Yes, I have been watching the new Witcher show on Netflix. I’ve also been reading the books. I’ve considered finally getting around to playing the first two games too, if not for the fact that the first game isn’t very good and Witcher 2 is hard to go back to after playing Witcher 3. My point is, I’ve had Geralt and friends on the mind for a few days now.
But as much as I love him, I don’t feel that Geralt would be the right character to end the year off with. No. Today, I want to talk about my favorite character in the series. Today, I want to talk about the lion cub. I wanna talk about Ciri.
*Note: I’ll be looking at the books (upon which the show is based on) and the games. I consider both sources canon to the character. Plus, they’re both consistent with her character.*
The Wound: A Child of Destiny
Ciri has always been a person of critical importance. She was born a princess with a mysterious connection to an insanely dangerous magical power. As such, she has spent her entire life on the run, being chased down by people who want to make use of her powers. First, it was Nilfgaard and the knight with a feathered helm. Then it was the Wild Hunt. So on and so forth.
Her status as a child of destiny has always brought Ciri terrible misery. She’s been hunted by basically everyone in the world for something that she never had any control over. Along the way, she’s lost her family, her home, and basically everything. All of her scars, both physical and emotional, are due to the power of her blood.
A power that she never asked for has cursed her with a life that she never asked for. Which leads me to:
The Want and the Lie: A Life in Control
Ciri’s desire was born entirely out of that wound. She has always wanted to be in control of her own life. That’s why she felt such joy during her training at Kaer Morhen! For the first time in her life, she felt as though she were in control of her own fate! Like destiny wasn’t dragging her through the mud for shits and giggles.
So imagine her heartbreak when her training ended. When she left Kaer Morhen, Geralt, and all the others behind. When, once again, destiny took away her happiness and forced her to become something she’s not.
Destiny is a common theme in the Witcher series. What is destiny? Does it really exist? Should it define us, or do we define it? It’s a question that is commonly explored in basically every story starring Geralt of Rivia or any of the other characters. Ciri is no exception.
Because of her past, Ciri believes that there is no escape. That her life was, is, and forever will be controlled by someone else. That she can’t ever have the life she wants. As far as Ciri was concerned, destiny was going to keep beating her down until she was dead. There is no way out.
But that isn’t the case. Ciri can forge her own way. In one of the many endings of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Ciri is assumed dead after having saved the world from its terrible destiny. However, just as she always seems to, Ciri managed to escape, thus freeing herself forever from her destiny. In this ending, she is given a silver sword by Geralt, finally allowing her to become what she’s always wanted. In the end, Ciri did manage to escape destiny. She managed to become a Witcher.
But she did need a little nudge to get her there.
The Need: The White Wolf
After being found by Geralt, Ciri quickly warmed up to the White Wolf. He soon became the father that she never had. He taught her how to swing a sword and properly dodge, yes. But he also taught her something far more important. To make your own way.
Through Geralt’s actions, especially in The Witcher 3, Ciri can learn many a lesson. She could learn to accept destiny and find happiness in her circumstances. Or she could find her own path, become a Witcher, and learn to forge her own joy. Either way, it is up to Geralt’s influence to forge Ciri’s path.
There are several points in The Witcher 3 where Ciri is put in a difficult situation with Geralt at her side. In these moments, you as the player have a choice. You could comfort Ciri, persuade her to accept the circumstances. Or you could pick the fun option and tell her to rebel. Either way, it is up to Geralt to teach Ciri how to control destiny. To either make it work for her or to escape it.
Scenes like this are also present in the books. One of my favorites being a brief training scene in ‘The Blood of Elves’. In this scene, Ciri struggles to complete a specific exercise in her training, believing that nothing she could do would counter the oncoming attack properly. Through a gentle and constructive hand, Geralt pushes her towards discovering the right answer.
The relationship between Ciri and Geralt is incredibly important to the growth of both characters. Also, it’s super cute!
If you ask people after their favorite Witcher character, you’ll likely get a wildly different answer from each person. Some people will point to Yennefer or Triss for obvious (and understandable) reasons. Others will choose Dandelion for a bit of charm and fun. Some are basic and prefer Geralt. Me? I will always point at Ciri.
Although Geralt is also great. Yennefer is pretty fucking cool too. And I can’t deny how much I love Dandelion… Fuck, this is actually a lot harder than I thought!
I have mixed thoughts on the Witcher Netflix show. I’ll be sure to get into those when I review it next year. But I do enjoy the show’s portrayal of Ciri (at least so far; I haven’t finished it as of me writing this). Hopefully, it’ll show people a side of Ciri’s character that they haven’t experienced by playing the games.
I say hopefully. But my complaints regarding the series will have to wait another day.