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The Witcher showrunner reveals why season 2’s controversial death had to happen

The Witcher
(Image credit: Netflix)

Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has broken down the controversial decision to kill off a fan favorite character in The Witcher season 2.

Spoilers for The Witcher season 2 follow…

During Netflix’s Unlocked show – which dived deeper into spoilers for the most recent season – Hissrich addressed the leshen in the room: why did Eskel (Basil Eidenbenz) have to die?

"We knew we had to kill someone in that episode," Hissrich explained. "The very first version of the script we wrote was a brand-new Witcher we had never met before. All of a sudden we were like, ‘Oh, our audience is going to meet Coen and Lambert and Eskel and John. Who’s going to die? John is going to die.’"

"We thought about it really hard," sh continued. "I know there are fans that love Eskel and feel like ‘Why would we do that?’ but, honestly, his death is what changes everything for Geralt. I think it propels Geralt’s need to figure out what’s going on with Ciri, and to do it fast, because he knows he’s going to risk losing her and his brothers if he doesn’t."

Fans have been less than happy with the deviation from the source material in The Witcher season 2, particularly with Eskel’s change in personality – and his fate. The reasoning might not dampen any fiery discourse in the coming weeks, but at least there’s some logic behind one of the season’s most shocking moments.

Finished all eight episodes? You probably have questions – and we answer them in our guide to The Witcher season 2 ending.

Bradley Russell

I'm the 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.