Season 2 of The Witcher has made plenty of changes to everyone’s status quo. Many of these changes have been positive. But there’s one change that has made everyone sad. This is because Roach gets killed at the beginning of episode 6.
The episode is quite aptly titled “Dear Friend…” Now, even though there are other tragic character deaths throughout the season, like Geralt’s friend and fellow-Witcher Eskel, but Roach’s death comes off as particularly shocking as well as unfair for myriad reasons.
But it needs to be noted that her death was necessary for The Witcher’s plot in some major ways.
The main plot and theme of The Witcher season 2 are Ciri coming to terms with her powers and Geralt helping her while also fulfilling his duty to keep her safe.
A major chunk of the season also follows Ciri’s Witcher training. In the books, Eskel is the one who carries out this training, but in the Netflix show, Geralt’s other friends are also included.
The central conflict is regarding Geralt’s desire to protect Ciri and Ciri’s wish to get stronger in any way she can. The princess also punishes herself subconsciously for her role in Cintra’s fall and its destruction.
This tension boils over between episodes 5 and 6 of season 2. This is when Geralt stops Ciri from becoming a Witcher. Ciri takes this as evidence that he really doesn’t care about her and that all she is to him is a burden to protect.
During this argument, the Chernabog kills Roach.
Roach’s death is a resolution to Geralt and Ciri’s disagreement, which is a central conflict of this season. The aftermath of Roach’s death proves that Geralt does indeed have a caring side despite having a reputation as a fearsome Witcher.
Adding to this, the horse’s death plays a major role during the ending as now Ciri and Geralt have to travel without a horse. We all know that Roach means more to Geralt than just a mode of transportation, and the way he handles her death shows that.
But it needs to be acknowledged that her death is ultimately a plot point to bring Geralt and Ciri closer, and also to make the journey more difficult from them on.
Just minutes before Roach gets really wounded, Ciri tells Geralt that he doesn’t really care about her emotional needs. She says:
“All you care about is your damn duty.”
“I do understand.”
Now, his words are not enough on their own. But his reaction to his beloved horse’s death quite certainly is. Geralt gives his steed his last blessings before putting her out of her pain and misery.
The generally calm and put-together Witcher is upset and visibly shaken the entire time. Ciri notices this. Before it seemed like Ciri believed that Witchers didn’t have any human feelings.
But after meeting Vesemir and Geralt in season 2, as well as seeing Geralt’s emotional connection and pain after Roach’s death, she changes her mindset.
So even though her death is unfair and sudden, but it’s certainly necessary because it quite clearly illustrates Geralt’s emotional and soft nature. It’s something that the audience as well as Ciri was unaware of before.
The horse Roach’s death is definitely one of the saddest deaths of the season because it happens suddenly and also because the animal has no choice in anything during the entire event. This is unlike other Witcher deaths. But her sacrifice doesn’t go in vain.
It helps strengthen Ciri and Geralt’s bond while also providing a traveling obstacle. This adds stakes and drama to the plot. Due to such reasons, no matter how tragic Roach’s death is, Witcher season 2 had to kill off one of the characters Geralt loved from the beginning- Roach.
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