Yennefer is one of the most important characters in The Witcher. This is because she is the sorceress who happens to be Geralt of Rivia’s one true love in spite of their on-again, off-again relationship, which in turn, means that she happens to be Ciri’s mother figure as well. In recent times, there has been an enormous surge of interest in Yennefer, not least because of the positive reception to the Netflix show based on the book series. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Yennefer:
1. Sometimes Called Yennefer of Vengerberg
Sometimes, Yennefer is called Yennefer of Vengerberg. This is because she was born in the city of Vengerberg, which was the capital of one of the Northern Kingdoms. Besides Yennerfer, the most notable Vengerberger would be King Demavend III of Aedirn, who was the ruler assassinated by the witcher Letho in The Witcher 2 trailer.
2. Born with a Hunchback
It is interesting to note that Yennefer was born with a hunchback, which caused her to have a very rough childhood because of her father and then her mother. Curiously, it is unclear how medieval Europeans would have perceived hunchbacks because there isn’t much documentation of their opinions of disabilities. Certainly, a hunchback wouldn’t have been seen as a good thing. However, there are some who have argued that while the medieval Europeans did sometimes associate disabilities with immorality, said association was much strengthened by the eugenics movement that was popular in the 20th century.
3. Is a Quadroon
Speaking of which, there was one other cause for Yennefer’s very rough childhood, which was tied to the other cause. In short, she is a quadroon, which means someone who is either one-quarter African in the Americas or one-quarter Aboriginal in Australia versus someone who is one-quarter Elven in The Witcher setting. There are sources that claim that Yennefer’s father blamed her hunchback on Yennefer’s mother being half-Elven, which was of course nonsense but nonetheless nonsense that had an enormous impact on her childhood.
4. Had a Similar Background to Geralt of Rivia
One could make the argument that Yennefer and Geralt had similar backgrounds in a lot of respects. For instance, both of them were entrusted as children to organizations that exist in the fringes of society. Furthermore, both of them underwent extensive training in order to gain incredible powers that rendered them permanent outsiders in the process.
5. Is Infertile
Most sorceresses in The Witcher setting are infertile. Yennefer is not one of the exceptions to this rule. Unfortunately, she is one of the ones who care a great deal about being infertile, which is why she has put a fair amount of effort into finding a cure for her condition. Having said that, even though Yennefer couldn’t have biological children because of the price that she paid to become a sorceress, she did manage to find a daughter in Ciri.
6. She Is Quite Old
Like witches, sorceresses have a much extended lifespan. As such, while Yennefer looks like someone in her late 20s and early 30s, she is much, much older than that. The show didn’t go into details on the matter save to say that she has lived for decades and decades. However, other material makes it clear that Yennefer was closing on her centennial by the end of the book series. It is interesting to note that this was one of the reasons that some people were unsure about the casting for the character on the Netflix show, which is to say, they weren’t sure that Anya Chalotra could pull off looking young while acting otherwise.
7. Is Destined For Geralt and Vice Versa
Thanks to magic, Yennefer and Geralt have their destinies bound together, so one could say that they are a destined couple. Some people might find such a concept to be more than a bit disturbing. It is interesting to note that this is something that comes up in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. For those who are curious, there is a side-quest that can be done to dissolve the magical bond between Yennefer and Geralt, which Yennefer desires because she wants to be sure that their relationship is real. Canonically, this proves to be the case when the two remain in love with one another even when the magical bond goes away. However, it is perfectly possible for the player to decide that isn’t the case, thus making for a pretty emotionally brutal scene to say the least.
8. Didn’t Show Up Much in the Games
Even though Yennefer is such an important character in The Witcher series, she didn’t actually show up that much in the The Witcher games. For example, she didn’t show up at all in the first installment outside of a small number of indirect references. Likewise, she showed up in nothing but flashbacks in the second installment. However, this state of affairs changed with the third installment, in which Yennefer played a major role in the search for Ciri.
9. Can Be Very Unheeding of Other People’s Concerns
One of Yennefer’s most notable and most interesting characteristics is that she can be very unheeding of other people’s concerns because of her own desires. Something that was shown in great detail in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Granted, she was attempting to find Ciri before Ciri was hunted down, so her behavior was very understandable. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Yennefer went to extreme lengths in order to get her desired results. The defilement of a sacred garden was one of the less terrible examples. On the other end of the spectrum, Yennefer called up the spirit of someone who had helped out Ciri before subjecting it to what was very clearly a very unpleasant interrogation, which was bad enough that it disturbed Geralt.
10. Byronic Heroine
Amusingly, one could make the argument that Yennefer fits the criteria for a Byronic hero, which is interesting because most examples are men rather than women. In short, Byronic heroes are proud, cynical, prone to moodiness, filled up with miseries, implacable when it comes to their objectives, but nonetheless capable of feeling deep affection for other people. All of which are characteristics that can describe Yennefer to a considerable extent.