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One of most engaging aspects to the first season of Netflix's adaptation of The Witcher was watching the combustible chemistry between the witcher Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) and the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra). Theirs is the definition of a mercurial, drama-filled relationship, as Season 1 features several episodes where they meet and hook up — which unfailingly leads to Yennefer yeeting herself out of whatever town they're in with nary a look back. As dysfunctional as they are, audiences couldn't get enough of these messy kids and the hope has been that The Witcher Season 2 would find them reuniting once more.
Warning: This story contains spoilers for The Witcher Season 2, Episode 6, "Dear Friend."
That hoped for coming together took a while, but the two, separately, found themselves at Temple of Melitele in Ellander in Episode 6. Up to this point, Geralt has been under the assumption that Yenn perished at the Battle of Sodden Hill, so the moment they lock eyes, it's a moment fraught with surprise, gratitude, happiness and passion... sorta. Audiences get the major lip-lock they were hoping for as the two run at each other like magnets — per usual — but then they get interrupted by young Ciri (Freya Allan) who is savvy enough to know Geralt doesn't do that with just anyone.
Anyone expecting Ciri's exit stage left to reignite the fires was disappointed, though, when the trio ended up having tea together. Tea?! What gives?
Curious about if that moment was written to get explicitly steamy — there was a bed right behind them in the shot — we went right to the source, Henry Cavill, to ask how he and scene partner, Anya Chalotra, prepared for that huge moment in the Season 2 storyline. And yes, he implied the script inferred more, but that he and Chalotra advocated for much less.
"Well, one always rehearses these things to a degree," the actor tells SYFY WIRE of their personal prep for the scene. "Anya is an exceptional actress and when it comes to these things we do like to keep it fresh and as real as possible. And so if one over rehearses then it takes some of the magic out of the moments."
However, Cavill says what took up most of their attention was just how far to take their passions in the scene, which he says was originally written to go a lot farther. "We just wanted to be very careful that it was true and real and it didn't turn into something that we, as actors, didn't believe it should be," Cavill explains. "We wanted it to be emotional rather than sexual. It was really, really important and we had to lean away from what was originally on the page."
The actor says the pair discussed with the producers their concerns. He says they pleaded the case that, "These are people who believe one thing about the fate of another, and then find out something else is true," he says of Yenn's presumed death, so a sexual experience made no sense to them.
"That's not how they behave," he asserts. "How they behave is they just want to be with the person and emotionally recognize their existence again in that shared space. So, Anya and I worked to make sure that that was an emotional beat rather than anything else."
As a fan of the books, Cavill is often an advocate for Geralt's motivations in any given scene, which he talks about in-depth in our exclusive interview with him and creator/showrunner, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, which you can read here.
Season 2 of The Witcher is now streaming on Netflix.