We think of Geralt as being the broken one; the mentally damaged one. He constantly bemoans the fact that he’s a mutant, unfeeling, emotionless, just a mechanical killing machine that society has the right to use up and discard once it has fulfilled its purpose and slain the monster. Throughout many of the stories, Geralt is told that because he’s a Witcher, he either is incapable of feeling emotions, or that he’s not allowed to feel whatever emotions he is capable of. We also think of Yennefer (or Triss, if you prefer) as being the thing that “fixes” him; who teaches him how to love.
The beautiful thing about Geralt and Yennefer’s relationship however, and one of the reasons I prefer it to whatever relationship he might ever have with Triss, is that it isn’t purely one-way. Yennefer doesn’t “fix” Geralt and that’s the end of it; he “fixes” her in an equally meaningful way. For as much as Geralt doesn’t believe he is capable of loving anyone, Yennefer begins the saga equally determined that she is incapable of being loved by anyone. Between being an unwanted baby, abused to the point of physical deformity (Yennefer was not born a hunchback, she became one by being beaten so badly), eventually being abandoned and saved by Tissaia de Vries, and then subsequently being told by her newfound mistress and idol that a sorceress must be aloof, cold, and strong (“Starting now you will never cry. There is nothing more pathetic than a sorceress in tears.”), the Yennefer we meet in the early stories, such as A Shard of Ice, truly believes that she is the Ice Queen the legends in Aedd Gynvael talk about. She believes she is this wanton, chaotic, destructive force of nature who is destined to destroy the lives of anyone she gets involved with, and she believes it because it keeps happening to her. She doesn’t believe she is capable of being loved, and so she feels no remorse for stringing Geralt or Istredd or any other man who claims to love her along and cheating on them because she thinks they are lying to her and to themselves about loving her. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; she doesn’t believe she can be loved, and so she tries to ruin anyone who attempts to love her, thus proving her own point.
A Shard of Ice is where we learn that Yennefer thinks like this, and it makes her all the more tragic of a character. Geralt isn’t the only one with his own mental demons here. Yennefer’s beliefs about herself are equally self-destructive, and it is their eventual union which “fixes” them both. Geralt learns from Yennefer that he is capable of feeling love, and, in turn, Yennefer equally learns from Geralt than she is capable of being loved. Geralt and Yennefer are partners in a way many fictional relationships don’t depict. They are equals, who both learn from one another, plot with and, sometimes, against one another, and both grow together as characters in equally meaningful ways.
People talk about disliking Yennefer in Witcher 3 because she’s too forceful or assertive, usually just simplifying it to calling her “bitchy.” I don’t look at Yennefer that way though. She is an individual with her own agenda and her own ideas of how to achieve what she wants. Unlike Triss, for example, who usually just goes along with whatever Geralt says and meekly waits for the protagonist to tell her what to do, Yennefer is capable of making decisions and getting results on her own. The thing that I like the most about Yennefer as a character is that she is her own person. She isn’t Geralt’s #2, she is Geralt’s partner.
INTJ: You are the coldest shard of ice, but also the hottest flash of lightning. You are the sofest velvet in a rose petal, and also the sharpest thorns underneath. You’re the terrifying depth to the ocean, and yet you are also the sun twinkling on the waves. You may be the sultriest summer day, but often you choose to be the quiet coldness of a winter morning. You are the calmest logic and also the roil of blood boiling under your skin. Of all these things, INTJ, you are a Paradox.
ENTJ: You are a screaming crowd, the rush of adrenaline pushing you further. The words I will not give up, a business contract with all signatures in place. You are droplets of blood-red ink, and the glint of sunlight off a reflective glass building. You are the gory beauty of a sunset before a storm, the soft certainty of a plant blooming each year. You are a mountain threatening to crumble, and a young tree that refuses to snap in the wind. You, ENTJ, are the confounding fluidity of Strength.
