In Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ series, the White Flame is a messianic figure who successfully led a revolt in the Nilfgaard empire and regained the Imperial throne that originally belonged to his father, Fergus var Emreis. Although the White Flame is used interchangeably for his real name by his followers, it’s part of a bigger moniker. The Imperator’s real name is Emhyr var Emreis, and the full moniker is Deithwen Addan yn Carn aep Morvudd. Translated from Nilfgaardian language, which is a daughter language of the Elder Speech, it means “The White Flame Dancing on the Barrows of his Enemies.” This ominous nickname Emhyr received after using the gravestones of his enemies to create the floor of his ballroom. If you want to know more about him and why he is interested in Ciri, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Who Is the White Flame?
Fergus var Emreis, the former Imperator of Nilfgaard, was removed from his throne by a powerful member of the nobility known simply as the Usurper. His son Emhyr, who was 13 years old at the time, was cursed by the sorcerer Braathens, who worked for the Usurper. The curse turned Emhyr into a beast-like monster whose face resembled that of a hedgehog. Fergus was subsequently killed, and Emhyr would have died too, but he managed to escape to the North of the Continent.
In 1237, he saved the life of King Roegner of Cintra and claimed the Law of Surprise. Emhyr makes his first appearance in the show in ‘Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials’ (season 1 episode 4). He appears in the Cintran court and introduces himself as Duny, the Urcheon of Erlenwald. He then proceeds to ask for the hand of Princess Pavetta of Cintra. By this time, Roegner has passed away, and Queen Calanthe, his wife and the current ruler of Cintra, is vehemently against the union. But she later reluctantly acquiesces after realizing that Pavetta and Duny are already in a relationship.
Geralt, who is also there, earlier saved Duny’s life. Not wanting to start a new life with a debt hanging over him, Duny asks Geralt how he can repay him. Geralt genuinely doesn’t want anything, so he offhandedly invokes the Law of Surprise. It is revealed then that Pavetta is pregnant with her and Duny’s child.
After the child’s birth, they named her Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon or simply Ciri. After learning that Ithlinne’s Prophecy of the Elves is about their daughter, Duny convinced his wife that they must leave. It is believed that they both died at sea. In reality, Duny survived and returned to Nilfgaard, reclaiming his father’s throne.
Afterward, he came to be viewed by his followers as a savior and liberator. He eventually launched a campaign against the Northern Kingdoms. Although his forces are victorious against Cintra, they are less successful in campaigns against other kingdoms and eventually suffer a drastic defeat at the Battle of Sodden Hill. This prompts Emhyr to get involved himself. He ordered the death of the first Elven child born in decades, which leads the Elves to attack the Northern Kingdoms, as they believe them to be responsible. As season 2 ends, Emhyr comes to Cintra to look for Ciri and establish control over the North.