Our character guide for Yennefer from The Witcher franchise explains the story behind this complex and fascinating character who became an instant fan favorite.
Yennefer: A Witcher character guide
The Witcher franchise has been hugely successful. From books to video games to live-action series, this medieval fantasy has captured the imagination of millions of fans worldwide.
As one of the main characters, along with Ciri and the Witcher himself, Yennefer of Vengerberg is a complex personality and a fan-favorite. This article is an in-depth guide to her character.
Note: If you haven’t finished the book, games, or show, beware of spoilers.
The biography of Yennefer
Yennefer (played by Anya Chalotra in the live-action show) is a well-known powerful sorceress from Vengerberg. She is also a protector of Ciri of Cintra, who is the granddaughter of Queen Calanthe. Yennefer is one quarter elven since her mother was a half-blood elf.
Yennefer has a congenital hunchback, a rare birth defect. Because of her condition, her childhood was difficult. She suffered abuse and was even ridiculed by her parents. But thanks to her potential, Yennefer escaped her home and made it to Aretuza Academy, a notable school of magic for girls.
The school’s owner, Tissaia de Vries, becomes a very influential figure for Yennefer. A few years later, Yennefer graduates from the academy as a sorceress. During her studies, her hunchback vanished due to her mastery of sorcery.
After she left Aretuza, Yennefer started offering her magic powers to people in need. She first met with Geralt of Rivia in Rinde, where he brought his friend Dandelion who got wounded. This meeting was the very beginning of Geralt and Yennefer’s long relationship.
Yennefer’s adventures took her across the Continent. She participated in the Battle of Sodden Hill, where she was blinded when she fought the Brotherhood of Sorcerers members. After this notable battle, she became the youngest Council of Sorcerers member.
Yennefer in the books vs. Netflix
The show on Netflix mostly stayed true to the original series written by Andrzej Sapkowski. However, there are some differences.
The show determines that the cause of Yennefer’s infertility is her physical transformation, a fact that wasn’t shared in the books.
The Netflix series also devoted several episodes to Yennefer’s childhood and backstory, while in the books, there isn’t much information about this part of her life.
Finally, Yennefer and Geralt have already been together and then separated the moment Yennefer first appears in the books. However, in the show, they only met at the end of the first season and had never known about each other before.
Yennefer’s relationships with other characters
Geralt of Rivia, or the Butcher of Blaviken
One of the highlights of Yennefer’s relationships with others is her romance with Geralt of Rivia (played by Henry Cavill in the show). They often part and get back together again, but she is the love of his life. She helps Geralt save his ally Jaskier when he gets attacked by a djinn.
Ciri of Cintra
Yennefer can’t have children and considers Ciri of Cintra (played by Freya Allan in the show) as her daughter. Yen protects Ciri, who is said to have Elder blood, whenever she needs help.
Ciri is in danger numerous times, as many characters wanted to capture her: Eredin or the King of the Wild Hunt, Cahir, and others. However, Mousesack and Yennefer always come to her rescue.
As Yennefer is considered one of the powerful mages, the Lodge of Sorceresses tries to recruit her, but she declines after seeing how the Lodge plans on using Ciri of Cintra for political gain.
One of Yennefer’s closest friends, Triss Merigold, also initially fell in love with Geralt. Still, their love affair didn’t last for long. She and Yennefer became friends in Aretuza.
Yennefer is also close to Margarita Laux-Antille, a rector of Aretuza. Yennefer rescues Margarita from execution at one point.
The Witcher has a complex character network, and Yennefer interacts with many more of them, like Fringilla, Istredd, Stregobor, Vesemir, Vilgefortz, Princess Adda of Temeria, Cirilla, Francesca, Dara, and others.
Yennefer in the books vs. the games vs. the show
There are some notable differences in how Yen’s character is depicted in the books, the show, and the games:
- In the video game, Yen is more callous, and her voice pitch resembles the one in the show.
- In the games, the physical flaws of Yennefer (her hunchback) magically disappear. The game portrays Yen as a flawless beauty.
- Yen’s hair is wavy in the books but straight in the games.
- She’s also much taller in the games than she is in the book.
- The game gives Yen a tremendous amount of power, while in the books the sorceresses’ power comes with a ceiling.
- The Yen from the books tends to manipulate people to get her way, but this doesn’t happen in the games.
- In the show, Yennefer has a tragic backstory, while in video games, this isn’t explored.
- The show depicts Yen’s relationship with Geralt better than in the game.
- The Witcher season 1 follows “The Last Wish” and “Sword of Destiny” anthologies. However, the second season actively reworks the story lines.
Best Yennefer quotes
Ciri: “What was between you and Geralt?”
Yennefer: “Longing, regret, hope, and fear. I don’t think I’ve omitted anything.”
Ciri: “So, you love him too.”
Yennefer: “The most important thing they teach you at Aretuza isn’t magic! It’s to make people in power believe anything you want them to. Do anything you want them to!”
Yennefer (talking to a dead baby): “Let’s face it, you’re a girl. Your mother was right about one thing. We’re just vessels. And even when we’re told we’re special, as I was, as you would’ve been, we’re still just vessels… for them to take… and take… until we’re empty… and alone. So, count yourself lucky. You’ve cheated on the game and won without even knowing it. Sleep well.”
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What personality type is Yenefer?
According to the Myers-Briggs personality types, Yennefer is ENTJ—or someone who is a commander and extroverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging.
What disability does Yennefer have?
Yennefer was born with crooked shoulders and a distorted frame. This deformity was the source of much strife in her early years, especially during the period before her father left her.
Is Yennefer good in The Witcher?
Yes, Yennefer is a pretty good character in The Witcher. She may be cold and wicked at times, but inside, she’s a good person.
What is Yenefer’s family like?
Yennefer was ridiculed in her childhood by her family because of her deformity. Both her mother and father were cruel to her.
What is Yennefer’s national origin?
Yennefer is from Vengerberg, the capital of Aedirn.
What is the first thing Yenefer does in the game?
Yennefer made her first appearance in The Witcher 3. She escapes a battle between Temerian and Nilfgaardian forces. Nilfgaard is the kingdom from which Ciri’s father originates.
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