This chapter contributes to the growing body of the scholarship on The Witcher — the internationally acclaimed transmedial universe originating from the bestselling literary series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski — by examining the central heroine of The Witcher’s storyworld, Cirilla of Cintra, as the heroic habitual Final Girl. Introduced in 1987 by Carol J. Clover, the trope of the Final Girl — the solitary female protagonist who manages to survive the fury of the psychopathic killer — remains relevant for understanding the cultural representations of women today. Primarily applied in horror film studies, the concept of the Final Girl has long reached beyond its traditional horror/slasher territory, crossing over into other media and genres and moving away from its traditional formula of woman as victim in order to mobilise more progressive female characters.

Seen through the framework of the Final Girl, the storyline of Cirilla offers a productive space in which to explore popular culture representations of female empowerment, agency and victimisation, monstrosity, and the resolution of trauma. Drawing on Andrzej Sapkowski’s literary series The Witcher and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich’s Netflix television show under the same title, this chapter explores the ways in which Ciri responds to the trope of the Final Girl, following the path trodden out by Clover’s model — only to stray from it in climactic moments in search for more rewarding resolutions. Sapkowski’s heroine proves to be capable of surviving an endless cycle of ordeals and of defeating not one but multiple psychopathic foes. Rather than through the death of the villains, however, the catharsis is produced through the heroine’s recognition of violence and hatred as inadequate responses to evil. It is not the violence she performs but the heroic decision to withhold the final blow that speaks of her empowerment, and which allows the heroine to expand and redesign the trope of the Final Girl, shifting from the figure of monstrosity and victimisation into the figure of hope and futurity.