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The Ending Of The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2 Explained

Contains spoilers for "The Witcher" Season 3, Volume 2

Fans of "The Witcher" have been left on tenterhooks for the best part of a month after its third season was split into two halves. First airing at the beginning of June, the story continued to follow Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), Crown Princess Ciri of Cintra (Freya Allan), and the quarter-elf sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra). Typically caught up in cases of double-crossing, espionage, and all-out warfare, Season 3 has so far seen the trio leave the confines of Kaer Morhen in search of greater protection. A few new faces have been introduced along the way, as well as some fearsome creatures that are likely to give even the most hardened of fantasy fans nightmares.

The drama has continued offscreen as well, after reports of Season 3 being Cavill's last run emerged in 2022. While viewers are still left waiting to find out how his replacement Liam Hemsworth will be introduced into "The Witcher" world, the Season 3 Volume 2 finale leaves fans with plenty to mull over in the meantime. Here's the ending of "The Witcher" Season 3 Volume 2 explained in full.

What you need to remember about the plot of The Witcher Season 3

After Yennefer was able to rescue the infamous "Witcher" trio from the jaws of the Wild Hunt at the end of Season 2, the show turned its focus onto Ciri's journey. It feels as though everyone from Redania to Aretuza has it out for her, with each group harboring their own reasons for why Ciri can benefit their end game. Ciri herself is struggling with the power she's meant to have naturally, trying and failing to wield her abilities under Yennefer's guidance. She's eventually able to start her journey towards magical greatness by the end of Volume 1, successfully taking down a fearsome sea creature much to the delight of Geralt.

At the same time, Yennefer and Geralt take on a different significance — this time as a couple. As the White Flame (Bart Edwards) tries to form an uneasy alliance with the Elves by using Cahir (Eamon Farren) as a mouthpiece, Yennefer enlists the help of Tissaia (MyAnna Buring) and the Mages of Aretuza to host a Conclave of Mages in the name of promoting peace. As this is "The Witcher," there's suspicion before the night even arrives. Meanwhile, Jaskier (Joey Batey) tentatively gets closer to Prince Radovid (Hugh Skinner) as an unlikely romance seems to blossom.

What happened at the end of The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2?

After the Conclave of Mages in Episode 5 turns into a full-blown Nilfgaardian siege of Aretuza, a lot is at stake. Geralt spends most of the final two episodes of "The Witcher" Season 3 healing from his fearsome battle with Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu). Yennefer pays him a visit while he takes refuge under the care of the Dryads, leading to a tender moment that suggests that they're firmly a couple. Vilgefortz reappears when news of The White Flame successfully capturing Ciri starts to spread. The only catch is that Ciri isn't actually Ciri at all, but is Teryn (Frances Pooley), the young girl subjected to mind-control magic in Episode 2.

Not only does this mean huge changes for The White Flame himself, but it significantly alters things for those around him. His uneasy alliance with the Elves threatens to unravel after Francesca (Mecia Simson) learns what actually happened to her baby, with the real Ciri turning up as a hostage at a bar in the middle of nowhere. Meanwhile, Yennefer tries to take control of things at Aretuza after Tissaia's death. King Vizimir (Ed Birch) is killed, leading Prince Radovid to be crowned as part of Philippa's (Cassie Clare) grand plan, ending any chance of him running off with Jaskier.

The ending is a mixed bag for the Witcher women

"The Witcher" has never been too hot on its treatment of female characters, and Season 3 isn't much of an exception. In the case of the Volume 2 finale, it's Tissaia's story that can arguably be called the most into question. Struggling to live with herself after her actions at the siege of Aretuza, Tissaia decides to take her own life, leaving Yennefer to find her. Coupled with her reaction to finding out about Vilgefortz's deceit, Tissaia's demise doesn't feel fitting to her character (despite her sharing the same fate in the books). Given the fact that she's deemed to be the most powerful sorceress throughout the kingdoms, her crumbling to the first sign of fault isn't befitting of the legacy she has supposedly cultivated.

