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The Witcher season 3 (volumes 1 and 2) ending explained!

The second volume of season 3 of the The Witcher is out, and we've got all the answers (and plenty of questions).

Still image from The Witcher featuring Henry Cavill as The Witcher
Image credit: Netflix

The final three episodes of season 3 of The Witcher, dubbed "volume two," have dropped, and they packed a lot in—battles, big deaths, new characters and altered missions. In many ways the end of the season felt like a story reset, removing elements that were no longer necessary and giving each of our main characters a pretty clear trajectory for not just next season but the rest of the series.

It also gave departing star Henry Cavill plenty of opportunity to do what he's done best for the last three seasons as Geralt of Rivia. (Yes, he gets to kill a lot of people.) In some ways the biggest mystery going forward is how the writers plan to write Cavill out, because this ending felt like anything but a goodbye. That's not the only big question the season left us with, either.

Because of the nature of this sort of guide, we're going to give you a spoiler warning here. If you want to know more about season 3 of The Witcher without spoilers, check out our guide to Everything we know about The Witcher season 3. But if you do want the spoilers, read on.

Spoilers for The Witcher season 3 below.

What happens in The Witcher season 3?

In season 3 of the Witcher our heroes Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer or Vengerberg, Ciri and Jaskier, finally united and on the same page, try to find a way to protect Ciri from the many, many people who are trying to get her, while also working to discover the identity of the mage secretly working for Nilfgaard. In volume two of the season these stories and the plotting of the many political factions on the Continent come together, with a conclave of all of the mages at the island of Thanedd turning into a bloodbath after the Elven queen Francesca Findabain's Scoia'tael show up working for Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr var Emreis. Geralt ends up with his leg and back broken by Vilgefortz, the mage working for Nilfgaard, and is brought to Brokilon Forest to slowly recover.

Ciri, meanwhile, is accidentally teleported halfway around the Continent to a desert, where she confronts visions of her distant ancestor Falka. Like her, Falka had powers as a result of her Elder Blood, was pursued by many and abandoned by those who said they would protect her. But she chose to use her powers to vent her rage at her situation, leaving the streets running with blood. She advises Ciri to do the same.

In the desert Ciri also meets a unicorn, whom she dubs "Little Horse." (This is great.) Little Horse guides her through the desert. Later Ciri calls upon fire magic to save Little Horse's life, but then renounces her connection to magic entirely, afraid of the possibility of turning out like Falka.

As for Yennefer... after the coup and the subsequent suicide of her beloved mentor and mother Tissaia, who blames herself for everything that has happened, Yennefer is forced to lead what few mages are left. Meanwhile, though Vilgefortz fails to convince Ciri to let him become her teacher, he also steals a book that seems like it will give him the ability to travel in time, and kidnaps Istredd, who knows much about Ciri and this book. And Cahir, upon finally catching up with Ciri, begs her to kill him for the pain he's put her through. But before she can decide what to do, more Scoia'tael show up.

What happens at the end of The Witcher season 3?

SO MANY THINGS.

With the help of Yennefer and Milva, a human archer who lives with the dryads of Brokilon, Geralt slowly heals. Having heard from Jaskier that Ciri has been captured by Nilfgaard and is now in the hands of the Emperor, Geralt sets out with Jaskier and Milva to rescue her. Meanwhile Yennefer joins the few surviving mages—Triss, Margarita, Keira, and Sabrina—in a mission to rebuild their order and destroy Vilgefortz.

Elsewhere, Prince Radovid comes home to pack his things, because he's fallen in love with Jaskier. But when his brother King Vizimir is murdered by an assassin sent by Philippa Eilhart, Radovid suddenly finds himself the king.

Also Fringilla reveals to Francesca that Emhyr had her baby murdered, thinking that will convince her not to trust him. And it does, but she also no longer wants anything to do with Fringilla.

And finally Ciri, having been seized at the edge of the desert by a group of dirtbags who know the Emperor is looking for someone of her description, ends up teaming up to escape with a group of young outlaws called the Rats—including Mistle, who she met in episode 303. In the process Ciri kills a human being for the first time. She is horrified, but then ends up joining the Rats and taking the name Falka, which seems like a pretty bad sign.

