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Characters From The Witcher Ranked Based On Fierceness

At long last, Season 2 of "The Witcher" is upon us! The first chapter of Netflix's brutal and beautiful fantasy story (adapted from the books by Andrzej Sapkowski) was a case study in various types of ferocity, from vociferous bravado to steely-eyed determination and magical mass murder. To be fierce can simply mean to be aggressive, and there's no scarcity of aggression in "The Witcher," but there's also ferocity in standing your ground when the odds are against you, making a seemingly impossible choice, or defending the people you love. Of course, fierce characters in fantasy settings also tend to express themselves through violence, and the cast of "The Witcher" contains numerous individuals who are uniquely adept at dealing out death and destruction. All this (and more) can go into the calculation of a character's ferocity, making the ranking of characters by fierceness a tricky business.

That, however, is what we're about to do. We've examined all the evidence from the show's first season, given each character their due consideration, from the fearsome Fringilla to the mighty Queen Calanthe to Geralt of Rivia himself, and we are now prepared to identify and rank the fiercest individuals in "The Witcher." Keep in mind that this is a subjective ranking, and that characters can be powerful without necessarily being fierce — which is why, for example, you won't see Stregebor listed here, for example. With that said, toss a coin to your spoiler warning, and let's begin!

11. Honorable mention: Yarpen Zigrin

Yarpen Zigrin appears as a side character in just a single episode of "The Witcher," but he certainly leaves an impression. "Fierce" would be one of the first words you'd use to describe Zigrin, who opens the episode by getting in the face of an inattentive bartender and threatening to urinate in someone's gruel. By the time he leads his fellow would-be dragon hunters over a very secret and very precarious mountain path, the ferocity of his baseline personality alone is undeniable.

As much as we're a fan of him while he's talking, however, Zigrin doesn't do much else during the episode. We never really see him fight — he and his companions miss the entire climactic battle after being frozen in place by Yennefer of Vengerberg — and in the end, his team "wins" the dragon hunt by being handed some dragon teeth and carefully instructed on the best way to secure their unearned reward. It's a great deal for them, but when it comes to fierceness, he's ultimately all bark and no bite.

10. Duny and Pavetta

Individually, the princess Pavetta of Cintra and her lover and husband Duny (briefly known as Lord Urcheon of Erlenwald) aren't the fiercest characters you've ever seen. True, Pavetta has formidable magical powers passed down to her by her grandmother, which she in turn will pass to her daughter, and Duny is a skilled knight who holds his own against a room full of soldiers and once saved the life of Cintra's King Roegner. But in temperament, neither seem particularly ferocious — prior to the events that lead to their wedding, both were perfectly willing to stand by and accept their respective fates, with Pavetta sullenly going along with her mother's marriage plans and Duny despairing over his cursed appearance. Where their ferocity shines through, however, is in their love for one another. Curse or no curse, Duny still enacts his bold plan to win Pavetta's hand, and when things start to go wrong, she instinctively brings her magic to bear in his defense. In the end, neither curses nor politics nor a mother's disapproval can keep them apart. Most of the time, there isn't much fierceness to be found in the souls of sappy romantics like Duny and Pavetta, but when two such souls find one another, their ferocity in defense of their love can be fearsome to behold.

9. Cahir

Cahir, commander of the armies of Nilfgaard, is the primary antagonist of "The Witcher" Season 1 and presumably will return for its second (though to be honest, he's less scary than his mage, Fringilla). It's undeniable that he represents a degree of ferocity in the physically violent sense, particularly given his proficiency with arrows — he puts a shaft through the eye of King Eist of Cintra in the very first episode. He's also relentless in his pursuit of Princess Cirilla, including the clever trick of hiring a doppelgänger to impersonate someone the princess trusts.

Of course, that trick backfires. The doppelgänger turns on Cahir, who slaughters the patrons of an entire tavern to try and find the imposter (he doesn't; the doppelgänger gets away). It's a telling moment — for all that he clearly believes in the righteousness of his cause, there seems to be a subtle but persistent insecurity deep inside Cahir, as though on some level, he doubts himself. He's more thoughtful than he is aggressive, more sympathetic than he initially appears, and frequently frustrated by his inability to meet his goals. All of this makes him a more interesting villain, but not an overly fierce one, especially when compared to other "Witcher" characters.

