Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Untold Truth Of Ciri From The Witcher

Princess Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon of Cintra is one of the main characters in Netflix's "The Witcher," but in Season 1, her origins and destiny are mysterious. While watching Season 1, you can't help feeling like all the characters are in on a secret, and they're keeping it from us. After all, we don't even find out who Ciri's parents are until Episode 4. And with the duel timelines and constant cutting between Ciri, Geralt, and Yennefer's storylines, it feels like Netflix isn't giving up any of Ciri's secrets until Season 2. Luckily, the next installment is dropping on December 17, 2021, and plenty of theories are popping up on message boards and being discussed amongst friends.

When a character's powers and history are obscured — left murky and mysterious intentionally — one can't help feeling like we're in for a big surprise. We don't know exactly what direction Netflix's adaptation of "The Witcher" is going to take, but with the abundant source material from Andrzej Sapkowski's short stories and novels and the complex world of video games, we have some ideas about what's coming next for Ciri.

Spoilers for "The Witcher" television series, books, and video games ahead.

She is a child of surprise

Like her mother, Ciri is a child of surprise, linking her destiny to Geralt of Rivia. Geralt plays a pivotal role in the betrothal of Ciri's parents, Princess Pavetta and Emhyr var Emreis, who travels to Cintra under the alias of Duny. As we see in Episode 4 of Season 1, when Duny comes to Cintra to claim Princess Pavetta's hand in marriage, he has a legitimate right because of the Law of Surprise. Long ago, Duny saved the King of Cintra's life, taking the Law of Surprise as his reward. When the King returns to Cintra learns of his wife's pregnancy, the unborn princess becomes Duny's surprise.

Similarly, Geralt saves Duny's life when he presents himself at the banquet and asks for Pavetta's hand in marriage. Unbeknownst to Duny, Pavetta was already pregnant with their child, giving Geralt a claim to their child of surprise. The possibility horrifies Queen Calanthe, and she opposes it adamantly. Geralt, scoffing at fate, leaves Cintra, claiming he shall never return. In the series, Geralt comes back to Cintra 12 years later, and only because he suspects Nilfgaard will invade Cintra's borders. Geralt presents himself at court, offers to take the princess away, and vows to keep her safe.

Of course, Geralt doesn't take possession of Ciri in Cintra, leading both characters on a series of adventures while trying to find each other. In the series, they finally meet in the forest near the cottage where Ciri is taken in by a kindly woman she met at the market. In the books, Geralt has saved this woman's husband's life and accepts the Law of Surprise as his reward. In the books, Ciri is his child of surprise not once but twice! But in Netflix's adaptation, Geralt asks for a cup of ale as his reward instead, and he wanders into the woods near the cottage to find Ciri.

She has a claim to the throne of Nilfgaard

In the novels, Ciri's father, Emhyr, was the heir to the throne of Nilfgaard, giving Ciri a legitimate claim to the throne. Perhaps this is the reason her grandmother, Queen Calanthe of Cintra, closed the borders and kept Ciri hidden from the world. During Season 1, we learn that after Pavetta's death, Queen Calanthe closed the borders of Cintra to keep her subjects safe. But between Ciri's inherited powers and her legitimate claim to the Niflgaard throne, it seems like Queen Calanthe closed the borders to not only protect Ciri's secret but also her life. Indeed, it's not unusual for brutal rulers to murder children with a claim to their position. As the Queen says during the banquet scene in Episode 4, rulers in Nilfgaard are routinely murdered so someone else can usurp the throne. It wouldn't be paranoid of Calanthe to keep her granddaughter Ciri's identity obscured to protect her from attempts on her life.

Ciri isn't an orphan

In both the books and show, we are told Ciri's parents died at sea, leaving Ciri an orphan to be raised by her grandmother, the Queen of Cintra. But in the books, Ciri's father Emhyr fakes this tragedy and accidentally kills his wife, Pavetta, in the process. After faking his death, Emhyr travels back to Nilfgaard, taking his rightful place as emperor. This puts a new twist on Season 1 of Netflix's "The Witcher." Suddenly, Nilfgaard's interest in Ciri makes perfect sense. Obviously, they are searching for this child, despite her powers only starting to manifest during Nilfgaard's siege on Cintra. 

