When I created Yennefer’s character I wanted Geralt to fully grow, but then I decided to make things complicated. I created a female character who refuses to be a fantasy stereotype. To please the reader.
|— Andrzej Sapkowski|
Yennefer of Vengerberg was born on Belleteyn in the year 1173. She is a sorceress, and once resided in the capital city of Aedirn. She is the youngest-ever member of the Council of Sorcerers, and was later a target recruit for the Lodge of Sorceresses. She was and is romantically involved with Geralt of Rivia, and has served as a mother figure to his ward, Ciri. The lady of Vengerberg is famous for her beauty, beauty which has remained despite her stated age of 94 years (as of the events of The Tower of the Swallow.) She is well known for wearing black and white clothing, and using lilac and gooseberry perfumes. She has remarkable violet eyes and raven black hair, and is a quadroon of Elven ancestry (meaning her blood is ¼ elven).
Like most sorceresses, Yennefer is sterile. At one point, she secretly sought a way to restore her fertility, but failed. In lieu of caring for biological children, Yennefer has acted as a mother to Cirilla — the child destined for Geralt by the Law of Surprise. She taught Ciri about magic while in Ellander, at the Temple under the watchful eye of Nenneke.
Yennefer first appeared in the short story "The Last Wish" (found in The Last Wish short story collection). She later appeared in other short stories, including "Granica możliwości", "Okruch lodu" and "Coś więcej", one "non-canon" short story: "Coś się kończy, coś się zaczyna", and of course all the novels in the Witcher saga.
It is implied in the story "The Last Wish" that her attractive looks were a product of magic and had been acquired during her training, as with most other sorceresses. Geralt notes how her shoulders are slightly lopsided and by the end of the story realizes that Yennefer used to be a hunchback. Nevertheless, his love for her does not diminish.
- "Yennefer of Vengerberg, the true love of the witcher Geralt, hero of Sodden Hill, and at one point the youngest member of the Council of Sorcerers, is undoubtedly one of the most talented magicians of our time. Initially, it must be said, we did not get along very well. Would you believe that I once heard the rumor that for years she "despised me like the bubonic pleague"? At that time, my own feelings toward her were also less than cordial. This likely stemmed from the fact that, as Geralt's devoted friend in a world often equally hostile to witchers and to true artists like myself, I always felt in my duty to take the witcher's side in the many crises that emerged during his often-tempestuous relationship with the sorceress. All that changed several years ago, when a band of ruffians abducted and tortured me in the hopes of extracting Geralt's whereabouts. Suddenly, Yennefer entered the scene like an avatar of vengeance, her eyes flashing fire as she meted out justice upon those villains and saved me from a certain death. Later she told me that she had actually held me in high regard for some time, for I was the witcher's ever-faithful friend and had never abandoned him, no matter what dire circumstances befell us. And so, Yennefer and I have been friends ever since. When I asked her to explain matter relating to magic, its history, and the laws that govern it, she agreed, though not without some hesitation."
Early Life Edit
"Adept's name: Yennefer
Former name: Jenny
After initial testing confirmed her magical talent, the adept was admitted to Aretuza's first class. The girl comes from a pathological family- her father abused her psychically and physically, and her mother failed to support her. This rejection and abuse were likely precipitated by the deformation of the girl's spinal column and scapula (she was a hunchback), or possibly by her mixed human-elven bloodline (she is a quarter elvish, and her mother a half blood).
It was undoubtedly the lingering effects of these traumatic childhood experiences that drove her to attempt suicide soon after admission to our academy. The girl tried to cut open her forearm veins and ended up inflicting serious tendon damage (healer documentation attached for reference).
Despite the above, the adept was personally recommended and very highly graded by the Chancellor of our Academy, Archmistress Tissaia de Vries. Her deformities and tendon trauma were corrected with the use of higher magic during her first year, and her further education has fully vindicated the Chancellor's high opinion.
Adept Yennefer is a highly talented and determined student. Her results on subsequent exams have remained excellent."
