The Witcher’s third season marks a stark turning level within the collection — and never solely as a result of it is going to be Henry Cavill’s final as Geralt of Rivia. The fifth episode, “The Artwork of Phantasm,” reveals the identification of the rogue mage who employed Rience (Chris Fulton) to hunt Ciri (Freya Allan) and units up a political upheaval that resets the board of energy within the brewing struggle between the North and Nilfgaard.
[Ed. note: The following contains spoilers for The Witcher season 3 and Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher novels.]
Within the half 1 finale, Geralt and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) go to the conclave with the purpose of proving Stregobor’s (Lars Mikkelsen) guilt, solely to find the true identification of the traitorous mage is Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu). He employed Rience by means of his secret girlfriend and proxy, Lydia van Bredevoort (Aisha Fabienne Ross).
Although Tissaia (MyAnna Buring) appears unaware of each Vilgefortz’s unwell intentions and secret lover, the mage’s two-timing is what did him in: Geralt and Yennefer put the ultimate piece in place after noticing Lydia and Tissaia’s matching jewellery.
Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu) in The Witcher
Picture: Jay Maidment/Netflix
The implications of Vilgefortz being Rience’s grasp are far-reaching, as they dramatically recolor previous occasions and form the place the Netflix present will go when season three returns on July 27. So let’s break down the place Vilgefortz’s true allegiance lies, what he needs with Ciri, and the methods this reveal performed out in another way — and so significantly better — within the books.
Is Vilgefortz working for Nilfgaard?
Technically, Vilgefortz isn’t working for Nilfgaard, he’s working with Nilfgaard. After Rience found out he was looking Ciri for the White Flame (Bart Edwards), he confronted Lydia, who supplied that clarification. Whereas this may occasionally appear to be semantics, there’s a large distinction between being a companion and a servant to Nilfgaard. And realizing Vilgefortz isn’t just one other Nilfgaardian loyalist like Cahir (Eamon Farren) however maintains his personal agenda sheds loads of gentle on his previous actions.
Trying again, all of Vilgefortz’s work to seemingly strengthen the Brotherhood was in actuality steps to undermine it and strengthen his private energy. In season 1, Vilgefortz was a vocal supporter of serving to Cintra within the struggle towards Nilfgaard and led the mages into battle regardless of the Brotherhood’s lack of help. However through the Battle of Sodden, he stumbled on an injured member of the Brotherhood and brutally killed him with a mace — a second that beforehand confounded viewers.
Tissaia (MyAnna Buring), Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), and Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu) in The Witcher
Picture: Katalin Vermes/Netflix
Whereas Yennefer did handle to cease Nilfgaard from taking the preserve in the long run, it’s possible Vilgefortz’s true aim at Sodden wasn’t victory in any respect, however to leverage the battle for political affect — and to decimate the mages who have been prepared to face towards him within the course of. After Sodden, Vilgefortz took credit score for the victory that rightfully belonged to Yen and used that goodwill to achieve a place of energy throughout the Brotherhood. This season, Vilgefortz as soon as once more used his public-facing help for the Brotherhood as a masks to cover his underhand dealings, capitalizing off the conclave to border Stregobor and try to recruit Geralt to his facet.
Within the books, Vilgefortz enters his partnership with Emhyr below the settlement that if Vilgefortz offers Ciri to Nilfgaard, he’ll rule the provinces that will change the Northern Kingdoms. Nonetheless, as poor Tissaia discovered the laborious means, Vilgefortz is a person prepared to make use of and betray anybody if it serves him. So, how far the partnership between Vilgefortz and the White Flame in the end goes will depend upon how lengthy their particular person targets align. And talking of targets…
What does Vilgefortz need with Ciri?
Nothing good, that a lot is apparent. Whereas we all know Emhyr needs to marry Ciri – his daughter, thoughts you – and make her his queen, Vilgefortz has an much more horrifying function in thoughts.
Episode 2 uncovered Vilgefortz’s twisted experiments making an attempt to show Aretuza novices into Ciri imposters (although most became flesh monsters as a substitute). Geralt hypothesized that these experiments are to discover a approach to management Ciri’s thoughts – one thing which might show useful in retaining her captive if Nilfgaard does get ahold of her. However absolutely, there are simpler methods to take action. The truth is, the books’ pretend Ciri storyline didn’t hassle with magic in any respect. They only discovered an unfortunate peasant lady with a powerful resemblance to the princess and put her on the Nilfgaardian throne whereas the hunt for the actual Ciri continued.
