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Decoding the complicated fate of Eskel in ‘The Witcher’ season 2

Created by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, Netflix’s The Witcher season two stars veteran actors Henry Cavill, Freya Allen and Anya Chalotra in their old roles as Geralt of Rivia, Princess Ciri and Yennefer. The second season sees the evolution of Geralt and Ciri’s relationship as the Witcher takes the latter to his hometown in Kaer Morhen to teach her the tricks to get ready to fight the adversaries who threaten her security as various vicious enemies battle it out against each other outside the walls of the place. 

What surprised fans are how far the series has strayed away from Andrzej Sapowski’s novels or the CD Projekt Red video games despite Cavill promising a lot of similarities between the novels and the series. A lot of them called the series fanfiction while others fumed over the lack of loyalty to the original text. However, what caused a huge uproar amidst the fanbase was the abrupt killing off Eskel Witcher, played by Basil Eidenbenz. 

Eskel is killed off pretty fairly quickly with a Leshy infection in the eight-episode series, shortly after Geralt returns to the Witchers’ base in Kaer Morhen. Eskel, who is one of Geralt’s closest compatriots, undergoes a grotesque and monstrous transformation into a behemoth forest monster, unleashing havoc upon the castle before Geralt has to unceremoniously slash the sword into his dear friend, killing him.  

Since this sequence was never a part of the series or the games, fans were curious as to what prompted Hissrich to include such a brutal scene within the series. The in-depth spoiler video that features a conversation with the cast of the show Hissrich, while talking about how the creative team went to great lengths to bring together such a humongous production amidst such uncertain times during the pandemic, also addressed this issue. 

While talking about how the show writers were always eager to kill off a character, then named John, as an initiation into pushing Geralt to teaching Ciri the tricks to defend herself, they, unfortunately, had to axe Eskel to push the attention back to Geralt. 

Hissrich said that they scrapped the idea of killing John as it would not impact the loyal Witcher fans as deeply as Eskel’s sudden death would. She said, “I know that there are fans who love Eskel and who feel like, ‘Why would we do that?'”

She then added, “But honestly, his death is what changes everything for Geralt.” 

According to Hissrich, Eskel’s death also raises the question regarding the fate of Witchers on the Continent. “So much of Season 2 is about the fact of, ‘Is the Witcher brotherhood over?'” she said, before saying, “Of course, we had to kill more.” However, she assures the fans by saying that as long as Kim Bodnia’s Vesemir is around, the Witcher brotherhood would remain intact. “There’s this history in Vesemir, he’s the keeper of Witcher history,” explained Hissrich. 

Thus Eskel’s death was a pivotal point in the second season as it would not only strengthen Ciri and Geralt’s mentorship but also bring up various important questions regarding the loyalty and unity of the Witcher brotherhood as well as help locate their position in the continent. 

Watch the video below: