Immersed in Witcher fantasy: The Lady of the Lake

INTRODUCTION

We have reached the end of the main story arc within the book series and the book that I have been referencing to multiple times throughout my articles: The Lady of the Lake. I like to describe this book as a near-perfect ending to an incredible fantasy series. It has so much within it and does not disappoint fans who have stuck with the series since The Last Wish.

Synopsis of The Lady of the Lake: Ciri, the witcher girl, Princess of Cintra, and Child of the Elder Blood escaped from her pursuers through a portal in Tor Zireal, the Tower of the Swallow. Rather than finding freedom on the other side, Ciri found herself imprisoned in the world of the elves who wished to use her powers for their own gain. To escape the horrors that await her, Ciri delves deep within herself to discover her true power: the power to travel through space and time. With so many ill intentions pursuing her, Ciri must travel across different worlds to reunite with the ones she longs to see most: Geralt and Yennefer.

As I have mentioned, so many references can be found from this book in Witcher III: Wild Hunt. All of the references are incredibly important in this book and actually help to make certain parts and elements in the game make more sense. Hang in there, everyone. One more article after this and we have made it through ALL of Sapkowski’s books.

**MAJOR SPOILER WARNING: All right, everyone, given this is the final book in the series, there are some MAJOR spoilers coming up and I am not going to leave anything out that I have found. If you do not want the ending spoiled, PLEASE STOP READING NOW.**

 

THE LADY OF THE LAKE

No, players, this is not the Lady of the Lake you are thinking about who gives Geralt his Aerondight. And no, book worms, it is not the Lady of the Lake from Arthurian Legend (though this reference is closer to Sapkowski’s version). The Lady of the Lake found in this story is actually a sorceress named Nimue who lives on the island of Inis Vitre on Loch Blest.[i] Nimue is a sorceress who is obsessed with the legend of Ciri and learning the truth behind her tale.

Now why would anyone be interested in Ciri’s story? Or more importantly, how does anyone know her story? It turns out, the legend of Ciri and Geralt went down in history because of all who knew their story and passed the legend down from troubadours and wandering story tellers. Of course, as all stories do when they are passed from person to person, the story of the witchers was changed, but Nimue was determined to discover the truth behind the legend. To find this truth, she summoned the oneiromancer Condwiramurs Tilly to her island to help her dream the truth behind the legend of the witcher girl. While Corrine Tilly from Witcher III: Wild Hunt does not make an appearance in any of the books, it could be believed that CD Projekt Red created her to be somehow related to Condwiramurs as they share the same name. This is just an assumption, but one never knows.

Now another question: why was Nimue so determined to discover the truth of the story? It turns out she wanted to know its true ending. Nimue actually met Ciri by chance as Ciri was traveling between space and time.[ii] A brief meeting, for sure, but one that stayed with the young sorceress and made her want to know if the witcher girl made it out okay in the end.

“’Time,’ said Nimue, ‘has neither a beginning nor an end. Time is like the serpent Ouroboros, which bits its own tail with its teeth. Eternity is hidden in every moment. And eternity consists of the moments that create it. Eternity is an archipelago of moments. You may sail through that archipelago, although navigation is very difficult, and it is dangerous to get lose. It’s good to have a lighthouse whose light can guide you. It’s good to be able to hear someone calling among the fog…’

‘How does the legend that interests us end? It seems to us – to you and me – that we know how it ends. But Ouroboros is still grasping its own tail in its teeth. Yes, how the legend ends is being settled now. At this moment. The ending of the legend will depend on whether and when the sailor lost among the archipelago of moments sees the lamp of the lighthouse. If she hears the calling.’

‘Search for her,’ said Nimue. ‘She is somewhere among the stars, among the moonlight. Among the places. She is there. She is awaiting help. Let’s help her, Condwiramurs.’”[iii]

 

TOUSSAINT

Oh, Toussaint. How every player and reader wished this duchy actually existed: a land straight out of a fairy tale… who wouldn’t want to live in a place like that? Toussaint is briefly introduced in The Tower of Swallows (as I mentioned in my last article), but the Toussaint players know is more introduced in The Lady of the Lake: knights in shining armor, vineyards that produce the finest wines, and a duchess whose rule is nothing but perfection. Once again, CD Projekt Red brought justice to this land in their Blood and Wine expansion for I know when I arrived in Toussaint in the game, I definitely did not want to leave. And in this expansion, there are a few places and characters that are referenced to from the fifth book of Sapkowski’s series.

