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.
Yennefer of Vengerberg is a sorceress and the main protagonist Geralt of Rivia’s lover, even though their relationship is somewhat complicated. She act’s as a motherly figure towards Ciri and looks at her as if she was her own daughter. Yennefer, like all sorceresses, is sterile, meaning that she cannot have children although she has attempted many times to find a away to become fertile, but all to no avail. She is also a close friend of Triss Merigold, who also loves Geralt and acts as his canon lover in the previous Witcher games, but not in the books.
While at Nenneke’s (a priestess of Melitele) Temple in Ellander, Yennefer taught Ciri about magic, and although she was very strict at first, she softened and became a patient and very good tutor to Ciri, the child of destiny. She clashed many times with Nenneke, who was worried about Ciri’s well being, although they both left on good terms.
Although very beautiful, Yennefer is actually in her nineties and she has her famed looks because of magical help. Geralt realises that she was once a hunchback, but he still loved her nevertheless. During the Battle of Sodden Hill, Yennefer lost her eyesight as she was blinded by Fringilla Viga, a Nilfgaardian sorceress. Her eyesight was later restored by magic, however Yennefer still bears the emotional scars of that event. Once while at Nenneke’s Temple, Ciri asked her why she was staring at a linden tree, when Yennefer replied, “Nothing. I’m simply feasting my eyes upon it. I’m happy that… I can see it.”
One of the more notable things about Yennefer is her lilac eyes, and she always uses lilac and gooseberry perfumes. She is rarely seen without wearing black and white.
She was king Demavend of Aedirn’s royal advisor, but he is now dead as he was killed by Letho, the kingslayer, in the intro to The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings.
At the end of the books, Geralt was killed for protecting non humans in Rivia after riots broke out, and Yennefer perished while trying to heal him. However, Ciri took them to another world and to Malus Island (known as the Isle of Avallach in the game), where they were both saved. They spent sometime together there, but the Wild Hunt steals Yennefer away from him. Once Geralt finds the Wild Hunt he exchanges his soul for Yennefer’s. It is generally excepted that the Wild Hunt let Geralt go because he is very good at killing. Another reason could be because they believed he would lead them to Ciri.
Yennefer has yet to be in a Witcher game before, but she makes her debut into the series in the upcoming game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The player will be able to choose Yennefer as a romance option for Geralt. Yennefer was however seen in many flashbacks in The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, and it is revealed at the end of the game that she is most likely still alive and in the city of Nilfgaard.
Triss Merigold of Maribor is a sorceress and the main protagonist Geralt of Rivia’s close friend, and lover in The Witcher games. She is also a close friend to Geralt’s main lover through the books, Yennefer of Vengerberg. Triss is in love with Geralt and is very jealous of the relationship which Geralt has with Yennefer, even though the bond they share is very complicated. Triss took it upon herself to act as a motherly/sisterly figure to Ciri during her time at Kaer Morhen (the witcher stronghold), where she looked after her and helped the others there to treat her as a growing woman, as opposed to a witcher-to-be, because of this Ciri wasn’t subjected to any mutations.
At the beginning of the books it was thought that Triss had died at The Battle of Sodden Hill, where it was thought that fourteen of the twenty-two mages who had been fighting the Nilfgaardian army had died. Hence this was why she was named as the “Fourteenth of the Hill”.
During Blood of Elves, Triss falls ill and Geralt and Ciri help nurse Triss back to full recovery, but even though Triss is a sorceress she is allergic to magic and therefore she couldn’t administer any of her magical potions to make herself better and had to rely on more conventional means of medicine. Although she is not allergic to magical amulets.
After the Thanedd Coup, which occurred when mages employed by Nilfgaard had planned a surprise attack on the northern mages while at a planned reunion on Thanedd Island, the Brotherhood of Sorcerers disbanded and six weeks later the Lodge of Sorceresses was formed by the mage Philippa Eilhart and Triss Merigold was a founding member. She was also on King Foltest’s royal council.
Triss will be in the upcoming witcher game – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Triss in The Witcher (Game Spoilers)
Geralt of Rivia is first found in the woods near Kaer Morhen after being thought dead, and Triss is one of the first people who he meets, even though he has no past recollection of her or anyone else due to his amnesia. The Salamandra (a criminal organisation throughout the first game led by Azar Javed) then attack Kaer Morhen and Triss helps fend them off, albeit unsuccessfully as they steal the witchers secrets to their mutagenic substances and Triss is left seriously wounded. Geralt then makes Triss a special potion to help her fully recover, even though in the books Triss is allergic to magic potions and can only use magic amulets to recover herself.
After a battle with the Salamandra leader Azar Javed in the swamp later in the game Triss nurses Geralt back to full health at her home in the city.
Later on during the game Geralt has the option to choose Triss to look after Alvin or whether to have Shani look after him. If Geralt let’s Shani take care of Alvin then Triss decides that he doesn’t trust her and is very angry at him. However if Geralt allows Alvin to stay with Triss then she takes this as a sign of trust and it only deepens their relationship. Triss hopes that when Geralt finishes dealing with the Salamandra that they can raise Alvin together and have a relationship together.
At the closing stages of the game, Geralt goes to kill Jacques de Aldersberg (the Grand Master of the Order of the Flaming Rose) and Triss offers to help, but she is fooled by Geralt into leaving while he goes to kill Jacques. When Geralt appears in the visionary ice plains a vision of Triss appears and she helps Geralt go after him.
Triss in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (Game Spoilers)
Triss begins the game as Geralt’s lover, and the two are in a relationship and have plans to leave King Foltest’s court once the situation with the La Valette’s is dealt with. However, with the death of King Foltest their plans were scuppered as Geralt was framed for his murder.
