Is Vilgefortz The Real Villain In ‘The Witcher’ Season 3?

The third season of the series adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy series The Witcher was released on Netflix yesterday, but unfortunately, it’s only the first five episodes. For the other five, you need to wait until July 27, and yes, that’s a very unfair thing to do to the fans of Henry Cavill. At least from next season on, the viewers won’t have to deal with this problem because Henry has quit after season 3, as has more than half of the viewership, which only tuned in because of the actor. That aside, this mid-season finale threw light on who could be the main antagonist of the third season, but the treatment of the matter can leave some people in the dark. Thus, here’s a detailed explanation of who the real villain is in the third season of The Witcher.

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Spoilers Ahead


Was Stregobor The Real Culprit?

It took quite a while for Geralt and Yennefer to finally get their hands on Stregobor, as they zeroed in on the aged mage as the rootof all evil on the Continent. At the ball before the conference of the mages, Yennefer discovered the belongings of all the half-elven girls who had gone missing from Aretuza inside Stregobor’s personal chambers. Moreover, Istredd used his magic to discover the Book of Monoliths hidden inside a magical compartment in Stregobor’s wardrobe, and the mages arrived at the irrefutable fact that Stregobor was the main culprit behind all the chaos that had been happening on the Continent.

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Geralt had been itching to get his hands on the twisted mage who did grotesque experiments on the young girls inside a castle near Redania and to find the man who had employed Rience to bring Ciri to them. Already aware that Stregobor had a thing for experimenting on young girls since Season 1, all that was left was to throw Stregobor to the gallows to await his fate. So, was the danger averted, with the fire mage Rience’s employer behind bars and the source of the corruption cut off?


Who Was The Real Culprit After All?

Not quite, unfortunately. As it turns out, it wasn’t Stregobor who was the central villain behind the horrendous tortures performed on the young girls who had been brainwashed to believe that they were Ciri, nor was he the man who had set Rience on his destructive path to bring Ciri back. So who could have been the main antagonist that Geralt and Yennefer didn’t spot in the crowd? As fate would have it, it’s none other than the man with whom Tissaia has finally fallen in love, the mage known as Vilgefortz. This Kovirian mage had been seen to play both sides in the earlier season, where he appeared helpful before the Brotherhood and yet mercilessly killed a helpless soldier of his own side away from the public eye. Vilgefortz has always been the central antagonist, working from the shadows to get his hands on Ciri for the simple reason that he craves her power. In Ciri’s veins ran the Elder Blood, which gave her power unlike anyone else on the Continent, and Vilgefortz was after this source of power. However, to extract Ciri’s powers from her would mean having to kill her, a step he wasn’t shy about taking in the slightest, given how he sent his fire-spitting mage to kill Codringher and Fenn. Moreover, we can assume that it was Vilgefortz, after all, who fixed the shattered hands of Rience after Geralt did the necessary to ensure he wouldn’t be using his fingers like a lighter any longer.

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How Did Geralt And Yennefer Know Who Was Responsible?

But how did Geralt and Yennefer finally discover that the real antagonist was Vilgefortz after all? Although it did make him feel rather uncomfortable, Geralt didn’t think much of the weird monologue Vilgefortz went on about how he was similar to the Butcher of Blaviken, aka Geralt of Rivia. However, the mute Lydia van Bredevoort had piqued Geralt’s curiosity by being mute and conversing only through telepathy. It was found that Lydia couldn’t speak because she had a horribly disfigured face, making speaking aloud impossible, and she had to keep up the illusion of a face through magic. We, the audience, did witness Rience speaking with his master through Lydia, who used her telepathic powers to deliver his message to his errand boy. The striking similarity between Lydia and Vilgefortz’s lover, Tissaia, that took Geralt by surprise was the similar jewelry he spotted on both women. Lydia had an ornament on her that strikingly resembled the bracelet that Tissaia had proudly shown off to Yennefer, convinced that it was a testament to Vilgefortz’s love for her.

Geralt deduced that the red stones in both pieces of jewelry came from the ammonite mines that are found near the castle, where he had had the grotesque experience with the mangled mess of bodies. Not to forget, Teryn, the girl Geralt had rescued from the castle, had mentioned a man would visit them, along with a woman who spoke in “Funny voices.” These funny voices had to be from Lydia since she didn’t use her mouth to speak but relayed the information that Vilgefortz wanted her to disseminate. That’s not all, because Yennefer did point out that the portal she used to travel had been corrupted, making her almost fall to her death off a cliff into a black sea. It felt like too much of a coincidence then that Vilgefortz’s favorite painting was that of the Thanned island with black waves breaking on the shore. Thus, we can correctly guess that the one corrupting the portal for Yennefer, as well as the source of power behind Rience’s unstable portal energy, had to be Vilgefortz. On all counts, he was the central villain who needed to be taken down before he did more harm to the Continent or Ciri.

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Why Might Tissaia Be In Danger?

Ultimately, the worst off from the whole situation is Tissaia because she’s the one who has zero ideas about the real nature of her beloved, and it might be a horror worth beholding when Yennefer finally divulges the truth to her mentor. However, there might be an issue with Tissaia believing her student with ease because Phillipa did mention the central antagonist was administering slow poison to his followers, meaning the victim was so blindly loyal to the master that she would sacrifice her own life if it meant winning favor with him. Unfortunately, at the time of the conversation, Yennefer had no idea that the same applied to Tissaia, someone she had come to see as a motherly figure. There might be a high probability that Tissaia will vehemently deny any accusation against the man she’s so voraciously in love with and can turn violent against the other mages of the Brotherhood.

Vilgefortz is a frighteningly powerful mage; that much is certain. Judging by the show he put on during the battle in season 2 and how he managed to use the portal from the Book of Monoliths to transport the girls to his castle, we can guess that he will be a tough challenge. But for those who have read the book, they know what happens when Geralt goes toe-to-toe with this terrifying mage. But now that his real self has been exposed, there will be no more confusion about who Vilgefortz truly is, and perhaps that’s the most the heroes can expect out of this messed-up situation.


Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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