Players, remember the two knights who summon you to Toussaint in the quest Envoys, Wineboys? Well, you officially meet Palmerin de Launfal and Milton de Peyrac-Peyran in The Lady of the Lake.[iv] These knights do not have a large part in either the book or the game, but it is a fun find if someone has read the books and recognizes the names when they reach this quest in the game.

Another fun reference one will find regarding the vineyards of Toussaint could easily be missed if one has not read the books. For players, they know the main vineyards they assist such as Vermentino, Coronato, Belgaard, and, of course, your own vineyard of Corvo Bianco. But what if I were to tell you, dear players, that you can find these same vineyards in The Lady of the Lake? These vineyards, aside from Belgaard, are only mentioned once in the book because a knight is only telling Geralt about them, but their names are still present.[v] I am sorry, but I must point out another minor inconsistency. In the book, Coronato is actually Coronata. Again, just a minor inconsistency, just something I wanted to point out.

A good portion of the beginning of this book actually took place in Toussaint and for good reason. Namely because of a certain couple of couples, which I shall talk about now.

 

GERALT AND FRINGILLA VIGO

The first of these couples involves our favorite Witcher. Geralt is very well-known to have flings with various sorceresses, as both readers and players know, and The Lady of the Lake offers yet another sorceress that is even referred to in Witcher III: Wild Hunt: Fringilla Vigo. During the quest High Stakes, Sasha speaks to Geralt about Fringilla and how she told Sasha of her and Geralt’s adventures in Beauclair and how Geralt was dependable and never let a woman down.

This refers to Geralt and Fringilla being together in The Lady of the Lake. Fringilla was meant to be a distraction to keep the Witcher from leaving Toussaint and from going after Ciri for the Lodge wanted to make Geralt confess where Vilgefortz was hiding and also wished to find Ciri themselves before he did. Fringilla healed his bad leg and arm and seduced him in every way she could imagine, but while he was with her, he could not stop thinking about Yennefer and Ciri. This explains her cold attitude towards him when he frees her from Emhyr in the short quest Veni Vidi Vigo. Emhyr even says, “From what I’ve heard, no introductions are required,” which proves all too true.

 

DANDELION AND THE DUCHESS

What a surprise that our next couple from Toussaint would involve Dandelion, right? Players will actually have picked up on this relationship upon playing the Blood and Wine expansion. Within the very first quest of this expansion, The Beast of Toussaint, Anna Henrietta asks if Dandelion came with Geralt to Toussaint. Though it seems she wishes to see the troubadour, she tries to cover herself by saying that she wishes to tell him that she regrets having lifted the death sentence she had given him before.

Yes, Dandelion and the Duchess had a small thing going between them. Yes, Dandelion did almost die because of the Duchess. And yes, we shall be covering all of that here.

We shall actually start this section within the main gameplay of Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Once you help Dandelion transform the Rosemary and Thyme into the Chameleon, there is a small nod to the relationship between Dandelion and the Duchess found in the Ruby Suite. If you check the bookshelves next to the bed, you will actually find a book about Toussaint. Now why would Dandelion have a copy of a book like that in his cabaret? Because Toussaint most certainly means more to him than most realize, but one would only catch this if one has read the books first.

Where did this romance begin? I cannot tell you exactly when it started, but once, Dandelion visited the duchess Anna Henrietta, performed for her, and blew her away with his performance. Her husband at the time was away, so her and Dandelion indulged in some romantics for about two months and then, after news began to spread about their “engagements,” Dandelion fled from Toussaint. When Henrietta’s husband, Duke Raymund, returned, he found out what all had happened during his absence. As one might expect amongst royalty, drama ensued, but this drama actually led to the Duke becoming sick and dying shortly after (hence why players know Henrietta to not be married and to not have a husband in the game).[vi]

