Who is the man at the end of The Witcher Season 3 Episode 1?

By Lori Meek
Published: June 30, 2023 (Last updated: July 5, 2023)
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Who is the man at the end of The Witcher Season 3 Episode 1

Who is the man at the end of The Witcher Season 3 Episode 1? We discuss a key plot point from the third season of The Witcher.

Throughout the first two seasons of The Witcher, the Nifgaardian ruler who killed the usurper and liberated the people was a constant ominous presence. This mysterious White Flame garnered a cult-like following and earned him unquestioned loyalty from the likes of Cahir (Eamon Farren) and the mage Fringilla (Mimî M. Khayisa). 

While he saw the brutal massacre of Cintra done in his name and heard Cahir and Fringilla sing praises to him, we didn’t get to see the White Flame until the very end of season 2.

When Fringilla’s alliance with the Elven people backfired after Francesca had her baby and decided to stop fighting, the White Flame intervened. He was behind the Elven baby’s murder which radicalized Francesca to lead the Elves in the battle against the North. 

We don’t see the Nifgaardian ruler again until the end of season 3, episode 1. But who is he? 

Who is the man at the end of The Witcher Season 3 Episode 1?

The man appearing at the end of the third season’s premiere episode is none other than the White Flame himself, Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, aka. Duny, the Urcheon of Erlenwald, aka. Ciri’s dad. Yes, all of Ciri’s troubles were caused by her father. 

Presumed dead, the Emperor was behind the conquest of Cintra and giving orders to Cahir when he was relentlessly hunting poor Ciri. It’s unclear why he chose such a bloody way to reach his daughter or how he survived on the day he supposedly died in a shipwreck with his wife, Princess Pavetta.

Who is Emperor Emhyr var Emreis?

First introduced in season 1, Emhyr (who went by Duny) attended the betrothal feast for Princess Pavetta, asking for her hand in marriage. A curse turned into a hedgehog, but Pavetta still loved him despite his appearance. 

He had a claim to the Princess’s hand due to the so-called Law of Surprise. As he saved the life of Pavetta’s late father, the King, he tied himself to the King’s unborn child by destiny. 

But Queen Calanthe cared little for destiny and had her own ideas about who her daughter should marry. So she tried to kill Duny, triggering an explosive (literally!) reaction from the Princess. 

Geralt intervenes, and Calanthe eventually relents and allows the marriage. A grateful Duny inadvertently ties Gerald to his future daughter, Ciri. 

The next time we see Duny, it’s inside Ciri’s head, thanks to Triss’s spell right before he was about to get on the boat the day of his supposed death. 

It’s unclear what happened to the missing ship or Pavetta, but in the years following his disappearance, he became the revered Emperor Emhyr or Nilfgaard.  

What did Emperor Emhyr do in The Witcher season 3?

Despite the shocking reveal of the White Flame’s true identity at the end of season 3, Emhyr was barely seen in the first five episodes of season 3. 

Disappointed by Cahir and Fringilla, he gave each of them rather cruel punishments. While Cahir was sent to fight in the lowest levels of Nilfgaard’s army, Fringilla was locked inside a wine cellar, from where she faked her death.  

To regain his master’s favor, Cahir had to murder his friend, the Elven Gallatin. 

We also learn that the powerful sorcerer who sent the rogue mage Rience after Ciri also worked for the White Flame. 

While rarely seen on screen, the Emperor has been pulling all the strings from the beginning. 

Who plays Emperor Emhyr in The Witcher?

The British actor Bart Edwards plays Emperor Emhyr in the series. He previously appeared in series such as Unreal, Eastenders, and the Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them franchise. 

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