The Witcher (The Last Wish)

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Title: The Witcher (The Last Wish)
Author: Andrzej Sapkowski
Publication Date: 1993
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Language: English
Book File Type: PDF
Adaptation: Yes
Series Release Date: 20 December 2019

The Witcher Book Series is a seven-book collection written by Andrzej Sapkowski. The first book in the series is entitled The Last Wish. The Last Wish is a compilation of seven interrelated short stories, which serve to build the foundation of the witcher series. However, before each short story, there is a brief framing story called The Voice of Reason. These framing stories help the reader to transition from one short story to the next.

The Voice of Reason ‘1’

In the land of Ellander Iola, a mute priestess of the Melitele faith wakes Geralt, who is resting in the temple. Geralt and Iola, proceed to make love and the pair fall asleep from fatigue. Geralt begins to dream of his last nearly fatal encounter with a striga.

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The Witcher

Geralt notices a poster requesting the services of a veteran monster hunter. Geralt deciding to take up the job enters the town of Vizima. Geralt entered Vizima focused on vanquishing a monster, but shortly found himself in a bar brawl. The fight, unfortunately, ends with him claiming the lives of three men.
His actions cause him to be taken to Velerad, the lord of the castle in Vizima. Velerad begins by questioning Geralt about his actions but later seeks his assistance. Geralt comes to learn from Velerad, the origin of the monster he is to kill.
The monster’s origin begins with Foltest, the King of Temeria, who impregnated his sister Adda. However, Adda along with the couple’s daughter passed away during labor. They were both laid to rest in a double coffin, near the castle where the couple lived. This was the case until seven years had passed. The daughter of the siblings emerged out of the coffin as a striga and began its killing rampage.
Geralt soon meets with King Foltest, who requests him to not harm but to cure his daughter if possible. Foltest shares that a wizard said, that if the striga is prevented from returning to her coffin, by the third crowing of the rooster, she would be cured, and return to human form. However, Foltest also shares that he is somewhat skeptical of the wizard’s words, and gives Geralt permission to kill the striga if she cannot be cured.
King Foltest had escaped his daughter’s rampage by moving into a new castle. Geralt thus spends the night at the King’s former castle, to confront the striga. While Geralt’s waits for the monster to appear, Lord Ostrit, a magnate from Novigrad, approaches him and tries to persuade him into leaving. Ostrit’s ultimate goal is for Novigrad to rule over Temeria. To achieve this, Ostrit is trying to turn the support of the people away from King Foltest by portraying him incapable of protecting his people. However, Geralt is uninterested in Ostrit’s request and knocks him unconscious and then uses the body as bait for the striga.
When the striga appears, Geralt immediately engages her in combat. Geralt, knowing the weakness of a striga attempts to bind the creature with a silver chain. However, to Geralt’s great surprise, the creature breaks free. The creature’s assault then continues but Geralt manages to scare her off by using his magic. After the striga disappears, he rests until the coming morning.
As Geralt awakes, he finds the body of a young girl lying on the ground. He approaches what appears to be an unconscious child. However, Geralt is swiftly slashed across his throat by the creature. Afterward, the striga fully returned into human form while Geralt lost consciousness.

The Voice of Reason ‘2’

Geralt and Iola wake up when Nenneke enters the room. Iola rushes out of the room, leaving Geralt to have his injuries assessed by Nenneke. The pair eventually begin to speak about faith, where Geralt makes his stance on faith known.
Later while exploring the temple, Geralt once again finds him in a discussion with Nenneke about faith. She attempts to persuade Geralt into undergoing a trance, as she senses something off about him. Geralt refuses because he believes that someone would need to have faith in the trance for it to work. Nenneke informs him that the opposite is the case.

