In The Last Wish, at the end of the short story The Witcher, Geralt is hurt and in bed, recovering. He briefly wakes up and Velerad is talking with him, and explains what happened after he passed out. As Geralt drifts off, Velerad asks:

‘Good. I take my leave now. Rest.’ Velerad got up. ‘Geralt? Before I go, tell me: why did you try to bite her to death? Eh? Geralt?'

What is the purpose of this question? We read previously how it happened.

[The striga] had lost her former strength; she could only writhe beneath him, howling, spitting out blood – his blood – which was pouring over her mouth. His blood was draining away quickly. There was no time. The witcher cursed and bit her hard on the neck, just below the ear. He dug his teeth in and clenched them until her inhuman howling became a thin, despairing scream and then a choking sob – the cry of a hurt fourteen-year-old girl.

I interpreted this as just a way to stop her moving, as all his other limbs were otherwise occupied restraining her. Is there any deeper meaning to the question, or is Velerad just curious about that wound? Does the bite have any special meaning?

  • 1
    Wait - you're saying he should have bitten her? Do people bite people often?! Jul 19, 2017 at 16:41
  • 1
    @Gallifreyan I'm saying that in a battle to the death, sure, bite if you have to. And the reason is to survive, it shouldn't be something other people wonder :P
    – BlueMoon93
    Jul 19, 2017 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


The reader knows that Geralt had to bite her - Velerad certainly didn't. When they arrived in the morning, the saw the princess, with a bite on her neck, and the witcher, with his neck slashed. One should remember that witchers (well, at least Geralt) are notoriously secretive about their ways of dealing with monsters.

‘You’ve had a fair amount of experience, I dare presume?’

‘Yes, your Majesty.’

‘I would love to hear about it.’

Geralt bowed even lower. ‘Your Majesty, you know our code of practice forbids us to speak of our work.’

And why would they? All sorts of idiots would go and try getting rid of monsters themselves. There would be less idiots, sure, but also less people with coin.

Geralt only said he had to spend the night in the crypt, without elaborating too much. To Foltest, however, he had told that there may be complications:

‘I confirm, your Majesty, that the spell might be reversed. And, unless I am mistaken, it can be done by spending the night at the palace. The third crowing of the cock, as long as it catches the striga outside her sarcophagus, will end the spell. That is what is usually done with strigas.’

‘So simple?’

‘It is not simple. First you have to survive the night. Then there are exceptions to the rule, for example, not one night but three. Consecutively. There are also cases which are . . . well . . . hopeless.’

But he hadn't told this to the others. They had no idea what exactly was going to happen in the crypt, but based on their previous experiences, they would assume that Geralt wouldn't subject himself to more danger than absolutely necessary, and they most surely didn't know the princess would be feral for some time even after the curse was lifted.

See, the witchers aren't known for being sentimental . It is believed that the procedure that gives them their powers also strips them of emotion (and this may or may not be true). It was made clear quite a few times in that story that the witchers who tried this previously did not wish to risk their lives even more by trying to undo the curse.

But it also seems that Geralt's decision to check her wasn't the wisest one even by his standards - Nenneke remarks in "The Voice of Reason II" that he shouldn't have gotten himself injured, and that he should have been more careful:

‘It’s terrible! To let yourself be slashed like this by an ordinary striga. Muscles, tendons – she only just missed your carotid artery! Great Melitele! Geralt, what’s happening to you? How did she get so close to you? What did you want with her? To mount her?’

Most likely this verification procedure wasn't exactly standard, and was done by Geralt because he emphathised with Foltest.

  • So, essentially, the question was asked purely out of morbid curiosity, yeah?
    – BlueMoon93
    Jul 20, 2017 at 8:32
  • Absolutely possible - wouldn't one be curious if a guy just accomplished, without bargaining and sitting around what so many before him could not? Jul 20, 2017 at 14:06

Because Geralt had to survive 1-3 nights with her. And that may not happen if she's still beating him while he's passed out. He needed to disable her, but not kill her.

  • Where are you getting the "1-3 nights" from? Feb 3, 2020 at 7:34
  • @Gallifreyan I'm guessing from the quote Then there are exceptions to the rule, for example, not one night but three., which did not apply to this case
    – BlueMoon93
    Feb 3, 2020 at 10:10

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