WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for The Witcher season 3, part 1, as well as for Andrzej Sapkowski’s Time of Contempt. The Witcher season 3’s fake Ciri shocked Geralt and showed how far the forces of the Continent are willing to go in the search for Cirila of Cintra. While Ciri has been trained by Geralt and Yennefer, things have never been more dangerous for the Princess of Cintra than in The Witcher season 3. Joining Nilfgaard, who has been trying to capture Ciri since the beginning of the show, are the Northern Kingdoms’ bounty hunters, the elves, the Wild Hunt, and Rience as threats Ciri has to face. Geralt’s mission to protect Ciri led to the discovery of “False Ciri” amid a horrible experiment involving several abducted girls.
The Witcher season 3, episode 2, “Unbound” saw Geralt finding a cave where several missing girls were being used as test subjects. While Rience was involved with this, Geralt knew that there was someone more powerful behind him. The Witcher season 3, part 1’s ending reveals that Vilgefortz was the mage behind the experiments and the creation of a fake Ciri.
Why Vilgefortz Created A Fake Ciri
A girl of elven lineage named Teryn was kidnapped at the orders of Vilgefortz. Thanks to Lydia and Rience, those missing girls could not be traced back to Vilgefortz. Vilgefortz was conducting experiments with girls of elven lineage to understand more of Ciri’s powers, as Cirila is of Elder Blood and has an enormous amount of power. Vilgefortz’s main goal is to capture Ciri and take her powers to himself. Whereas Emhyr or Dijkstra want Ciri for political reasons, Vilgefortz is only interested in taking Ciri’s powers for himself. There is, however, a conflict of interest between what Emhyr wants from Ciri and what Vilgefortz wants.
The terms of Vilgefortz’s alliance with Emhyr on Netflix’s The Witcher have yet to be revealed. However, in The Witcher’s book lore, Vilgefortz’s alliance with Nilfgaard establishes that the mage should capture Ciri and bring her to Emhyr. Vilgefortz is indeed looking for Ciri, but he does not plan to hand her over to Emhyr. Vilgefortz’s plan of taking Ciri’s powers would lead to her death, which is the opposite of what Emhyr wants. Therefore, it can be assumed that Vilgefortz created a false Ciri to avoid having to deliver the real one to Emhyr. This would match what happens in the books.
The Witcher season 3’s False Ciri told Geralt that Rience would come every night to take one of them. This suggests that Vilgefortz was placing many “False Cirilas” across the Continent so that neither Emhyr nor the Northern Kingdoms would find the real one. The Northern Kingdoms, Nilfgaard, the elves, the Wild Hunt, and Vilgefortz’s allies were all looking for Ciri in The Witcher season 3, although each of these factions wants Ciri for a different reason.
What Exactly Did Vilgefortz Do To Teryn? His Experiments Explained
Vilgefortz was conducting experiments on girls of elven lineage, including the missing Aretuza students. While Geralt, Yennefer, Istredd, and Triss all believed that Stregobor was the one kidnapping girls to conduct experiments on the power of the blood of elves, it was actually Vilgefortz all along. Vilgefortz is defined by his search for power and knowledge, and Ciri is the key to what he wants. Ciri’s Elder Blood lineage is the reason why the Princess of Cintra is so special, and her powers include the ability to access other worlds. To make his False Ciri believable, Vilgefortz put Teryn under a memory spell.
Before Geralt had Teryn’s memory spell removed, the girl believed that she was Cirila of Cintra. It can be assumed that other false Ciris were put under a similar spell before being taken from that cave back into the Continent. It can also be assumed that Teryn did not look that similar to Ciri before being captured by Rience, and that part of Vilgefortz’s experiments on that cave included making those girls more similar to Cirila. Geralt finding False Ciri eventually helped him realize that Vilgefortz was the real traitor. The scarlet ammonite from Tissaia’s bracelet came from the same region where False Ciri was found.
What Happens To Teryn In The Witcher’s Future?
Considering that Teryn technically does not exist in The Witcher books, it is difficult to predict what happens to The Witcher season 3’s version of False Ciri. However, there are some clues as to where this false Ciri storyline can go in The Witcher season 3, part 2. Teryn’s original memories have been restored, to some extent, meaning that she no longer believes that she is Cirila of Cintra. Therefore, Teryn might be safe for now. The most logical course of action would be to take Teryn back to Aretuza, except that this is not the best moment for anyone to go to Thanedd – the Thanedd Coup has begun.
While Teryn is no longer a false Ciri, there may be other girls that were experimented on by Vilgefortz currently walking around the Continent thinking they are Ciri. Teryn was the only survivor of that particular set of “test subjects” Geralt found, but nothing guarantees that those were the only ones. If there are other false Cirilas created by Vilgefortz in the Continent, one of them could be found by Emhyr in The Witcher season 3, part 2. This would bring the False Ciri storyline closer to how it plays out in the books as, so far, there have been some major differences between the show and Time of Contempt.
False Ciri’s Story In The Witcher Books & How The Show Is Different
False Ciri’s story in The Witcher books is quite different from The Witcher season 3’s Teryn. Firstly, there is no Teryn in The Witcher books, although Time of Contempt does deal with someone posing as Cirila of Cintra. “Cirila Fiona,” whose real name was never revealed, was introduced in Time of Contempt as someone who looked like Ciri and could pass for the Princess of Cintra. Codringher and Fenn were aware of this orphan girl who liked like Ciri and suggested that Geralt would use her as bait to trick Rience. Interestingly, The Witcher season 3, episode 1 did something similar, but with the real Ciri.
While Geralt did not accept using this False Ciri as bait in Time of Contempt, others learned of the existence of this girl who looked like the princess that Nilfgaard was looking for. Under orders of Vilgefortz, False Ciri was brought in front of Emhyr. However, it did not take long before Emhyr realized that the girl was not his daughter. Still, the Emperor of Nilfgaard did not expose the lie, although he did keep “Cirila Fiona” away from the court and continued to look for the real one. Emhyr eventually married False Ciri, using this marriage as a political maneuver to solidify his power.
Whereas The Witcher season 3’s Teryn believed she was Ciri until the spell was removed, Time of Contempt’s Fake Ciri knew that she was just pretending to be the princess. Considering that Teryn no longer thinks she is Ciri, it is difficult to imagine how The Witcher season 3, part 2 could adapt the rest of the Fake Ciri storyline from the books. Perhaps there are indeed other fake Ciris created by Vilgefortz, or Teryn herself might have to pretend to be Ciri in front of Emhyr for some reason. Another option is that Netflix’s The Witcher does not use the rest of the Fake Ciri storyline from the books.