INTP: You are the rapid clicking of a rubix cube under clever fingers, the glint of dark steel, the soft sigh of rain on concrete. You are the flash of unexpected rage, the sound of a chair scraping against the floor as it is pushed hastily back. You are the flipping pages of a textbook, and the squint of eyebrows while reading scrawled writing. It is no wonder that you love asking questions so much, INTP, for you yourself are a Question.
ENTP: You are the flash of an old camera as a photograph is taken. You are the tinest licks of flame in a fireplace, and also the devastating blaze in a forest at the tops of the trees. You are a bright red canvas, washed over with every shade imaginable. You are the blackness of a pupil, going ever deeper in. You are the grafitti I see on street walls as I walk home at night, and the glimmer of icicles on a cold morning. You are the snapping of scissors being suddenly closed, and the sound of ripping fabric as it is pulled apart. You are the irregular motion of fingers tapping against the wooden table. You are both pleasantly warm and dangerously hot, ENTP, because you are Flame incarnate.
INFJ: I see the quiet strength in a mountain side in you, and yet I also see the dangerous temptation of a cliff face. You are the smooth rustling of a stream past rocks, but somewhere you become the roaring power of a waterfall. You are pure white sand and the burning heat on your feet from the sun; I see the softness of vanilla and also the sharpness of peppercorn in you. You are the warmth of the sun on one’s back, and the burning blaze of a desert’s surface. You are power in reserve and power in extremes, you are a dam holding back an entire lake and also the cracks threatening the stone deep beneath the surface. You are mocked as the ‘unicorn’, INFJ, but you prove yourself as something much deeper as the Moment Before a Wave Breaks.
INFP: You are the silken tinkling of water in a cave, and you are the echo of a terrified voice lost somewhere far beyond. You are gentle like a sheet of new paper, yes, but you are the stinging pain of a thousand inflicted papercuts. You are the burst of a flower blooming fast-motion on a camera, and you are the wilted petals underneath. I see the blur of water colours on the white of a desk, and also a room with no visible end or beginning. You are the sudden smile that appears for no reason, and the ugliest frown appearing like a storm. You are early mornings and quiet whispers, but most of all, you are Changes.
ENFJ: You are a mirage; the image of a shallow pool with a thousand feet of water underneath. You are dirt lining the cracks in one’s hands, and the threatening pull of mud under one’s feet. You are the purest feeling of happiness, and you are a maze with level after level. You are a bright blue shirt flipping on a clothesline in the breeze, and you are the flick of a light illuminating a dark room. You go many places and love to see new things, and that is well, for you are an Adventure.
ENFP: You of all others are a perennial favourite. You are the favourite younger sibling in a family, you are the warmth of protection glowing in one’s chest. You are waking up late on a slow day, and you are the beat of a song that plays during work. You are a child skipping rope on the sidewalk, and the wonder of a scientist testing an Element. You are pens scattered on a table in every shade of the rainbow, and the hopeless scrubbing of an eraser over paper. You are notebooks sitting in a shelf unused and half-finished art projects left for a soon-due essay. You, ENFP, are the Glow of Praise.
ISTJ: You are the crisp of white sheets being put on a bed. You are pancakes on a china plate, and black shoes polished to a shine. You are hair in graceful waves, and the graciousness of a smile. You are the furrowing brow of brewing anger, and the sudden splash of cool water on overheated skin. You are the beep of a heart monitor, and the prick of a needle on your finger. I see the quiet, far reaches of the ocean’s surface in you, and the grey shadow of sharks swimming somewhere below. You are not so easily stereotyped as boring, ISTJ; for you are Deep Water, slow to move and full of changes underneath unseen by those on the shore.
ISFJ: You are the glint of a sword being drawn free, and the warm smell of leather. You are the glossiness of a horse’s back, but also the sudden kick of fear. You are tiny smiles and curling fingers; a garden full of colourful flowers. You are the unexpected sting of poison ivy under one’s feet, and the soothing balm of chapstick over cracked, bleeding lips. You are a train rushing forwards, carrying thousands of pounds of cargo. You are the steady thrum of a heartbeat, a yellow ribbon wrapped around a present. You are still water in a vase, and the sudden frustration of broken glass and spilled liquid on the floor. Well are you called a defendor, ISFJ, because you are a Strong Wall, full of the tiny cracks that come with humanity and yet standing strong for all those who need you.