A Grain of Truth

As Geralt rides his horse, Roach through a valley, he notices a wake of birds circling over a specific area in a closeby woods. The witcher journeys to the location and finds the corpses of what he assumes to be a merchant and a young woman. Geralt decides to investigate and ventures down the path he thinks they traveled. Geralt encounters a battered manor enclosed by a tall wall, with a gate. Shortly after Geralt enters the manor’s yard, man-beast charges at him with its full speed. The witcher is unmoved by the man-beasts’ antics. Eventually, the man-beast realizes that his attempts to scare off the witcher are in vain and begins to converse with Geralt. The witcher learns that the man-beast is the lord of the manor and also his name Nivellen.
Nivellen invites the witcher into his home where they have dinner and during the meal, Nivellen speaks about his past. Nivellen shares about his family history and even how he came to have his current form. Nivellen explains that he was a normal man until he gave in to the peer pressure, and raped a young priestess.
Nivellen begins to make comparisons between his life and the stories written in fairy tales. The fairy tales of his interest are about beautiful young women transforming beasts back into men. Therefore there is no surprise when he optimistically states that there may be a grain of truth to the tales. Nivellen has lived with many young women and explains that he knows that just living with them is not enough to break the curse.
Dinner ends, Nivellen escorts the witcher to the door. Before Geralt departs, Nivellen speaks about the nightmares he has had recently. He shares his fear that he may fully become a monster and asks Geralt to kill him if that day comes. The witcher agrees to his request and leaves but spends the night in the nearby forest. Suspecting that Vereena maybe a bruxae Geralt returns the following day, with a silver sword in hand. Geralt soon after enters in combat against Vereena. Vereena’s attacks with great agility and forces Geralt to defend. The battle shifts more in Vereena’s favor, but before a fatal wound is delivered, Nivellen intervenes. The tides turn against Vereena, but before her last breathe, she breaks Nivellen’s curse using her blood. Geralt escorts Nivellen away from the manor, while Nivellen, now in human form, fires multiple questions at him.

The Voice of Reason ‘3’

Nenneke delivers a tongue lashing to two knights from the Order of the White Rose, sent on a mission by Hereward himself. Falwick, count of Moën and Sir Tailles of Dorndal, are the names and titles of the knights. The knights command Geralt to leave the temple. However, Nenneke denies their command, as the temple is not under the authority of royals. Tailles throws down his gauntlet and demands to duel Geralt. Nenneke again intervenes and refuses to acknowledge his challenge. The knights eventually to leave, while dropping various remarks and also vowing to return. The knights refer to Geralt as the Butcher of Blaviken in their marks. This mention of one of the witcher’s aliases introduces the following short story.

The Lesser Evil

Geralt carrying the remains of a kikimore enters Blaviken. The witcher is in search of Caldemeyn, the town’s alderman, to collect a bounty for the monster. Unfortunately, Caldemeyn advises Geralt, that he is better off disposing of the beast in the town’s dump. A glimmer of hope shines, when a town guard informs Geralt, that the local wizard may pay him for the corpse. However, the wizard is far more interested in the witcher and requests to mee him alone. Geralt enters the wizard’s tower and realizes that the wizard is Stregobor. Stregobor is a wizard Geralt had previously met in Kovir. Stregobor states that he is hiding in the tower because he believes a cursed young woman desires to kill him. Stregobor begs Geralt to be his guardian, but the witcher dismisses the matter, as ridiculous and leaves.
Renfri, the cursed woman, enters Blaviken along with her group of hired hands. Geralt encounters the group at the town’s tavern, where a brawl almost breaks out. However, Renfri intervenes and deescalates the situation. Later that night, Geralt and Renfri converse in the attic of Caldemeyn’s home. Caldemeyn allowed them to spend the night in the makeshift apartment. Renfri shares with Geralt, everything about herself and tries to convince him that Stregobor, is the real threat. Geralt dismisses her assertions as he did with Stregobor. The pair later make love and fall asleep.
The next day arrives, and Geralt figures out Renfri’s real plan. She intends to murder the town folk to draw Stregobor out of hiding. This eureka moment leads Geralt to rush toward the marketplace. There he meets Renfri’s hired hands, with bloodlust in their eyes and engages them. The witcher takes the lives of Renfri and her group.
Stregobor, intent on proving that she was cursed, approaches Renfri’s body desiring to carry out an autopsy. However, the witcher stops him. Stregobor then escorts the witcher out of town, while the townsfolk hurl rocks at him. Caldemeyn, commands the people to stop their assault but also tells the witcher, that he is no longer welcome in Blaviken.

The Voice of Reason ‘4’

Geralt and Iola relax in the temple’s garden, while he shares with her the history of the witchers.

