The Witcher season 3 ending explained

Everything that happened in the finale of the show

The Witcher season 3 ending explained as illustrated by Henry Cavill as Geralt, Freya Allan as Ciri and Anya Chalotra as Yennefer in The Witcher
(Image credit: Susie Allnut/Netflix/Future)

The Witcher season 3 ending explained: Everything that happened in the season finale broken down, and your questions answered.

The Witcher season 3 has come to a close, and viewers have been left with questions. Top of the initial list of queries appears to be why did Henry Cavill leave The Witcher - a controversial decision that's left loyal fans upset and divided. As Liam Hemsworth replaces Henry Cavill in the iconic role, the future of the show hangs in the balance not just due to the change in actor, but also amid reports filming has been postponed from September 2023 until early 2024.

While we wait for confirmation of season 4 beginning filming, let's first address the lingering questions left behind about season 3. Read on as we break down The Witcher season 3 finale, and fill in the gaps about everything left hanging in the air as the original trio of Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer appear together in their original form for the final time. 

The Witcher season 3 ending explained

The Witcher season 3 finale begins with Geralt recovering from serious injuries in Brokilon, with Jaskier at his side. Such are the extent of Geralt's wounds, the healing waters of Brokilon had even failed to heal the broken Witcher. 

Still determined to travel to Nilfgaard to once again rescue Ciri, Geralt is steadfast in his plans to prevent her being reunited with the Emperor Emhyr - he also happens to be the father she once thought to be deceased.

Yennefer is also busy searching for clues of Ciri's whereabouts, as she deals with the aftermath of Aretuza falling. While she cares for survivors, she and the remaining mages find the cave where Vilgefortz had imprisoned half Elven novice mages in order to inflict horrifying magical experiments on them.

A devastated Tissaia is still hanging on by a thread, but coming face-to-face with Vilgefortz's actions and witnessing the mangled bodies of the mages experimented on, takes her to the edge. Despite a rousing speech from Yennefer in an attempt to drum up support for Tissaia and heal her spirit, it's not enough and she sadly takes her own life. 

MyAnna Buring as Tassaia in The Witcher

(Image credit: Susie Allnutt/Netflix)

Geralt and Yennefer reunite to commiserate the lack of knowledge they have about Ciri's whereabouts and wellbeing. Still failing to heal, Geralt requests Yennefer has a go at getting him back on track - her healing spell works, and we finally have an almost normally functioning Witcher. 

The pair part ways, vowing to see the back of Vilgefortz no matter what they do. As Yennefer returns to the recovering mages, Geralt wants to be healed 100%, deciding to concoct a version of Vesemir's elixir to help him cross the healing finish line before crossing the border to Nilfgaard.

Rescuing Ciri from Emhyr, Vilgefortz and everyone who seems to want a piece of her this season will be a tough job - as well as having Jaskier on board, Geralt has accrued another companion in his mission, in the form of dryad Milva. With Geralt plotting his plan of attack on Emhyr, we find Emhyr has his attention turned elsewhere.

Mimi Ndiweni as Fringilla in The Witcher

(Image credit: Susie Allnutt/Netflix)

Having carried out Emhyr's wishes to take down Aretuza, Francesca and Fringilla anticipate being well inside his good books. Fringilla has her sights set on being made Imperial Governor of Xin'trea, while Francesca assumes she and the remaining Elven warriors who fought for him will be offered Xin'trea as their new home. 

Instead of happily giving in to their well-earned wishes, Emhyr - not unexpectedly - turns on them. The evil Emperor offers the elderly and wounded elves a home in Xin'trea, but insists any healthy remaining ones stay in Nilfgaard to continue fighting his war.

He threatens Francesca that if she refuses this ultimatum, he'll kill every last one of the Elven people anyway. Francesca is about to concede yet another defeat, when Fringilla imparts the news that Emhyr was behind baby Fiona's death back in season 2. Newly enraged, Francesca vows revenge Emhyr, and on Fringilla for keeping this information from her in order to climb the power ladder. 