ESTJ: You are the click of an old typewriter’s keys, the soothing hum of a printer completing its task. You are a smile showing teeth, and the biting nip of the cold outside. You are the comfortable feeling of coming home, and a suitcase lying, half-packed, on the floor. You are the beautiful sound of a violin playing, and you are the sobs it so often draws out. You are an army of baked goods resting on a kitchen counter, and the smile on a child’s face. You are the secret desire for untested things, and you are a kind email directed at someone who needs it most. You are always accomplishing things, ESTJ, for you are an accomplishment yourself. Finally, you are spinning in a desk chair unobserved, for you are the Sense of Satisfaction.
ESFJ: You are the flick of long hair over shoulders. You are gift bags resting on the floor at a party, and the sparkling bubbles of champagne. You are the terrifying shriek of a hurricane and hands wrapped around a warm mug. You are striped colours on a wall and the ticking beat of a watch on one’s wrist. A lively tune on the piano, the blur of 3D movies without glasses. You are the feeling of wandering across a busy city at night, and shaking hands gripping each other. You are as delightful to some as you are strange to others, ESFJ: you are an Unexpected Surprise.
ISTP: You are bubbles rising in a beaker, a baseball slamming into a glove. You are the curl of lazy smoke, and the sheen of sunglasses in the daytime. You are the age-old familiarity of denim, and the crisp cleanness of a white t-shirt. You are a smooth voice making love to the microphone in your hand, and the faint rasp of a speaking voice afterwards. You are a comb moving through hair over and over again, and the yawn unrestricted by a covering hand in a classroom. You are narrowed eyes moments before a game, and the passionate sting of a sudden kiss to the mouth. You and your eagerness, ISTP, are the easy impatience of a Rumbling Engine, desperate to move.
ISFP: You are paint rubbed smudged on a nose, and freckles washed over cheeks. A whisper louder than any scream could be, steam rising from a cup of hot chocolate. You are the bright green of grass in the summertime, and the wilting curl as it shies away in the Autumn. You are a picture of two lovers hugging, their faces absolutely at peace. You are the tossing of a ship in a storm, and the glint of a seashell on damp sand. You are the trusting curl of a child’s hand in your own, and the flash of pain when one bites their tongue. You are Rafflesia arnoldii and Wolffia growing together in a field, some strange combination that manages to be beautiful. You, ISFP, are the Beat of a Dragonfly’s Wings, beautiful and fragile and quick to escape.
ESTP: You are a thousand screaming voices in a stadium, and also the shaking earth underneath. You are a building standing proud and tall, full of life and energy and bustling movement. You are a fist holding the ribbon attached to a medal, and the rumbling growl of a motorcycle’s engine. You are the sting of cold air in the lungs on an early morning, and sparks crackling off a bonfire. You are a tree in the woods, being hacked to the ground, and you are a weed growing rampant in an abandoned garden. You are a force to be reckoned with, ESTP, and a formidable one at that, for you are Determination.
ESFP: You are the twirl of a new dress in the mirror, and the shredding of fabric under a foot. You are a newly polished mirror and shards of a broken glass on the floor. You are the pettiness of envy and also the beauty of magnitude, the gloss over pictures in a magazine and the sound of feet moving on a dance floor. You are the excited shout of a new discovery, and the shattering loss of a loved one. I see the allure of a late night, and the glow of string lights in you, and the rapid beat of a lunar moth’s wings. It is easy to see why you have such quickness in everything, ESFP, for you are Movement.
You are the coldest shard of ice, but also the hottest flash of lightning. You are the softest velvet in a rose petal, and also the sharpest thorns underneath. You’re the terrifying depth to the ocean, and yet you are also the sun twinkling on the waves. You may be the sultriest summer day, but often you choose to be the quiet coldness of a winter morning. You are the calmest logic and also the roil of blood boiling under your skin. Of all these things, INTJ, you are a Paradox.