A Question of Price

As the story begins Geralt, is being prepared to be in the presence of the royalty of Cintra. Geralt is clean-shaven, washed, and given appropriate attire by the royal family’s servants and castellan. Cintra’s, crown-princess Pavetta, has turned fifteen years old, and many suitors have come for her hand. Geralt sits next to Queen Calanthe, while he questions the reason for his invitation. Dinner comes, and Calanthe shares her view of witchers. She also shares that she has invited him to ensure the outcome she wants for her daughter. Pavetta eventually shows, meekly making her way around the room. The peaceful atmosphere of the night is disturbed when an uninvited guest arrives at the throne room. The assembly then hears the approach of a knight full adorned in armor and spiked helmet. The knight introduces himself as Urcheon of Erlenwald. Calanthe commands Urcheon to do away with his helmet. Urcheon humbly explains that he cannot follow her request. He has taken a knight’s vow, which doesn’t allow him to do away with his helmet before midnight.
Urcheon then declares that Pavetta has been promised to him from birth, under the law of surprise. Calanthe acknowledges that Urcheon’s claim is justified. However, she explains that she is against giving her daughter away to a stranger. Meanwhile, the guests debate the credibility of Urcheon’s claim. Midnight comes and Calanthe, demands that Urcheon remove his helmet. He follows the order and reveals a beast-like creature covered in spikes. The queen declares that Pavetta must agree to Urcheon’s request before it can be recognized. To her mother’s great surprise, Pavetta agrees to go with Urcheon.
A brawl erupts, and guards and knights charge Urcheon, while Calanthe faints. Geralt and Eist Tuirseach, rush to Urcheon’s side to defend him. Pavetta is enraged when she sees her lover attacked. The force emits from the princess to a dangerous degree endangering the lives of everyone near her. Pavetta is luckily distracted by Coodcoodak’s animal voices, and Geralt calms the princess. Pavetta then moves, toward Urcheon and his form changes to that of a man. He then began to answer to the name of Duny. Pavetta and Duny explain that they have been secretly seeing each other for over a year. Calanthe, having regained her senses, now agrees for the couple’s marriage.
Duny expresses his gratitude to Geralt by offering to fulfill any request he makes. Geralt, through the Law of Surprise, requests that the couple’s unborn child becomes a witcher.

The Voice of Reason ‘5’

Dandelion, the bard and friend of Geralt, is introduced. Nenneke is not fond of Dandelion, but the duo has great chemistry. Geralt is thinking out loud about the shortcomings of the witchers. Dandelion offers Geralt nuggets of wisdom and asks him to recollect what happened at the Edge of the World.

The Edge of the World

This story begins with Geralt and Dandelion, stopping in Upper Posada in search of work. They spend a long time searching. The duo realizes that there is no work here for a witcher. The duo then heads toward the edge of the known world.
As they travel to Lower Posada, Dandelion notices a horse-drawn cart gaining on them. Nettly, a local farmer, reaches them, informing them that there indeed works for a witcher in Upper Posada.
Once in town, the town elder, Dhun, says that there’s a deovel that has been causing problems. However, Dhun, insists that the doesn’t want the beast killed. Geralt agrees to take a look into the matter.
Dandelion and Geralt encounter the deovel in the fields of the town. The deovel, however, throws iron balls at the pair and chases them away. Geralt confronts Dhun, Nettly, and Lille, the town’s wise woman. Lille reads an ancient tomb and Geralt, and Dandelion learns that the deovel is a sylvan.
Geralt and the bard return to the fields to attempt to subdue the sylvan. The sylvan reveals himself, Geralt persuades him into playing a game. At the end of the game, the sylvan narrowly escaped capture, but the duo was knocked unconscious. Geralt awakes to discover that he is the one captured while overhearing the sylvan in conversation nearby. The sylvan’s name, Torque, is revealed. Geralt turns to realize that Dandelion is also captured.
The Aen Seidhe elves become aware that their captives are awake. Toruviel and ill-tempered she-elf approaches them and breaks Dandelion’s lute while criticizing the musical ability of humans. She then begins to torment Geralt, but he manages to pin her down. The witcher then headbutts the elf and breaks her nose. The other elves prepare to fight, but another elf named Filavandrel arrives and halts them. The bard and the witcher, are tied to a pine tree, and the elves aim their bows at them.
The queen appears, and the elves stop in their tracks and kneel before her. The attack ends, and Torque frees Geralt and Dandelion. Toruviel gives Dandelion a new lute and elves part ways with Torque and the duo. The story comes with Geralt, Dandelion, and Torque gathered around a campfire, contemplating what is next for them.

The Voice of Reason ‘6’

Nenneke tends to the flora growing in the caves on the temple grounds. Geralt offers to give part of the bounty he has earned to the temple. Geralt asks Nenneke to send a portion to Yennefer, to aide in her search for a cure. Nenneke refuses, and the two begin to argue. Nenneke begs Geralt, to stay at the temple until he has fully recovered.

