Emhyr var Emreis is the Emperor of Nilfgaard. He is seen as a very good ruler for the Nilfgaardian people, but he is also an extremely aggressive one, much like all of the Nilfgaardian Emperor’s before him. It is also extremely intelligent and determined, he will always strive to achieve what he wants with 100% conviction. He is also very ruthless, he once broke a treaty with Termeria for peace after only sixteen days.
Due to his high intelligence, he has been able to quell any plots against him and he also chooses his allies very well. Emhyr var Emreis allied Nilfgaard with the Elder Races (elves, dwarves, and gnomes), which is the complete opposite of the kings in the Northern Kingdoms, as they rule societies which treat non-humans as second class citizens and most, if not all, of the rulers hate the Elder Races purely because they are not human. It used the Elder Races as a distraction for his opponents, and they also supported his main army. Most of those fighting for the emperor were elves. In return for their allegiance the Nilfgaardian emperor gave the elves Dol Blathanna (the Valley of the Flowers in Elder Speech) as an independent state, which was once owned by the elves for a long time until the humans conquered it. Enid an Gleanna, also known as Francesca Findabair, was decreed the queen of the elven state by Emhyr var Emreis.
The Elder Races named Emhyr var Emreis as Deithwen Addan yn Carn aep Morvudd, which means the White Flame Dancing on the Barrows of his Enemies in Elder Speech.
Once again like previous Nilfgaardian rulers, it has huge expansionist policies, which means he wants to increase the territorial expansion of Nilfgaard, making it as large as possible and by conquering all other countries in the known world. Due to this, Nilfgaard has been at war three times with the Northern Kingdoms, twice in the books and the third time right at the end of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. Nilfgaard has so far been repelled by the Northern Kingdoms over many bloody battles. The fate of the last war is still unknown, however we do know that Nilfgaard has crossed the Yaruga and is marching north. The first two wars are known as the Northern Wars in the Nilfgaardian Empire and the Nilfgaard Wars in the Northern Kingdoms.
In the upcoming Witcher game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Emhyr var Emreis will be voiced by none other than Charles Dance.
*Spoilers for The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings*
Emhyr var Emreis has yet to physically be in a Witcher game, however he has been referred to before. It was revealed that it was the true mastermind behind the assassination of the Northern Kingdom’s Kings, as he offered Letho land where Witchers would be able to live without persecution and from others. Letho agreed to do this, and Emhyr var Emreis knew that this would cause chaos and unrest in the Northern Kingdoms, thus taking his first step towards conquering the Northern Kingdoms.
*Massive spoilers from the books about Emhyr var Emreis! Only read if you must know*
Emhyr var Emreis was cursed at the age of thirteen by a wizard who was hired by a usurper of the Nilfgaardian throne, once Emhyr’s father refused to co-operate with them they decided to curse his son instead. The cursed had turned Emhyr into a beastly looking figure with a humanoid shaped body figure and a face which was spiky and resembled a hedgehog. Geralt of Rivia managed to lift the curse off of him. Sound familiar yet? Yes, that’s right, Emhyr var Emreis is actually Duny. That also means that Emhyr var Emreis is Ciri’s father. We had been under the impression that Ciri’s parents had died while crossing the Sedna Abyss on a boat, what actually happened was that Pavetta (Ciri’s mother) found out that Emhyr was taking them both to Nilfgaard so she left Ciri behind. Emhyr possible threw Pavetta overboard himself due to his anger. He then left to claim his birthright of Nilfgaard. He has tried to kidnap Ciri multiple times.