The romance flared up again once Dandelion returned to Toussaint. Even when Geralt and the others arrive in the duchy, Dandelion spent most of his time with Henrietta. Now we shall get into some references regarding these two. The fling these two had with each other is actually referenced to during the quest Beyond Hill and Dale. After defeating the Big Bad Wolf, listen to Syanna’s story about what she has been through in her life. When you get to an option that lets you mention to her that she has been through a lot, she says, “I have. And throughout this time my sister was stomping grapes and shagging minstrels on down bedding.” This actually refers to not only the romance between Henrietta and Dandelion, but also the scene where Fringilla first starts bewitching Geralt.[vii]

The troubadour and the Duchess had a very nice thing going on between them…that is, until Dandelion made a move on another woman (one of the maids in the palace, I believe). The Duchess found out and sentenced Dandelion to death by beheading. As Dandelion was on the scaffold delaying his execution, the Duchess changed her mind, ordered him to leave Toussaint immediately, and to never return.[viii]

Now, if one has only played the game, one knows how unpredictable and temperamental Anna Henrietta can be, which is incredibly accurate to her character in the book. And her temperament as well as Dandelion’s banishment from the kingdom are both mentioned in the game. These are really seen in the final quest Burlap is the New Stripe. This quest is only accessible if you have Dettlaff kill Syanna and allow Geralt to let Dettlaff go. Geralt lands in prison for not upholding his deal with the Duchess and for allowing her sister to die. The one to free you from prison, though, is none other than Geralt’s amazing friend Dandelion. Dandelion mentions how he was in Toussaint visiting Anarietta and that they were old friends (as I have previously mentioned). Geralt reminds Dandelion that he is a “persona non grata in Toussaint” and Dandelion says that the Duchess was so mad at Geralt for what happened that she seemed to forget that she had banished the troubadour from Toussaint for life. All of this conversation references to the romance Dandelion and the Duchess once had.

 

THE WILD HUNT AND EREDIN

The Wild Hunt is another element that I have referenced to a few times in previous articles, but in The Lady of the Lake, we finally get to officially meet Eredin, the main villain players will know from Witcher III: Wild Hunt, as well as what he did to the king of the elves.

First off, I would like to mention the difference between the Wild Hunt in Sapkowski’s books and in the game. It’s not so much their intentions that are different, but more their outer appearance. In the game, the Wild Hunt is always known to be arriving when it gets cold or when it suddenly starts to snow and they are perceived as being covered in ice. In the books, the Sapkowski portrayed the Wild Hunt more like shadows or even like fire.

“The horses were wearing caparisons, the riders crested helmets, and the cloaks around their shoulders fluttered in the gallop. Their vermilion-amaranth-crimson colour brought to mind the glow of a fire in the sky illuminated by the blaze of the setting sun”[ix]

In all honesty, this description is quite a bit more menacing than the game could conjure up. It would have been really cool to see this depiction in Witcher III: Wild Hunt, though CD Projekt Red still did a good job with how they portrayed them.

Now we shall focus on the King of the Wild Hunt himself.

“The riders’ leader, a black-haired elf, sat on a dark bay stallion as huge as a dragon. It was adorned, like all the horses in the troop, in a caparison embroidered with dragon’s scales, and wore on its head a truly demonic horned bucranium. Like all the elves, the black-haired one wore beneath his cloak of a myriad shades of red a mail shirt made of unbelievably tiny rings, thanks to which it fit his body snugly, like knitted woolen cloth”[x]

There is a reason Eredin was not properly introduced until the final book of the series and that is because he had plans for Ciri that could not be fully divulged until this point in the main story arc (which will be talked about in just a few short sections). When he was first introduced to the readers, however, he tried to seduce Ciri and succeeded in making her curious about him and somewhat interested in him.

Eredin is also important for another reference that is mentioned during the quest Through Time and Space. Towards the end of the quest, Avallac’h told Ge’els that he would show him who killed the Alder King (the king of the elves). Many, if not all, of the elves were unsure as to how the King truly died… it turned out that he was murdered. Shortly after Ciri met Eredin, he tried to plant a seed into her head and gave her an ultimatum: sleep with him and have a baby with him instead of with the Alder King and kill the King by poisoning him. Ciri did not think that was right and thankfully refused on both counts, but this did not stop Eredin from poisoning the King himself.[xi] This is what Avallac’h shows Ge’els and this is what players get to witness in Witcher III: Wild Hunt and what readers already know from The Lady of the Lake.

