Netflix’s The Witcher season 2 trailer confirms the return of Joey Batey’s beloved character Jaskier, but why is the bard in jail to begin with?
Netflix’s The Witcher season 2 trailer sees Jaskier in jail, which is something of a surprise given the chronology of Andrzej Sapkowski’s original book series. The Netflix fantasy drama’s first season won many admirers by introducing a gritty world teeming with subversive fantasy elements and a smattering of well-timed dark humor. Jaskier the Bard (Joey Batey) is thrust almost immediately to the center of Netflix’s Witcher season 1 narrative after he and Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) are captured by the last elven king, Filavandrel (Tom Canton), forcing the two men to work together.
While Geralt and Jaskier enjoy a successful and humorous relationship for the majority of The Witcher season 1, the pair’s journey ends on a sour note toward the end of its story. Season 1, episode 6, “Rare Species,” ends with Geralt wrongly cursing the bard for all of his misfortunes after Yennefer wounds him emotionally. A distraught Jaskier leaves Geralt’s party as they’re traversing the dragon hunting path and is not seen again for the remainder of The Witcher’s first season.
The question of why Jaskier is in jail in The Witcher season 2 trailer boils down to his off-screen actions following the climactic events of “Rare Species.” Jaskier’s innate need to be part of a team and imbue others with his jovial nature means Jaskier likely became involved in a scheme that went south. Sometime between leaving Geralt’s camp and the scenes shown in The Witcher season 2 trailer, Jaskier landed himself in trouble and it’s an arc that isn’t without precedent in the books. This Witcher development is supported by his story in Sapkowski’s seventh Witcher novel, Lady of the Lake, which sees Geralt and Ciri rescue Jaskier while he awaits execution in a Toussaint jail.
Jaskier has been shown repeatedly throughout both the Netflix Witcher series and Sapkowski’s book canon to be a rather unscrupulous individual. While loyal to a fault and an undeniably talented songwriter, Jaskier is also shown to covet wealth and fame, as evidenced by his continued attachment to Geralt’s fabled deeds and life. While The Witcher season 2 trailer does little to point to exactly how Jaskier made it into his jail cell, there is plenty of evidence in The Witcher canon to understand how the bard might have been caught up in a scheme gone wrong.
In The Lady of the Lake, Jaskier is taken to the city of Toussaint after being (somewhat unjustly) marked for death due to his burgeoning jeweler’s business in Novigrad. The witch-hunter Menge takes issue with the wealth Jaskier is quickly amassing, leading the temple guard to arrest and detain the bard before condemning him to death. Jaskier rots in a jail cell for an indeterminate amount of time before Ciri and Geralt rescue Jaskier so that the bard may accompany the Witcher to Rivia to find his dwarven friend, Zoltan.
In this way, The Witcher books’ canon has already shed light on why Jaskier is incarcerated during The Witcher season 2. The bard has always canonically struggled when not by Geralt’s side, perfectly setting the struggles he faces after leaving Geralt’s camp in season 1. This would also explain why Jaskier is seemingly so willing to go with Geralt despite the bad terms on which they parted. Freeing Jaskier, a.k.a. Dandelion, from jail makes up just a small portion of The Lady of the Lake, but his rescue from jail in The Witcher season 2 may well carry much greater significance in the context of the Netflix series.
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The Witcher season 2 will be released on Netflix on December 17, 2021.
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