In the first chapter Triss can be found in Flotsam staying with the Blue Stripes, a Termerian special forces unit lead by Vernon Roach. Her relationship with Geralt deepens during their time in Flotsam and the two of them spend some time alone in the elven bath’s, where Triss says “I forgot all about Flotsam, the Scoia’tael, the kingslayer, the whole world really…”.
At the end of the first chapter, Triss is kidnapped by the real kingslayer Letho, where he forced her to teleport both of them to Aedirn. She isn’t seen for the rest of the game until she is rescued.
If the player chose Roach’s path, they could have chosen to rescue Anais La Valette or Triss. If they chose to save Triss then they would have had to fight through a Nilfgaardian camp and rescue her from captivity there, where she was being tortured. If they chose to rescue Anais, then Triss would have been saved by Letho, the one who kidnapped her.
If the player chose Iorveth’s path, then they could have chosen to rescue Triss or to help Philippa lift a curse off of Saskia. If they chose to save Triss then they would have fought through the Nilfgaadian camp to rescue her from her captivity. If they chose to help Philippa then Letho would have saved her. Triss is fine rescued no matter what path is chosen.
Dandelion is a world famous bard and is the main protagonist Geralt of Rivia‘s best friend and confidant. They first met at a fête in Gulet when he became a companion to Geralt (who welcomed this as he had been alone for a while) when Dandelion had to leave witcher Gulet as fast as possible – because he ‘knocked up’ a girl under the musician’s podium and she had four sturdy brothers who were threatening to geld, and cover him in pitch and sawdust.
Dandelion is a graduate, and later on, professor of Oxenfurt Academy. He only taught at there for a year and rarely visits Oxenfurt, although he still does from time to time to give guest lectures, because he is off travelling the Northern Kingdoms as a minstrel and garners a world famous reputation for doing so in the years to come. He also get’s caught up in many of Geralt’s adventures, and he also acquires his favourite lute on these adventures. During the short story, ‘The Edge of the World’, Dandelion and Geralt are captured by a group of elves and one of them, Toruviel, breaks Dandelion’s lute, much to his dismay. Awaiting his death, Dandelion faints. While he is out the Queen of the Fields appears and communicates with the elves telepathically and tells the elves to not kill them. Dandelion receives a few slaps to wake him up but no other harm befouls him that day. As the elves are leaving Toruviel gives Dandelion a new lute, which becomes his favourite one.
He possess an incredible ability to always find himself in trouble. Of course most of the trouble he get’s himself into is self inflicted, and normally involves a woman. His profession goes hand in hand with his favourite pastime, womanising. Being a bard get’s him in a lot of positions to seduce women, and he never misses the opportunity. When in Flotsam in The Witcher 2: Assassin’s of Kings, he was about to be hanged for debauchery (excessive indulgence in sex, alcohol, or drugs) and burning down a building until Geralt saved him.
One of his best traits as a human is that he harbours no ill will towards elves or dwarves, and that’s a very rare trait throughout the Northern Kingdoms, with non humans and humans at each others throats for many years. Some of his best friends are non human, including Zoltan Chivay.
He is known for many ballads, but his most famous by far is The Lion Cub of Cintra. This is about Ciri and the events that transpired during the Slaughter of Cintra. This too got him in to trouble, as he was attacked by someone attempting to get information out of him about Ciri, until Yennefer stepped in and saved him. He uses Geralt, Yennefer, Ciri and other people he knows and the adventures he’s been on as inspiration for the songs he writes.
Dandelion in The Witcher (Spoilers)
Dandelion does not appear into the first game until the second chapter, at a party which Shani throws to celebrate his arrival into town. This is the first time he’s seen Geralt since he ‘died’, and Geralt doesn’t remember him due to his amnesia, but Dandelion recalls some of Geralt’s past for him.
Dandelion asks Geralt to recover his lute which he left in one of his young, female music student’s bedroom. Oh Dandelion. He can’t go and get it himself as the girls father is there too, and he isn’t very happy. Dandelion needs his lute as he is performing a concert later that evening, and won’t be able to without his lute. He also accompanies him on various missions throughout the game.
Dandelion in The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings (Spoilers)
Dandelion is the narrator and retells the story between chapters. All of the journal entries are written by Dandelion, from his point of view. Dandelion makes his appearance into The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings in the first chapter. He is about to be hanged for debauchery in Flotsam town square. Upon being saved by Geralt, it is revealed that Dandelion has been working for Roach and the Temerian Intelligence Service as a spy.
During the end of the first chapter, Geralt has to make a choice which will impact on Dandelion’s story. If Geralt chooses Roach’s path, Dandelion would end up in King Henselt’s military camp, where he aims to help Geralt as he doesn’t understand politics. Dandelion ultimately get’s in trouble as he creates an anti Henselt pamphlet, which smears the king. Due to these circumstances he leaves King Henselt’s military camp and fails to reach Loc Muinne in time, meaning this is the end of his story. He continues to recount the stories in the journal through the things that he’s heard from others.
If Geralt chooses Iorveth’s path, then Dadelion ends up in dwarven town of Vergen. He also helps Geralt with a problem with a succubus. The succubus is a demon who takes the form of a gorgeous woman, with the intentions of seducing men and feed off of their energy to sustain themselves. Dandelion had to sing a ballad in the burned village for the succubus to open it’s lair for him, where Geralt would then enter instead of Dandelion. When Geralt and Iorveth left for Loc Muinne, Dandelion chose to stay a bit longer in Vergen to write more ballads after gaining a lot more new material. He relays the rest of the story from things that he has heard from other people.
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.