 

CIRI AND HER POWERS

Throughout the book series, Ciri struggled to control her powers. It is not until The Lady of the Lake where she not only discovered what she could truly do, but she also is able to finally get a handle on her abilities. Due to her experiences in this book, she is better able to control her powers in Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Players know just from the game that Ciri has not had an easy road to follow and this book shows just how much of a struggle she endured, even after learning she could travel through time and space.

“She was alone. Alone again. All alone. A wanderer, a permanent vagabond, a sailor lost on the boundless sea among the archipelago of places and times. A sailor losing hope. The gale whistled and howled, rolling balls of dried weeds over the cracked earth. The gale dried her tears”[xii]

Ciri most certainly goes through a lot in this book, but there is one part of her travels that is actually referenced to in the game that players could easily look over. It happens relatively early in the game when you are helping Keira Metz with her many requests. During the quest A Towerful of Mice, there is a mention of the Catriona virus and how Keria wished to find a cure for it. Crazy as it seems, this virus was actually spread by accident by Ciri.

On her travels through time and space, Ciri ended up in a city that was burning, people were dying, and a strange dust was hovering in the air. She sensed sickness and death and didn’t want to be there anymore, so she teleported away as fast as she could. She found her way to another city where she was safe, but a flea from where she had been had found a way on her clothes. This flea jumped off of Ciri and landed on a cat who made its way onto a boat called the Catriona. Thus, the virus began to spread.[xiii]

 

PLANS FOR CIRI’S BLOOD

Poor Ciri goes through hell throughout the game before and after Geralt finds her. She goes through even more throughout the entire book series. Kings and rulers are after Ciri because she is the sole survivor of Cintra and the rightful heir to the throne; however, more powerful beings are after her due to the Elder Blood that courses through her veins. CD Projekt Red was accurate in portraying how Eredin wanted Ciri for her powers, but his lust for her power is so much darker in the books series. He along with Avallac’h and the sorcerer Vilgefortz wanted Ciri for her power, true, but they wanted her power that would be housed in the child she would have.

Ciri is only fifteen/ sixteen years old in the book series and she has three men telling her that she needs to birth a child that will have a stronger presence of the Elder Blood and all three are not incredibly subtle when telling her about it.

The first to make this demand is, believe it or not, Avallac’h. She seems so trusting of Avallac’h throughout the game, which kind of drove me crazy because in the books, she really hated him for he kept forcing her to do things she didn’t want to do. Once she escapes into the Tower of Swallows at the end of The Tower of Swallows, she finds herself in Tir ná Lia and officially meets Avallac’h for the first time. Though she is not treated like a prisoner, Avallac’h basically imprisons her in the land of elves and refuses to let her leave. Geralt even brings this up to Avallac’h when he speaks to him right before you sail to Undvik to take on the Hunt in the quest On Thin Ice by saying that Avallac’h imprisoned Ciri. Avallac’h defends himself by saying that Ciri found him. This part always irked me about the game.

During her time with the elves in The Lady of the Lake, Ciri always brought up how much she hated staying in Tir ná Lia because she felt like a prisoner. While Avallac’h did everything he could to help her when she returned in Witcher III: Wild Hunt, I think CD Projekt Red made her a bit too trusting of the Elven Sage than she would have originally been. Ciri desperately wishes to find Geralt and Yennefer, but no matter how many times she tries to escape, she can’t. Avallac’h reveals to her later the only way she will be able to leave to return to her world and to those she loves: as a daughter of Lara Dorren, she will bear the elves a child and the power within the child will be used to save all of the elves from all worlds and bring them to Tir ná Lia.[xiv]

Ciri did not wish to comply to this demand, but also realized after a time that she didn’t have much of a choice. She was paired with the King of the Elves. Players may recognize the term the Alder King from the quest Through Time and Space and this was the very King who Ciri had to try to have a baby with. During the times she was forced to go to the Alder King, a-hole number two came to her with his proposition: Eredin, King of the Wild Hunt. Eredin had intrigued Ciri ever since she met him and Eredin used this to his advantage. He tried to give her an ultimatum: lie with him and have the baby with him instead and kill the Alder King by poisoning him. Ciri thankfully refused on both counts, but this did not stop Eredin from poisoning the King himself.

