After recently completing all but the "Through Time and Space" bits of the Final Preparations umbrella quest at 1:30am this morning, I had a few thoughts about the context of the game that I wanted to share. Quite honestly, I tried explaining myself at breakfast to my wife but she was pretty disinterested in the politics of Nilfgaard, Temeria, and Redania (as well as the rest of the northern kingdoms) so I will bring my wacked out early morning ramblings here. Full disclosure; this is a discussion about why Geralt would endorse and even participate in the assassination of the Redanian King, Radovid the Fifth.
***WARNING – MAJOR GAME SPOILERS BELOW***
For context, I am on my first playthrough, just reached level 34, and as noted above have not yet completed the base game. Immersing myself in the story, I try to do not only what I think a "good person" would do, but also what Geralt as a witcher in the story would do. Getting to "Reason of State" I asked myself "What would motivate Geralt to endorse regicide, when he clearly opposes the School of the Viper's approach here, and Letho in particular he cannot support?"
First off, Geralt is a witcher, and as such a mutated human. Not fully human himself, he has no issues associating with and even becoming friends (and more) with non-humans and other "mutants" such as sorceresses. His friendship with Zoltan, Eibear, Dudu, and the numerous other quests involving non-humans means he has significant alliances and debts to his non-human friends, and loves both Yennifer and Triss (in their own way) – he also has a deep bond with Cirilla, who is like his own daughter in everything but genetics. He is bound to her by fate, and will let nothing stand in his pursuit of her and her safety/well being. Thus, he enters Novigrad, and finds "magic users" being burned at the stake, and non-humans being treated as 2nd class citizens at best. And it clearly bothers him, but he pushes most of this aside in his quest to find Ciri.
As we move forward, Geralt (at the start of Final Preparations) is recently come from his fight with Imlerith, and the Battle of Kaer Morhen. A fight in which Geralt gathers ALL of his allies and friends, and takes on the Wild Hunt to help free Ciri. A fight in which they were absolutely going to lose, if not for the self sacrifice of Vesemir and Ciri's grief unlocking her vast power to drive the Hunt off, if not defeat them. So, losing his mentor, seeing Ciri's grief, and KNOWING that he gave everything he had to defeat the Hunt and STILL almost losing does one critical thing – it makes Geralt desperate. So desperate, he takes on the challenge of fighting Imlerith on his own, and seeks out allies of the Lodge of Sorceresses to help Ciri. Helping Ciri is his sole and most powerful motivation here, and its critical.
When he gets to Novigrad, he sees not only that the magic users are fleeing/going underground, but now also that non-humans are being persecuted in their place. All of which unsettles Geralt even more…and enter Radovid. Our previous interactions with him demonstrate not only his mental instability, but his deep prejudices and hatred for sorceresses and non-humans. Perhaps he has somewhat justified reasons, as Phillippa did attempt to have him killed, but this is a personal motivation and not something that should have been applied to an entire group of people. Radovid's subsequent pogroms against any non-humans are a demonstration that he is not well mentally, and likely not fit to rule a kingdom. EVEN after all that, Geralt still likely doesn't care whether Radovid lives or dies if not for the fact that Geralt is desperate to save Ciri. He'll do whatever it takes, and he NEEDS the Lodge of Sorceresses. Radovid will stand in his way, and actively try to crush any magic users who are around to help him. And so, knowing that he needs help, and knowing that Radovid being in place as the ruler of Redania will actively prevent him from saving Ciri, he reluctantly goes along with the plot to kill Radovid. He's completely unaware of the peace negotiations by Thaler on behalf of Temeria (as shown in the cut scenes) and so he makes his choice free of any other type of motivation. Killing the King of Redania is solely motivated by the fact that he cannot get the help he needs as long as Radovid is in power.
After the deed is done, the secondary choice here is whether to allow Dijkstra to seize power or to allow Roche/Thaler to proceed with the peace negotiations. After the killing of the king, this is a MUCH easier decision. One the one side, we have Vernon Roche, and Ves – two friends who are ALSO recently back from the battle of Kaer Morhen, and almost gave their lives to help Ciri and Geralt's cause. On the other, Sigi Dijkstra, an opportunist who not only turned down Geralt's ask for help with Ciri but also now is reneging on his agreement to follow through with the peace treaty with Nilfgaard now that Radovid is gone. Geralt once again would side with his friends, and were there an option to let Dijkstra and Roche share power or come to a more peaceful solution, he would have likely taken that. But in the moment at the theater, when its a life or death between these 2 sides, Geralt can and should support those who helped save Ciri's life, instead of the backstabbing former head of Redanian Intelligence.
So – if not for the events leading up to Final Preparations & Reason of State, Geralt may have walked away from the assassination of Radovid – but in the moment, as a man (a father) who has been pushed to the brink with the near unassailable threats against his daughter, and the persecution of his friends and allies, Geralt makes the choice that will help everyone even if its not what he'd normally endorse. The Lodge of Sorceresses is his best chance to help Ciri, and since Radovid will destroy the Lodge if given the chance, a desperate Geralt decides that Radovid must go. Thanks for reading this far!
TL;dr – since Geralt is desperate to save Ciri, he needs all the help he can get. He needs the Lodge of Sorceresses, and the King of Redania hates the Lodge, so Geralt somewhat reluctantly endorses regicide in order to protect his loved ones and friends.
Source: Original link
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