The Witcher, a Netflix original series, prepares viewers for a pivotal announcement about a villain whose exploits have affected the unfolding of the plot at every turn of the third season. In the second season, Rience, a fire-wielding mage who will stop at nothing to capture the princess of Cintran, pursues Ciri. Although the name of his employer is still unknown, Geralt and Yennefer focus their investigation on finding out who is after Ciri and why in the third season.
A meeting of wizards in Aretuza in the fifth episode uncovers several pieces of a puzzle that Geralt and Yennefer were unaware of from the beginning. They come to the conclusion that Vilgefortz is their true enemy. While this in itself is a surprising revelation, it also raises several questions about who may or may not be working with him. The biggest doubt about Tissaia’s devotion is that she is romantically involved with Vilgefortz. Does this mean that she was always aware of her plans? has she been aware of it all along? Let’s investigate. Spoilers follow.
Is Tissaia working with Vilgefortz?
The departure from the source material is one of the reasons why watching ‘The Witcher’ is so engrossing. Although the characters and overall plot of the show are based on the books, alterations have been made to the characters, particularly the relationships between them. Tissaia and Vilgefortz have fallen madly in love in the Netflix series. However, there is no such connection between them in the texts. Because of this, it is not entirely possible to determine Tissaia’s loyalty and motivations based solely on the material provided in the books.
In addition to dating Vilgefortz, Tissaia’s history has undergone another alteration related to her relationship with Yennefer. They seem to be closer to each other than other sorceresses in the books, where her relationship is more akin to mentor and apprentice. The Netflix series, however, places a lot of emphasis on their relationship, which is more like a mother-daughter relationship. We’ve seen Tissaia and Yennefer cross various milestones in her friendship over the past two seasons, which shows that Tissaia loves Yennefer as much as the daughter she was never given. This is one of the reasons why, despite Yennefer’s many transgressions, Tissaia always offers her forgiveness and a warm welcome.
Although Yennefer may have disliked her mentor at times, she still loves and respects Tissaia more than anyone. Tissaia’s devotion to Yennefer is reciprocated. In the third season, Yennefer’s first thoughts turn to Tissaia when she learns that Vilgefortz is the one who has been kidnapping the girls and conducting experiments on them while trying to reach Ciri through Rience. She insists that she will not leave Aretuza without her guardian.
It is doubtful that the rector of Aretuza betrayed his daughter figure given the friendship between Tissaia and Yennefer, especially knowing that Yennefer has discovered in Ciri the daughter she was looking for. Tissaia also seems committed to preserving peace on the continent and seems pleased that the conclave can unite the northern nations to fight Nilfgaard. Like everyone else at the table, this could all be a hoax.
Tissaia accepts the decision to place a bounty on Ciri’s head at the end of Season 2, when she realizes the threat Ciri poses to the planet. She is unaware of Ciri’s importance to Yennefer at the moment, which is why when Yennefer brings the princess to Aretuza, he refuses to give her up. It is not likely that Tissaia would betray Yennefer for Vilgefortz given the way she has behaved all this time and how her feelings for Yennefer control the way she acts. If she did, it would be a tremendous shock, especially for Yennefer, who has great love and affection for Tissaia. It is possible that the show departs from the novels in that direction.
For comparison, Tissaia is completely uninformed of Vilgefortz’s exploits in the books. She is devastated when Thanedd’s coup begins. She makes an effort to defuse the situation, level the playing field, and protect Ciri, Yennefer, and Geralt. But the Brotherhood has been damaged beyond repair, and in the end it caves in the face of this defeat and compromises. One wonders if Tissaia would be destroyed by Thanedd’s coup, which is imminent in season 3. Although the show deviates from the books, this could be an opportunity to extend Tissaia’s life and give her a bigger role, preferably at Yennefer’s expense.
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