In The Witcher Season 3, "monarchs, mages, and beasts of the Continent compete to capture Ciri." So, who is the villain in The Witcher Season 3?
Or rather, who are the villains in The Witcher Season 3? In The Witcher Season 3, Geralt and Yennefer take Ciri into hiding because everyone's after her.
The three of them stay together until they’re forced to part ways due to never-ending threats. Yennefer decides to take Ciri to Aretuza so that she could learn how to use her powers, while Geralt tracks down a villain.
So, who are Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri up against? Who are the villains in The Witcher Season 3?
Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Witcher Season 3 Part 1 and Andrzej Sapkowski’s Time of Contempt. Read at your own risk!
Who is the White Flame? Emhyr var Emreis Explained
After Season 2's big reveal, it's clear that Emhyr will be a villain in The Witcher Season 3. At the end of Season 2, it was revealed that Ciri’s father, Duny, is actually Emhyr – the White Flame and the Emperor of Nilfgaard.
Duny was saved by Geralt in the first season after Calanthe wanted him killed. Later on, he was presumed dead along with Ciri’s mother, as they were supposedly lost at sea when Ciri was just a baby.
In Time of Contempt, Emhyr wanted the Chapter broken apart. He also publicly announced his plans of marrying Ciri in order to legitimize his rule of Cintra. However, a false Ciri was presented to him and he made orders to find the real Ciri.
Talking about The Witcher Season 3 villain Emhyr, Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich told Netflix's Tudum:
"The biggest danger is that there are no good guys or bad guys. Villains believe that they're doing the things that are best for them, their people, their land. This guy [Emhyr] has been presented as just an absolute zealot. A harsh and terrible ruler. But suddenly you realize what he wants is his daughter back. I've just said family's worth fighting for. So isn't he kind of doing the same thing?"
In The Witcher Season 3, we see Emhyr in Nilfgaard holding a portrait of baby Ciri. So, perhaps Emhyr still cares for his daughter.
However, it's also clear that he's up to no good. Having Cahir kill Gallatin in The Witcher Season 3 Part 1 is just a small part of what Emhyr's about to do next.
The Witcher: The Wild Hunt Explained
We first get a glimpse of the Wild Hunt at the end of Season 2 as Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri were briefly teleported to another realm.
In The Witcher show, they were first mentioned in Season 1 where they are described as an “omen of war”. In Season 2, Nivellen shared that he saw them riding their skeletal horses across the southern sky and described them as a “portent of doom”.
At the end of Season 2, we see that they take an interest in Ciri as she is a Child of the Elder Blood. The Wild Hunt are also known as the Wraiths of Mörhogg.
They are seen as ghosts who gallop across the sky as an omen of war. The Wild Hunt are led by their king Eredin and are actually elves from another world, known as the Aen Elle.
Showrunner Hissrich describes them as “skeletal riders on skeletal horses and they ride sort of distantly in the sky and people usually see them in the summer over the Skellige Islands.”
Hissrich also says that The Witcher Season 3 will keep this villain “an ever-looming threat”. She shared with Entertainment Weekly:
"One of the things that I love in the books that [author Andrzej] Sapkowski did beautifully is he teases the Wild Hunt for so long. They pop up, then they go away for a while. So we are definitely sticking to that school.
We all know that, eventually, Geralt is going to learn a little bit more about the Wild Hunt, as will Ciri, but right now it stays this ever-looming threat to her. It sort of goes between her fingers. She can't quite catch it and figure it out yet."
In The Witcher Season 3, the Wild Hunt appears briefly. Ciri convinces herself that they are ghosts and corpses, and Eredin responds that indeed they are corpses, but Ciri is death itself.
Thankfully, Geralt arrives and attacks the Wild Hunt. After they disappear, Ciri realizes that they were real.
Who is Rience? The Fire Mage Explained
The fire mage remains a villain in The Witcher Season 3. In The Witcher Season 2, Rience was tasked with hunting down Ciri by the sorceress Lydia.
He first kidnaps Jaskier for information, but the latter was saved by Yennefer. Later on, he was able to track down Ciri at the Temple of Melitele but was stopped by Geralt.
In The Witcher Season 3, Rience continues to track down Ciri, and later on, it's revealed that he works for Vilgefortz (discussed below).
Rience is also responsible for a number of deaths, like Codringher and Fenn's. Rience visits Codringher and Fenn and asks them what Geralt’s plans are.
The duo doesn't say anything, and Rience threatens to kill their cat. Fenn begs him not to, and the next thing we see is Rience leaving a house on fire, notably bringing the cat with him.
RELATED: Who Dies in The Witcher Season 3?
Who is The Professor?
In The Witcher books, The Professor/Ralf Blunden was a well-known murderer who worked with Heimo Kantor and Little Yaxa.
All three were said to be handy with a sword and better than the Michelets (the mercenary brothers that Geralt killed in the Temple of Melitele in Season 2).
In Time of Contempt, The Professor and his companions were tracking down Yennefer and Ciri. They were looking for a woman who was “black-haired and exceedingly fair” and another who was “younger, fair-haired and green-eyed”.
Their tracking led them to the Temerian town of Anchor. They attempted to obtain information about Yennefer and Ciri in a local inn, but they encountered Geralt instead.
In The Witcher Season 3, The Professor was hired by Rience to track down Ciri and Geralt, or a girl with “ashen hair and patrician countenance” and a witcher who’s “a mannerless, blanched brute.”
The Professor and his men meet Geralt outside the inn to their demise. Geralt finishes his men off, and the last thing we see in this scene is The Professor’s headless body on the ground.
So, just like in the book, The Professor doesn't last long.
Who is the Real Villain in The Witcher Season 3? Vilgefortz Explained
While Geralt and Yennefer thought that Stregobor was a spy for Nilfgaard and the one responsible for the missing Aretuza apprentices, the real villain in The Witcher Season 3 all along was Vilgefortz.
Vilgefortz is a mage who's part of the Brotherhood of Sorcerers. He's also the lover of Tissaia de Vries.
Vilgefortz has been using Lydia to use Rience to find Ciri. Geralt and Yennefer realize that Lydia's earrings match the bracelet Vilgefortz gave Tissaia.
They were made of scarlet ammonite, something that's only found in the mines of West Redania, which is near Vuilpanne castle, the place where Geralt found the missing girls and Teryn.
Additionally, "The First Landing", which happens to be Vilgefortz's favorite painting, showed the place the corrupt portal took Yennefer when she was attacked.
Geralt and Yennefer conclude that Vilgefortz is the traitor.
In The Witcher Season 3 Part 2, when Tissaia goes after Vilgefortz, the latter reveals that the Scoia'tael will enter Aretuza and burn it to the ground in the name of the White Flame.
Tissaia asks why Vilgefortz betrayed them, and Vilgefortz responds that he has his own aims, and they no longer include her. He reveals that Tissaia was easy to fool with her undying trust.
Vilgefortz then opens a passage to let Nilfgaard's forces enter the fortress. Later on, in Geralt and Vilgefortz's fight, the latter asks the White Wolf to join him one last time.
When Vilgefortz goes after Ciri, he convinces her to be his pupil. Vilgefortz doesn't get what he wants in both cases.
We last see the villain Vilgefortz by Emhyr's side in Nilfgaard as they welcome the false Ciri, Teryn.