First and foremost a witcher is a human, however they’re humans who have undergone mutation from a young age at one of the witcher schools, such as Kaer Morhen. While at the schools they are subjected to extensive physical training, and the Trial of the Grasses. The Trial of the Grasses is a painful trial for all young witcher’s to go through, which involves the consumption of mysterious alchemical ingredients, known as the grasses. Only 40% of all young witchers-to-be survive the trial, however if they do survive it then they gain fast reflexes, super human strength, resistance to most diseases and in most cases full immunity, and a very long lifespan. However, the trials also make all witchers sterile and unable to have children. During the trials, the young witchers gain ‘cat like eyes’ which enables them to see in the dark. It is also used as one of the ways to identify a witcher.
Witchers are professional monster hunters. They aim to rid the world of as many monsters as they can, while making as much coin as they can too. They have two primary weapons of choice, a steel sword and a silver sword. They use their steel sword for standard, humanoid enemies and they use their silver sword for enemies to be considered monsters, as they are sensitive to silver. They had extensive sword training while at Kaer Morhen and they were trained using the famous ‘witcher style’ of fighting.
While at Kaer Morhen they also underwent basic magical training, which enabled them to learn Signs. Signs are simple magical spells which do not require a magical formula, just a simple hand gesture, hence it being known as a sign. There are six known signs, these are:
Aard– A psychokinetic thrust of energy, it is used to knock down or disarm weapons from opponents. Igni– A psychokinetic burst of fire that can set opponents on fire, and also simply create fires. Yrden– A magical trap which is placed on the ground, enabling opponents to be trapped inside, causing damage. Quen– A defensive sign which causes a magical shield to surround the caster. Axii– A mental spell which makes the opponent it is used on fight along side the caster. Heliotrop– A sign which creates a force field area around the caster, slowing everything down inside it other than the caster.
The first ever witchers came into being when human colonizers came into modern day Termeria and started to colonize the untamed lands. The witchers were then known as warrior monks who defended the settles from all of the monsters which threatened their way of life.
There are only a few witchers who are known to be alive now, and there are no more witchers being made. The notable witchers are:
Geralt of Rivia (A full profile can be found here) Vesemir– The oldest and most experienced witcher, he is said to be at least three centuries old. He is someone Geralt looks up to and respects. He is in the upcoming witcher game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Lambert– A younger witcher who is very rude and dislikes Triss Merigold. He helped train Ciri when she was at Kaer Morhen. Coën – His first winter in Kaer Morhen coinsided with Ciri’s first winter there too, he helped train her in sword combat. He began his witcher training later than most, which is why he still retained scars from his face from when he was young. He died at the Battle of Brenna. Eskel – A close friend of Geralt’s, they were both trained at Kaer Morhen at the same time and even underwent the trials together. He has a calm personality and a large scar on the right hand side of his face. Berengar – A character who only appears in the witcher games, he can be spared or killed by Geralt. Letho – The main antagonist in the Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. He is the kingslayer and can also be killed or spared by Geralt. He was originally from the School of the Viper.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an open world role playing game set in the Northern Kingdoms. It is the last game in the series and continues Geralt of Rivia‘s story as he embarks on a personal mission. It is to be released on May 19th worldwide.
5. Sheer Size and Scale
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be the largest Witcher game to date. It has been reported that the game world size will be thirty times larger than the Witcher 2: Assassin of King’s game world, and will also be larger than Skyrim’s size, which is the game that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt intends to knock off of it’s perch as best RPG ever.
The gorgeous world isn’t empty either, with different enemies attacking depending where you are, and random events being plentiful. We saw on a gameplay trailer for it that when on a hunt for a griffin, Geralt came across a merchant woman being harassed, who he then promptly saved. It was then revealed that if we go back to the person after we killed the griffin we could then receive a reward. The large, beautiful world with things to do is certainly an improvement from passed Witcher games, which had smaller, separate maps and sometimes not much to do in either.
4. True Open World
Past Witcher games were sometimes infuriating. No matter how much I loved The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, nothing could be more annoying than not being able to walk straight down a hill with a tiny drop, you were blocked by an invisible wall. You had to walk all the way around. It’s a little annoyance, but still something I can’t wait to be gone. This time there is a huge, true open world in which you can traverse the world however you want. There are multiple paths or ways to get to your objective as opposed to one route. The Witcher 2 essentially had paths leading wherever you needed to go, and you could rarely deviate from them. Being able to explore the stunning world of The Witcher will be a privilege.
