Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ takes place on the Continent where several kingdoms break out into a war that changes the fate of the world. The seeds of this conflict are sown with the birth of Ciri of Cintra, whose unimaginable power makes her a coveted asset for anyone who wants to rule the Continent. The tension increases with every season, with each character focused on their political gain instead of what would be right for the kingdom and its people.
The mages at Aretuza try to rally the northern kingdoms against the threat of Nilfgaard and its ruler, Emhyr, aka the White Flame. However, everyone has their own motives, and they all carry a dagger at the peace talks, eventually leading to a conflict that was a long time coming. In the final scene of Episode 5, Geralt hears shrieks and cries and prepares to attack the unknown enemy when he faces Dijkstra, who holds him at sword point. Does this mean that he and Phillipa have attacked Aretuza? Why? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD
Why Do Phillipa and Dijkstra Attack Aretuza?
When Nilfgaard started the war and attacked Cintra, the northern kingdoms didn’t see it as much of a threat. But then, the White Flame didn’t stop at Cintra, which forced the kingdoms to join hands. However, they weren’t too quick about it. No ruler wants to plunge their country into war, which is why they look for ways to make deals and whatnot to stop the unnecessary bloodshed. However, there are others who could profit from war, and it is these people who show up at Aretuza.
By the time Yennefer comes up with the idea of a conclave to bring together all the mages serving the northern kingdoms to create peace between them and unite them against Nilfgaard, the kingdoms, and mages have already decided where their loyalties lie. Half of them support Nilfgaard, while the other half is behind the northern kingdoms and wants to stop the White Flame. Phillipa and Dijkstra are one of them. They have every intention to fight against Nilfgaard, and they are so dedicated to the cause that when Queen Hedwig creates a communication channel between King Vizimir and Emhyr, Dijkstra has Hedwig killed to rile Vizimir against Emhyr.
At the banquet before the conclave, Yennefer notes that Phillipa seems to be preparing for a conflict and tries to get Yennefer to side with them. Geralt also receives offers of aligning with them by Dijkstra and Vilgefortz. This is concerning because the conclave is supposed to make peace between all northern kingdoms. And yet, Phillipa, Dijkstra, and Vilgefortz seem prepped for war. The reason behind this becomes clear following the banquet.
The fifth episode, titled ‘The Art of the Illusion,’ takes a page from the Witcher books on which the Netflix series is based and enacts the infamous Thanedd coup. While everyone attends the conclave, no one intended it to go down as envisioned by Yennefer and Tissaia. Those siding with northern kingdoms use it as the opportunity to flush out the Nilfgaard supporters and arrest or kill them. Meanwhile, those who want Nilfgaard to win have the same intention for the mages supporting the northern kingdoms.
Neither side realizes that their plans are not unique, and the other side is planning the same thing. This leads to both forces colliding in the aftermath of the banquet, which paves the way for the downfall of the Brotherhood. This was hinted at by Phillipa, who warned Yennefer that there was no use for the Brotherhood in the new world. In hindsight, this was a clear warning from Phillipa, who wanted Yennefer to choose sides before violence erupted in Aretuza.
Because Geralt, Yennefer, and Tissaia are neutral and don’t belong to any side, they are caught off guard by the attack. They thought the conclave’s success would make things easier for them, but it turns out everyone except them had already chosen sides. This is another thing Phillipa mentions while talking to Yennefer at the party. She warns Yennefer about the traitors of Nilfgaard at Aretuza, who want the conclave and the northern kingdoms to fail. Yennefer doesn’t take it seriously, but that doesn’t stop Phillipa and Dijkstra from attacking Aretuza and kickstarting that war that will worsen with time.
Read More: Who Kidnapped the Girls From Aretuza?