The first episode of The Witcher introduced Renfri, a cursed princess with an interesting backstory, which was left aside in the series.
The Witcher season 1 introduced some of the most notable characters from this universe, among those Renfri, who even though had a brief appearance in the series, had a big impact on Geralt’slife. Based on the book series of the same name by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher made its debut on Netflix in December 2019, and given the popularity of the stories, it was renewed for a second season before the first one was released.
The team behind The Witcher decided to approach Sapkowski’s stories differently and chose to focus on three characters, whose stories were set in different places and points in time, with their paths converging towards the end of the season. These characters are Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), the title witcher; Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra), a powerful sorceress with a difficult past; and Ciri (Freya Allan), the crown princess of Cintra. But before Geralt finally found Ciri and before he met Yennefer, he came across another female character who gave him a big clue of what was going to come: Renfri, played by Emma Appleton.
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Renfri appeared in the first episode of the series, where after battling a kikimora, Geralt entered the town of Blaviken. Soon, Geralt found himself in the middle of a conflict between Renfri and sorcerer Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen), as they wanted Geralt to help them kill the other. In an attempt to stop her from killing Stregobor, Geralt killed her men and fought Renfri, fatally wounding her. Renfri’s final words told him of a girl in the forest who would be his destiny forever (referring to Ciri, who is bound to Geralt by the Law of Surprise). Like in the books, Renfri was a cursed princess-turned-bandit who Stregobor had been hunting for years, but the series failed to explain why exactly they hated each other as well as the rest of Renfri’s backstory.
Renfri appeared in the story “The Lesser Evil”, found in The Last Wish, and she was the daughter of Fredefalk, prince of Creyden, and stepdaughter of Aridea. Her story is a darker version of Snow White’s, as Renfri was born during the Black Sun, a prophesied eclipse that would bring the end of the human civilization by the hands of sixty girls born during it. Through Nehalenia’s Mirror, Queen Aridea learned that Renfri would kill her and many others, and so she told the Council about it, who sent Stregobor to investigate. Stregobor reportedly saw her torture and harm other beings, and after some tests concluded she was a mutant and cursed from being born during the eclipse. Aridea later hired a thug to take her into the forest, kill her, and bring back her heart and liver, but the thug instead robbed and raped her. Renfri killed him and fled, and over the next four years, she became known as “Shrike” because she used to impale her victims. Aridea hired another assassin to kill her, and even tried to poison her with an apple, but Renfri survived every attempt – Aridea, on the other hand, died from poisoning, and Stregobor believed Renfri was to blame.
Renfri continued robbing, and at some point lived with a king, but she ended up leaving to go after Stregobor. Once she arrived at Blaviken, she met Geralt, who came passing through. The rest of her story happened pretty much the same as in the Netflix series, with her and Stregobor trying to get Geralt to help them kill the other. Geralt killed her after he cut one of her leg arteries, and he threatened to kill Stregobor if he touched her, as the sorcerer wanted to do an autopsy on her body. However, the Netflix series gave her a deeper connection with Geralt, aside from warning him about his Child of Surprise: Geralt took her cloak brooch and mounted it onto the hilt of his sword, as a reminder that he “shouldn’t get involved in the affairs of men” because they always lead to his own pain (in the book, Renfri used her brooch to kill the thug that raped her). Although Netflix’s The Witcher didn’t give Renfri enough time for her full story to be known, it made her an unforgettable character by having her remind Geralt of his destiny and by adding something personal to Geralt’s sword.
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