In The Time of Contempt, when Geralt fights Vilgefortz on the isle of Thanedd, it is implied that Vilgefortz is not human, or at least not merely human (emphasis mine):

A few weeks later, having been healed by the dryads and the waters of Brokilon, Geralt wondered what mistakes he had made during the fight. And came to the conclusion that he hadn't made any. His only mistake was made before the fight. He ought to have fled before it even began.

The sorcerer was fast, his staff flickering in his hands like lightning. Geralt's astonishment was even greater when, during a parry, the staff and sword clanged metallically. But there was no time for astonishment. Vilgefortz attacked, and the Witcher had to contort himself using body-swerves and pirouettes. He was afraid to parry. The bloody staff was made of iron; and magical to boot.

Four times, he found himself in a position from which he was able to counterattack and deliver a blow. Four times, he struck. To the temple, to the neck, under the arm, to the thigh. Each blow ought to have been fatal. But each one was parried.

No human could have parried blows like that. Geralt slowly began to understand. But it was already too late.

However, as far as I know this is never explained, neither in The Time of Contempt nor in any of the following books in the series. What is Vilgefortz, if not merely an extremely skilled human?

  • 1
    Good question, bothers me since I first read that part. Alas, no word of Godm and not much canon information exists. Jun 29, 2018 at 22:38
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    It's not just the fighting skills, though - it's also how he fought Yennefer later. I know she wasn't in her best condition, but still, I expected them to be more or less on the same level Jun 30, 2018 at 19:22

1 Answer 1


Vilgefortz was a prodigy

Many people describe Vlgefortz as extremely talented man - he is young (relatively speaking) but already obtained considerable power. On top of that, one of his parents was a sorcerer - something that doesn't happen often (and something he has in common with Geralt), since magic users are usually sterile:

‘The Druid Circle in Kovir,’ the wizard took a moment ‘found me in the gutter in Lan Exeter. They took me in and educated me.[..]‘And then,’ continued Vilgefortz ‘during some druidic rituals my talents surfaced. Talents that clearly and without a doubt allowed them to determine my origins. I was conceived, of course, by accident, by two people, of whom at least one of them was a sorcerer.’ "Time of Contempt

People born from sorcerers are special - not always in a good way:

No one is born a wizard. We still know too little about genetics and the mechanisms of heredity. We sacrifice too little time and means on research. Unfortunately, we constantly try to pass on inherited magical abilities in, so to say, a natural way. Results of these pseudo-experiments can be seen all too often in town gutters and within temple walls. We see too many of them, and too frequently come across morons and women in catatonic state, dribbling seers who soil themselves, seeresses, village oracles and miracle-workers, cretins whose minds are degenerate due to the inherited, uncontrolled Force. [...] But I repeat: no one is born a wizard. And no one should be born one! "The Poisoned Source" by Tissaia de Vries

In case of Geralt, it manifested as an unusual strong resistance to the mutagens, allowing him to survive the more advanced procedures in Kaern Morhen. In case of Vilgefortz it could manifest itself in skill in both magic and physical combat (especially since he had experience as a soldier). On top of that, his talent in magic (and as shown later - complete lack of empathy and morals) would also easily let him experiment into turning himself into powerful combatant. This can be actually pretty common thing - sorcerer Istredd from "A shard of ice" was also (apparently) very skilled in sword fight.

  • Perhaps Istredd was skilled, but Geralt considered his attempts to duel with him, to be rather suicidal.
    – Mithoron
    Aug 7, 2019 at 21:26

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