Two bullets Ciri managed to escape from, but the worst was to come when Vilgefortz revealed what he would do to her. Vilgefortz wanted her child as well, but his plans to acquire the child were much more vile than the elves had ever thought up. Vilgefortz was going to inseminate Ciri[xv] and with her child’s power was going to undo what Ithilenne’s Prophecy foretold and become a god in the eyes of man. This did not end the sorcerer’s demented intentions, though, for his plans for Ciri went way beyond anything Avallac’h or Eredin had planned for her and, at the end of everything, Ciri most likely wouldn’t have survived:

“It may worry you, or it may gratify you, but know that you won’t give birth to the infant. Who knows, perhaps it would also have been a great chosen one with extraordinary abilities, the savior of the world and the king of nations? No one, however, is able to guarantee that, and I, furthermore, have no intention of waiting that long. I need blood. More precisely, placental blood. As soon as the placenta develops I shall remove it from you. The rest of my plans and intentions, my splendid one, will not, as you now comprehend, concern you, so there’s no point informing you about them, it would only be an unnecessary frustration.”[xvi]

 

FINAL BATTLE AGAINST VILGEFORTZ AND REGIS’ DEATH

Vilgefortz has been brought up a number of times over the most recent articles I have written, but when I really think about it, the only times Vilgefortz is even mentioned in Witcher III: Wild Hunt is in the Blood and Wine expansion. Anyone who has only played the game and has not read the books probably wouldn’t even know who he is. The first time he is mentioned in the game actually refers to the final battle against Vilgefortz in The Lady of the Lake.

Let me just start by saying everything leading up to this battle is actually really sad. All of the characters readers have been following and have come to love, like Milva, Cahir, Regis, and Angoulême, are all killed. Yes, players, I know the only character you know of this bunch is Regis, but for readers, are you all with me when I say that your hearts broke when reading of their deaths? Yet in the game, it is actually Regis who brings up the first reference of Vilgefortz in the quest Blood Run where Geralt takes on Dettlaff for the first time. Geralt is incredibly happy to see Regis because one, Regis had become a very close friend to Geralt during the book series and two, Geralt believed Regis to be dead. Regis mentioned how the last time Geralt saw him, he was a pile of formless mass having been melted in a certain castle. This refers to Regis’ “near-death” experience with Vilgefortz.

When readers first officially meet Vilgefortz in The Time of Contempt, he is a calm and well-mannered, yet somewhat corrupt young, yet incredibly talented sorcerer. By the time readers reach The Lady of the Lake, Vilgefortz’s whole demeanor had changed into a madman who was set on bloodlust and only achieving what he wanted from the line of the Elder Blood. Geralt and Yennefer face off against him in the final book of the series and Regis actually stepped in to help, as well. Regis actually gained the upper hand for a bit before he was cast into a pillar and melted with it into a pile of nothingness.[xvii]

The second reference to this battle actually comes at the end of the Blood and Wine expansion. No matter which of the three endings you chose/ get, Regis mentions, “A night, not too far from here. We hid in a cave while a blizzard raged all about.” This refers to when Geralt, Regis, Milva, Cahir, and Angoulême were traveling from Toussaint to Stygga Castle where Vilgefortz, Ciri, and Yennefer were.[xviii] Later on during this same conversation in the game, Regis says he does not remember the encounter with Vilgefortz fondly (as we have just covered the reason why), but he does ask Geralt what happened to the sorcerer and Geralt tells him that he killed him, but it wasn’t easy… and it truly wasn’t.[xix]

Regis’ death during the battle against Vilgefortz can also be found in Biography of the Vampire Regis, from the Quill of Dandelion, a book found in Regis’ crypt in Blood and Wine. Dandelion said that Regis died at “Stygg Castle during the battle against the mad mage Vilgefortz” and that while he agreed to go on the quest to find Ciri, he “did not live to see Ciri.” While this is somewhat accurate, I must, once again, point out a couple of inconsistencies. For starters, the name of the castle where Vilgefortz was hiding was called Stygga Castle, not Stygg. This one is a minor detail, but the next is actually a huge inconsistency that was overlooked. Regis did get a chance to meet Ciri one time at the castle and actually saved her life.

