Earlier this week, Netflix’s upcoming fantasy series The Witcher made significant progress with the casting of Henry Cavill in the title role as the world-weary monster hunter Geralt. Fans of the novels and video game are anxiously awaiting additional casting details, and now they’ve gotten it — even if it’s perhaps not what they expected: a casting ad has surfaced that provides an idea of what producers are looking for in a young actress to play Ciri, the Lady of Space and Time.
The ad, from the National Youth Centre of Great Britain, specifies the actress must not be older than 18, and that they’re looking for a “BAME” actress — that is, someone is black, Asian or minority ethnic — and provides a character description:
“CIRI can often be found rough-housing with the Palace hands instead of sitting in finery at the knee of the QUEEN CALANTHE, her grandmother. That is, until Cintra is massacred by the Nilfgaardians and CIRI is orphaned, left to traverse THE CONTINENT, alone. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s a direct descendant of LARA DORREN, an Elven Mage – which is why everyone in our series is after her. We follow CIRI as she evades her captors, and in the meantime, discovers her magical talents, her dark side, and the role she is to play in the coming apocalypse. We are looking for an extraordinary young talent to lead this series. She should be brave hearted and MUST have something truly special about her.”
The ad also offers a brief description of the show’s plot, and what Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri will be doing over the course of the eight-episode first season: “Bound together by destiny, often against their will, the three must navigate THE CONTINENT together. And Geralt and Yennefer realize that they must protect this girl – who might just destroy the world. Need we say more?”
Showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich has expressed a deep respect for author Andrzej Sapkowski’s work, and has stated multiple times that she wishes to remain faithful to the novels where possible. This ad proves that, from a narrative perspective, the adaptation will do just that. Although her race or ethnicity may be changed for television, Ciri’s story and personality will reflect the character described in the novels.
Ciri first appears in the 1992 short-story collection Sword of Destiny, in which Geralt finds her as an orphan in the forest of Brokilon and saves her from Dryads. Although Ciri wished to journey with Geralt, the witcher placed her in the care of the druid Mousesack in Cintra, to the morth of the continent. Unfortunately, her troubles didn’t end there. In their conquest, Nilfgaard marched north and slaughtered Cintra. Ciri escaped and wandered the Northern Realms, eventually coming across the wife of a traveling merchant, who adopted her. However, her stay with the couple didn’t last. With little money, the merchant, who had just been saved by none other than Geralt of Rivia, offered what he found at home but did not expect, as dictated by the Law of Surprise. It was destiny that Geralt and Ciri would meet again, and the witcher knew it, which is why he ultimately took her in as his own.
Ciri was trained at Kaer Morhen under the supervision of the sorceress Triss Merigold, although she never underwent the mutations to become a witcher. It was during that time it was discovered there was more to Ciri than met the eye: She possessed the Elder Blood, which meant she had a natural affinity for sorcery, in large part because she was a descendant of Lara Dorren, a powerful Elven sorceress.
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