8. Tissaia de Vries

Rectoress of Aretuza isn't a job for the weak-willed or faint of heart, and Tissaia de Vries is neither. Responsible for the tutelage of immensely powerful sorcerers, she demonstrates her ferocity primarily as a teacher, which we see through her training of Yenneger of Vengerberg — training that sees Tissaia turn other students into sacrificial eels and convince Yennefer to betray her lover. She's also, of course, a formidable wielder of magic in her own right.

Almost more interesting, however, is Tissaia's later development into a sympathetic character, one who recognizes the danger of Nilfgaard and chooses to fight back to protect the people of the Continent (while managing to successfully repair her relationship with Yennefer at the same time). While her fierce determination to stand against Nilfgaard is a huge point in her favor, Tissaia's character softens considerably over the course of "The Witcher," and her status as mentor figure means she rarely gets time in the spotlight. The aggressive elements of her nature are subtle, and stronger than some would give her credit for, but comparatively little about Tissaia cries "fierceness."

7. Fringilla Vigo

Of all the mages trained in Aretuza, Fringilla Vigo is among the most terrifying. Not just because she's powerful and ruthless, though she is — she secured the Nilfgaardian defeat of Cintra by sinking an approaching fleet, killed or defeated several mages at the Battle of Sodden Hill (including her onetime trainer, Tissaia de Vries) and has thoroughly embraced black magic. What's really scary, though, is the extent of Fringilla's zealotry. She serves Cahir, but while the Nilfgaardian general appears to occasionally lose faith in himself, Fringilla's faith is as firm as iron. She knows for a fact that what she's doing is right, and she will dispassionately rid the world of anyone who gets in her way.

If anything works against Fringilla in terms of ferocity, it's her coldness. She's fierce in her conviction, it can't be denied, but while her inner fire burns bright, it doesn't burn hot. Fringilla never loses control and rarely displays emotion, and she certainly never becomes blatantly aggressive or enraged. Hers is an understated, tightly leashed sort of fierceness, and fierceness, by its very nature, eventually demands to be set free. That places Fringilla a bit further down on the list, though we certainly wouldn't bet against her in Season 2.

6. Cirilla

We're not sure if it's more surprising to see Princess Cirilla of Cintra this high on the list, or this low. Granted, Ciri demonstrates some fierce elements in her character before Cintra falls to Nilfgaard and she's forced to go on the run — most of her scenes in the first episode highlight the fact that she has some fire in her, as befits the granddaughter of Queen Calanthe. After that, however, Ciri spends most of her time running away, dodging would-be kidnappers, and suffering betrayal after betrayal. No matter your nature, it's hard to come off as fierce when you spend the better part of a season of television playing the victim.

That said, Ciri can't fall too low in this ranking, simply because she wields exceptionally powerful magic. Aside from the fact that she inherited it from her mother, Pavetta, the full truth of Ciri's abilities are still unknown, but we know that Cahir considers her capture of vital importance, that she has some sort of destiny laid on her, and most importantly, that her scream can topple monoliths and open gaping chasms in the earth. It's not clear exactly what happened at the end of Season 1's penultimate episode, when she responded to a group of men attacking her by uttering mysterious phrases and scattering their corpses to the wind, but it's starting to seem like Ciri might be uniquely powerful, and that alone makes her pretty fierce.

5. Borch Three Jackdaws

At first glance, the adventurer known as Borch Three Jackdaws might seem a bit kindly and fatherly to score this high on a fierceness ranking. Things aren't always what they seem, however, and in Borch's case, that aphorism is doubly true. For one thing, there are his hunting companions, Téa and Véa — or, as he refers to them, his weapons — who are as deadly with their bare hands as they are with their swords. For another thing, Borch himself is actually a fire-breathing dragon in human form, his status as one of the last of his kind providing the name for the episode "Rare Species."

It's his actions in that episode, however, that truly make Borch — or Villentretenmerth, as he's actually called — one of the fiercest characters on "The Witcher." It turns out that when Borch convinces a reluctant Geralt of Rivia to join his dragon hunting team, he was actually trying to protect his mate, who had been wounded in defense of their egg, from the other dragon hunters. While Geralt and Yennefer do ultimately come to the dragons' defense, they arrive too late for Borch's mate. The egg, however, is saved, and Borch leaves with it, carrying with him the last of his family and a precious new addition to a dying race. Engaging in a desperate gamble to defend his family and preserve what remains of his species? That's ferocity.

Also, in case it wasn't emphasized enough, he's a dragon.