The same can be said for plenty of the show's other secondary female characters, most of who have stayed in the shadows until it's too late. The season finale only just begins to hint at Philippa's true intentions and powers, while Francesca is left to fall from the grace of a once feared and powerful leader. The only woman who possibly comes away from the finale in a better place is Ciri, who relinquishes her recently-discovered form of magic that she didn't really know existed within her. Whether that gets handled in the right way remains to be seen — but for now, viewers can dare to dream.

Radovid's future is out of his hands

One of the highlights continuing throughout Season 3 is the unexpected romance that blossoms between Jaskier and Prince Radovid. After an initial meeting earlier in the season, Jaskier is invited to a party where he performs a song in front of the Prince, leading Radovid to become enamored with him. Juggling his allegiance to Geralt and being tasked with protecting Ciri, Jaskier dubiously explores his attraction, which eventually leads him to believe that Radovid is setting him up for failure and pretending to have affection for him just to get ahold of Ciri.

By the time the season finale rolls around, a newfound hope is cruelly dashed. By being crowned King of Redania, Radovid is unable to fulfill his desire of taking off with Jaskier, unwittingly falling into a trap Philippa is setting for him. Though this makes for a great plot twist in the episode's closing moments, the decision could potentially do damage to the positive queer representation seen in "The Witcher." So far, their relationship has showcased the epitome of human emotion, being messy, confusing, and fueled by a passion that the pair often feel needs to be hushed. If their romance isn't handled sensitively heading into Season 4, the show risks undoing all the good work that it has weaved into the narrative so far.

What happens to Geralt now?

Surprisingly, the character that has the least amount of fanfare in the Season 3 finale is the main man himself. As the season began, Geralt's role shifts from being the focus on the action to aiding Ciri's growth, choosing to leave Kaer Morhen in favor of a safe house. He becomes instrumental in her journey to discovering the extent of her magic powers, as well as working alongside Yennefer to try and uncover Vilgefortz for who he truly is. In short, he hasn't done much on his own, and the season finale shows his storyline taper off into obscurity.

After his battle with Vilgefortz, Geralt spends Episodes 7 and 8 recuperating from his injuries in the hands of the Dryads in the forest of Brokilon. He makes a notable recovery as the season closes and he heads off to try and set things right. The trouble is, we never get to see what this might be — which is a strange decision given the notoriety of Henry Cavill's exit. 

Can Geralt and Yennefer ever be together?

Another cornerstone of "The Witcher" is the on-off again tryst between Geralt and Yennefer. Season 3 arguably turns the certainty up a notch, with the events of the Conclave of Mages all but confirming their pairing as a couple. However, the show's penchant for keeping them apart kicks back in in the closing episodes, with Yennefer becoming preoccupied with the order of Aretuza. It could be argued that each has a path ahead of them that's more important than being together, with Yennefer set to take over from Tissaia while Geralt tries to take down Vilgefortz single-handedly.

For the greater good of the "Witcher" world, this is what viewers might expect to happen. However, Geralt and Yennefer also seem bound by an unspoken destiny, in a similar way to the legitimate ties between Geralt and Ciri. Positioning themselves as a family unit, the trio have outwardly promised to find their way back to each other numerous times. Despite this, Ciri's new journey to self-discovery might mean that this becomes more difficult as Season 4 progresses. 

If fan reaction is anything to go by, a permanent reunion between Geralt and Yennefer is something that will tick plenty of boxes, with Twitter users such as @Memi_damieheart, @bexisms, and @nicola_aus expressing their passion for watching their romance flourish.

The Brotherhood is left in tatters

After the events of Episode 5, The Brotherhood is left in a precarious state. During the Conclave of Mages, Geralt and Yennefer become convinced that Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) is the mole that compromises The Brotherhood, and they successfully convince the other members of his guild. When it becomes clear that it is in fact Vilgefortz, the organization is already deeply compromised. This gets worse as the Nilfgaardian siege of Aretuza takes hold, killing off key members such as Artorius (Terence Maynard) during battle. To make matters worse, Tissaia also takes her own life, leaving The Brotherhood without its influential leaders.

