Netflix’s The Witcher is known for tackling several subplots simultaneously, with one following Yennefer disobeying The Brotherhood and freeing the Niflgaardian commander, Cahir. Yennefer’s decision comes as no surprise for readers of the books and players of the games but may have been confusing for viewers of the show. While Yennefer is known for her impulsive nature, most of her decision-making throughout The Witcher series serves a purpose.
Cahir is introduced in The Witcher season 1 as a Nilfgaardian commander who is in charge of the invasion of Cintra and determined to capture Ciri, who she names the Black Knight. The final episode of season 1 shows Cahir and Fringilla commanding the Niflgaardian Empire’s army against the wizard’s army at the Battle of Sodden Hill, where Yennefer used fire magic to win the war. Upon their defeat, Cahir was taken as a prisoner by the wizards for further questioning, while Yennefer was presumed dead. However, at the start of The Witcher season 2, audiences learn that Yennefer is alive but powerless, with her return to the Brotherhood creating anxiety for Stregobor, who does not believe in her loyalty. Therefore, Stregobor accuses Yennefer of being a Niflgaardian spy, stating that she must kill Cahir or reveal to the Brotherhood that she had lost all of her magic to proclaim her innocence. Instead, she surprisingly frees him.
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Related: Why Yennefer Lost Her Powers In The Witcher Season 2
As Yennefer states at the end of The Witcher season 2, episode 3, she did not free Cahir to help him, but rather to help herself. Unfortunately, neither of the options presented to Yennefer of Vengerberg in The Witcher was perfect, with both resulting in far worse consequences. If Yennefer had killed Cahir, then that would have meant that she would become a pawn to The Brotherhood. Furthermore, as he is in his jail cell, she also states to Cahir that she does not kill without purpose. On the other hand, admitting that she had lost her powers to The Brotherhood would result in the Brotherhood’s elders gaining political influence, leaving her vulnerable. Therefore, Yennefer cuts Cahir free from his chains in front of the Northern kings and queens and escapes with him, hoping that returning Cahir to Cintra will restore her powers.
Yennefer Has Betrayed The Brotherhood Before
While Yennefer’s betrayal of The Brotherhood may seem confusing, it’s important to note that this wouldn’t be the first time she has gone against them. In The Witcher season 1, after she discovers that she is being sent to Nilfgaard rather than Aedirn due to her Elven blood, she refuses to attend the mage initiation. However, she refuses to miss her opportunity for beauty and power and demands that the enchanter goes through with the initiation, leading her to win her spot as the wizard of Aedirn as she initially wished. Furthermore, she also disobeyed The Brotherhood by coming to the aid of the wizard army during the Battle of Sodden Hill and defeating the Niflgaardians.
Yennefer’s character in The Witcher, despite her faults, has never been one for politicizing, which is why it has been so easy for her to betray The Brotherhood, particularly in regard to saving Cahir. However, regardless of the option picked from what The Brotherhood provided, she knew neither was the right one. Continuously Yennefer has always placed herself and her own motives first, which is what makes her such an interesting character within The Witcher series.