3. Monster Hunts
Monster Hunts look fantastic. Like previous games you need to learn more about the monsters you’re going to be facing, but this time it seems more in depth. You need to find out what they monster is, and the motivation for what it is doing. Watching the griffin hunt was fantastic. Geralt heightening his senses so he could follow the trail of blood, before getting distracted by helping a merchant in need, and then going after the monster. A glorious cut scene of the monsters final moments then occur, and boom. The griffin’s head on Geralt’s horse. Plus, that’s amazing. Who wouldn’t want to carry the head of a bested monster as a trophy on their horse?
2. More Main Characters From The Books
Although the first two Witcher games were fantastic, there was a lack of permanent characters from the books. Every now and then you’ll hear from an old friend of Geralt’s, but there are very few who are involved for most of the games, these are mainly just Triss and Dandelion. However, in the next game Yennefer of Vengerberg and Ciri will play large parts, and this is brilliant. Those two are very large characters from within the series and it feels as if the games are heading back to their book roots by including these two. Yennefer has a complicated, yet deep love for Geralt, and he also reciprocates them feelings. Ciri is arguably the main character of the books along side Geralt, and she is known as The Lion Cub of Cintra. She is almost like a daughter for Geralt, and she looks up to him as a mentor, as well as father in The Last Wish. She is also a playable character in The Wild Hunt for some missions.
The past Witcher games didn’t disappoint, and The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings corrected many errors from the first, and you can be sure that The Wild Hunt will remove any last annoyances from the previous two. With two such brilliant games though, the pedigree for the next Witcher game is clearly there. CD Projekt Red will learn from any mistakes and create the best Witcher game yet.
N0t only do they have two previous games to draw inspiration from, they have many brilliant short stories and novels which they can use for inspiration. All of the lore from previous books can be used to help create the best Witcher game yet. As this is the last installment for the series you can be sure that CD Projekt Red will want to go out with a bang. They have everything they need, and the proof is in the last two games that they can create the best Witcher game yet.
Geralt of Rivia is the main protagonist in Andrzej Sapowski’s The Witcher books, and CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher games. He goes by multiple names, these include The White Wolf (because he has pure white hair and is from the Wolf School), Gwynbleidd (Elder Speech for White Wolf), and Butcher of Blaviken (he thwarted the secret plans of Renfri and her bandits to kill Stregobor and the innocent but as this was not known to the general public it looked as though he killed them for no reason). Although being known as Geralt of Rivia, he isn’t from Rivia. This is because Master Vesemir encouraged all Witcher apprentices to adopt and create a surname so they sound more approachable and trustworthy.
Geralt is a Witcher, which is a professional monster hunter. He was abandoned by his mother at Kaer Morhen, which is the Witcher’s stronghold, not long after being born. He belonged to the Wolf School, there are three other school’s and these are the Cat School, Viper School, and Griffin School. Geralt was subjected to mutation from a very young age at Kaer Mohen. The mutations he underwent can be fatal to many, however Geralt survived them all during the Trial of the Grasses. The Trial of the Grasses is a trial which all young Witchers-to-be must undergo, they must take a mixture of ingredients (known as the grasses) and this is an extremely painful test, with less than half of all young Witcher’s surviving it. Geralt survived, and not only survived, but his body resisted the changes better than most and because of this he was subjected to even more dangerous and experimental procedures. As a result of the experimental procedures he lost all pigmentation in his body, which is why he has white hair. In return for taking the ingredients and passing the trial, he was rewarded with superhuman reflexes, enhanced speed, strength and enhanced senses. He also has the ability to open and close his pupils at will giving him night vision. Unfortunately the changes he undergoes leaves him sterile, like all Witchers. He also became a master swordsman due to his intense training from a young age.
