I've just finished reading all of the books (besides SoS) and I need to discuss it with someone who knows what I'm talking about.
I don't really know where to begin with what I have to say. So I'll just write as my mind figures it out.
For starters, I feel like a lot of people really don't like how slowly LotL starts. We've got Condwiramurs (rip spelling?) and Nimue discussing a bunch of stuff which we don't really understand yet. We've seen Sapkowski do this a lot before in TotS, TLW, and SoD. They give away a couple of the successes of the characters, while also only minorly foreshadowing usage of the mirror.
I personally don't really love having characters living post event, discussing what we haven't read about yet. No actual quotations come to mind right now, but I know they mention a couple things. Similarly to how in TotS, we had Ciri telling Vysogota about how she escaped from Bonhart and Skellen. Every flashback that we got to read was immediately less exciting because we already knew that Ciri would escape nearly unscathed. It's not a huge deal, still enjoyable to read through regardless.
Then we get to read about Geralt in Toussaint. I know that this segment is also unliked due to it being relatively unnecessary and drawn out. But personally I feel like it actually gives us a good look at Geralt as a character.
For those of you who are aware of the "Hero's Journey" story template, it really makes a lot of sense to have this section in the book. This is where "The Temptress" is introduced to our protagonist. Fringilla is able to show Geralt what kind of life he could be living. Comfortable, with someone who he cares for, making an honest living being a Witcher. He is away from the war and relatively safe from harm. For any one of us, this is something that I believe we could all say would be "living the dream". We see the selfishness within Geralt. He forgets about his troubles. Only to be rudely awakened back to reality. Remembering that the people who he really loves are currently suffering out in the world, cold and alone. We see his heroism return, throwing his comfortable life away immediately because he realizes that there are those out there who are still depending on him.
The next thing that I have an issue with is basically Ciri's entire story. But just hear me out now, because I want to see if I just misinterpreted it and that someone can change my mind.
My main complaint that I have with it is that I never really cared about what she was doing. This goes for the whole series. During ToC we see her as a kid and I'm okay with that. She makes some bad decisions, but that's okay because she is just a kid, she doesn't really understand anything. When she meets up with The Rats, it starts to get weird. She starts partaking in things that don't really fit with her character. Getting into Fisstech and sexual relations with… well… everybody. Including that one random fuck off dude who's name I forget, it was a weird scene. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing bad about this. She's lost in a huge world, she feels alone and she's trying to fit in wherever she can. She's a puzzle piece trying to fit into an already finished puzzle. Writing it out like this, it's starting to make sense to me.
The only section with her that I really started to enjoy was when Bonhart showed up. He rolls up in his tornado of death and fucking kills everybody brutally. This scene kinda fucked me up, and it took me by surprise. We hadn't seen the books take this kind of a turn yet, and it was refreshing. He gets introduced as this unstoppable force. Brutal, disgusting, creepy. After reading every action he takes, you just kind of want to take a shower afterwards. He's the type of character that is a large driving force. You don't want to like him as a character, but you do anyways. He's the kind of villain that you love to hate, much like many of my other favourite characters from other series' (Joffrey, The Mountain, Negan, Steven Bonnet, etc). They exist for them to be defeated. They build up and up to the climax of the story, where the protagonist finally pulls a 360 no scope on them and yells for their mom to get the camera. It's awesome, and characters like this are a large part of the reason that I read. Bonhart gives Ciri something to bounce off of.
Sadly, the end of Tower of the Swallow gets rid of this relationship for the most part. She enters the portal and *poof*, my interest disappeared. This is where Ciri almost became unreadable for me. I literally could not give a fuck about her and Avallach. It basically became a story of the Bachelorette. Everybody wants to get with her, just because. Yeah yeah, she's the child of destiny. But big whoop, who fuckin cares. She gets felt up by weird fucking elf king a couple times but he can't get it up because he's an old ass bitch. It just went on and on like this for way too long.
Ciri, the defiant little girl, who escapes from everybody and everything, the child of destiny, master of worlds, witcher girl trained at Kaer Morhen, Child of the Elder Blood, basically the Anakin fucking Skywalker of this fantasy world, is told that she can't escape by some random guy, and immediately submits to getting sexually assaulted by anyone who wants to… Like… What the fuck? Is this someone else entirely? She literally just takes his word for it. Like "…ye… i beleve you".
Now, I played W3 before reading the books, so I knew who Eredin was, I knew about the Wild Hunt. When he shows up, it's awesome. He's this massive, scary, unsettling, warrior. He leads an army through space and time murdering, pillaging, burning. So when he was introduced, I was excited. I wanted to see what he was capable of, what lengths he would go to. Personally, I think it could have been awesome if he and Bonhart had fought over her, I would even read a non canonical fan written version where that did happen. He swears to Ciri that she will not escape him, that no matter where she goes, when she goes or with whom, he would find her. That's a scary fucking threat. But then a Unicorn shows up and *poof* the day is saved. That is the last time that Eredin is mentioned in the series. I was really disappointed that I didn't get to read more about the Wild Hunt. His threat literally held no meaning.
Reading about her jumping between worlds felt really pointless. Like it was there to fill space and increase word count. Don't even get me started about Forest Gramps. Fuck that part specifically. Yet another random almost rape scene with literally zero plot relevance in the middle of nowhere just to mention that he was a cannibal but also incel. If anyone can justify this scene to me, please do. I'm genuinely interested to hear your points.
Now from here on, I really started enjoying the book. The Battle of Brenna was intense as fuck, and I could not stop reading. Seeing it from both sides of the battle, with Coehoorn, the medics, Foltest, it was great. It captured the stress and helplessness of the battlefield. Swimming in corpses and blood, feeling like each soldier was drowning beneath the army. It was truly amazing.