Is The Witcher season 3 done?

Eamon Farren in The Witcher season 3
Image credit: Netflix

Yep. As of July 27th all 8 episodes have now been released.

How does the Witcher season 3 set up season 4?

Book spoiler time! As a series of novels, the Witcher saga has two halves. In the first, our little family of characters—Geralt, Yen, Ciri, and their pet bard Jaskier, fight to come together and then to stay together, while lots of forces try to pull them apart. But in the end, they're all pulled apart.

In the second half of the Witcher saga, Geralt, Jaskier, Yennefer (and others) desperately try to find and rescue Ciri, while she tries to figure out how to get back to them. And it is a long and difficult journey.

The coup at Thanedd and Ciri's disappearance in episode 306 are really the end of part one of the Witcher saga. The final two episodes begin part two, which is told in the novels Baptism of Fire, The Tower of the Swallow, and the Lady of the Lake. They set Geralt and his company on their quest for Ciri; Yen and the other mages on a quest to find Vilgefortz.

Meanwhile the ending also sets up Ciri for giving up and giving in to the darkest part of her with her new friends the Rats.

Why does King Vizimir want Ciri in The Witcher season 3?

King Vizimir of Redania wants to marry Ciri so that he can expand his kingdom.

Does King Vizimir get Ciri in The Witcher season 3?

King Vizimir absolutely does not get Ciri. In fact, the only thing that he gets is stabbed in the throat, by his mage's assassin.

Why does the Elven leader Francesca Findabair want Ciri in The Witcher season 3?

There’s a prophesy known as the Prophesy of Ithlinne, which says that a chosen one will come during an Ice Age-like time to lead the Elves to salvation. They believe that savior will be someone with Elder Blood, which Ciri has. So Francesca wants to protect Ciri so that Ithlinne’s prophesy can come true.

Does Francesca get Ciri in The Witcher season 3?

Francesca absolutely does not get Ciri. In fact, the only thing that she gets is her dress soaked in the blood of her husband after he leaps to protect her from a spell and literally EXPLODES.

(Dear, Witcher writers: Her baby and now her husband? Show our favorite Elven queen some love!)

Why does the rogue mage/assassin-for-hire Rience want Ciri?

In season 2, Rience gets hired to track down Ciri by the mage Lydia van Bredevoort, who refuses to say who her employer is. She insists it's not Nilfgaard, and Rience agrees.

In season 3, Rience learns that in fact Van Bredevoort works for Nilfgaard. But she insists, she and her partner's aims are very different than the Emperor's. Although Vilgefortz is never mentioned, we also learn over the course of the show that she is very, very close with him.

Does Rience get Ciri in The Witcher season 3?

Rience absolutely does not get Ciri. In fact, the only thing that he gets is a whole new perspective on his body.

Who is the White Flame and why does he want Ciri?

The White Flame, otherwise known as Emhyr var Emreis, Emperor of Nilfgaard, is none other than Ciri’s father. While we still don’t the details of how he’s still alive—he was supposed to have died in a shipwreck with Ciri’s mother years ago—or how exactly he is the Emperor of Nilfgaard, we do know that there was some other possible contender for the throne known as the Usurper who Emhyr defeated.

In the first part of season 3 we discover that the White Flame's dream is to unite the entire continent under his rule, so as to bring about a universal peace (he says). And he’s got Cahir (previously known as the Black Knight) hunting for Ciri so that he can be reunited with her.

Does the White Flame get Ciri in The Witcher season 3?

So funny story: He thinks he does. In the last episode we hear that Ciri has been caught and is coming to him, and we watch her walk into his palace, past the adoring masses of Nilfgaard, to the White Flame's side.

But when she turns we discover it's not Ciri, but Teryn, one of the half-elf novice mages that Vilgefortz had been experimenting on, whom Geralt rescued earlier in the season. Given the fact that Vilgefortz is standing there telling Emhyr that she's the real deal, it seems clear that this is part of some plan of his. But what that plan is, and whether Emhyr has any clue that she's not really Ciri, remains to be seen.

What does Stregobor want in The Witcher season 3?

