Which ending is better for Ciri in The Witcher 3 - Empress or Witcher?
The inquiry regarding the "optimal" outcome for Ciri has consistently been the subject of fervent deliberations among enthusiasts of The Witcher 3: Wi...
The inquiry regarding the "optimal" outcome for Ciri has consistently been the subject of fervent deliberations among enthusiasts of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. More precisely, there exist three potential conclusions: the one in which she perishes, the one in which she becomes a Witcher heroine, and the one in which she ascends to the position of Empress of Nilfgaard.
Naturally, the first one is merely a dreadful outcome, and witnessing that final cutscene is truly heart-wrenching. If one possesses a compassionate nature, they would prefer not to witness the unfortunate ending. This implies that there is likely a debate surrounding which ending is more favorable for Ciri: Empress Ciri or the one in which she becomes a Witcher heroine.
Updated on September 13, 2023, by Tallis Spalding: The new update for The Witcher 3 doesn't significantly alter the game's endings but does make the journey towards them a somewhat more enjoyable experience. Whether you're playing for the first time or the billionth, you may still ponder whether Ciri is a Witcher heroine at heart. You might even question whether Ciri should become a Witcher heroine or ascend to the position of Empress.
Both endings are commendable, both leaving certain matters unresolved and both carrying their own set of challenges. Ciri in The Witcher 3 is a multifaceted character who relies on her adoptive father Geralt more than she may be willing to admit, and it is entirely up to you to guide Ciri in the direction you believe suits her best: Empress or Witcher heroine?
10 As Empress: It'll Help Her Mature
It is undeniable that Ciri possesses far greater wisdom than her age would suggest, considering the multitude of conflicts she has already faced at such a young age. However, the loss of a precious childhood has occasionally led Ciri to express her more youthful side, which is not necessarily a detriment.
This becomes a challenge when Ciri is to become an Empress, as she must exhibit maturity and composure while ruling a kingdom. It must also be noted that growing up in itself is never a detriment, and these significant responsibilities will contribute to Ciri becoming a capable and beloved Empress revered by all in the realm.
9 As A Witcher: It's What She Chose
In the Witcher ending, Ciri is visibly happier as her ties to the royal family are effectively severed after Geralt officially declares her demise. This finally allows her to breathe freely and pursue a life where she can be close to the Witchers who aided her in her journey to adulthood. It also grants her the opportunity to utilize her talents for the benefit of the innocent, who are plagued by monsters and even humans who have crossed their boundaries.
As a Witcher heroine, it may indeed be more perilous, but Ciri is aware of what she is getting herself into, and she has the family that raised her to assist her. Furthermore, in this ending, she acquires a new sword, and who wouldn't desire a sword?
8 As Empress: She'll Probably Live Longer
Royal individuals are enticing targets for those aiming to destabilize a regime or ruin a kingdom, which is why they constantly have armies of guards surrounding them. In contrast, Witchers tend to be solitary, confronting the most bloodthirsty adversaries, both human and monstrous, on their own.
Despite her powers, Ciri did not undergo the "Grass Trial," and therefore, she does not possess the heightened physical strength or longevity of a Witcher. Being an Empress is a safer option for Ciri, and the comforts, protection, and privileges that such a lifestyle entails likely mean she will live for a much longer period of time.
7 As A Witcher: More Exploration Of Her Powers And Heritage
Ruling is demanding work when approached with seriousness, which Ciri would certainly do. A rich and powerful kingdom like Nilfgaard likely possesses countless books on magic, elves, the Elder Blood, and much more, but Ciri would have little time to delve deeply into such matters.
In contrast, being a Witcher means she can explore the world to gather more information about the Elder Blood. She will have the opportunity to seek advice from friends like Yennefer and Triss, who can assist and guide her in her quest for knowledge and further training.
6 As Empress: It Was In Geralt's Contract
From the beginning of the game, Geralt's objective has always been to find Ciri on behalf of Emperor Emhyr. This holds true regardless of whether one accepts Emhyr's proposal or accepts the reward.
Ciri has returned, and her biological father wants to bring her back to Nilfgaard. He tasks you with tracking her down and bringing her back. If you violate this contract and choose to hide Ciri, it would likely result in a "shoot-on-sight" policy between Geralt and Nilfgaard if Emhyr ever discovers that she is alive.
5 As A Witcher: She Gets To Be With Her Family
One of the obvious reasons why some players prefer Ciri becoming a Witcher heroine is that the profession won't be as lonely. Sure, she might occasionally be poor and hungry, but at least she will be with the only real family she knows, namely Geralt and the other Witchers along with the sorceress you brought together with Geralt.
As the Wild Hunt pursued her, the School of the Wolf and the sorceresses stood firmly by Ciri's side without (many) complaints. She was their top priority, so it is only logical that they cared for her more than Emhyr.
4 As Empress: She Can Bring Peace And Security
Unfortunately, adoptive familial bonds pale in comparison to what Ciri can do for all the nations of the realm in the world of The Witcher. It was mentioned in one of the endings of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (through Dandelion's remarks) that Ciri has inherited Emhyr's political instincts while simultaneously preserving the basic human decency she learned from Geralt. Essentially, she combines the best of both her fathers.
What this means for Nilfgaard, the Northern Realms, or any of the neighboring kingdoms is that Ciri is the perfect monarch. She can end wars while improving the lives of all, be they a peasant or a lord. Furthermore, she is not an easy target on the throne; Ciri's powers practically protect her from any assassination attempt.
Furthermore, considering all the assistance she has received from sorceresses, it would hardly be surprising if she were to provide a safe haven for magic and the Lodge.
3 As A Witcher: More Freedom
Anyone who has carried responsibilities knows that they are essentially invisible chains that restrict the feeling of personal freedom. Now, imagine being responsible for millions of lives and having to constantly watch out for interdimensional anomalies. Compared to that, the life of a Witcher is significantly more carefree than that of an Empress.
You mostly have to worry about monsters, whose appearances are gradually becoming rarer according to the books and the game world. As a Witcher, you also have the opportunity to travel a lot and take on odd jobs here and there – something that Ciri will surely appreciate. Furthermore, she is not subjected to the demands of a "polite" society, which means she can be free to be blunt and not have to deal with the complicated political games that ruling would require.
2 As Empress: A Powerful Friend
Ciri is already a powerful friend, but an Empress who can travel through time and space is something entirely different. If she chooses to become an Empress, Ciri would practically become the goddess of her own dimension and could change the world as she pleases. As you may recall, she stopped an apocalypse (the White Frost) at the end of the game.
Having a goddess as your closest friend is definitely no small feat. Geralt, Dandelion, Triss, Yennefer, and all the other Witchers could just as well be part of Ciri's court. There is no reason to believe that she wouldn't turn to them for advice or companionship, making her friends in a truly elevated position.
1 As A Witcher: Because Emyhr Is Horrible
Depending on your choices in the game, Emhyr can actually be assassinated (if Djikstra survives). That would be a great outcome for Ciri if she becomes Empress because the books explicitly tell of Emhyr's twisted plans for his own daughter: he wanted to impregnate her to have a child capable of defeating the White Frost.
It is not clear if this is actually canon for the ending of The Witcher 3 where Ciri becomes Empress, but it is best to avoid the possibility altogether. Furthermore, the chances of Geralt being able to make regular visits as long as Emhyr is around are very low.