The Other Side of the Coin – A Case for Triss Merigold

A few days ago, my phone vibrated in my pocket signaling I had received an email, Facebook update or a Twitter message. Pulling the phone out of my pocket and viewing the message under the table (as I was in a meeting after all), I saw that I had been tagged by friend and fellow writer, Paul Davis. A few moments later, I was free of the conference room and able to take look at what I had been attached.

The post was on the Witcher site. The picture? A remake of Marvel’s ‘Civil War’ poster to include two of Andrzej Sapkowski’s beloved characters from his Witcher saga. The question? Which team would you choose, Team Yennifer or Team Triss? Neatly tucked in the myriad of comments was Paul’s reaction, “Eric E. McClure. I know you are for Team Yen.” Of course, he was right. So I voted, as he had guessed I would, for Yennifer of Vengerberg and smiled at his opposing vote for Triss Merigold.

Oddly enough, I found myself reading the thousand-plus reactions of others. The number of votes for Triss was amazing enough, but the comments were very heart-warming (negating the prepubescent statements of some, of course). The posts, though there were similar ones for the character of Yennifer, were everything from fondness of her personality to borderline marriage proposals. This is impressive as I love a good character as any reader does and was happy to see the appreciation of what the author had created. Still, I voted for the other candidate.

Today, quite randomly, I found myself reflecting on how a well-written character touches the thoughts and heartstrings of a reader. Ever the curious monkey, I decided to consider why this particular character has taken, from what I can tell, the majority vote. To make it a bit more entertaining, I ‘invited’ my friend to do the same given he was the one that tagged me on the post. Here is what I came up with, Paul Davis…you evil little man. 😉

For those who have played the PC/Console games of the Witcher series, Triss is probably the second most recognizable character apart from the protagonist, Geralt of Riva. It makes perfect sense to me why so many, through seeing her partnership with Geralt, would consider themselves ‘Team Triss’. However, due to the challenge of this post, I feel that I need to push aside the ‘game’ and go to the source, which in my humble opinion are the books. Spoilers ahead.

Of all the pro-Triss situations I can remember from Sapkowski’s novels, I will fixate on one that would sway my vote. In the shortest of terms, it was a part in ‘Blood of Elves’ when Triss comes to help Geralt when he is confused about Ciri and her training.

In the Witcher world, boys are basically brought to a keep in Kaer Morhen to be trained as hunters of monsters. Within this training, these lads are given potions to augment their senses and mutate their bodies. The result of this training and mutation either creates a talented monster hunter or kills them in the process. This works well enough for the witchers, but Ciri is not a boy.

Crillia (Ciri) is taken to the keep for training but starts to show signs that she’s not always up to snuff. Geralt, emotionally dulled by all the potions one takes to become a witcher, finds himself unable to comprehend what is going on. Well, the reader can figure it out before our hero does. Still it is when Geralt calls upon the aid of Triss that it is laid out before us. Triss recognizes Ciri is coming into womanhood and the “men’s only club” hasn’t a clue how to handle it. It’s priceless to read. So despite Triss’s desires to have Geralt as more than a friend-with-benefits, she focuses on setting ground rule for the “men” to follow and helps Ciri to understand the changes in her body and the emotions that come with it.

Now, I could point to how often Triss helps Geralt, her epic powers as a sorceress, her personal drive for set goals, or even the romance aspect between the pair, but it is this particular point in the book where Triss endears herself to me. As a parent, I understand well enough the struggles of this time. Though Triss is portrayed in the books as more like an older sister to Ciri, few could state that her actions in this short segment in a young girl’s life does not give her ‘parent status’ kudos. I certainly do.

So, there it is. The other side of the vote. Triss Merigold is an amazing character both in depth and talent. She is easily lovable and shows a compassion that we, as readers, can relate to even when dealing with a harsh world.

There, I have done my part Mr. Davis. I’m eager to read your post defending Yennifer.

Cheers!
Eric/Mac

P.S. If you have not read the novels of Andrej Sapkowski, I obviously recommend them.

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  1. […] Second Note: I can’t believe I’m doing this. Here’s looking at you, Mac. (You can find the Team Triss opinion at his website at this link) […]

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