Eight signs Geralt of Rivia is autistic
The second season of The Witcher is out; have you binged it yet? As I re-watched season one and dove into season two, I found myself relating to the main character, Geralt of Rivia, in a number of important ways. Ways that overlap with my autistic traits — and made me see Geralt as a stealth autistic person, too.
This isn’t meant to offer a definitive guide to autistic traits, just a fun way of relating to a popular but quirky and taciturn character who, like many autistics, is treated like an outsider because of his differences. Enjoy — and if you see yourself in these words, welcome.
This article does NOT contain spoilers beyond the first season of The Witcher.
1. He doesn’t say much.
When socializing, autistic people often operate at extremes: either we can’t stop talking, or we say very little. Geralt of Rivia is known as a man of few words, many of them either “hmm” or “fuck.”
2. His senses are very sensitive.
Sensory sensitivity — to the point of being easily overwhelmed by sensory input — is incredibly common among autistic and other neurodivergent people. Geralt can hear, smell, and see monsters long before anyone else does, and is so attuned that he can knock a crossbow bolt out of the air.
3. He often prefers the company of animals.
Many autistic people struggle with social interactions and the unwritten rules of communicating with their fellow humans. Animals often feel much easier to understand and relate to. Geralt often talks to his horse, Roach, even when the people around him think it’s weird.
4. People think he doesn’t have emotions.
It’s a common misconception that autistic people don’t have feelings, or can’t feel empathy for others. Everyone assumes Geralt is the same way, but it’s clear he feels things deeply, and even falls in love. Watch his eyes. It’s all there.
5. He has special interests
One of the classic autism traits is a deep and abiding interest in one or more subject areas. Geralt has (at least) two: monsters, and fighting. We see him overhear and correct misguided conversations about monsters, and we see him training even when it’s clear he’s at the top of his game.
6. He doesn’t sleep well
Geralt only sleeps a few times in the series, and when he does it’s brief, or because he’s gravely injured. Most of the time he stays awake during the night, protecting himself or others. Autistic people often sleep poorly because our nervous systems are always keyed up, and because our circadian clocks are delayed.
7. People call him a mutant.
Technically speaking, Geralt and the other witchers have gone through some biological changes that make them stronger, faster and able to do magic. But because of his differences, people often avoid him, calling him a monster or a mutant. Autism is still quite stigmatized, forcing autistic people to hide their traits or be treated as different or damaged.
8. He has a deep sense of right and wrong.
Geralt is a skilled fighter who faces a lot of enemies — both among monsters and among humans. But he avoids killing out of anger or fear, and in many situations (the striga, Renfri) he tries not to kill a monster, in the hope that there’s another solution. Several times he says he only kills to save the lives of others, and he generally lives by that rule, even when it makes life more difficult. Autistics often have a strong (even rigid) sense of right and wrong, and a drive to fight for justice and the rights of others.
What do you think? What other autistic traits do you recognize in Geralt of Rivia? Comment with your thoughts.