When Geralt and the others arrived at the castle, they immediately were caught up in a battle. Since Regis had the ability to turn into a bat, Geralt told him to fly off and find Ciri. Regis did just that and found her struggling with a group of men she could not handle on her own. The vampire broke his abstinence that night and drank the life out of each of the men to save Ciri. When he told her Geralt and sent him to her, she sent him back to Geralt to warn him that Vilgefortz was ready for him and that Yennefer was being held prisoner somewhere in the castle.[xx] While this may seem like a minor detail to players, it actually makes a very big deal for if Regis had not found Ciri, she may not have made it as far as she did for the rest of the battle.

 

GERALT AND CIRI

Geralt and Ciri have not truly had a scene together since The Time of Contempt since that was also the book where they got separated. For The Lady of the Lake, I cannot begin to describe how amazing these two are together in this book… I mentioned in my article of Sword of Destiny that four scenes within the Witcher book series made me cry and that three of these four scenes involve Geralt and Ciri. Well, I covered two of the scenes already and this book contains scene number three.

A reference to this third scene is found during the quest Novigrad Dreaming (as players now know from all of my articles, this quest refers to A LOT of events in the books). When you pick the option “I saved her life once,” Geralt refers to the time when Ciri traveled to Stygga Castle to free Yennefer and got herself captured in the process. Then he recalls fighting side by side with her on steps slippery with blood and that it was the first time she deflected an arrow from a crossbow with her sword. True, all of this did happen, but this quest does not cover the most important thing that happened during this scene.

This scene occurs after Vilgefortz had been defeated. Stephan Skellen and his men were the last line of defense and would not allow the witchers and the sorceress to leave. Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri were all dead tired at this point and didn’t want to fight anymore, but knew they had to in order to survive. All the three of them wanted to see was the sky, so they fought their way out of the castle. During this fight, however, Geralt tells Ciri for the first time that he loves her.[xxi] The first time I read The Lady of the Lake, I had to stop reading after this because I just started crying. Geralt, as both players and readers know, is not one to show his feelings openly. And throughout the entire series, he has only confessed his love to two people: Yennefer[xxii] and Ciri.[xxiii]

As I mentioned in a previous article, Geralt makes the comment in the quest Something Ends, Something Begins that he traveled half the world to find Ciri. This is actually somewhat referenced to in The Lady of the Lake, but on a grander scale, for the main story arc found in Sapkowski’s novel, Geralt pretty much traversed the world to find her. So, traveling half the world to find her in Witcher III: Wild Hunt was technically the second time he has gone to such great lengths to find his adoptive daughter.

Towards the end of The Lady of the Lake, Ciri was asked to go to the Lodge of Sorceresses without Geralt and to be taken under the sorceresses’ wings to bare the child Ithlinne’s Prophecy foretold. Ciri, of course, hates it when people make decisions for her and Yennefer also sides with her on the decision so the Lodge puts it to a vote: they must vote to either let her go and stay with Geralt and stay and learn with the Sorceresses.

When it comes to Fringilla Vigo’s vote, while she felt down about how Geralt left her in Toussaint, she had a rather nice thing to say about him and Ciri.

“’I vote for Ciri. To show the respect and affection I have for the girl. And more than anything I’m doing it for Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher, without whom that girl wouldn’t be here today. Who, in order to rescue Ciri, went to the end of the world, fighting everything that stood in his way, even himself. It would be a wickedness to deny him in meeting with her.’”[xxiv]

 

YENNEFER AND TRISS WITH GERALT (FINAL VERDICT)

Who truly belongs together: Geralt and Yennefer or Geralt and Triss? And the final verdict is… GERALT AND YENNEFER!

All right, this will be the last you hear from me on this topic. Geralt and Triss fans? I know that you most likely hate me by now, but I am simply defending the couple Sapkowski made to be together from his book series. I shall conclude my love triangle rant with three more lines of defense.

Defense #1: As I mentioned in the previous section, Geralt has only ever expressed his love to two people throughout the entire book series: Yennefer and Ciri. He had NEVER told Triss that he loved her at any point in any of the books.