4. Renfri

It's about at this point in the ranking that the fierceness level starts going up to 11, and nobody embodies that shift better than Renfri, the doomed princess. Born during an eclipse and supposedly in league with a demon prophesied to destroy the human race, few characters in in "The Witcher" have suffered as much hardship as Renfri, whose life was destroyed in more ways than one when Stregobor decided it was better to kill her than risk the prophecy coming true. She's been hunting the mage ever since. And while her encounter and love affair with Geralt of Rivia briefly convinced her to give up her dreams of vengeance, there was simply too much fierceness in her — born from the trauma she endured — to walk away while Stregobor lived. In the end, Renfri was willing to kill everyone in the town of Blaviken, where Stregobor was hiding, if it meant getting her revenge. Including Geralt.

Renfri gave the witcher a run for his money, too. She was a deadly warrior and a mutant who couldn't be affected by magic, and she fought her one-time lover to the bitter end, her implacable aggression ultimately forcing Geralt to kill her. If that's not fierceness, the word no longer has a meaning.

3. Yennefer of Vengerberg

Yennefer of Vengerberg is perhaps the most interesting character in the first season of "The Witcher" – someone who makes the wrong choice over and over again, until one day she finally makes the right one. Trained at Aretuza by Tissaia de Vries, she is an extremely powerful sorceress, at one point seen controlling the minds and bodies of an entire town. But power hasn't brought her happiness, nor has beauty, and every time she gets what she thinks she wants, it's turns out it isn't what she's looking for.

The result of all this is that Yennefer's ferocity tends to wax and wane, depending on whether she's actively pursuing one of her goals or actively regretting having achieved it. But when she does decide she wants something, she's a force of nature. No amount of pain or sacrifice can keep her from reshaping her body and becoming a mage in the court of Aedirn, just as no task is too impossible to not be attempted in her quest to restore her child-bearing ability. She's particularly ferocious in her steamy relationship with Geralt, even when she decides to leave him. And of course, in the realm of physical violence, she singlehandedly wins the Battle of Sodden Hill by fully unleashing her magic, burning the Nilgaardian army to ash. Yennefer isn't always in a fierce state of mind, but when she is, there's nobody in the world who can stop her.

2. Geralt of Rivia

In a series called "The Witcher," it's very difficult to argue that the fiercest character isn't the witcher himself. Geralt of Rivia is the show's primary protagonist, and he spends the first season's eight episodes providing a buffet of evidence for his fierceness credentials. He's a meticulously engineered mutant warrior with both magic and alchemy in his arsenal, and there are very few threats too powerful for him to take down. If there's a monster, Geralt can kill it. If there's a task to be done, he can accomplish it. Tough choices? He's made them. He lives with them. His ferocity expresses itself in the form of his determination to survive, and in his determination to do the right thing in a world that won't thank him for it. Sometimes fierceness can just mean refusing to go down out of sheer stubborn obstinacy, and Geralt is nothing if not stubborn.

There's only one thing holding Geralt back from the top spot on this list, and it's the fact that sometimes he just seems so tired. There are moments when it's clear he doesn't want to be fierce anymore, or at least not every second of every day. There are days when, if he didn't have to be fierce, he wouldn't be. And while that's perfectly understandable, it's also not true of our number one "Witcher" character...

1. Calanthe

Most of the characters on this list are supernatural in some way — mutants, magic users, even dragons. But there's one character who perfectly embodies the concept of fierceness, despite being an ordinary human: Queen Calanthe, the Lioness of Cintra. And it's not just her fighting skills, nor her devotion to her family, though she possesses both those attributes in spades. It's everything. Fierceness roils off Calanthe's skin and makes itself seen in her every move. There's no word spoken, no expression made, no course of action taken by Calanthe that doesn't scream of fierceness. She's bold, brash, arrogant, headstrong, and relentless, and whether she's ruling, killing, or even grieving, she does everything with such passionate aggression that it makes her subjects tremble. She's a fierce queen, a fierce warrior, a fierce mother, and a fierce wife, and woe betide anyone who tries to tell her what to do or divert her from her course.

Even in the face of death itself, with Cahir having killed her husband and Nilfgaard preparing to storm her city, Calanthe remains true to her. When she returns from the battlefield, gravely wounded, her granddaughter Cirilla asks if she's dying. "My sweet child," Calanthe replies, "when I go, it will be far more dramatic than this." She's true to her word — rather than be killed by her conquerors, Calanthe commits suicide, throwing herself from the castle wall. Her entire life is a study in ferocity, and she is the fiercest character in "The Witcher."