The Witcher

The Witcher 3 Unification Theory: All Endings are True

TheWitcher3 - The Witcher 3 Unification Theory: All Endings are True

Massive Spoilers Ahead…obviously.

I know The Witcher 3 came out years ago and the endings have been discussed numerously. I figured there are still people just now finishing it, like me, or people who are still interested in the topic.

TLDR: I believe that the unofficial cannon is that Geralt made the 'wrong' dialogue choice a few times and regrets his decisions, leading him to track down the last Crone to atone for his behavior, believing Ciri is dead. Before encountering the White Frost Ciri reflects on those critical moments and, inspired by or in spite of, Geralt's choices wins her battle and returns in secret first to Geralt, later to her remaining friends. Eventually word of a female Witcher travelling with Geralt reaches Emhyr and he sends her a message, and she accepts her duty to go to Nilfgaard.

I finished The Witcher 3 yesterday and today looked up all the other different endings for Ciri. I enjoyed reading people’s debate about the endings and which was best, but thought I’d share what I believe is the “True” ending: all three end states are true, and occur sequentially one after the other.

This is not meant to be a infallible theory and I full well acknowledge discrepancies at the end, but CDPR left enough wiggle room for each ending that they can accommodate each other and this makes perfect sense: whatever ending ‘you the player’ receive can be fitted for any future Witcher sequels, much like how any ending ‘you the player’ received at the end of Witcher 2 fit into the start of Witcher 3.

The most important bit of evidence is the time stamps displayed at the start of each ending epilogue.

The timeline of the Unified Ending then, is thus:

Velen, Northern Temeria: One Week After Undvik

A week after Ciri vanishes through the portal an angry and depressed Geralt hunts down the last Crone, getting what little revenge he can for his lost daughter and retrieving the only remaining memento he has of her and Vesemir.

Vizima, Capital of Occupied Temeria: Two Weeks After Undvik

Geralt meets with Emhyr var Emreis one last time to report Ciri’s disappearance and presumed death. Secretly, Geralt knows Ciri survived her encounter with the White Frost and is in hiding.

Before departing Geralt and Emhyr have the following conversation

Geralt: “If there’s nothing else…”

Emhyr: “There is. But you may go. Witcher. I do not wish to you see. Ever again.”

White Orchard: Some Time Later, after Meeting Emhyr

Geralt receives a new Witcher sword he had commissioned and presents it to Ciri as a gift, signifying her status as a Witcher. Ciri asks him how the meeting with Emhyr went:

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Ciri: “Did he believe you?”

Geralt: “I have no idea.”

End Card: Witcher Ending

Old Dandelion: “Geralt taught her all he knew, every skill he possessed, then each set off on their own.”

White Orchard: Several Months After Undvik

Geralt meets up with Ciri and the two have a final bittersweet goodbye before she leaves with a Nilfgaard escort, on her way to become Emhyr’s heir and presumed future Empress. When Geralt see’s the Nilfgaard escort, surprised at their appearance, the following conversations can occur:

Geralt: “You could’ve told me, warned me.”

Ciri: “I wanted to, but…didn’t know how. I’ve been happy here. I was afraid I’d ruin it. I wanted to make every moment count.”

And later…

Geralt: “Remember what I taught you. Never know – could be useful there, too…”

Known Discrepancies and Plausible Explanations:

1) Ciri doesn’t wear Vesemir’s Wolf amulet after Geralt retrieved it from the Crone. Possibly he buried it as a substitute for Ciri’s body, believing at the time she was dead, placed it with the remains of Vesemir back at Kaer Morhen, or gave it to Ort, the sword smith, to use as part of the metal for Ciri’s new Witcher sword.

2) Ciri’s original sword is kept in a red scabbard. The new sword Geralt commissioned for her is in a yellow/brown scabbard. When she leaves him for Nilfgaard she hands him a red scabbard. Possible she simply used the old scabbard instead of the newer one. They've been busy killing monsters for the past several months, newer scabbard could've been lost/destroyed.

3) In the ‘Empress’ ending Ciri’s references her meeting Emhyr at Vizima. This is an obvious reference to Geralt taking her to Vizima before confronting Imelrith and the Crones, however, she could have just as well gone to Vizima after returning from battling the White Frost, after Emhyr learned the truth that she was alive. Additionally, while it’s not displayed in-game, Geralt and Ciri could have gone to Vizima after the events at Bald Mountain and before meeting their friends at Novigrad.

Narrative Evidence for the Unified Ending:

Several story threads and character arcs are left unfinished by the end of Witcher 3 and are only resolved in the various ending epilogues. No one epilogue has every conclusion, you’d have to play through ever epilogue to see them.

1) The last Crone and Vesemir/Ciri’s amulet is resolved in the ‘Ciri Dies’ ending.

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2) Geralt reports to Emhyr in the ‘Witcher’ ending. It’s the only epilogue to feature Emhyr, and what conversation he and Geralt may have had whether Ciri died, or had survived.

3) Avallac’h is briefly mentioned during the encounter with Emhyr in the ‘Ciri Witcher’ ending.

4) The dwarfs from The Isle of Mist turn up in the ‘Ciri Witcher’ ending. They were last seen sailing off the island just as the Wild Hunt showed up.

5) We see Zoltan and Dandelion (and Triss/Yen if romanced) in the ‘Ciri Empress’ ending. Additionally, if the player talks to them we learn Dandelion’s future plans: claim his supposed title as a Count. We also learn that Priscilla has recovered from her attack and is singing again.

6) During their goodbyes during the ‘Ciri Empress’ ending, Voorhis (the Nilfgaard commander that questions you before you meet Emhyr for the first time) can be seen walking around in the background. He survived the war.

A final question you might have: If all endings are ‘true’, then what significance were the choices you made regarding Ciri?

Answer: By breaking up the ‘true’ ending into three parts, each experienced by making subtle different choices, the ‘true’ ending becomes a giant Easter Egg reward for players that (in theory) played through Witcher 3 three times to see each part of ‘what really happened after Undvik’.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. What do you think of a unified ending theory? Is there anything I missed?

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