Defense #2: Towards the end of The Lady of the Lake, Ciri, Yennefer, and Triss travel to Rivia to meet up with Geralt. As they near closer to the city, Triss begins to show her feelings towards the Witcher which, in turn, makes Yennefer incredibly possessive. Yennefer pretty chews Triss out saying to not get any more ideas about being with him for he was Yennefer’s.[xxv]

Defense #3: I conclude my verdict with the most powerful defense I can muster from any of the books. If Geralt telling Yennefer “I love you” doesn’t cut it for some, well, this just may. Come the very end of the final book, Ciri said that Geralt and Yennefer got married. That’s right and I’m sorry, but not sorry to say, read it and weep, Triss fans… GERALT AND YENNEFER ARE MARRIED![xxvi] Sapkowski even wrote a short story of their wedding as a gift to a friend. This story is unrelated to the series as a whole, but it does bear the same title as the final quest in Witcher III: Wild Hunt for the perfect ending Something Ends, Something Begins. If anything, any fan should read it because it is a lot of fun and it does bring in all of the characters that have been mentioned in all of the books.

 

GERALT’S DEATH

Yes, you read this correctly: Geralt of Rivia dies in The Lady of the Lake.

And yes, I know that this is a very morbid topic to go to next after reading about Geralt and Yennefer being together. But this is a rather important event that happens that is referenced to a few times within Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I believe his death was also referenced to a few times in the first two Witcher games, but, as always, we are just looking at game number three.

I was able to find two quests and one exclamation point which refer to Geralt’s death. I shall being with the exclamation point, for this refers to when and where Geralt died. This reference I actually found by a happy accident on my seventh play through of the game. Outside of Novigrad by the dye place near Tretogor Gate, there is a side exclamation point near where you fight the Doppler during the quest An Elusive Thief. You can help two elves who are being threatened by humans here. Once you save them, you can tell them to leave Novigrad. They think you don’t like nonhumans and you tell them you don’t mind, but the Eternal Fire does. You tell them what the Eternal Fire could do and the elves don’t believe you. Geralt then tells them, “I was in Rivia in 1268 – during the massacre. Know exactly what I’m talking about.” This refers to where and when Geralt died.

The first of the two quests I will mention is actually the shorter reference and it is found in the Blood and Wine expansion. You come across a man in Toussaint who says that you helped him during your first visit in Beauclair and that he had money saved for you in the bank, thus the quest Paperchase is activated. When you go to the bank to withdraw from the account, the lady tells you that the account is closed because the holder is dead. Yet another reference to Geralt’s death which we shall cover now.

The second quest to reference Geralt’s death is, you guessed it, the quest Novigrad Dreaming. Players may be surprised when they see the option where Geralt can tell Corrine that Ciri was there when he died. Geralt was waiting for Ciri in Rivia when a riot broke out between humans and nonhumans. Geralt was originally going to stay out of the fight, but discovered he had no choice but to take part in order to protect Dandelion and his dwarf companions who he was dining with when the riot started. The crowd was too riled up to be stopped and, during the chaos, a young boy stabbed Geralt through with a pitchfork. Geralt was barely alive when Ciri and Yennefer found him and Yennefer tried to use magic to heal him, but overexerted herself and nearly died alongside the Witcher.

Geralt tells Corrine in the quest that Ciri had him and Yennefer carried onto a boat and that they sailed to a place where “apple trees bloom eternal.”[xxvii] She left them there and disappeared after that. This place refers to Avalon, one of the Arthurian references I mentioned at the beginning of this article, and it was a magical island where both of them could heal from their fatal wounds. This scene in The Lady of the Lake is to be commended and I lied when I said that I only cried at four scenes in the book series… it is actually five. While readers are left more in shock as to Geralt dying because of a pitchfork (kind of like the Crocodile Hunter dying from a stingray), the emotions start hitting once Geralt and Yennefer are carried onto the boat. The boat seems to appear from nowhere and while those present (Dandelion, Zoltan, Yarpin, Ciri, and Triss) are carrying the two onto the boat, the spirits of their fallen comrades appear to help them carry them onto the boat, as well.[xxviii] Unless one has read the whole series, it is difficult to describe the emotion one feels during this scene. It is so beautifully written and perhaps one of the most beautiful scenes Sapkowski has written.

