Everything To Know About The White Flame In The Witcher
Let's break it down.
Season 1 of The Witcher was sometimes hard to follow because the show existed on three interwoven timelines. On the one hand, it was a clever way to handle the shifting mediums of the original story and allowed the show to include the short stories, the novels, and the video games all at once. But it also meant some details, like the present-day antagonist, sometimes slipped out of view. Season 2 corrects that by making sure the White Flame is out front. But who *is* the White Flame in The Witcher, and why should those like Fringilla be concerned about him?
Warning: Spoilers for The Witcher Season 2 follow. Fans might not have been able to follow it, but those from Nilfgaard regularly mention a character called “the White Flame.” This character, who never appeared in the first season, sometimes sounds like a figure one finds in a Marvel movie or a gangster thriller, the Big Boss no one sees but everyone fears. But although Season 1 never showed him, his ruthlessness in attacking Cintra and at the Battle of Sodden spoke volumes.
By telling the story in chronological order in Season 2, viewers are no longer distracted by the “when” of it all. With Nilfgaard on the backfoot after Sodden, the White Flame and his aggressive rule now looms larger. Fringilla made sure those who may have missed it understand he’s the country’s leader. “He overthrew the Usurper; he saved my life,” she explained.
Fans finally met the White Flame in Episode 3, when elves captured Yennefer and Fringilla. The two discovered they had the same dream, one shared by elven mage Francesca. The three followed the signs to a cabin, seeing faces from their visions. Francesca saw Ithlinne, the elven oracle. However, Yennefer realized what she saw was Voleth Meir, a demon who will take your soul in exchange for your heart’s desire. Fringilla, meanwhile, saw the White Flame, Emhyr var Emreis, Emperor of Nilfgaard.
With the elves’ position so precarious, Francesca was too desperate, especially when it promised her the thing she wanted most — a pregnancy. (A new elf had not been born in generations.) Yennefer, being Yennefer, spurned the demon. Fringilla saw through the guise but believed the demon’s suggestion to be solid and allied with the elves and the now-pregnant Francesca.
Fringilla brought the persecuted Elves to Nilfgaardian-held Cintra, believing this would win the North and impress Emhyr var Emreis. But the real White Flame had other plans, as Cahir reminded her regularly. For fans wondering what those plans were, the show already revealed the answer if you listen to Emhyr’s voice. It’s from Season 1, when viewers met the emperor the first time — back when he was a hedgehog in love with Princess Pavetta, daughter of Queen Calanthe.
In the books, before he was the White Flame and overthrew the Usurper, Emhyr lived in exile as Duny, Urcheon of Erlenwald. After the birth of Ciri, the sorcerer Vilgefortz convinced him to return to Nilfgaard. Emhyr decided to steal away with Ciri and Pavetta to retake the kingdom without Calanthe’s knowledge, believing he could use the prophecy and Ciri’s elven blood to his advantage. But Pavetta was loyal to her mother and hid Ciri from him; in a rage, Emhyr pushed his wife overboard into the sea and retook Nilfgaard alone.
With this revelation, the sack of Cintra suddenly makes sense, as well as the direct targeting of Calanthe. It is a tale of revenge; the White Flame will do whatever it takes to get his daughter back.
All episodes of The Witcher Season 2 are streaming on Netflix.