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The Most Paused Moments In The Witcher

Geralt of Rivia. It could be his yellow eyes... it could be that silky, snowy hair... it could be those amazing bathtub scenes... but there's something about The Witcher that makes people smash that pause button and ogle. Fans can't get enough of the beautiful sorceresses, the artfully crafted and terrifying monsters, or the lush landscape scenes we rush to screenshot for our new desktop wallpaper.

To put it simply, Netflix's The Witcher is a gorgeous show, shot beautifully, and is also chock-a-block full of hot characters. Pair that with fantastical beasts, epic battle scenes, and an orgy or two? You've got some very pause-able moments.

This show's beautiful cinematography and heart-pounding, striga-shaking, coin-tossing action makes every frame worth poring over and examining. But some moments in particular stand out for being scrutinized by fans time and time again. With that in mind, here's a look back at the most paused moments in The Witcher, collected for your viewing pleasure.

The Butcher of Blaviken

In a fantastic and fast-paced series premiere episode, there were tons of moments that had people pausing to zoom in on a detail or simply to ask what the heck is going on. We're introduced to Geralt, his witchering ways, zoomed across time and space for flashbacks and non-chronological exposition, as well as taking in information about how this magical world works and why there are so many dang monsters around.

The tension in the episode builds as we, along with Geralt, come to realize the moral ambiguities of the world the witcher inhabits. Until finally it reaches its peak in an ending crammed with an explosive series of whiplash-inducing action moves.

Geralt's swordplay is the real hero here and people kept pausing to take in the incredible battle that earns Geralt his grisly moniker. This action sequence turned heads and snapped necks with its lightning-fast choreography. Amazing editing and technical perfection left audiences pausing all throughout this scene asking "How'd they do that?"

The Sylvan

Episode two keeps serving up more stellar scenes as the story begins to weave in even more key players, all of whom have a hand in a greater destiny which will shape the world of The Witcher. Geralt meets his bestie bard Jaskier in this episode and they kinda hit it off right away. Regardless of how curmudgeonly Geralt is acting towards the sweet-voiced songsmith, the two link up for a grand adventure.

Some local townsfolk have claimed to see a devil nearby. As devils and demons are a witcher's bread and butter, Geralt signs up to hunt it down. Jaskier is ready to get that sweet, sweet musical inspiration by tagging along.

When they track down what folks thought was a devil, they actually find a magical and usually kindly and peaceful humanoid known as a Sylvan. The otherworldly appearance of this creature gives Geralt — and audiences — pause. The flawless effects make this monster seem like it's jumping off the screen, and people pause to scrutinize the Sylvan's goat-like eyes, expressive face, and very cool-looking horns.

Despite its shocking appearance and though they're enemies at first, the witcher learns that the Sylvan is actually aiding elvish refugees, and Geralt and Jaskier go on their merry way. Bonus points for this being the encounter that spawns the mega-bop "Toss a Coin to Your Witcher."

The eel pool

Episode two of The Witcher also contains another moment which made fans gasp and reach for the pause button. It happens in what is basically a hyper-abusive Hogwarts for women, the ancient caves used as a training ground for the sorceress cult. We first meet Yennefer of Vengerberg as a young girl, and fans of the beautiful sorceress from promo photos or the bestselling video game Witcher 3 might not recognize their heroine.

She's badly abused and ostracized by her family and community, but to the audience, her physical deformities and initially timid nature put us all solidly on Team Yen. But she's plucked from her misfortune by a less-than-kindly mentor when she exhibits magical powers. Her fortunes are changing, but it's definitely not an easy road for the young witch in training.

Though it's near the episode's end, the scene when she takes a stance and crosses the threshold from downtrodden victim to power-hungry maven leaves fans hitting pause and wondering just how far Yen would go to achieve her ends. Plopping those eels-slash-classmates into the murky pool surrounding the testing ground shows us the darker side of Yen, and illustrates beautifully just how far she'll go to get what she wants. And those with a sharp eye will clock that Tissaia de Vries has been waiting for this moment when she hands Yen what appears to be a custom-made eel pusher. You can really find anything on Amazon these days... 