Ciri (Freya Allan) in The Witcher
Picture: Susie Allnutt/Netflix
Within the novels, Vilgefortz’s experiments don’t have anything to do with thoughts management or making women consider they’re Ciri. Quite, they’re centered on the connection between being pregnant and Elder Blood, with Vilgefortz artificially impregnating the younger women and girls he’d taken captive. He does all this with the aim of inseminating Ciri, reducing out her placenta, and utilizing it to carry out a ritual that will enable him to journey between the spheres. In typical egomaniacal villain trend, Vilgefortz plans on utilizing this energy to grow to be an interdimensional emperor – making Emhyr’s personal grasp plan appear fairly quaint compared.
How is the Vilgefortz reveal completely different within the books?
The rationale Geralt goes to the conclave within the second Witcher novel, Time of Contempt, has nothing to do with monitoring Rience’s grasp, defending Ciri, or something of stake or substance; he’s simply there to be Yennefer’s arm sweet. As such, the conclave doesn’t serve up any on-the-nose buildup towards the Vilgefortz revelation — whereas the collection all however paints “BAD GUY!!!” on Vilgefortz’s brow in crimson paint earlier than Geralt and Yennefer lastly determine it out. Within the books, Geralt simply form of… stumbles into the information.
After spending your entire occasion avoiding any involvement within the brewing struggle between the North and Nilfgaard, Geralt and Yennefer retire for the night. Partway by means of the evening, Geralt wakes up needing to alleviate himself. He decides he has extra scruples than peeing off the balcony like a brute, so he decides to stroll all the way down to the backyard to piss on the flowers instantly, like a gentleman. Alongside the best way, Geralt simply so occurs to stroll into an ongoing confrontation between two sects of mages — these loyal to the North, led by Philippa (Cassie Clare), and people loyal to Nilfgaard, led by Vilgefortz. The truth is, Geralt solely learns Vilgefortz is the chief of the traitorous mages when he overhears an informal point out of it through the complicated fray.
Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu) in The Witcher
Picture: Katalin Vermes/Netflix
Geralt unintentionally strolling into the center of a coup on the best way again from utilizing the lavatory is just not solely a lot funnier than how they dealt with this within the present, but it surely’s additionally a lot extra Geralt. This man’s total deal is wishing to remain out of the drama, however he simply retains stepping in it. And as soon as once more, the price of his neutrality proves fairly excessive, because the Brotherhood doesn’t survive the Thanedd coup. In altering how Geralt learns Vilgefortz is working with Nilfgaard, the present not solely replaces a singular path to discovery with a predictable one, however removes the perfect character aspect from this climactic second.
By the point the books get up to now, readers had additionally been completely primed to grasp the political nuances of the Vilgefortz revelation and its fallout, as Sapkowski spends the whole thing of the conclave laying the groundwork for these occasions slightly than sending Yennefer and Geralt off on some wild goose chase. Within the novel, Vilgefortz — not Yennefer — requires all of the mages to assemble. The books had already established Vilgefortz as an enigmatic chief who performs chess whereas everybody else nonetheless struggles by means of checkers. So when the conclave is known as, nobody, not to mention Yennefer, is naive sufficient to assume the occasion is about something as idealistic as mage unity. Quite, each the mages loyal to the North and to Nilfgaard are keen to make use of the occasion for his or her political functions.
Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) and Philippa (Cassie Clare) in The Witcher
Picture: Susie Allnutt/Netflix
In contrast to within the present, the place Philippa and Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) are pressured to go to the conclave by the Redanian king, they go to the occasion for the only real function of hanging towards Vilgefortz and the opposite mages aligned with Nilfgaard. In the meantime, Vilgefortz is rallying his personal forces to strike on the northern mages. And at the exact same time, the Northern Kingdoms time a preemptive strike towards Nilfgaard to the conclave, kickstarting the Second Northern Struggle simply because the Brotherhood of Sorcerers crumbles. Briefly, it’s a whole political clusterfuck, and Geralt finds himself within the thick of it just because he wanted a late-night pee.
The Vilgefortz reveal, and ensuing battle of Thanedd, is a seismic turning level within the collection, because it fully reshuffles the stability of energy throughout the Continent. However what makes the e book’s portrayal of it so thrilling is its deliberate disarray, throwing readers headfirst into the motion after offering simply sufficient crumbs of knowledge to observe together with Geralt as he stitches collectively the larger image. But the present scraps all this for a rote investigation caper and a few ham-fisted plot reveals that expose Vilgefortz as Rience’s grasp however obscure the far-reaching implications of why all this issues.
On the planet of The Witcher, magic lies in harnessing chaos. And by stripping the Vilgefortz reveal of its political nuance and purposeful chaos, the Netflix adaptation misplaced its magic within the course of.
The Witcher season three quantity 2 returns to Netflix with three extra episodes on July 27.