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Angel Kelly
Angel Kelly

[S2E1] A Grain Of Truth [PATCHED]

The second season of The Witcher begins with death, misery, and hidden truths. Three travellers reach a small village seeking shelter from the winter's night, only to find it abandoned. The stench of rot and war is luring monsters out of hibernation, and our travellers meet a fate worse than death as an invisible beast ambushes them. The tone is set: Don't believe your eyes, and keep your wits about.

[S2E1] A Grain of Truth

Nivellen reminds Ciri of Mousesack, who she sometimes forgets is gone. She wishes that she could go back in time and save everyone. She wonders what it's like for Nivellen to be alone. The loneliness eats him alive. He's tried many times to cure himself, having plied many a lass with treasure to kiss him, hoping there was a grain of truth to the fairy tales. Ciri proposes that he may have simply not found the right girl, recalling how Mousesack told her of a hedgehog man who was cured by true love, which Nivellen doesn't think he's worthy of, informing Ciri about how he killed all his servants the day he turned, not knowing what he was or his own strength. Nivellen believes that he deserves his destiny. While escorting Ciri back to her room, she tells him that it's not his fault for killing his servants. Ciri watched her entire home burn to the ground with her family trapped inside. She knows monsters, but Nivellen simply doesn't seem like one to her. He retorts that monsters are more than just their looks. They're born of deeds done, unforgivable deeds.

Hoping to get some answers from Nivellen, Geralt proposes a drinking game. They throw daggers at a portrait of Nivellen's father, and whoever misses has to drink and tell a truth. Unfortunately for Geralt, he appears to miss every throw, whereas Nivellen has near perfect aim. Nivellen questions what changed Geralt after willingly spending many lifetimes alone. Geralt reveals that her name is Yennefer, but she unfortunately died, as far as he's aware.

Nivellen wonders if Geralt told Ciri the truth about how witchers obtain children so they can feed them with magic herbs. The few who survive become witchers themselves, and all human feelings and reactions are trained out of them, turning them into monsters to kill other monsters. However, Geralt insists it won't come to that. He then pulls his own knife from his boot and hits the portrait spot on, uncovering the fact that Nivellen has been cheating with magic knives, leading Geralt to question what he's hiding, but Nivellen avoids the questions.

Along the road, Geralt has a realization and returns to the mansion. He meets Vereena, whom Geralt identifies as a bruxa, a vampire-like monster. She loves Nivellen, but has been killing and feeding on his other female companions, including the girl and her father that Geralt found in the woods. A fight ensues. The bruxa overwhelms Geralt, but Nivellen joins the fray and impales her on a pole. The bruxa confesses her love for Nivellen just before Geralt kills her. The confession breaks Nivellen's curse and he returns to normal. Geralt confides that the old stories about a kiss from a maiden lifting a curse like Nivellen's contain "a grain of truth": there has to be true love for the cure to work.

Despite its slow burn, we learn some shocking truths throughout this episode such as the revelation that Nivellen isn't quite as innocent as one might think he is, as he's living alongside a Bruxa, a higher vampire who looks like a beautiful woman but can also transform into a winged beast that's designed to kill. They're also not affected by sunlight, so we're not dealing with your average vampire here. It also happens that this was the very creature who killed the people at the beginning of the episode.

Referencing the oft-told fairytales about how "pretty girls" can transform "frogs into princes," Nivellen tried for years to break the spell with the help of true love. Though he once thought there might be "a grain of truth" to the folktales (hence the title of the short story), his inability to transform back even after engaging in several surprisingly good relationships with women caused him to give up. Enter: Vereena. Nivellen may not know exactly what she is, but he's nonetheless aware of, and in denial about, the fact she poses a serious threat to innocent villagers and travelers.

When Geralt unwittingly runs into Vereena upon his departure from Nivellen's enchanted home, he quickly discovers she's a bloodthirsty Bruxa, and a tense and well-matched battle ensues. Ultimately, it's Nivellen who disables his lover just long enough for Geralt to cut off her head before she's able to reciprocate Nivellen's betrayal. His curse is lifted, not by the power of true love, but by the power of the loss of it, and the shedding of his true love's blood. Thus, the grain of truth in the stories wasn't about the ability of pretty girls to transform beasts, but about the "mighty power" contained in both true love and blood. 041b061a72


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