The striga

Back to Geralt and his witching ways and slow, sure march towards a destiny which will shake the entire world. Intercut throughout episode three of The Witcher is Geralt's hunt for the mysterious striga. The story leading up to the striga fight is a twisted one, almost Shakespearean in the depths of its tragedy.

A cursed being has been terrorizing a local village for years, killing its inhabitants. Geralt is called in by Triss Merigold to help apprehend the beast and get to the bottom of the curse. The witcher finds that the striga is actually a product of Lannister-style consensual incest between the king and his sister. A jealous advisor, in love with the king's sister Adda, attempted to curse the king, but the spell went awry and wound up cursing and killing the mother instead, causing her baby to become a monstrous, bloodthirsty, violent striga.

Yikes! While the story is as gruesome as it gets, it does give us this amazing monster battle scene. The scariest monsters are always the ones you can never quite see, and they use that movie magic to full effect here. The shadowy lighting and quick cuts, interspersed with slow, tense waiting, make this fight sequence one of the highlights of the whole first season.

This monster was so elusive that we smashed that double bar button trying to get a good glimpse of the striga and figure out just what the heck is going on with that mouth.

Yen's transformation

Episode three of The Witcher pushes into new territory as we go deeper into Yen's story and psyche. Sorceress training is going great, Yen's excelling, her mentor Tissaia is guiding her and trying to instill some confidence in the young witch.

Heartbreakingly, Yen is still unsatisfied with the appearance which caused her so much pain as a child. Now that she's a mighty magic wielder, she's got options. Yen elects to have magical plastic surgery... without anesthesia! She's found the most masterful surgeon/magician in the realm and is going to go to any lengths to become who she wants to be.

This is a frankly brutal scene that leaves some folks pausing just to catch their breath and a moment's respite from the screams of the witch under the knife. The stellar lighting and cinematography create a hellish atmosphere which pulls the audience along during Yen's pain. The most gruesome part of this scene is the final "payment" Yen must make for this transformation... her ovaries! Again, she's having these removed without anesthesia. So if you weren't convinced Yennifer of Vengerberg was a badass before, here's all the proof you need.

The bath scene

The next moment is a little more pleasantly pausable. The White Wolf a.k.a. the Butcher of Blaviken a.k.a. Geralt of Rivia is one dirty boy — especially after being swallowed by a monster living in an icy lake and then fighting his way out from the inside. At first he seems okay with his coating of monster guts, despite the smell. But that wily bard Jaskier insists that Geralt act as his bodyguard at a fancy ball, so he's got to clean up his act.

Fans of The Witcher 3 video game will instantly recognize this iconic scene of Geralt in the bath. The production team behind the hit Netflix show absolutely nailed the lighting and look of this scene. Plus it gives us some great banter between Jaskier and his begrudging muse Geralt. The witty back and forth and the fascinating magic that is the witcher's wig means fans can't take their eyes off this scene.

But let's be real. We all know the true star of the scene is Geralt's bare, brawny chest. All that monster hunting is paying off because the guy is cut.

The porcupine prince

Episode four of The Witcher keeps fans' fingers on the pause button with some surprising twists and one of the most pivotal moments of the season. There's lots of crazy magic logic and magical laws in the world of The Witcher, none more magical (or crazier) than the Law of Surprise. We learn all about this law and its, ahem, surprising consequences in one of the season's biggest reveals.

Queen Calanthe of Cintra has a classic queen conundrum: she needs to find a suitable match for her daughter. When that match, Duny, reveals himself to be a cursed knight, she's less than pleased. He's been cursed with the prickly form of a hedgehog, but still managed to win the heart of the Princess Pavetta. The Queen orders the witcher to kill Duny, but Geralt refuses, recognizing a curse when he sees one. Fans smashed pause to get a good look at the prickly suitor and marvel yet again at the amazing CGI and special effects job The Witcher pulled off to make this cursed fairy tale come to life.

