What Happened to Ciri’s Mother Pavetta in The Witcher?

Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ follows the story of Princess Cirilla of Cintra, whose life is upended when war comes knocking at her door. Over time, Ciri discovers that the reason behind this war ravaging the Continent is her powers. Her complicated lineage and the potential to be the protector or destroyer of the world make her a huge asset for anyone who can get her hands on her. Ciri was brought up by her grandmother and believed her parents were dead. However, at the end of ‘The Witcher’ Season 2, we discover that her father is alive and well and planning to take over the Continent. This, however, doesn’t shed any light on what transpired with her mother, Pavetta. Is she really dead? How did she die? MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

How Did Pavetta Die?

Pavetta was the daughter of Queen Calanthe of Cintra, a headstrong woman who ruled her kingdom with an iron fist. Calanthe had a plan for her daughter, but it was foiled when she discovered that Pavetta had fallen in love with Duny, an anthropomorphic hedgehog. Despite her reservations about their union, Calanthe agrees to wed them, and when Pavetta kisses Duny, he transforms into a human. It turns out he was cursed, and the queen’s blessing lifted it, bringing him back to who he used to be. Later, however, the curse wasn’t the only thing Duny was hiding.

Duny was Emhyr, the prince of Nilfgaard, who was cursed and thrown out of the kingdom by the usurper who took his father’s throne. He knew he couldn’t return home until the curse was lifted, so he was hiding out in Cintra. Once he returned to normal, married Pavetta, and had a daughter, Ciri, he went on a voyage with his family. Soon after, everyone received the news that the ship had run into a storm and there were no survivors. This is where things get complicated.

Ciri was supposed to be on the ship that killed her parents. However, in the last moment, Pavetta changed her mind and left her daughter at Cintra in the hands of Calanthe. This was because she suspected her husband was up to something, and she turned out to be right. The show is yet to catch up with the exact nature of the events that transpired on the day Pavetta died, but according to the books on which the show is based, she died at the hands of her husband.

It takes years for Ciri’s powers to manifest and for people to discover she is connected to Ithlinne’s prophecy, but some people knew about it long ago. Vilgefortz and Duny aka Emhyr were one of them. Vilgefortz knew of Ciri’s powers and wanted to use them for his purpose. He sought out Emhyr and showed him a path to reclaim Nilfgaard while taking control of the entire Continent. He manipulated the meaning of the prophecy in such a way that he made Emhyr think that his and Ciri’s child was the one Ithlinne prophecized.

Because the plan was still in the early stages and Ciri was still a child, Vilgefortz and Emhyr decided to stage the death of Duny, Pavetta, and Ciri so that they could start working on their plans in secret, away from the rest of the world. However, Pavetta discovered it and was disgusted by what her husband had planned for their daughter. She decided that the only place where Ciri could be safe was in Cintra. Calanthe would never give up her granddaughter.

Once their boat left the shore, Emhyr realized what Pavetta had done. This led to an argument between the couple, which got heated, and things got out of hand. In the books, Emhyr confesses that Pavetta fell off board and drowned in the sea. However, he remains cagey about whether he did it intentionally. He says it was an accident and never meant to kill his wife. But then, for a person as deceitful as him, it would be foolishness to accept his version of events. The show might shed more light on this or perhaps even alter the events to suit the story that has diverged from the books. However, the fact remains, Pavetta really died that day, unlike Emhyr, who faked his death and survived.

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