Not only being a master swordsman, Geralt has the abilities to produce signs. They are known as signs because they do not need any sort of magical formular to produce them, all they need is the correct hand gesture and concentration. Hence it being called a sign. Signs are forms of simple magic and Geralt can perform all six known signs. These are the Aard sign (a concentrated form of telekinesis enabling the destruction of walls and the ability to throw back enemies), the Igni sign (which is pyrokinetic and allows Geralt to set opponents on fire, or simply to create fires), the Yrden sign (which allows Geralt to place a magical trap on the ground to immobilize enemies leaving them vulnerable to all of his incoming attacks), the Quen sign (which is a protective shield that allows all incoming physical attacks to be absorbed), the Axii sign (which tricks another enemy to fight along side you, becoming your ally for a short time) and the Heliotrop sign (which has multiple uses, in the book it is a magical shield which deflects all magic, and in the Witcher 2 it is a force field which slows down everything inside it, except for Geralt).
Geralt, like all Witcher’s, carries two swords. One sword is made with silver and the other sword steel. He carries both of these swords because the silver sword is for monsters and monster like races. Meteorite swords, which are swords made from meteorite ore also count as silver swords. Steel swords on the other hand are for humanoid races, such as humans, dwarves and elves. Geralt travels the land in search of monster contracts, as that is the purpose of Witcher’s, to rid the world of as many monsters as possible and earn as much coin as they possibly can while doing it. Geralt says that killing the monsters is a last resort, he would rather reverse the curses and save them where possible, such as Nivellen (a character from a short story), a cursed man who was made to look like a beast and Adda, King Foltest’s daughter who was born a Striga as a result of a curse being put upon her while in her mothers womb because of the incestuous relationship between Foltest and his sister (Adda’s mother), also named Adda. Geralt wears a silver wolf medallion (because he was of the Wolf School) around his neck which he received after he completed his training at Kaer Morhen, it is a symbol of the Witcher profession. This medallion reacts and vibrates whenever there is magic nearby, it also is harmful to monsters because it is made of silver, an example is when Geralt realises that Nivellen cannot be a monster because he touched his medallion and suffered no side effects during the short story ‘A Grain of Truth’.
Geralt’s best friend Dandelion, whom he met at the fête in Gulet once said, “Is he a good man? I do not think so. Does he try to maintain his humanity? I believe he does.” This sums up Geralt perfectly. He has his own Witcher code of morals and ethics, and tries to stay out of politics and follows his own code. In a world full of unscrupulous, and evil characters, Geralt tries to remain neutral where possible and rarely deviates from doing so. It is also said that Witcher’s are supposed to have no feelings or emotions, but this is untrue with Geralt as he has a deep, if somewhat complicated love, for Yennefer of Vengerberg. He also develops a fatherly love for Ciri, the only person he considers to be family to him. During The Blood of Elves book, Triss Merigold, a friend and future lover, falls ill when travelling with Geralt and Ciri and throughout this time Geralt cares and looks after Triss, helping and caring for her, such as cleaning her, bathing her, and helping her go to the toilet. This is all much to the surprise of the dwarves that they are travelling with, who claim that they wouldn’t do what Geralt is doing for Triss, for their wives. She also becomes his main lover in the first two Witcher games. Geralt is a firm believer in choosing the lesser evil, and always chooses violence as a last resort. He will stand up for the innocent, but he will not, where possible, take sides between two equal forces because he knows how much pain and loss he could cause the opposing side.
