After appearing in The Witcher, Season 2, episode 1, “The Grain of Truth“, questions arose about whether Nivellen (Christopher Hivew) was alive and whether he could return in season 3. Cursed to be a beast as punishment for raping a priestess, this episode concluded ambiguously for Nivellen: he killed his lover Brooks and he lifted the curse, but it was unclear what awaits the converted person ahead. The last public meeting with him focused on the departure of Geralt (Henry Cavill) after he suggested that Nivellen commit suicide.
The first season of The Witcher tells about Geralt of Rivia and Princess Ciri (Freya Allan), when they were united by prophecy and fate. In the second season, episode 1, because of a mysterious abandoned settlement, Nivellen offered them shelter. Despite his monstrous appearance, Nivellen promised them safety. However, he sheltered Brooks, the monster responsible for the abandoned village, whom, out of love, Nivellen kept on a diet of his own blood. Geralt fought with Bruxa to protect Ciri, and Nivellen dealt a fatal blow, regaining his human form. Nivellen then asked Geralt to kill him, realizing that looks didn’t make him a monster; actions did. So Geralt left him to make his own choice.
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It’s unlikely that Nivellen will return in season 3 of The Witcher, because his inclusion was a belated tribute to book fans. He appeared in Andrei Sapkovsky’s only short story “The Last Wish”, and the self-contained episode of the show corresponded to the structure of the source material. The author’s version of the “Grain of Truth” occurred before the meeting of Geralt and Ciri, which means that Nivellen should have appeared in the first season, and not in the second. the very episode that started it all.
It is expected that the open plots presented in the previous season will be the focus of the third season of The Witcher, leaving little room for further study of the character of Nivellen. These include the return of the Elder Blood, the White Flame of Nilfgaard and the Wild Hunt. It is important to note that each of them was related to Ciri, and at the end of season 2, Geralt’s priority was to ensure her safety. Nivellen deliberately put her in danger, making her doubt that Geralt would allow their paths to cross again. In addition, “The Witcher” often adhered to the structure of the “monster episode”, when the beast was introduced and executed within an hour of execution. It is likely that the “Grain of Truth” was such an episode when Brooks is dead, and Nivellen is exposed as an even bigger monster.
The story of Nivellen is connected with one of the central themes of The Witcher — people have a greater capacity for evil than monsters. Nivellen’s decision to rape someone separated him from the thoughtless ferocity of a Goblin or a Chernobog. It was an important message, but also the last one. Nivellen did not return to the books. However, the series is known for its deviation from the source material, so the episodic role of Nivellen in the third season will not be implausible.
If Nivellen is not in the third season, it will not necessarily confirm his death. Even in the guise of a beast, Nivellen admitted that he tried to “end it.” Love was the cure for Nivellen, and with Brooksa’s death, he embraced the idea again, but there was no indication that he acted on it. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if Nivellen was alive. His confession of rape forever ostracized him from both Geralt and the public. Fans of the Witcher books were appeased by the unexpected hint of the source material, but they should not have high hopes that they will see Nivellen again.