Headscratchers: The Witcher

  • The whole Vain Sorceress thing makes no sense. Almost all girls with Gift that are sent away by their parents are either disfigured or from extremely poor families. Or both. This is explained that no-one wants to sent away their daughters, because that means no heritage. But in given settings women don't inherit anything, are a trading good in marriage and are expected to do nothing more exept being good wives and mothers, no matter what is their social status. And marriage means dowry. It's also common knowledge that people with Gift are in almost all cases sterile, so there is no real chance that your daughter will give birth to bunch of kids. On the other hand, magic users have access to trendemous power, both literally and by means of diplomacy and wealth. So if everyone is so pragmatic with family management, the best way to use your Gifted offspring is actually sending it away for magical training (which goes for free and you are paid for it) and then raking actuall profits from having a sorceress in your family.
    • None of this happens, because author needed a steady pool of Broken Bird characters.
    • The issue of infertility is described in unclear terms. On one hand, many characters react as if it was magic itself that was the cause of infertility. On the other, it was stated outright that — at least — one very influential magician called for forced sterilisation of magic adepts, specifically to prevent uncontrolled proliferation of magical talent. Regardless of any other conclusions (or cans of worms to open), it implies that magic doesn't cause infertility in every case.
    • The wizard students have it hammered into their heads that they're supposed to be above familial or even national loyalties. This, presumably, severely hampers the milking of profits, especially as young wizards don't have a whole lot of push. On the other hand, in light of Season of Storms it still doesn't explain everything.
  • Population. It's stated numerous times that humans came to this land at some point in the past, sailing from somewhere. Word of God says that humans landed less than five centuries in past, in group of less than ten thousands. That means Writers Cannot Do Math combined with Artistic License Biology - human population in short stories (which take place a generation before saga) is counted in millions. To actually reach so high numbers humans would have to literally mate like rabbits with zero fatality before reaching maturity. To made this worse, there were two huge wars during that period - Last Stand of elves and war known as Falka's Rebellion, the second one being a rather recent blood-bath spanned across nations. Not to mention smaller wars, diseases, famine, monsters...
    • IIRC, it wasn't ever mentioned that the First Landing was the only landing. The Connection of Spheres made it possible to directly sail from the Old World without using portals or other magic, and it's entirely possible that the colonisation continued for decades, if not centuries. I might've missed some cue or Word of God, but it appears that the population continued to grow due to resettlement in as major way as simple breeding.
  • We know that the elves somehow opened a cross-world portal and evacuated from the dying world. But how exactly did they manage that? The elves from another world can only manage short jumps, and probably couldn't help with such a big project.
  • In The Blood of Elves, Geralt takes an elixir in preparation for a fight that increases his combat prowess but has the detrimental side effect of lowering his rationality and reducing his control over his emotions. When he sees a group of assassins approaching, he notes to himself that he doesn't want to kill them but that if a fight starts he will have no choice, due to the elixir's effect on his mind. And indeed, he is so overcome with anger during the fight that he butchers all of them in gruesome ways. However, before his fight with the striga in The Last Wish, he took several elixirs that had a similar effect on his combat prowess but obviously without the drawback, as he maintained strict control over himself during the course of the fight. He was very careful to hurt the striga without causing any lasting injuries. So if Geralt has elixirs that can enhance his abilities without robbing him of some of his mental faculties, why didn't he take one of those instead of the one he used in The Blood of Elves?
    • As I recall, the elixir he took in The Last Wish only enhanced his senses to a supernatural degree, allowing him to sense the Striga's position perfectly at all times. He did the fighting itself with his own skill.
  • Why, in Lady of the Lake, do Geralt and Yennefer decide to commit suicide? I mean, I get that they think it's Better to Die Than Be Killed (and given Nilfgaard's methods of execution they're probably right), but Yennefer is no longer wearing her Anti-Magic shackles, so she could just teleport them to Kaer Morhen the instant the guards looked away. Is it just a case of Honor Before Reason, since they promised to follow through with it?
    • And what would they do next? Because for sure not living happy ever after. Ciri stays with the emperor, no matter what they do. And the emperor wants them dead, but in his courtesy he's leaving behind a dagger. So no, they have no reasons or purpose to escape, since there is nothing left for them to live for.
    • Or you can treat it as a Schmuck Bait. Since they didn't commit suicide and Ciri is with them, most of the readers relax and assume it's an Earn Your Happy Ending. The author decided to still go with Kill 'em All and Torch the Franchise and Run plans he had for a while, providing a fake Hope Spot for extra sadism.
      • And now he turned around and said that they lived after all, even if the games are in a separate continuity.
  • So why exactly does Geralt grab his sword by the blade for some finishers, and somehow kill his enemies with the shaft? It doesn't even qualify as Rule of Cool because it just looks plain weird and should logically hurt his hands, given how hard he swings it...
    • Geralt uses a bit of Confusion Fu and Intimidation Demonstration along with his widely employed Combat Pragmatism, embedding the cross-guard into an opponent's jugular would make a gang of footpads think better about further tangling with the Witcher.
    • Grabbing the sword by the blade is a real swordfighting technique. The guys who made the combat choreography for the game were well aware of it. Apart from Rule of Cool, it makes perfect sense against the tough opponents — in Real Life this kind of stuff was meant to get through full plate armour.
    • Some medieval longswords even have an unsharpened portion of the blade called ricasso, which is specifically intended to be grabbed onto in combat and used for thrusting and heavy cleaving attacks against a heavily armored opponents, much like a polearm would've been used.