Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for The Witcher Season 3, Episode 8.
While Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) has his heart in the right place, his Witcher training has always prevented him from picking a side in the many conflicts that erupt in the Continent. That changes in The Witcher‘s Season 3 finale. The eighth episode of the season, “The Cost of Chaos,” explores the aftermath of Nilfgaard’s attack on Aretuza, which uprooted the balance of the Continent and kicked off a great war between the invaders and the Northern Kingdoms. Since the rules of the Continent are changing, it’s time for every key character to set a course for the future, which means some alliances will shift. After the coup in Aretuza, the series has many fewer characters. Still, we have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to understanding all the moving pieces in the Continent’s complex political game.
All Hail King Radovid
After Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) failed to purge the Brotherhood of Sorcerers in the name of Redania, the Northern Kingdom looks more vulnerable than ever. King Vizimir (Ed Birch) decides someone must pay for this failure, so he orders Dijkstra to kill Philippa (Cassie Clare) and pin the blame for everything on her. Dijkstra struggles with the idea until he decides to offer his life to Philippa. Dijkstra tells Philippa that the King is correct and that someone must die. Still, Dijkstra can’t stand the idea of killing Philippa and is ready to carry the blame himself if that means keeping his dear partner alive. Philippa welcomes Dijkstra’s gesture since that’s the ultimate confirmation she needs that he would never betray her. Fortunately for both, Philippa was already aware of King Vizimir’s orders and acted to protect herself and Dijkstra.
After learning that the King wanted her head, Philippa tracked down Prince Radovid (Hugh Skinner) and brought him back to Redania, safe and sound. That bought her enough favor to stay alive a little longer while she plotted the assassination of the King. Radovid wants to abandon his noble duties and go after Jaskier (Joey Batey). Unfortunately, he’s part of Philippa’s plan to keep control of Redania. As soon as King Vizimir has his throat slit open, Philippa crows Radovid as the new King, knowing that this will allow her and Dijkstra to keep pulling the strings of Redania and working to defeat Nilfgaard.
Francesca’s Alliance with Fringilla Is Shattered
On the Nilfgaard side of things, Francesca (Mecia Simson) and Fringilla (Mimi Ndiweni) come up with a plan to kidnap Ciri (Freya Allan). After their victory in Aretuza, they ask an audience with Emperor Emhyr (Bart Edwards), asking to rule Xin’trea in his name. As they tell the Emperor, Fringilla aims to prove her worth despite her past sins, while Francesca wants an official home for the Elves. Of course, that’s all a ruse to get closer to the Emperor and Ciri. With Ciri’s powers, the Elves and Fringilla can flee the Continent and find shelter in a different sphere, leaving Nilfgaard behind for good.
The Emperor accepts Francesca and Fringilla’s proposition but orders the warriors of the Scoia’tael to remain in the North, guiding Nilfgaard’s troops in the war. The Emperor wants Francesca to sacrifice the Scoia’tael in exchange for a home for all the other Elves, which is a sadistic proposition. Nevertheless, Francesca decides the deal is the best she can get to justify the bloodshed she had to witness for so many years.
Fringilla is distressed by the idea Francesca might actually serve the Emperor. While trying to convince the Queen of Elves to stick with her previous plan, Fringilla reveals the Emperor was behind the murder of Francesca’s newborn child. When she learns the truth about the deed and realizes Fringilla also took part in the murder of the baby, Francesca promises to unleash hell on the mage and the Emperor alike.
Yennefer Becomes the New Leader of Aretuza
After the destruction of Aretuza, Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) leads the surviving mages to Vilgefortz’s (Mahesh Jadu) castle, hoping to find Ciri, who’s rumored to have been captured and taken to Nilfgaard. The mages only find the remains of the Flesh Monster, working together to revert the creature to its human form so that they can bury the dead Aretuza apprentices.
Since she let her love for Vilgefortz blind her from the truth of his evil endeavors, Tissaia (MyAnna Buring) feels responsible for all the death unleashed by her former lover. Unable to live with her guilt, Tissaia writes a letter to Yennefer, putting her daughter in charge of Aretuza before taking her own life.
Yennefer is heartbroken by Tissaia’s suicide and goes to see Geralt, who’s healing in the woods of Brokilon. The White Wolf promises to rescue Ciri and tells Yennefer that she must become the leader she was always supposed to be. Yennefer uses her magic to speed up Geralt’s healing process before saying goodbye. Inspired by Geralt’s words, Yennefer summons Aretuza’s surviving mages and convinces them to hunt down Vilgefortz.
In Season 3 of ‘The Witcher,’ Geralt Picks a Side
After Vigelfortz breaks his back and shatters his leg, Geralt is forced to spend months in Brokilon, healing. He counts on the company of Jaskier and Milva (Meng’er Zhang), a human archer adopted by the dryads and in charge of helping Geralt during his stay in the woods. As soon as Geralt can walk again, he prepares a makeshift version of the witchers’ elixir to hone his senses and go after Ciri, who he believes is on her way to Nilfgaard. He’s not in peak form, but that won’t stop the White Wolf from saving his daughter.
While walking towards Nilfgaard, Geralt and Jaskier come across a battalion of the Emperor’s soldiers extorting people to grant them passage. At first, Geralt and Jaskier pay the toll and go on their way, sticking to the White Wolf’s rule of never intervening in other people’s conflicts. However, when he witnesses a guard stealing a child’s toy, Geralt can no longer remain neutral in the face of abuse. The Emperor took everything from him, so now Geralt is out for revenge. Geralt slays the Emperor’s soldiers, helped by Milva, who’s inspired to follow the White Wolf in his mission. They only leave one soldier alive to send a message to the Emperor. Geralt is coming, and he’ll break through armies and walls to find Ciri.
Vilgefortz Is Alive in Nilfgaard
The Witcher Season 3 finale also confirms that Vilgefortz survived the explosion of Tor Lara, even though the mage is partially disfigured now. Vilgefortz is in Nilfgaard, by the side of the Emperor, during the ceremony that welcomes Ciri back to her home. To our surprise, the woman presented as the princess is actually Teryn (Frances Pooley), one of the girls Vilgefortz experimented with to try to recreate Ciri. We don’t know as of now if Vilgefortz is tricking the Emperor or if the White Flame is aware of the ruse. Nevertheless, the support of a girl who everyone believes to be Ciri buys Nilfgaard a lot of good favor and might turn the war to the invaders’ side.
Ciri Embraces Her Rage
As we saw in Season 3, Episode 7, Ciri was rescued from the desert of Korath by bounty hunters willing to sell her to Nilfgaard. The girl wakes up in a bar, tied to the floor next to another prisoner. The prisoner is Kayleigh (Fabian McCallum), one of the members of the criminal gang known as the Rats. Kayleigh and Ciri plot their escape when the bar is attacked by the Rats, who come to save their friends.
After releasing the prisoners, Mistle (Christelle Elwin) gives Ciri the opportunity to face her captor in a duel. Ciri easily bests the bounty hunter, killing a person for the first time. After that, she joins the Rats, presenting herself as Falka. It seems as if Ciri can no longer escape her rage and is ready to unleash destruction on the Continent.
The Witcher Season 3 is currently available on Netflix.