Something Season 4 is likely to look at is how The Brotherhood can bounce back from the chaos — if at all. Little trust is left between them, with the glue to the operation likely to be the combined power and unity of Geralt and Yennefer. On top of this, the Mages of Aretuza are likely to take more control, having remained a strong unit through Season 3's deceptions and tribulations. Triss (Anna Shaffer) is undeniably by Yennefer's side, while Fringilla's (Mimi Ndiweni) reappearance could strengthen the side even further.

Ciri might be set up to be the next villain

One of the most surprising twists during the Season 3 finale is Ciri's fate. All season long, fans have watched her struggle with her lack of control over her own abilities, unable to cultivate any real magic under Yennefer's guidance. After she gets split up from Yennefer and Geralt, Ciri finds herself subject to the Korath desert, stuck in a never-ending cycle of golden sands that seemingly have no way out. While she's there, she meets a strange woman who implies that Ciri has more power than she knows, who later turns out to be a princess called Falka (Scarlett Maltman).

According to "The Witcher" legend, Falka is the eldest child born to the King of Vridank, who also is born with Elven blood. We're first introduced to her back in Season 2, but it isn't until the seventh episode of Season 3 that Falka's story is properly explored. In the finale's closing moments, Ciri tells a stranger to call her Falka, suggesting a deep connection between the two characters. Given that Falka's legend is thought of as being evil, Ciri's newfound sense of strength will perhaps now take her down a more empowered yet bloody path for survival. 

Who actually holds the most power now?

Now that the Second War has officially begun, there's a lot that is up for grabs. In the Season 3 finale, The White Flame makes it clear that he believes himself to hold the most power, with Vilgefortz standing proudly by his side. For the time being, this might actually be the case. Much of the surrounding kingdom either fears or respects him, with his immediate enemies and threats currently out for the count. However, this isn't likely to last for long. Now that Geralt is back to full health, Season 4 is likely to show him being on the warpath to justice and redemption. 

At the same time, other deceits and acts of power-grabbing can't be ruled out either. Newly-crowned King Radovid will be out to seek vengeance for his recently deceased brother — especially if he doesn't learn the truth that implies Philippa was responsible. The Wild Hunt is beginning to rear its head after a lengthy Season 3 hiatus, while The Brotherhood is on the verge of reassembling. Whatever happens, The White Flame should rightfully be scared.

What the cast has said about the ending of The Witcher Season 3 Volume 2

Though most of the cast has been fairly quiet about the ending of Season 3 Volume 2, the fate of "The Witcher" largely rests on what we already know about Henry Cavill's departure. His exit from the show was announced back in October 2022, with it being made apparent this his time on screen would draw to a close after Season 3 was finished. Posting a statement on his Instagram profile, Cavill remarked: "As with the greatest of literary characters, I pass the torch with reverence for the time spent embodying Geralt and enthusiasm to see Liam's take on this most fascinating and nuanced of men."

Even with the other storylines, Cavill's involvement with the show is the most telling factor for what might happen next. Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich elaborated on Geralt's fate during an interview with Total Film, stating that they initially had other alternatives in mind. "It was time for him in his life to move on. I think we've all been mourning this in our own way," she explained. "We had the choice to have Geralt exit and to end the show. [But] that's not something that we were willing to do. There's just too many stories left to tell."

Cast member Joey Batey also remarked that Cavill leaving the show was "bittersweet" during an interview with On Demand Entertainment. "He's going to be so missed, and he brings such professionalism, respect, and laughter to the set," he stated.

How much can the books tell us about the ending?

Throughout the time "The Witcher" has been on our screens, it has often been compared to its source material – the books and video games — with a key frame of reference being the novel "Time of Contempt." In the case of Season 3, there have already been some noticeable changes that could be indicators of where the TV show will end up next. This means that the writers of the show have some creative license to take the narrative elsewhere. For example, given that Philippa eventually has a key role in implementing changes in Redania, we're likely to see her character greatly expanded, with the bulk of the powers remaining fairly unknown.

Another key part of Season 3's ending is Aretuza, which now faces a complete overhaul following the Nilfgaardian ambush on the training school. Perhaps Vilgefortz would have been given less power over the destruction of his enemies, potentially bringing The White Flame further into the spotlight.