The mage Stregobor hates Elves. (He is the worst.) In the first half of season 3 we learn that he has gotten possession of the Book of Monoliths, which affords its user the ability to travel through time and space. It’s speculated that he wants to use the book to go back in time and prevent the conjunction of worlds that brought humanity and Elves together in the first place. But he denies this, and in the end the book is stolen by Vilgefortz.

Were there any surprise cameos or new characters in The Witcher season 3?

Yes, there were a bunch of new characters!

First, there's Teryn, aka False Ciri (Frances Pooley), the half-Elven novice mage who was experimented on by Vilgefortz, freed by Geralt. She looks a lot like Ciri, and at the end of the season, having been previously left in the care of Anika (Catherine McCormack), a druid who knew Geralt’s mother, somehow Teryn is presented to Emhyr as the real Ciri.

Then there's Milva (Meng'er Zhang), the human archer who lives with the dryads in Brokilon Forest and has spent the war bringing fleeing Elves to safety. From the moment she meets Geralt, she ridicules him—"There's very weird energy between you two," Jaskier tells them. But eventually she joins Jaskier and Geralt in the search for Ciri.

We also meet the Rats, a group of young outlaws who Ciri joins at the end of the season. Among them is their leader Kayleigh (Fabian McCallum) and Mistle (Christelle Elwin), who Ciri ran into briefly early in the season.

We also met "Little Horse," who is a really important character later in the books. Also, he's a unicorn, and that's so cool!

Prince Radovid (Hugh Skinner) of Redania, is introduced as the younger brother of King Vizimir of Redania. Early in the season he's installed as Redania's new head of intelligence after Vizimir grows frustrated with Dijkstra’s inability to find Ciri. Later Radovid falls in love with Jaskier.

Finally, season 3 introducedRobbie Amell as Gallatin, the Elven warrior who disagrees with how Francesca Findabair is leading the Elves. Gallatin goes to his friend Cahir to try and get the Emperor to intervene and set him up as leader. It does not go well.

Who dies in The Witcher season 3?

Almost all of the mages on the Continent, to start, including Artorius Vigo, Fringilla's uncle, in the coup at Thanedd.

Francesca's husband Filavandrel also died (very, very horribly) in that battle. And outside the walls the mage Rience lost his head, quite literally.

Early in the season Rience tortured and murdered the detectives Codringher and Fenn that Geralt had used to learn more about Ciri. And Gallatin, the Scoia’tael leader who seeks his friend Cahir’s help in talking to the Emperor, ends up dead at his hand, after Emhyr orders Cahir to kill Gallatin to prove his loyalty. King Vizimir is also assassinated in the finale by an agent of his mage, Philippa Eilhart.

Stregobor and Vilgefortz both seemed to die during the coup; the last we saw of Stregobor he was using fire magic to hold off the Scoia'tael at Thanedd, and there was no sign of him later. Meanwhile Vilgefortz was at ground zero of the explosion that destroyed Tor Lara. Hard to see getting out of that!

But in episode 8 we discover that Vilgefortz did survive, though with a lot of facial scarring. Meanwhile Stregobor may very well be gone, but I wouldn't count on it. He knows too much - and he is the worst.

Is there a Witcher season 3 post-credits scene?

No, there is not. And that is kind of surprising. Both The Witcher season two and The Witcher: Blood Origins had post-credits scenes. And rumors persist that there is another Witcher mini-series coming, about the early days of the Rats.

But it's also perhaps not surprising, in that right now the only thing anybody wants to talk about is how they're going to introduce Liam Hemsworth as Geralt. And given the "We're off to save Ciri" vibe at the end of the season, that kind of change would seem hard to pull off in a post-credit scene.

Are there any cool new monsters in the Witcher season 3?

Heck yes there are. In 301, Ciri encounters a jackapace, a large armadillo-like monster that can roll itself up to go fast and that is bred to track Elven blood. Rience sets the jackapace loose on Ciri, but Geralt makes short work of it.

In 302, Geralt faces a massive nightmarish being made of human hands and legs, whose human-female heads hang from long necks elsewhere and beg Geralt for his help against the unknown mage that made them like this. At the end of the season Yen and the other mages use magic to separate these poor women's bodies, and provide a proper burial for them.