Ciri's father, the Emperor of Nilfgaard, knows the powers Ciri's mother had and suspects his daughter has inherited them. The Nilfgaard knight, Cahir — who is personally responsible for finding Ciri and bringing her back to Nilfgaard — has an incredibly important job once we understand Ciri's father is the Emperor of Nilfgaard. Unfortunately, this information makes you look at Duny and Pavetta's love story from a new perspective. A cynical one, where you suspect Duny's intentions toward Pavetta were far from pure, and certainly not motivated by love. Poor Pavetta! But we suppose being greedy and power-hungry is probably pretty standard for an emperor.

She is destined to be a Witcher

In the Netflix series, Ciri has never heard of Geralt of Rivia until her grandmother, Queen Calanthe, sends Ciri away with her protector, Mousesack, to find the Witcher, telling Ciri, "He is your destiny." But in the books, Ciri is raised knowing she is a child of surprise — her nanny tells her stories of being whisked away by Geralt to be trained as a Witcher. 

Knowing this aspect of the storyline in the books certainly explains Calanthe's horror when Geralt accepts the Law of Surprise as his reward after saving Duny's life. It wasn't just about not wanting her daughter to lose a child. No, Queen Calanthe's disapproval is because she doesn't like the implications of this reward — she doesn't want her grandchild to become a mutant monster hunter people treat like monsters themselves. (In the video games, Ciri fights as a Witcher.) Knowing that Ciri grows up believing she will one day become a Witcher certainly makes you look at her crazy eyes in Netflix's show in a new light. Despite only being linked to Geralt through the Law of Surprise, she certainly looks like she could be his child.

Ciri has many royal engagements

In the Netflix series, Ciri is approximately 12-years-old when we first meet her and too young for romantic entanglements. But in the books, Ciri has many arranged royal engagements, as is common for children destined for a throne. As we see in Season 1, Episode 4, royal marriages are not about love — they are about making an alliance. Indeed, a royal baby is an heir to a throne and future leader of a kingdom. As rulers in training, royal children have responsibilities most of us can't fathom, so it's not surprising that Queen Calanthe arranges a series of engagements in the books.

These engagements begin with Windhalm of Attre, a union that is called off when Ciri is only 10. Then the Queen arranges an engagement between Ciri and Kistrin of Verden; this engagement is called off when Ciri runs away to the Brokilon Forest to avoid meeting him. Later, Ciri becomes "engaged" of her own volition with Hjalmar, but this unofficial engagement ends when Queen Calanthe promises Ciri's hand to Radovid V, who is only 9 years old at the time. Radovid's father later calls off the engagement, and after Queen Calanthe's death, Ciri's hand is never promised again. Still, her imposter marries the Emperor of Nilfgaard (gross, we know), giving him a semi-legitimate claim to the throne of Cintra, which was his plan all along.

Her powers are enhanced by the waters of Brokilon

The circumstances leading to Ciri entering the Brokilon forest differ in the show and the books. But in both versions of the story, Ciri takes the Waters of Brokilon while in the woodland. It is said these waters are transformative — they can heal wounds, erase memories, and turn girls into dryads. Although the waters do not work properly on Ciri in the books or the series, they enhance her powers in the Netflix show.

After she takes the waters directly from the source tree in the Brokilon forest, Ciri has her first vision. In it, she is transported to a desert, where she stands before a majestic and magical tree. When Ciri sees the tree, she hears it ask her, "What are you, child?" Although Ciri's powers start manifesting during the siege of Cintra and grow during her flight from Nilfgaard's army, she doesn't start having visions until after she takes the Waters of Brokilon.

She trains at Kaer Morhen

It appears that in Season 2, Ciri and Geralt travel a perilous road to Kaer Morhen — the School of the Wolf — where Ciri trains in the ways of the Witcher, just as Geralt did many years ago. At Kaer Morhen, Ciri meets other Witchers, including Coen, Lambert, Eskel, and Vesemir, the eldest Witcher and Geralt's father figure. All the Witchers train Ciri at Kaer Morhen, and her abilities far exceed their expectations, making them question the origin of her powers. In the books, Vesemir teaches Ciri about herbs and monsters, Lambert and Eskel give her combat training, and Eskel helps her learn the art of sword fighting.

In the books, while residing at the Witcher keep, Ciri accidentally drinks White Seagull (an alcoholic drink), sending her into a trance where she predicts the death of some Witchers. If you remember, it was the Waters of Brokilon that triggered Ciri's visions in the first place, and it appears that White Seagull strengthens them. However, there is an inconsistency in the source materials, and a point of contention amongst fans is over whether Ciri's reaction to the white seagull is because the drink has hallucinogenic properties or the result of her inherent magical powers.