The Last Wish

The story begins with Dandelion fishing for the duos breakfast. The pair instead catch an ancient, sealed amphora. Dandelion tries to open the artifact despite Geralt’s warnings. The two wrestles over the artifact, and it falls and breaks. A red mist appears revealing a djinn. Dandelion begins to make his of three wishes, however, the djinn, opts to strangle him instead of granting a wish. Geralt uses the amphora seal on the ground, to carry out an exorcism. The djinn releases Dandelion from its grip, and it escapes into the river. The bard, unfortunately, has fallen ill.
The duo arrives at the gates of Rinde. A guard informs them that a letter of safe conduct is needed to enter through the gates at night. The royals of the country administer the letters. The guard allows the pair to spend the night in the gatehouse. That night Geralt makes the acquaintances of Chireadan Errdil and a Vratimir. They inform Geralt that magic is illegal within Rinde. However, the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg continues her magic work despite this.
At dawn, Geralt enters Rinde in search of the sorceress. After arriving at Beau Berrant’s home, Geralt creatively finds his way to Yennefer’s bedroom. Geralt wakes the sorceress from her sleep, and she abruptly asks him to leave. Geralt persuades Yennefer to help Dandelion, but after she takes a bath. The witcher admires Yennfer’s beauty while she bathes. After Yennefer gets dressed, she opens a portal to the inn where Dandelion is waiting.
Geralt sits downstairs, conversing with Chireadan as Yennefer examines Dandelion. Yennefer eventually calls Geralt upstairs, where he finds Dandelion peacefully asleep. Yennefer desires to be immediately paid for her services and informs Geralt that he is trapped in the room. Yennefer cast a spell on Geralt, which sent him on a rampage through Rinde. During the rampage, he punished anyone who had ever wronged Yennefer.
Geralt awakes to find himself sharing a cell with Chireadan and a few men. Three guards arrive, and one taunts Geralt, while his friends bind him. The guard then repeatedly punches the witcher in the gut. Geralt openly wishes for the guard to explode, and to the group’s astonishment, the guard does.
Later, Geralt is brought before the town’s mayor, Neville, and the priest Krepp. Dandelion suddenly enters the room from a portal that suddenly appears on the wall. Dandelion then declares to everyone resent that the witcher is innocent. Yennefer sent Dandelion through the portal, so he could use his last wish. This was done to free the djinn to allow Yennefer to capture it.
A thunderstorm roars outside, but the battle between Yennefer and the djinn can be heard and seen from the room. Geralt realizes that since he was the one holding the seal last the djinn instead granting his wishes. The djinn is still awaiting Geralt’s third wish thus he is not free. Geralt enters the portal intent on saving Yennefer, however, she’s only interested in the djinn. Yennefer sends Geralt through a portal to get rid of him but he hooks the sorceress and drags her into the portal with him.
The djinn continues to destroy the city, meanwhile, Yennefer and Geralt, exit the portal and she traps Geralt. The witcher explains the situation to Yennefer and she demands that he make his last wish. While rethinking his wish, Geralt sees Yennefer’s image before she became a sorceress. Taking this into consideration, he decides on his last wish.
The djinn is then unbound from the inn destroying it in its wake. Under the inn’s debris, Yennefer is embraced in Geralt’s arms and they begin to make love.

The Voice of Reason ‘7’

The last story takes place outside of the temple walls. Geralt and Dandelion are riding down a road when they’re abruptly surrounded by knights of the Order of the White Rose and a dwarf named Dennis Cranmer.
Geralt is forced to either accept Tailles’ earlier challenge for a duel or to face death. The rules of the duel dictate that if Geralt touches Tailles with his sword, he will also be put to death.
Geralt accepts the duel, and it’s a swift victory for Geralt. Geralt crosses swords with Tailles to block his attack, causing Tailles’ blade to cut his face.
Falwick seeing Taille’s wound commands that Geralt is seized, but Dennis stops him that Geralt didn’t break the rules of the duel. The witcher is then free to go.
Geralt and Dandelion depart and later make a brief stop back at the temple. Nenneke begs one last time that Geralt undergoes a trance, but the Witcher is still uninterested. Geralt then departs.

Quotes:

“To be neutral does not mean to be indifferent or insensitive. You don’t have to kill your feelings. It’s enough to kill hatred within yourself.”
― Andrzej Sapkowski, Krew elfów

“There’s a grain of truth in every fairy tale,”
― Andrzej Sapkowski, The Last Wish

“You’ve mistaken the stars reflected on the surface of the lake at night for the heavens.”
― Andrzej Sapkowski, Blood of Elves

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The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski

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