-Fragment of the records of the sorceress school in Aretuza on Thanedd Island
Yennefer does not appear in The Witcher (PC). However, she is indirectly mentioned on several occasions.
- In the Inn in the Outskirts of Vizima, Geralt can talk to a bard, who tells him about Dandelion, and about the ballads of the White Wolf Dandelion's sung. Among them the tale of how "Geralt married a sorceress and they live somewhere on the happy isles".
- At the very beginning of Chapter III, Triss tells Geralt that "the last time (she) felt this way, (Geralt) and a sorceress were playing with a genie".
- In Chapter III, talking to the butcher, near town hall, you can ask him " Do you recognize me? anything about me?" he answers " They say you chase anything in a skirt, but you're a real dog for sorceresses, Supposedly, you loved one once "
- In Chapter IV, the innkeeper of the Country Inn at Murky Waters can tell a tale about Ciri. Near the end of it, he says that the sorceress the witcher loved tried to revive him, but died in the process.
- If Geralt chose Triss as Alvin's guardian in Chapter III, and if he answers king Foltest when questioned about their relationship that he really loves Triss, the update on the Identity - quest says, among other things: "My amnesia prevents me from remembering our relations in the past, but I have the impression I once loved a sorceress, deeply..."
- In Witcher DLC "Side Effects" made by CD Projekt Red as part of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, Dandelion asks Geralt during their second conversation in jail :" ...and what about you and Yennefer?" And Geralt says to him: " I don't want to talk about this."
Yennefer appears in flashbacks in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
In an optional encounter at the very beginning of the game Geralt (still without his memory) meets the Crinfrid Reavers where they mention that they were intending to rape the sorceress and not him (during the events of Sword of Destiny). Despite this they fail to remember her name believing her to be called "Connifer".
In the end of the game it is revealed, that Yennefer is probably alive, but has amnesia like Geralt, and that she is located somewhere in Nilfgaard.
Yennefer is a main character in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Yennefer had a note delivered to Witcher Geralt of Rivia stating that she needed to meet him urgently. Yennefer had given them a location to meet her, however the village was destroyed forcing her to flee towards White Orchard where Geralt alongside another witcher Vesemir lost her trail. Unknown to the witchers, Yennefer had then gone to Vizima, however as they had asked the nearby Nilfgaardian general for information towards her location the general informed Yennefer of this. Knowning the witcher would be Geralt Yennefer travelled to meet him immediately before taking him to Vizima to meet Emperor Emhyr var Emreis. En route, they are ambushed by the Wild Hunt, who slay their Nilfgaardian escort, before Yennefer destroys a bridge to prevent the Red Riders from pursuing them.
As it has turned out Yennefer had learned from the emperor that Ciri had returned to this world and that the Wild Hunt was pursuing her. After Geralt's audience, Yennefer explained that she had been using all manner of spells and rituals to try and track Ciri, only to alert the Hunt to her efforts. Therefore, she decided to rely on more conventional methods by turning the best tracker she knows. She agreed along with Geralt to search for Ciri. She decided that he would search Velen and Novigrad for her whilst deciding to investigate Skellige herself.
Geralt later rendezvoused with Yennefer in Skellige during King Bran of Skellige's funeral, where she explained that she suspected Ciri to be behind a cataclysm on the eastern end of Ard Skellig but Ermion, another of Ciri's tutors, refused to let her access the site, until they spoke with Crach an Craite. Afterwards, Yennefer and Geralt attended a wake at Kaer Trolde, where they stole the Mask of Uroboros, which possessed the ability to see the past events of the place it is viewed it. Upon arriving at the devastated area, they were confronted by Ermion, who warned them that it could only be used once and that using it will bring a cataclysm upon Skellige. As Geralt argued with Ermion, Yennefer went deeper into the devastated area and activated the mask, which caused a storm. Geralt ran to Yennefer and, using the mask's power, they found a place in the area where the elven mage had disintegrated a member of the Wild Hunt, then opened a portal and fled with Ciri. Ermion arrived soon after, and the two told him what they have found out. Ermion revealed to them that the Wild Hunt was recently seen on Hindarsfjall, so Geralt and Yennefer went there to investigate.
