Why The Witcher’s Duny Became The White Flame (& Did He Kill Pavetta?)

The Witcher season 2 included a couple of twists and big revelations that will have a major impact on the arcs of the main characters, and among those was the reveal of the identity of the White Flame: Duny, Ciri’s father who was believed to be dead. But why did he become the White Flame, and what happened to Pavetta, his wife and Ciri’s mother? Created by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher is a series of books and short stories that became widely popular after being adapted into video games, and in 2019, it got its first English language adaptation thanks to Netflix.

The series became one of the streaming giant’s most popular titles, and it returned with a second season in December 2021. Netflix’s The Witcher follows three characters (Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer of Vengerberg, and Ciri), who in season 1 were on separate paths that converged at the end, and season 2 finally saw them joining forces as Ciri was in danger. The Witcher season 2 saw the young princess being trained at Kaer Morhen by some of Geralt’s fellow witchers, and as the season developed, more threats against Ciri came to light. Ciri has become the target of many, and one of the most concerning enemies in her future is Emhyr var Emreis a.k.a. The White Flame.

Throughout The Witcher season 2, the name “The White Flame” was brought up many times, especially by Fringilla (Mimî M. Khayisa), as she was loyal to him and claimed that he was the one who “made her who she is”. Also throughout season 2, there were various flashbacks to Ciri’s past and family and even visions of her father, Duny (Bart Edwards), and Ciri’s mother Pavetta (Gaia Mondadori), who was introduced in season 1. Season 2 gave viewers better looks at Ciri’s parents. This was mostly because The Witcher season 2 had a big surprise reserved for the final scene, in which the identity of The White Flame was revealed, and it’s none other than Emhyr var Emreis (also known as Duny), Ciri’s father.

Ciri’s parents supposedly died while traveling by sea, but the final episode of The Witcher season 2 revealed that Ciri’s father is alive. As if this massive twist weren’t enough, it’s also revealed in the same moment that he’s not who everyone thought he was. As per The Witcher novels, Duny’s real identity is Emhyr var Emreis, emperor of Nilfgaard. Emhyr is the son of Fergus var Emreis, former emperor of Nilfgaard who was overthrown by the Usurper. This same character tortured Fergus and Emhyr and turned the latter into a humanoid hedgehog. Emhyr started going by the name of Duny, met Pavetta, and fell in love, which also broke the curse. Sometime after Ciri’s birth, he was visited by Vilgefortz who told him about the prophecy, and so Emhyr decided to return to Nilfgaard. Emhyr overthrew the Usurper and took the throne, and as he had his dead political enemies disinterred and used their gravestones to pave his ballroom, he became known as “The White Flame Dancing on the Barrows of his Enemies. »

The reason Emhyr decided to return to Nilfgaard and retake the throne was that he learned of the prophecy of Ithlinne, which claims that Emhyr’s son will inherit the Elder Blood and rule the Continent – and as it turns out, Ciri has Elder Blood, which is why so many threats are going after her. Emhyr’s plan, then, is to capture his daughter so that she can bear his child, the future ruler of the world. Emhyr came up with a plan with Vilgefortz through which they would fake his, Pavetta’s, and Ciri’s deaths so that they could escape to Nilfgaard, but Pavetta learned of his plans and smuggled Ciri out of the ship before they sailed. After an argument on board, Emhyr pushed Pavetta overboard, and the only thing left was to fake his death as Duny and return to Nilfgaard as Emhyr. Emhyr’s reasons to go after his own daughter are some of the most controversial points from The Witcher books, so it remains to be seen if The Witcher season 3 will stay true to it.

Given the twisted nature of Duny’s plot, it’s natural to question whether he ever loved Pavetta or whether marrying her was always simply a means to achieving power. While it’s hard to say for certain and unknown how The Witcher season 3 plans to tackle the story, there is evidence to suggest that what Duny and Pavetta had was real: namely, the timing of when Duny received the prophecy of Ithlinne. After being cursed and banished by the Usurper, Duny theoretically had no idea that he would have a chance to reclaim his throne, meaning that when he met Pavetta, he had no reason to be with her other than the Law of Surprise, which he claims he never even intended to use anyway. This makes it seem like Duny only stayed to claim Pavetta’s hand because they were truly in love. He still could have had ulterior motives all along, though, so The Witcher season 3 will need to explore this tangled plot line further.