She is a Source

Being out of his depth, Geralt consults with the sorceress Triss Marigold, who we meet in Season 1 when he works with her to save the striga in Episode 3. We also see Triss during the Conclave of Mages before the Battle of Sodden Hill. Ultimately, Triss reveals that, like her mother, Ciri is a Source — a person of great magical power who has very little control over their wild magic. (Think of a Source as a magical conduit rather than a magic partitioner.) In the book "Blood of Elves," Ciri learns she is a Source, and it appears this is the focus of Season 2.

Sources are extremely rare, and if they don't learn to control their magical abilities, they can descend into madness. A Source's powers can manifest in times of great stress, as they did for Ciri when her grandmother told her to flee Cintra or when the Nilfgaardian knight, Cahir, abducts Ciri. As you might remember, Ciri's mother Pavetta's powers appeared when Queen Calanthe tried to kill Duny with a dagger in Episode 4 of Netflix's series.

Ciri can jump worlds

After learning Ciri is a Source, Geralt realizes Yennefer is the only mage powerful enough to train the young girl in magic. In the books, Geralt reaches out to Yennefer in a letter. But we don't know how this will transpire in Season 2, as it appears Yennefer has been captured by Nilfgaard. Nevertheless, Ciri will undoubtedly train with Yennefer in the show at some point soon.

After training together, Ciri and Yennefer travel to attend the Conclave of Mages. After a coup, Ciri escapes from her would-be kidnappers through a portal leading her on a series of misadventures, eventually landing her in an elfin world. In the realm of Aen Elle, Ciri meets up again with the unicorn Ihuarraquax (aka "Little Horse"), and they jump worlds together, as it is their only means of escape. We learn that Ciri's ability to jump worlds is because of her ancestry, and after she develops this power, she is known by the title "Lady of Worlds."

She has elder blood

Ciri has elder blood, which means she is the descendant of an elf who mated with a human. Long ago, an elven sorceress, Lara Dorren, fell in love with a human mage, Cregennan of Lod. Their daughter Riannon is born with powerful magical abilities, and Ciri — as you can surmise from her full name, Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon — is Riannon's descendant. Although Ciri's bloodline carries these magical abilities, it occasionally skips a generation, as it did with Queen Calanthe. Ciri's elder blood is what gives her the ability to jump worlds and is why the Wild Hunt starts hunting her. Notably, the King of the Wild Hunt wants to use Ciri to open a portal from his world — Aen Elle — so he can conquer hers.

In the mythology of "The Witcher," elder blood was created by elves to fulfill a prophecy and save their race from doom. It seems like Ciri is the subject of at least two prophecies (but who's counting), and perhaps this is what the dryad meant when she tells Ciri, "The sword of destiny has two edges, you are one of them." In the books, it is the King of the Wild Hunt who says this to Geralt, but maybe we will come to find this quote is accurate for both Ciri and Geralt? That would make sense, considering they are linked by destiny.

She is enslaved as a gladiator

During Ciri's solo adventures in the book series — after she vanishes from the conclave of mages through an unstable portal — she takes up with a band of criminals called the Rats. Her association with this group results in her capture by a bounty hunter named Leo Bonhart. There is not one but two bounties on Ciri's head, but Leo doesn't fulfill either, opting instead to enslave Ciri for himself. Leo drugs and tortures Ciri, forcing her to fight in his cousin's arena like the gladiators of Ancient Rome.

During her time as an arena fighter, Ciri comes into possession of her 200-year-old sword, Zireael, which was crafted by gnomes. (In the games, Geralt gifts Ciri the sword.) Ciri eventually escapes Bonhart and the arena, but he is completely obsessed with her and continues to pursue her until she enters a portal that takes her to the elfin world, Aen Elle. Here, with the help of Little Horse, Ciri learns to jump worlds.

Ciri travels to Camelot

In the last Witcher book, "The Lady of the Lake," Ciri meets Sir Galahad. He is wandering in the mists searching for the Isle of Avalon when he turns up as an unexpected guest at Geralt and Yennefer's wedding (yep, that's right! Geralt and Yennefer tie the knot). Sir Galahad comes upon Ciri sitting by a lake and mistakes her for the Lady of the Lake. She tells him her story, and they end up defeating a monster together and bonding over their shared adventure. At the end of the book, Ciri travels with Sir Galahad to King Arthur's Court and is separated from Yennefer and Geralt. One can only wish Ciri finds happiness in Camelot and continues her training with Merlin — she's certainly earned a little peace and happiness.