Upon arriving to Hindarsfjall they went to the village of Lofoten, where the women were performing a ritual. Yennefer and Geralt interrupted them and asked about the Wild Hunt and Ciri. They were told that Ciri has been in the village, and that she was seen with a man they referred to as Craven. The two of them were in the stables right before the Wild Hunt arrived and attacked the village, killing many of its inhabitants. When asked about Craven, the women said that he went to the sacred garden near the village to defeat Morkvarg, some time after the incident, so Yennefer and Geralt went there to find him. In the garden, they found a body, and Yennefer decided to use necromancy to make it speak. The man's real name was Skjall. From what the body said, they learned that Ciri left with the elven mage on a boat as they were being chased by the Wild Hunt. Later on, Uma arrived on the same beach. After hearing the whole story, Yennefer forced the body to go back to its dead form. Yennefer's usage of necromancy drained all the magical power from the sacred garden, which the villagers of Lofoten didn't take lightly, and they blamed Yennefer and Geralt for not respecting their customs and beliefs. Still, Yennefer didn't care much about villagers' opinions, and she and Geralt ignored their claims. After leaving the garden, Yennefer asked Geralt to meet with her in Larvik, another village on Hindarsfjall, if he wanted to help her with something.
Geralt met Yennefer at the inn of the village, where she told him she wanted to tame a djinn that belonged to a mage who sank his ship near Larvik harbor. They searched around the bay for the wreckage, until Geralt found a large crater on the bottom of the sea, and half of a seal inside it. He returned to Yennefer on the boat at the surface, and they concluded the mage asked the djinn to teleport him somewhere, which caused a part of the ocean's surface to teleport as well. Yennefer used the part of the seal to open a portal near the other half. Upon going through the portal, the two of them found themselves on top of a mountain, with the wreckage laying nearby. At this point, Yennefer confessed to Geralt that she needs a djinn to remove Geralt's last wish, which was to bind the two them forever, so that she could see whether they truly love each other or if they are together because of the magical bond. The player can decide how Geralt would feel about this. Going through the wreckage, they found the other half. Yennefer connected the pieces which summoned the djinn. After a battle, they tamed it, and Yennefer commanded the djinn to remove the magic between her and Geralt. After this, they decided to sit on the edge of the ship, and Yennefer confessed to Geralt that she still has feelings for him. At this point, the player can decide whether Geralt also keeps his feelings for Yennefer or if he is no longer in love with her. This choice doesn't affect gameplay as much, but it is crucial to the ending itself, and Geralt's fate.
After sitting some time on the edge of the ship, Yennefer opened a portal to her room at the Kaet Trolde inn, and they returned there. They knew Uma (also known as 'the ugliest man alive') was somehow important to finding Ciri, and asumed that it is probably a human, but under a curse. Yennefer decided to go to Vizima to report to the emperor, while Geralt went off to get Uma. Afterwards, they were to randezvous at Kaer Morhen and decide what to do with the cursed being.As Geralt was on his way to Kaer Morhen with Uma, he was intercepted by Nilfgaardian soldiers, and brought to Vizima to report to Emhyr himself. Yennefer was also there, and the two of them explained to the emperor what they found out and what their plans were. Afterwards, Yennefer teleported to Kaer Morhen with Uma, while Geralt went there on his horse. Upon arrival, she started ordering everyone around.
- The witcher first met the raven-haired sorceress a good twenty years back. Their friendship and feelings between them were born of a common adventure involving a genie and a wish granted to Geralt that intertwined their fates inextricably.
- In the time since then their relationship had, however, been quite stormy - rich in ups and downs, crises and break-ups. Geralt and Yennefer's love provides irrefutable proof that "opposites attract."