Elsewhere, King Vizimir of Redania is angry with Dijkstra and Philippa's failed attempt to do his bidding in Aretuza. He demands Dijkstra kill Philippa to make amends, which Dijkstra can't bring himself to do it. Trying to kill her himself, the calm and collected Philippa manages to have Vizimir killed first, in turn saving them both.

Graham McTavish and Cassie Clare in The Witcher

(Image credit: Susie Allnutt/Netflix)

Philippa immediately has Vizimir's brother Radovid crowned king, who is still pining after Jaskier. Meanwhile in Nilfgaard, a ceremony is underway to swear Ciri in as princess. However, it's not Ciri standing before Vilgefortz and Emhyr ready to take the crown, but the fake Ciri implanted with real Ciri's memories - Teryn. 

The real Ciri has been captured and is held captive along with newly introduced character Kayleigh - one of the Rats. While the captors get drunk around them, Ciri hears of fake Ciri being sworn in as princess and manages to free Kayleigh as their captors get paralytic.  

Amid the drunkenness, Ciri help Kayleigh escape from his chains just as the rest of the Rats arrive. They promptly kill everyone in the bar apart from captor Skomlik, and that's only because he has a knife to Ciri's neck. The Rats free Ciri from Skomlik, then insist she fight him.

With Geralt and Yennefer's training on her side, she makes quick work of Skomlik, taking him down before finishing him off with a blade through the neck. Having taken her first life, a shocked Ciri is asked her name. She simply states to the watching Rats "Call me Falka."

Freya Allan as Ciri in The Witcher

(Image credit: Susie Allnutt/Netflix)

Why did Ciri call herself Falka?

Ciri refers to herself as Falka because she knows she's a wanted person, and when she in the Frying Pan, she hallucinated a person named Falka who offered her advice.

Escaping the battle of Aretuza through a portal, Ciri found herself in a desert wasteland. Trapped in the scorching wilderness, Ciri hallucinates important figures from her life, including her mother and grandmother. Along with a horse she names "Little Horse," Ciri hallucinates a hooded figure named Falka, who offers up snippets of information from her life.

Falka talks of once leading a rebellion to fight for the Redanian throne. In defeat, she was burned at the stake. Falka urges Ciri to embrace dark magic and burn her own enemies to the ground. Through this interaction, Ciri realises Falka is a demon from stories she was told as a child about a cursed Elven monster. 

The tales told of the eldest daughter of a Redanian King leading a rebellion after being disinherited. Falka was this daughter, and shortly before she was burned for her crimes, she gave birth to her own daughter. Ciri is thought to be a direct descendent from this child, and someone whom Falka would like to send down a path of darkness. 

The Witcher season 3 ending: Fan reaction

Viewer reaction to The Witcher season 3 ending was a little mixed - some were annoyed at Henry Cavill's exit, others thought it just wasn't that good, while some found it a fitting end.

One person wrote on Twitter "OK…After watching Season 3 till the ending. I have collectively decided to end it here, thank you Henry for the best of Geralt and as The Witcher, it has been fun, but I to have to say Goodbye as well…#TheWitcher."

Another added "The ending of season 3 of The Witcher was pants. Sad to see Henry Cavill’s tenure ended in an anti-climactic manner. #TheWitcher #TheWitcher3 Henry will always be Geralt."

Another Twitter user said "Man I had such high hopes for #TheWitcher after the mid season cliffhanger but that ending was so disappointing, Henry Cavill deserved a far better send off."

One of the only enthusiastic responses to the finale read "#TheWitcher Season 3 Vol 2 was a solid conclusion to Henry Cavill’s time as Geralt. The action in this volume was intense & showcased a lot of magic! The ending to multiple character arcs. Now it’s time for Liam Hemsworth to take the helm of Geralt of Rivia!" 

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Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.