First Game – The Witcher (Short Summary/Spoilers)
At the beginning of the first game, Geralt seeming comes back to life after he was outnumbered and murdered with a pitchfork by a mob of angry humans, attempting to purge Rivia of non humans. Geralt stood up for the non humans and was attacked because of this. His death was witnessed by many, including his friends the sorceress Triss Merigold and dwarf Zoltan Chivay. After seemingly coming back to life in the first Witcher game he is saved by the last remaining Witchers and returns to Kaer Morhen with no memory of his previous life. During the rest of the first game, The Witcher, Geralt intends to hunt down The Salamandra, an evil organisation who ransacked Kaer Morhen at the beginning of the game and stole the Witcher’s mutagenic potions that are used to genetically alter Witchers. He goes after the two people behind the attacks, a mage named Azar Javed and an assassin named The Professor. Once he killed Azar Javed it is revealed to him that the Grand Master of the Order, Jacques de Aldersberg, betrayed the king and that he is the one behind Salamandra’s operation.
During the game you can make several choices as Geralt, you can remain neutral with Triss Merigold, side with the Squirrels with Yaevinn or side with the Order of the Flaming Rose with Siegfried . Whoever you side with, will ultimately come with you on your hunt for Jacques de Aldersberg, however you will end up going for the Grand Master on your own as your other companion will be injured, or Geralt will trick Triss into leaving him to fight Jacques alone so she will be safe. He is transported to an illusion where Geralt finds and kills Jacques de Aldersberg. Geralt also meets the King of The Wild Hunt who has been following him throughout the game. He too wants the Grand Master’s soul, and they end up duelling for the soul of Jacques de Aldersberg, where Geralt prevails and kills him.
During the epilogue of the game, an assassin attempts to kill King Foltest, who fails due to the involvement of Geralt and ultimately perishes at Geralt’s hands.
Second Game – The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (Short Summary/Spoilers)
At the start of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, another assassin, who knew Geralt before he ‘died’, named Letho was successful in his attempt to kill King Demavend of Aedirn and King Foltest of Temeria. Geralt was present when Letho killed King Foltest and was unable to stop Letho from doing so, and was the only person seen with Foltest when he was murdered, therefore he was the one who was believed to have killed King Foltest.
Commander of The Blue Stripes (Temeria’s special forces), Vernon Roach, who Geralt met earlier that day, believed that Geralt was innocent and helped him escape from the dungeon he was being held in and Geralt, Roach and Triss left to go in search of Letho, the real kingslayer and clear Geralt’s name.
Just before arriving in Flotsam, the three of them are attacked by Iorveth the leader of the Scoia’tael (squirrels) who assisted Letho in killing King Foltest. They get out alive thanks to Triss’ magical capabilities, creating a shield bubble that the elven arrows can’t penetrate. Geralt saves two friends, Dandelion and Zoltan from being hung in Flotsam. Later on Geralt tells Iorveth that Letho intends to betray him, and following upon this Geralt has to choose Roach’s path or Ioveth’s.
Following Ioveth’s path leaves Geralt fighting on the side of Saskia the dragonslayer against King Henselt, who ends up being a dragon herself, under the control of Philippa Eilhart. Later on Geralt must choose to save Philippa or Triss (who was previously kidnapped by the kingslayer Letho and is currently being held prisoner in the Nilfgaardian camp) or save Philippa who is the only person who can lift the spell off of Saskia.
Following Roach’s path leaves Geralt fighting on the side of King Henself, against Saskia. King Henself kills Roach’s men and after Geralt defeats Henselt’s personal guard, Geralt can choose to spare Henselt’s life or let Roach kill him. Later on Geralt will have to choose between Princess Anais of Temeria (one of Foltest’s bastard children) or Triss.
If Geralt did not choose to save Triss, then violent riots against all magical users occurs throughout the Northern Kingdoms. If he did save her, then the Conclave is restored. Letho then wants to meet with Geralt, to tell him of the Nilfgaardian plot to damage the Northern Kingdoms. Geralt can then choose to let Letho go, or fight him to the death.
Throughout the game, Geralt slowly remembers parts of his previous life before the events in Rivia.
The games are considered canon and are separate from the stories, all events transpire after the books.