The Witcher showrunner breaks down season 2’s major death scene – and Henry Cavill’s surprise contribution

The Witcher
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has spoken about season 2’s most shocking death – and how Henry Cavill helped elevate the scene.

Warning: we're going into major The Witcher season 2 spoilers. Continue at your own risk...

The Witcher season 2

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Witcher season 2 wasn’t going to be without its fair share of turmoil and trauma. This is, after all, a Continent filled with monsters, rogue mages, and political strife.

But we weren’t prepared for this. When Geralt (and Ciri) help stave off an assault from a Chernobog, it’s Geralt’s trusty steed, Roach, that’s caught in the crossfire. 

Roach is mortally wounded at the hands – or, rather, claws – of the beast, and it’s up to Henry Cavill’s Geralt to put the horse out of its misery.

For Hissrich, it was a moment that had to happen – as the show’s leaps in logic (and time) could only take it so far.

"Witchers live a very long time and season 1 went through a lot of time and space. We were already pushing the boundaries of how long a horse can live," Hissrich tells GamesRadar+, while adding that he also gave the show a chance to add a new dimension to Geralt.

"One of the things I love about the books and the games is he continues to name his future horses Roach. I want to be able to start talking about that and who was Roach in his life and what happens when he loses his best friend? How does he gain a new one?"

The Witcher Roach death

(Image credit: Netflix)

As for the moment itself, Hissrich was adamant that it should be a major on-screen scene.

"In terms of how we killed off Roach – I thought, if we’re going to do this, I want to make it part of the story," Hissrich says. "I don’t want Roach to die off-screen and no one ever mentions it."

Surprisingly given his gruff demeanor, Geralt even has a few parting words for his long-time companion. Hissrich reveals that the monologue was all written by Henry Cavill, not the show’s writing staff.

"When we kill Roach on-screen, Henry actually wrote what he says to the horse,” Hissrich says. "It was wildly emotional… it really felt like saying goodbye to a character. We wanted to make sure that we honored it in the right way and that we made his death heroic."

Finished all eight episodes? You might need The Witcher season 2 ending explained guide to clear up some questions. Then there's the small matter of something tucked away in The Witcher season 2 post-credits scene that you really need to watch for yourself.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.