a threat and possess abilities far beyond those of any human being, the rest of the Witchers in Season 2 clearly lack Geralt’s signature characteristics. Coen has a black beard and different colored eyes, his accomplice Lambert is a redhead with brown eyes, and Geralt’s close friend Eskel is a brown with blue eyes.
Vesemir, the oldest witcher, is the only one with physical attributes similar to the White Wolf, with golden eyes and gray hair. However, this is the cause of aging, as Vesemir is said to be over 300 years old. Indeed, he witnessed the fall of Kaer Morhen – and in The Witcher: The Wolf’s Nightmare, a young Vesemir is shown at this time with black hair. So this supports the idea that her gray hair is just a reflection of her age.
Despite Geralt’s typical indifference and sullen personality, it seems the process of mutation, and the resulting physical transformation and side effects, continue to be a sore point for him. This is evident in Season 1 Episode 8 (“Much More”) when Geralt sees his mother while hallucinating after a monster bite and asks her defiantly “How do you like my eyes?”
His coldly controlled rage – but evident in his piercing gaze and the strained features on his face – proves that deep down, the Butcher of Blaviken (Geralt’s other nickname) is still haunted by the trauma of the mutation he has. undergone to become a Witcher.
There’s no denying that the intense training and multiple lethal mutations serve to make Geralt a fearsome killer with an impressive appearance. His white hair and yellow eyes are therefore not a characteristic witcher trait, as they can be attributed to the additional mutations Geralt has undergone.