Based on the rumor about the new Netflix witcher series, I'm asking how Cirilla's color of skin is described in the books?


2 Answers 2


Her skin colour is never specifically stated but we can guess guess that she was most likely a pale-skinned Caucasian:

  • Sapkowski rarely describes skin colour, but he specifically states that people in Zerrikania (far south of Nilfgaard) have significantly darker skin that Nordlings and Nilfgardians and people from Skellige are have usually paller skin. So, if the change of skin colour is similar to our world, we would have pale-blond Skellige (like our Scandinavia), slowly turning darker towards south to Italian olive and even darker, towards black in Zerrikania. Since Nilfgard is based on the Roman Empire, we can assume that Nilfgardians look similar to Romans, with olive skin and usually dark hair.
  • We know for sure that Ciri had green eyes and pale hair. Green eyes are the rarest from all eye colours and almost exclusive to the northern and central Europe and rarely in western Asia Source. But hey, it is a fantasy world...
  • We explicitly know, that her grandmother Calanthe was white:

The queen lifted her head. Geralt knelt.“Witcher,” she responded drily.As before, the queen wore emeralds matching the green of her dress and her eyes. As before, a thin gold crown encircled her ash-gray hair. But her hands, which he remembered as thin and white, were not as thin as before.

  • Her mother's father (as well as whole father's family) comes from various provinces of Nilfgaard, which could give her skin colour bit closer to her father's one. But while Emhyr/Duny is described as having dark black hair, Cirilla just like Pavetta, has grey-blond ones, which means she has taken more from her mother's look.
  • No one in the books comments on Ciri's skin colour as a special in any way - in contrast, women from Skellige and Zerrikania attract attention for their exotic looks. This would suggest that Ciri doesn't look particularly different than other people living in the Northern Kindgoms/Nilfgaard. While (again, since this is a fantasy) doesn't mean anything (they could be blue with yellow dots), sir Galahad from Arturian Britain doesn't comment about anything special in her skin colour, although he finds her hair "strange":

The longer he studied her, the more she lost her magical aura and became more humane and ordinary –almost mundane. He knew, however, that such was not the case, it could not be. A plain, ordinary girl would never have been met alone at the foot of Y Wyddfa, on the edge of Cwm Pwcca, bathing naked in a mountain lake and washing a blood-stained shirt. No matter how the girl looked, in no case could she be an earthly creature.Despite knowing this, Galahad could look calmly and without superstitious fear at her mouse coloured hair, which to his amazement now that it was dry, was traversed by shiny streaks of grey. He could now look at her slender hands, her little nose, her pale lips her male clothing with a strange cut, made with an extremely delicate fabric.

But then he was wandering around the world, so he would seen "Moor" girls and the Black Knight...


Ciri is pale. There is chapter in book describing it very precise:

"… Now it’s our turn, thought Geralt. He was right. The officer stared at Ciri. His eyes shone through the opening in his visor, watching everything without missing a detail. Her paleness. The scar on her cheek…"

The Lady of the Lake, chapter 9

  • 1
    While I agree, one could say that "paleness" is a medical condition caused by lower blood flow to the skin, that can happen to anyone as an effect of sickness or stress, no matter the original color :i.e. "Her skin was pale from fear". And yes, even black people can go "pale"
    – Yasskier
    Sep 12, 2018 at 21:01
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    Ciri spent her youth in Cintra and Skellige under the care of her grandmother and her uncle. The Kingdom of Cintra is one of the Northern Kingdoms. And the Northern Kingdoms or the Northern Realms are a group of human states north of the Amell mountains. Their inhabitants are called Nordlings. In our world, she would be of Swedish, Finnish or Norwegian origin. Netflix should consider this. I like diversity, but in this case, Netflix is not right, they are wrong.
    – Alex
    Sep 12, 2018 at 21:26
  • Well I do agree - check my own answer above. Just for the sake of argument, please note that her father and his whole family and her grandfather on the mother side were from various Nilfgaard provinces, so she could have skin could be closer to olive-Italian or suntanned Greek rather than pale Scandinavian.
    – Yasskier
    Sep 12, 2018 at 21:35
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    I know. However, this casting issue is a bad omen for upcoming Netflix series. The Witcher saga has plenty of space for diversity, but casting Ciri as not white and pale is not right decision. As of August 2015, six weeks after its release date, the game (The Witcher / The Wild Hunt) had already sold 6 million units worldwide. And game has 9,8 rating on IMDB. You should take this in consideration while planning a Netflix series. Yes, the game is based on the Witcher novels, but - whether you like it or not - if there were no games most of the world would have never known about the books.
    – Alex
    Sep 12, 2018 at 22:10
  • I believe this quote is accurate. Yes - this is after a battle where Ciri has lost blood and she could be pale for that reason. But it is also the first time Ehmyr ("the officer") sees her, and he is no doubt searching for a likeness with her parents.
    – Amarth
    Oct 1, 2019 at 20:31

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