Through magical means, the day is saved and Pavetta and Duny begin a new, curse-free life together. And because of Geralt's willingness to defend their love, Duny is in Geralt's debt and repays him with the Law of Surprise. Little does Geralt know that means his destiny is now entwined with the magical child Ciri.

Yen's "party"

Episode five takes The Witcher fans on a very wild, very sexy, and very pause-able ride. That wily bard Jaskier has landed Geralt in hot water once again (not hot water in the bath this time — metaphorical hot water.) The two literally fished up a djinn, an extremely powerful magical being. They've got three wishes and the first ones are not used very wisely.

Jaskier is on the verge of death from a wish gone wrong, and he knows that Yennefer is the most powerful sorceress nearby. He and Geralt go to find her, a race against time as Jaskier's throat bloats and his breathing slowly stops. Yen is posted up in a little town, and she's making the most of it in a big way.

The beautiful enchantress has, through magical means, coerced the whole once-puritanical town into a massive and pretty dope-looking orgy. Pretty uncool to basically mind control people into getting freaky, but the details and costuming (or lack of costuming) of the Eyes Wide Shut style festivities make us pause for sure.

The golden dragon

Once again Geralt is forced to question who the true monster is when he and Yen track down a very rare and very awesome beast... a golden dragon! The Witcher franchise is known for its complicated moral quandaries, and this episode is no different.

The setup is a classic monster hunt with different mercenary bands all vying for the same prize, the head of the dragon at the top of a mountain. Geralt throws in his lot with a mysterious man and his extremely cool bodyguards. They battle their way to the top, but when they reach the peak, things start getting really complicated.

They learn that the mysterious man was actually the dragon all along. He'd been seeking to protect the egg of his dead mate and had signed Geralt on to help because of his reputation as a wise warrior who respects the life of sentient creatures, not one who will just kill them wantonly for coin.

We're glad we don't have to contemplate any of these tough moral choices and can just press pause and check out the sweet, scaly beast and admire the awesome design of the golden dragon.

The witches' battle

The final episode of season one takes magical battling to new heights. The forces of Nilfgaard and their wanton disregard for magical beings moves against the north and the forces that we're rooting for, a.k.a. Yennifer and her friends. Nilfgaard is incredibly strong and willing to use any means necessary to defeat their enemies. This means sacrificing their magic users, sapping them of power and life in order to cast powerful spells to kill the enemy forces.

Bad news for those witches in service to Nilfgaard, good news for fans who want to see some awesome and imaginative battle scenes. Episode seven is full of cool magical moments. A living wall of thorny vines blocking troops from breaching enemy lines, an enchanted box of mercurial worms, tons of flames scorching the earth... there's lots of moments fans paused and lingered over in this episode.

Best of all is the incredible acting and awesome special effects in the scene when a Nilfgaardian mage sacrifices all she has in order to make a big, exploding cannonball to send over the descending forces. She just shrivels up — fans just have to pause and get a good look.

Geralt and Ciri's first meeting

This last moment is a real tearjerker. Longtime fans of The Witcher series and new converts alike hit pause to celebrate the moment that season one had been leading up to all along: Geralt and Ciri meeting for the first time.

Destiny had been weaving these two together for years, before Ciri was even born. Remember that spiky cursed knight who married the Princess Pavetta? Remember when Geralt claimed the Law of Surprise, entitling him to something of Duny's that Duny didn't yet know he possessed? Well, that thing was a child. Pavetta was pregnant when Geralt claimed the Law of Surprise, and Ciri's destiny became entwined with his.

The White Wolf and the princess on the run are drawn together in the woods, never having met before but instantly recognizing each other. Ciri finally finds some sense of safety, and Geralt finds a higher calling in having to protect the child and heir to the throne of Cintra. The gorgeous backdrop of a lush forest makes this moment just perfect. When they finally meet fans paused to clap, weep for joy, or just start the season all over again.