In the video games Geralt is clearly exception since he effortlessly wipes out hordes of mooks, takes down powerful monsters (human and otherwise) with ease, and dramatically affect the course of history. Most of this is because he is a video game character with buffs, difficulty sliders, etc. The video games would probably be less captivating if you were weak, could barely afford to feed yourself, and never did anything of note.

What I'm curious about is how Geralt is portrayed in the books. Is Geralt an exceptional witcher (ability wise), or just an average witcher going about his difficult profession? I'm also curious if he has an elevated level of fame or renown either within the witcher community or in general.

  • To be fair, if you're setting the difficulty of the games hard enough, you'll likely die pretty early on. You get to retry in a video game so that it makes your run perfect. If your first attempt was turned into a book, it would be a short read. Apr 10, 2018 at 14:21
  • @BrootsWaymb sure but witchers train for years. To be fair we should be able to practice for at least a few weeks before our run counts... ;)
    – Erik
    Apr 10, 2018 at 14:40

2 Answers 2


Certainly he's exceptional in some areas, and probably exceptional in others. Hard to answer for sure, since other witchers aren't shown in action in the books. We have this passage from The Last Wish, the chapter called "The Voice of Reason 4":

‘Yes, Kaer Morhen. I underwent the usual mutation there, through the Trial of Grasses, and then hormones, herbs, viral infections. And then through them all again. And again, to the bitter end. Apparently, I took the changes unusually well; I was only ill briefly. I was considered to be an exceptionally resilient brat . . . and was chosen for more complicated experiments as a result. They were worse. Much worse. But, as you see, I survived. The only one to live out of all those chosen for further trials. My hair’s been white ever since. Total loss of pigmentation. A side-effect, as they say. A trifle.
Emphasis mine

See, only 4 of 10 boys trained in the witcher schools survive to become witchers... and I imagine not many survive long after that as well. Geralt is exceptional in that he's survived the Trial of Grasses, survived the more dangerous Trial of Grasses, and is still alive well into adulthood (he's around 50 at the time of the books)1.

He is also different because he is the son of a sorceress. While it is much a matter of opinion whether this gives him extra powers or not, there is this passage from chapter 2 of Blood of Elves:

Eskel emanated powerfully. More powerfully than Geralt.

Eskel, another witcher, emanates magic stronger than Geralt. But again, there's nothing else to base a comparison on.

Geralt also is implied to be the inventor and the sole follower of the so-called "Witcher code". He claims he invented it himself in "Voice of Reason 4", and that no such thing exists in general. Certainly, Geralt has some stern moral principles which he tries to follow, and which sometimes go against the whole nature of witchering (e.g. not killing some beast, just because it's harmless).

Lastly, but most importantly, Geralt is famous. Geralt has done a few things here and there that make him very known, at least to some people, in no small part thanks to his friend Dandelion, who just can't keep his mouth shut.

  • He is known, firstly, for turning princess Adda from stryga to human. Given no one else was able to do this before him (and another witcher, Brehen, didn't manage to do this, even though he wanted to fight Geralt for this contract in "Season of Storms"), this also indicates he is very capable.

  • He is known as the Butcher of Blaviken, because he slew a gang of infamous bandits in a crowded market. The crowd wasn't aware the bandits would've slain them hadn't Geralt interfered, so he got all the blame and infamy.

  • Due to his white hair, a product of the advanced experiments conducted on him, he is known as the White Wolf. No other witcher in the books seems to have any title.

  • Dandelion made Geralt a character in (possibly more than) one of his ballads (from chapter 1 of Blood of Elves):

    Your songs mention no names, but we know the witcher you sing of is no other than the famous Geralt of Rivia, and the enchantress for whom he burns with love is the equally famous Yennefer. And the Child Surprise, destined for the witcher and sworn to him from birth, is Cirilla, the unfortunate Princess of Cintra, the town destroyed by the Invaders. Am I right?

1: this is based on Andrzej Sapkowski's interview (here in Polish), where he states Geralt is 50-ish at the time of Baptism of Fire, but hides this fact in order to avoid the prejudice, so that his clients don't feel they're hiring an old man to do the job. Relevant bit of the interview in Polish:

Piotr Szczygielski: Ile (choćby w przybliżeniu) lat ma Geralt? Z naszego szacowania wynika, że około 45 lat…
Andrzej Sapkowski: Ma (w chwili „Chrztu ognia”) ponad pięćdziesiąt. Ale nie przyznaje się i nikomu nie powiedział, ile ponad. Wiedźmini starzeją się wolniej od zwykłych ludzi i mniej widocznie, niż zwykli ludzie. Wiedźminowi, który ma lat sześćdziesiąt, też nikt nie da więcej niż czterdzieści pięć. W świecie wiedźmina ludzie osiągają co prawda wyższą średnią wieku, niż w „naszym” średniowieczu, ale jednak i tu wahano by się zlecać mokrą robotę, walkę z potworami „dziadowi po pięćdziesiątce”. Dlatego Geralt ukrywa wiek.

  • Brehen was call Cat of Iello, or something like that. "and is still alive well into adulthood (he's around 50 at the time of the books)." - source for 50? And when exactly - short stories are way earlier then novels. Not to mention 50 is not much in comparison with Vesemir's age.
    – Mithoron
    Dec 22, 2021 at 22:54
  • @Mithoron no book canon specifies his age or birth date, afair, but it's been a long time since I've read, watched, or played anything Witcher-related. I'm simply guessing Geralt is a tad older than Jaskier, and Jaskier, according to Dijkstra in one of the novels, is around 40. As for adulthood - 50 or even 40 is adulthood by any standards, especially given a witcher would've had to work many times harder than a regular person in order to survive that long, given the nature of the witchers' trade. Dec 23, 2021 at 0:03
  • I would peg him for like a 50 at earliest point, maybe even as old as Yen. Well, living thus far was sure something, but other witchers were of similar age, or older. BTW this bit with "Cat" was about having title - not only infamous moniker among witchers.
    – Mithoron
    Dec 23, 2021 at 0:12
  • @Mithoron yeah, scratch what I've said, as it turns out there's an interview with Sapkowski where he says Geralt is ~50 at the time of Baptism of Fire. Dec 23, 2021 at 0:17
  • That means rather way more then 50, so much that he evades telling how much, 'cause they wouldn't trust his abilities. If he's saying >50, when even at 60 people would think max 45, then he's probably even older then 60.
    – Mithoron
    Dec 23, 2021 at 1:56

I would say yes. The books portray him as being pretty much fearless, which when hunting monsters is probably one of your best traits. For example..

in The Last Wish (Witcher) short story when Geralt is going to help Foltest with the striga, 2 other witchers have already been. One who is younger than Geralt was disemboweled by the striga, and the other one just left after seeing the striga hunting in the streets. Geralt not only doesn't kill it, which he could have easily, he actually spends the entire night fighting with it to do what most thought impossible, returning the striga to a human form. Though he is not invincible for after she is healed, she is still pretty feral and slices his neck open causing him to faint, though he is saved.

He is intelligent and really seems to have studied monsters and alchemy and he is an incredibly capable fighter of men or monsters. His magic isn't portrayed as being the best, but he's probably one of the best sword fighters in this world.

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