The Witcher: Why Does Vilgefortz Bring Fake Ciri to Emhyr?

Image Credit: Jay Maidment/ Netflix

Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ revolves around Ciri, the Cintran princess who discovers she has unimaginable powers and becomes the center of all conflict in the Continent. Everyone who knows about Ciri wants her to serve their own purpose. Some want her for political gain, while others want to get her power for themselves. To everyone, Ciri is the piece of the puzzle that will help them get control of the Continent and the worlds beyond.

One of the most powerful people who want Ciri is Emhyr, the Emperor of Nilfgaard. He has sent his minions after Ciri since the beginning of ‘The Witcher,’ and in the finale of Season 3, we find him welcoming her to his kingdom. The twist is that this Ciri is not the real one. She is a girl named Teryn, who looks like Ciri and has her memories, but she is not the girl Emhyr wants. Why is Teryn with him in Nilfgaard, then? Does Emhyr know she is a fake Ciri? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD

Teryn’s Role: A Pawn in Vilgefortz’s Game

Image Credit: Susie Allnutt/ Netflix

Emhyr attacked Cintra to get hold of Ciri and delegated the task of capturing her to Cahir. In the second season, a rogue mage called Rience is seen chasing her, but it’s in the third season that his master’s real identity is revealed. It turns out that the mage, Vilgefortz, also wants Ciri, and in another twist, it turns out he had been working with Emhyr all along. However, they both want Ciri for different reasons.

Emhyr wants Ciri because she is his daughter. He is Duny, introduced in Season 1, who married Pavetta and promised his daughter to Geralt of Rivia in the Law of Surprise. Everyone believes Duny is dead, and only a few people know about Ciri’s parentage. What’s worse is that Emhyr wants to marry Ciri, which is wrong on several levels, but also shows us how hungry he is for power. Ciri’s position as the Queen of Cintra (following her grandmother Calanthe’s death) makes her an important political pawn.

Emhyr and Ciri’s marriage would consolidate his position in the North and would encourage other kingdoms to give up the war and surrender. Then there is also the matter of Ciri’s powers which will further strengthen Emhyr’s control on the Continent. In the books, it’s clear what Emhyr wants, but the show is yet to acknowledge his devious plans regarding his daughter. Meanwhile, Vilgefortz wants Ciri for her power; being a mage, he is the only one who can harness that.

While Vilgefortz had magic, he didn’t have the power of an army behind him. With Ciri being the Princess of Cintra, he needed Emhyr to kill Calanthe and get Ciri out in the open to get to her. According to the books, Vilgefortz had all this when Emhyr was still Duny, which proves how calculating and patient the mage had been all this time. While he promised Ciri and all her powers to Emhyr, Vilgefortz had no intention of giving Ciri over to him. For this, he had another plan: create a fake Ciri.

In the first half of Season 3, Geralt comes across Vilgefortz’s experiments with young girls kidnapped from Aretuza. He finds Teryn, who looks like Ciri, and even has her memories. Teryn thinks she is Ciri, which means if someone asked her who she was, she wouldn’t bat an eye before claiming to be the lost princess of Cintra. If she were to pose as Ciri, Vilgefortz couldn’t risk her slipping up, making a mistake that would reveal her true identity, so he convinces her she is Ciri.

Vilgefortz mainly replaced Ciri with Teryn because he wants Emhyr to think he has Ciri, while Vilgefortz can continue with his own plans. It could also be because Vilgefortz promised Emhyr he would deliver Ciri following the Conclave at Aretuza, where Emhyr sent the elves to fight on his behalf. However, things didn’t pan out well as Vilgefortz lost an eye, with half of his face damaged by the explosion in Tor Lara. The Emperor must have pressured him for results, so Vilgefortz offered Teryn to keep him satisfied until the real Ciri was captured. His plan seems to have worked as Emhyr introduces Teryn as Ciri to his kingdom, which serves his political purposes. But it won’t be long before he figures out the ruse. What Vilgefortz does then remains to be seen.

Read More: Why Does Ciri Call Herself Falka at the End of The Witcher Season 3?