 

EMHYR VAR EMERIS

I will make this reference quick for whoever has played the games, they already know the spoiler: Emhyr Var Emeris is Ciri’s father. If one has just been following the books, this actually comes as quite the shock: Duny, Pavetta’s husband and Ciri’s father, was actually Emyhr all along.[xxix]

While players will be told countless times throughout the main story arc of Witcher III: Wild Hunt, there is one cutscene that actually refers to a scene within The Lady of the Lake. It is a reference found within one of the first quests of the game, Lilacs and Gooseberries. When Yennefer comes to Geralt to tell him Emhyr wants to talk to him, Geralt says that the last time they met, Emhyr wanted to kill him. In all actuality, Emhyr wanted to kill both Geralt and Yennefer and almost did.

After the fight with Vilgefortz, Geralt and Emhyr are able to have a one-on-one chat. Geralt calls him out as Duny and Emhyr tells Geralt all about how he had been cursed before he married Pavetta, his intentions for faking his death, and his future plans for Ciri.[xxx] Because Geralt already knows who Emhyr is and Emhyr revealed everything to him, Geralt knows that the secrets must die… along with those who know them.[xxxi] Geralt and Yennefer are given the chance to have a final moment together before they die, but thankfully, Ciri is able to stop Emhyr from killing those who she considers her true parents.

 

CONCLUSION

Yep, I was right: The Lady of the Lake did turn out to be the longest of all of my articles. Not by much, but still full to the brim with many important references found within Witcher III: Wild Hunt. With a book series that has fairy tales littered throughout its entirety, I have never wanted a “happily ever after” for characters this badly before. Following the events of this book, I was able to reach my dream ending for this series within CD Projekt Red’s game. Of the three endings you can get, there is truly only one that makes the most sense and follows the book series perfectly: the ending where Ciri becomes empress.

I can’t believe that we are nearly there… One more article and a conclusion and my series will be complete. This is quite the accomplishment and I cannot wait to finish. Season of Storms is the final book I have left to cover and if you’re all still with me… thank you so much!

 

*Disclaimer: Everything Witcher related belongs to the amazingly talented Andrzej Sapkowski who created this equally amazing fantasy world. Credit goes to CD Projekt Red for bringing Sapkowski’s world to playable life in Witcher III: Wild Hunt. I take no credit for anything involving the world of the Witcher – I am only entitled to my own opinions.*

 

*Writer’s Note: While I take great pride in reading and learning about every aspect I can about The Witcher Series, if any reader finds any inconsistencies, any fact that is false, or any facts that are missing in my articles, please let me know either through a comment on the article or through my social media and I will gladly make any necessary changes to make them accurate and truthful. Thank you all so much for your help and support!*

 

*Book Review: You can find my book review of The Lady of the Lake here – originally published on Roll Out Reviews on April 2, 2017*

 

 

BOOK CITATIONS

Sapkowski, A. (2013) The Time of Contempt. New York, NY: Orbit Books.

Sapkowski, A. (2017) The Lady of the Lake. New York, NY: Orbit Books.

 

 

[i] Sapkowski 15

[ii] Sapkowski 248-249

[iii] Sapkowski 256-257

[iv] Sapkowski 81

[v] Sapkowski 65

[vi] Sapkowski 62-63

[vii] Sapkowski 70-72

[viii] Sapkowski 470-474

[ix] Sapkowski 162

[x] Sapkowski 162

[xi] Sapkowski 197-198

[xii] Sapkowski 256

[xiii] Sapkowski 276-278

[xiv] Sapkowski 158-160

[xv] Sapkowski 347

[xvi] Sapkowski 346-347

[xvii] Sapkowski 378-379

[xviii] Sapkowski 262-264

[xix] Sapkowski 360-361, 363, 377-381

[xx] Sapkowski 356-357

[xxi] Sapkowski 384

[xxii] Contempt Sapkowski 111

[xxiii] Sapkowski 384

[xxiv] Sapkowski 490

[xxv] Sapkowski 514-515

[xxvi] Sapkowski 528-529

[xxvii] Sapkowski 527-528

[xxviii] Sapkowski 526-527

[xxix] Sapkowski 388

[xxx] Sapkowski 388-393

[xxxi] Sapkowski 393-394

 

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