Then a whole bunch of stuff happens really fast.
Ciri pulls a Princess Peach/ Zelda, teleports straight to Vilgefortz castle and turns herself in (Wait what?) She walks into his castle, says "Hey guys", realizes she can't use her all powerful magic (big surprise), and gets captured… Again. That's a 200 IQ move right there, almost as though she did that just to get the plot moving. Queue another almost rape scene but this time with some glass tubes (I forgive this part, it makes sense, they've been building up to this basically the whole time). But uh oh, Geralt and company roll up right on time. Suddenly all plot relevant characters are almost in the same room. Mayhem ensues and everybody starts dying. We see Regis show up and literally fuck everybody. I was a big fan of this part, because it's the side of Regis that we haven't gotten to see yet.
Regis says "hey come with me I kill everythin in one hit I can get you to Geralt". Ciri says "mmm no i only believe the bad guys when they say things" and she runs away. (Thanks for this. Makes perfect sense)
She gets caught by Bonhart. Okay I want to see this. They have a scary standoff and Ciri starts to panic. Makes sense, she's being hunted by her abuser who she sees as an unstoppable force. He tells her he's basically going to kill her and have sex with her corpse. Yeah at this point I would probably run away too. She tries to teleport, like she has done millions of times, we all read it, it was painful and went on for a long time. Surely she could easily succeed this one time. But nope, she starts to, but the plot rolls up, says "nah" and slaps her back to reality. She finds the next thing that she's afraid of, being Cahir. He says he will protect her. Bonhart shows up again. Ciri runs away leaving one of my favourite characters to die a fairly honourable death. Even though if they had teamed up on Bonhart they could probably have beaten him. I was really sad about this. But life goes on.
Cahir's sacrifice goes really unwarranted, considering it does nothing but delay the inevitable. True it shows Bonhart's nature again. But he dies alone, protecting Ciri who doesn't even trust him, doesn't thank him, doesn't even really need his protection. As we can see, because of what happens next.
Finally, Ciri and Bonhart have their showdown. It's a true grind between the two of them, they both get good jabs in on the other. Bonhart looks as though he clearly has the upper hand. I was half expecting Geralt to show up and whoop his ass back to kindergarten, but that would have stolen Ciri's thunder. Ciri's about to lose when she suddenly remembers… (use plunging attack… It's the most reliable move in the gaaaameeee). Thats when she does it, the old switcheroo. A little one two three and she claps his fucking cheeks. Bonhart realizes he's fuckled, Ciri is doing the classic "Cool guys don't look at explosions" move, when Bonhart goes for the last laugh. But she 360 no scopes his ass, yelling mom get the camera. Now Ciri's someone who I can get behind. A Bonafide badass. It's only taken like 4 books and like 15 character deaths.
Now we cut back to Geralt, Vilgefortz, and Yennefer. It's pretty intense and there's not much for me to complain about here. We've seen Geralt get his ass whooped by Vilgefortz before, so there's a good chance it'll happen again. The only thing I want to talk about here, is Regis. I was so sad.
Regis rolls up and starts fucking shit up again. Badass Vampire dude against dumb fucker sorcerer man. But uh, Vilgefortz has this… thing? and starts ripping him into bits? I guess? It doesn't really go into much detail about what really happens between them, and that's what I find weird. He somehow pulls out an uno reversal card on my second favourite character in the whole series, hucks him into a corner and incinerates his ass.
But… wait a second, isn't Regis fire proof? We've seem him not give a single fuck about fire before. The trial by fire early on, the flaming laboratory literally like, 15 seconds ago. Temperature in general hasn't effected him, as we were shown while they were traveling through the ice gripped mountain pass. So why now, does this specific fire spell actually seem to kill him. And since the games are non-canonical, I'm assuming that we are meant to believe that Regis actually breathes his last here. Not just regenerating, picking himself up, and smoking his way out of the exploding castle to go settle down in Toussaint like we saw in the game. I'm choosing to believe that he doesn't actually die here, because I fucking loved Regis, and to see him die in a situation that doesn't really make sense to me is really painful.
I realized something literally just now. I picked up the book to read a section again. As they are moving Geralt and Yennefer into the weird ghost boat in the fog, they see all of the dead characters. But not once do they mention Regis here. Maybe it was something lore wise, that Vampires don't go to the afterlife or some shit. But I'm going to choose to believe otherwise. My boy is still out there.
This brings me to my final point of this long ass rant. Which if you've actually read up to this point, I'm amazed and thank you.
How am I supposed to feel about this ending. I know Sapkowski doesn't like fairy tales, and mocks them throughout the series, but am I supposed to believe that Geralt and Yen are in the afterlife in their last paragraph? I know Geralt can see his bandages, which wouldn't make sense if he was dead. But the way Ciri is trying not to cry while retelling the story to Galahad, it makes it seem like they did die. She seemingly makes up the ending of the wedding, naming people who attended, most of which were characters who had died (But not Regis.. biiiitch). Saying that they… Geralt and Yennefer lived happily ever after. Then she rides off with Galahad to go have a little fun in the woods.
I'm so confused by that, because surely she would be more broken up about losing her parents at the same time. Surely she wouldn't just get up and be like, "well time to fuck this only kind of attractive guy who I just met". Unless Ciri is actually that much more heartless and stupid of a character than I thought she was.
Now I want to know your opinions on the points I've made. Am I wrong about the assumptions I've made. Have I analyzed certain characters wrongly? Are Geralt and Yennefer still alive?
And most importantly…
Is Regis still alive?
Thanks for reading!
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© Post "Lady of the Lake/ A bit of the rest of the series Discussion (Spoilers!)" for game The Witcher.
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