In 303, Ciri watches a man in a public square say he’s got a basilisk in a cage. She insists it’s a young wyvern instead. When it escapes, it looks like a small land-borne dragon. After trying to simply capture it, Ciri eventually has to kill it.

Also in 303, Ciri once again faces the Wild Hunt, the pack of ghostly riders who descend from the sky and try to get her to join them, saying she is death incarnate. After Geralt drives them off, Ciri is stunned to discover one of the riders has left an actual piece of armor behind. Geralt hypothesizes that when Ciri opened a portal to their universe at the end of season two, she created a passage that they can now use to travel physically into this universe.

In 304, Ciri and Geralt encounter an aeschna, a sea monster that looks like a massive dog with a fin on its back and a tail that doubles as a kind of tentacle. In the end Ciri kills it on her own.

Finally, in 307, while traveling the desert with her new BFF Little Horse the Unicorn, Ciri encounters a giant crab-scorpion monster that injures Little Horse before Ciri can beat it to death with one of its stony plates.

Earlier in the episode she also encounters the enormous mouth of some kind of giant underground sand creature which lures thirsty victims by creating pools (presumably of its spittle) that look like water.

Are there any new settings in The Witcher season 3 volume 1?

There are two big new sets in season three!

In episode 1, we encounter Shaerrawedd, the ruins of an ancient Elven palace where the Elves fought their last major battle against the humans, an effort that led to the Elven people’s downfall. Ciri, Geralt, Yennefer and others battle here against both Rience and his men and Francesca and her warriors, each of whom want Ciri for themselves.

In episode 5 we go to the island of Thanedd, where the mages gather for a conclave in which for the first time in a very long time they are all going to work together. Episode 5 doesn’t actually get to the Conclave; instead, we get three different versions of the ball that happens the night before.

What are the key songs in the Witcher season 3?

There are a bunch of new songs in season 3, and many of them are pretty darn romantic.

The biggest is “Extraordinary Things,” a song that Jaskier sings in Episode 2 to indulge Prince Radovid, which seems very clearly to be a love song written to Geralt (and which makes Radovid fall head over heels in love with Jaskier).

Episodes 4 and 5 feature songs from rival bard Valdo Marx and his troupe. In episode 4 they sing on a boat to try and draw out a sea monster. In episode 5 Valdo sings “All is Not as It Seems” at the mage’s ball, which hints at what is to come.

Jaskier also sings a bit of a tune about sacrifice to a sleeping Ciri in episode four. And in 307 he sings the dryad song "Enchanted Flowers" to convince the dryads of Brokilon Forest to let him in. And once again it's really a love song that seems to describe his feelings for Geralt: "My love for you will never cease/And this flower you left behind, never ending, shall never die." It makes both him and the dryads cry.

We also get a new Jaskier song over the end credits, "Ride of the Witcher", which really sets the tone for where the series is headed.

Does Avallac’h appear in the Witcher season 3?

Though there was A LOT of speculation that Avellac'h, the time travelling Elven sage from The Witcher: Blood Origin prequel who ends up being deeply connected to Ciri in the last Witcher novel, might appear at some point in season 3, he does not. *sigh* Nor does Seanchaí, the shapeshifting storyteller who was so intent on Jaskier bringing the story of the Seven and the Conjunction of the Spheres back to his time. Although given the fact that she's a shapeshifter, who knows, maybe she was there after all.

Did Liam Hemsworth debut in the Witcher season 3?

He did not. So sorry, my guy. Next season, for sure.

When will The Witcher season 4 be out?

Soon!

I'm kidding. Nothing has been announced about the release of the Witcher season 4 or the-also-seemingly-greenlit season 5. Given the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes going on, most work on the series has pretty much halted for now.

It was two years between the Covid-affected season one and season two, 18 months between season two and season three. Given the strike I'd expect two years is more likely. So I'd say get comfy, Witchers, because we may be here a while.

But once again, it seems like there is going to be another Witcher mini before then about the Rats.


The Witcher season 3: The newest trailer, the release date, the plot, the cast, and more

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Jim McDermott

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Jim is a magazine and screenwriter based in New York. He loves the work of Stephen Sondheim and cannot take a decent selfie.
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