- A few years ago Geralt and Yennefer had, after a long separation full of adventures for them both, gotten back together again. Their moment of repose was interrupted by the Wild Hunt, which took Yennefer captive. The witcher set out at once to save her, but lost his memory while doing so. When he finally recovered it, he immediately set off once more on his quest to find his beloved sorceress.
- The circumstances of Geralt's initial reunion with Yennefer after two years were quite different than he had imagined. The sorceress was not only safe and sound, but had even secured the aid of an unexpected and mighty ally - the Nilfgaardian Empire.
- If Geralt romances Yennefer in Skellige
- A thick air of repressed hostility reigned during Geralt's time with Yennefer in Skellige. More than once the sorceress sharply expressed her displeasure, sparing no cutting remark - just like during the best years of their relationship. In the end, however, the witcher's patience was rewarded, and their expedition to retrieve the mask of Uroboros brought the former lovers back together.
- The gulf that had arisen between them during their time of seperation seemed that much narrower.
- In order to obtain the information they needed Yennefer did not hesitate to resort to necromancy, and destroyed the goddess Freya's garden while doing so. If the proud sorceress felt any guilt as a result,as usual she showed no sign of it.
- If Geralt helps Yennefer in The Last Wish (quest)
- The idea of hunting another genie together did not at first arouse Geralt's enthusiasm, but Yennefer had a truly valid reason for wanting it. If she succeeded in forcing the genie to take back the wish binding her to the witcher, she would finally know if the feelings between them were truly love or merely magic.
- If Geralt tells Yennefer he loves her in The Last Wish (quest)
- The genie granted Yennefer's request and broke the thread of destiny binding her to Geralt. Luckily it turned out their love could continue - without the need for supernatural assistance.
- Though the sorceresses' difficult character had made life miserable for everyone at Kaer Morhen, in the end it was her stubborn determination that led to Uma's disenchantment and lifting of Avallac'h's curse.
- Yennefer had always felt some ends justified otherwise unsavoury means. When it became clear rescuing Ciri would require the help of Philippa Eilhart and the other sorceresses of the reviled Lodge, she forgot about any bad blood and convinced Emhyr to grant them amnesty.
The sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg - a one-time member of the Lodge of Sorceresses, Geralt's love, and teacher and adoptive mother to Ciri - is without a doubt one of the two key female characters appearing in the Witcher books and games. The books provided our artists with a greate deal of detailed information about Yennefer's appearance, including everything from her hairstyle, figure, and height to the color of her eyes and hair to such nuances as the shape of her face and nose. All of these traits were considered while drawing the concepts and creatin the model for this sorceress. 
Quotes from Sapkowski's books Edit
=== Official translations ===
- "A pale triangular face, violet eyes and narrow, slightly contorted lips appeared beneath the black tresses...She had pretty shoulders, a shapely neck and, around it, a black velvet choker with a star-shaped jewel sparkling with diamonds."
- —The Last Wish (short story) The Last Wish (p. 226). Orion. Kindle Edition.
- "The sorceress finished fastening the straps of her slippers and stood up. Even in high heels, she wasn’t impressively tall. She shook her hair which, he found, had retained its picturesque, dishevelled and curling disarray despite the furious combing."
- —The Last Wish (short story) The Last Wish (p. 232). Orion. Kindle Edition.
- "He saw her left shoulder, slightly higher than her right. Her nose, slightly too long. Her lips, a touch too narrow. Her chin, receding a little too much. Her brows a little too irregular. Her eyes . . . He saw too many details. Quite unnecessarily."
- —The Last Wish (short story) The Last Wish (p. 236). Orion. Kindle Edition.
- "How ravishing she is, he thought. Everything about her is ravishing. And menacing. Those colours of hers; that contrast of black and white. Beauty and menace. Her raven-black, natural curls. Her cheekbones, pronounced, emphasising a wrinkle, which her smile – if she deigned to smile – created beside her mouth, wonderfully narrow and pale beneath her lipstick. Her eyebrows, wonderfully irregular, when she washed off the kohl that outlined them during the day. Her nose, exquisitely too long. Her delicate hands, wonderfully nervous, restless and adroit. Her waist, willowy and slender, emphasised by an excessively tightened belt. Slim legs, setting in motion the flowing shapes of her black skirt. Ravishing."
