The first trailer for Netflix's The Witcher offered fans their first look at the characters, including a different version of the sorceress Yennefer than some might be used to seeing. Since she is one of the three protagonists in The Witcher, Yennefer's appearance in the trailer and subsequent transformation may provide insights into her character development over the course of the first season.
Netflix's Witcher will follow three characters: Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), Ciri (Freya Allan), and Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra). All three characters are endowed with magical abilities, making them powerful sorcerers and fighters capable of taking on any evil they face in their homeland, The Continent. Yennefer is both a love interest to Geralt and a mother figure to Ciri, but it's clear from the trailer she is also so much more thanks to her powers as a sorceress. The Witcher is adapted from the fantasy novel series of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski. A video game franchise from CD Projekt Red also exists, but it reportedly doesn't directly inform the series. Because of the decision to adapt from the books, fans should expect details from the characters' backstories (Yennefer's included) to be included in the series.
In the first Witcher trailer, which debuted at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Yennefer is revealed to be much different than what fans who've encountered her in the video games might expect. Here she has a disfigured jaw and is a hunchback — two physical features which are pulled straight from her backstory in Sapkowski's books. As the trailer shows, Yennefer's physical transformation is directly linked to her being taught magic. The more power she acquires, the more capable she becomes at changing her physical form. This is previewed in two quick, successive shots of Yennefer's eyes turning purple as the magic flows through her and then screaming in front of a fire as she likely removes her physical disfigurements. By the end of the trailer, she has completely changed, having removed her hunchback and straightened her jaw.
The trailer teases Yennefer's transformation, which in turn tells viewers The Witcher is interested in showing more of her backstory and her life before she became a sorceress. In addition to the trailer, clips were shown at SDCC 2019 previewing each of the series' protagonists. Screen Rant's Molly Freeman reports the first clip previewed of Yennefer's backstory shows her pre-transformation, sitting on a beach with a dead baby girl beside her. The very dark clip continues with Yennefer sharing that it might be better that the child died, because women are simply treated as vessels in her world.
It's a very unsettling way to get across Yennefer's core view of the world she lives in. She sees women treated poorly and will inevitably push back at those gendered stereotypes throughout the series. Her actions will no doubt be fueled by the cruelty and mistreatment she endured due to her physical disfigurements earlier in her life.
Yennefer's appearance in the first Witcher trailer indicates showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich has done her homework, and will remain faithful to Sapkowski's novels. What it also tells us is Yennefer will become a force to be reckoned with as she allies with Geralt and Ciri over the course of season 1.