- —A Shard of Ice Sword of Destiny (p. 110). Orion. Kindle Edition.
- "She also possessed a very expertly stuffed unicorn, on whose back she liked to make love. Geralt was of the opinion that if there existed a place less suitable for having sex it was probably only the back of a live unicorn. Unlike him, who considered his bed a luxury and valued all the possible uses of that marvellous piece of furniture, Yennefer was capable of being extremely extravagant. Geralt recalled some pleasant moments spent with the sorceress on a sloping roof, in a tree hollow full of rotten wood, on a balcony (someone else’s, to boot), on the railing of a bridge, in a wobbly boat on a rushing river and levitating thirty fathoms above the earth. But the unicorn was the worst. One happy day, however, the dummy broke beneath him, split and fell apart, supplying much amusement."
- —A Shard of Ice Sword of Destiny (pp. 102-103). Orion. Kindle Edition.
- "She looked him in the eyes and nodded her head lightly, making her glistening, black curls writhe and cascade down to her shoulders. She slipped the roast chicken onto a trencher and began dividing it skilfully. She used a knife and fork. Dandilion had only known one person, up until then, who could eat a chicken with a knife and fork as skilfully. Now he knew how, and from whom, Geralt had learnt the knack. Well, he thought, no wonder. After all, he did live with her for a year in Vengerberg and before he left her, she had instilled a number of strange things into him."
- —Blood of Elves (p. 31). Orion. Kindle Edition.
- "‘The earth which we tread. The fire which does not go out within it. The water from which all life is born and without which life is not possible. The air we breathe. It is enough to stretch out one’s hand to master them, to subjugate them. Magic is everywhere. It is in air, in water, in earth and in fire. And it is behind the door which the Conjunction of the Spheres has closed on us. From there, from behind the closed door, magic sometimes extends its hand to us. For us. You know that, don’t you? You have already felt the touch of that magic, the touch of the hand from behind that door. That touch filled you with fear. Such a touch fills everyone with fear. Because there is Chaos and Order, Good and Evil in all of us. But it is possible and necessary to control it. This has to be learnt. And you will learn it, Ciri."
- —Blood of Elves (p. 292). Orion. Kindle Edition.
- "A blinding flash materialised into a transparent sphere, and inside it loomed a shape, assuming contours and shapes at frightening speed. Dandelion recognised it at once. He knew those wild, black curls and the obsidian star on a velvet ribbon. What he didn’t know and had never seen before was the face. It was a face of rage and fury, the face of the goddess of vengeance, destruction and death."
- —Time of Contempt (p. 100). Orion. Kindle Edition.
=== Fan translations ===
- "Vilgefortz looked at the unconscious body being dragged across the floor towards the stairs that led into the dungeon. Then he looked up at Rience and Schirru. ‘There is always a risk,’ he said, ‘that one of you falls into the hands of my enemies and is interrogated. I would like to believe that you would be as strong minded as her under the screws. Yes, I would like to believe that. But I do not.’ Rience and Schirru remained silent. Vilgefortz turned again to the megascope, where an image appeared on the screen, produced by the giant crystal. ‘That’s all she located,’ he said, pointing at the screen. ‘I wanted Cirilla and she has given me the witcher. She did not have the empathic matrix of the girl, but when she became weak she gave me Geralt’s. I would not have believed she had such deep feelings for him…’"
- —The Tower of the Swallow
- "Yennefer of Vengerberg, black-haired, dressed in black and white composition, brought to mind December morning."
- —Sezon Burz
- During the events of The Witcher (PC) (year 1273), Yen is 100 years old.
- In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt there is a free DLC which gives Yennefer an alternative outfit.
- Yennefer of Vengerberg is voiced acted by Denise Gough in the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
- Both Ciri and Yennefer were born on Belleteyn - In The Voice of Reason Geralt thinks that's interesting coincidence.