What is The White Flame in The Witcher:
The Witcher is currently the hottest trend in town. Netflix has really hit a home run with the series which is an amalgamation of magic, sword fighting, medieval action, and drama. Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Geralt of Rivia is also spot-on. The guy knows what he is doing. The Witcher has become such a fan favorite that people are already comparing it with HBO’s Game of Thrones, critic reviews are damned. The Witcher is already getting a second series, which is about to enter into production soon with the same cast and crew as the first season. In the series, Geralt of Rivia – a mutant monster hunter is trying to protect the Princess of a conquered kingdom from an enemy army which is the follower of the White Flame. But what is the White Flame? How does it make a fanatic out of seemingly ordinary people?
In the series, Nilfgaard is a Kingdom on the fringes of the hinterlands within the realm of men in the Witcher series. First starting out as a Kingdom broken within itself, fraught within infighting and civil war between its princes and generals that have their stake on the throne, it soon came under the leadership of Emperor Emhyr var Emreis. He commands an army not on the basis of Kinghood but on the basis of religion. By liberating faraway lands and providing them food, water, and purpose, Emhyr has become a God to them. He commands his cult-like followers to obey the White Flame.
But we still do not know what that might be. The White Flame sounds so mysterious and deadly that even The Witcher has no idea what it means. Season 2 of the show will probably give us some much-needed insight as to what the White Flame might be. But who can wait that long?!?! Season 2 is still so many months away. Fans of the video game and/or novel series will know what the White Flame is. But casual viewers would have no idea about it. With the show’s screen-play and scenes cutting through time hoops and jumping from one timeline to another every alternate minute, the question of what the White Flame could be was pushed aside, with more glaring problems taking center-stage. The origin of the White Flame and how or why it came into force is something that shows should have answered beforehand itself but chose not to.
That is where we come in. Nilfgaard, which is the most powerful empire in the history of the known world, is the protector and guardian of the White Flame. Under its banner, the White Flame has given its huge army a purpose to live and die by the sword as long as they do it in the service of the White Fame itself. The true meaning of the word can be different according to the source you would wish to believe.
In the video game series and the novel, the White Flame is a book that was written as an autobiography of Emperor Emhyr var Emreis. His teachings and beliefs lead to the entire world is shrouded in darkness. The Nilfgaardian army thrived under his command, eventually becoming larger than the rest of the armies of the free Northern provinces combined. Emperor Emhyr allowed religious zealots to take vital control of all facets of Nilfgaard. As a result, the empire became a theological monarchy with Emhyr becoming a literal God to his people. The White Flame was written as a form of the religious inscription to teach the world of Emhyr’s beliefs and turn more people to the Nilfgaardian cause.
In the Northern lands that lay beyond the River of Yaruga, the White Flame was banned because people hated Nilfgaard and Emhyr and the reign of tyranny and destruction he had wrought on the rest of the world. It was still sold by merchants and traders if someone knew the right places to look for it. In the game, a merchant trader from Vergen actually held a copy of the White Flame book, which is rare considering Vergen was Northern Province territory where the possession of the book was all but frowned upon.
In the series, the White flame has a different meaning altogether. It is not a book. It is a title bestowed on someone. To be precise, the White Flame is Emperor Emhry var Emreis himself. It is a moniker given to him as the religious savior of Nilfgaard, who ended the era of betrayals and power struggles that had rocked the empire to the core and had brought it to the brink of collapse. The Emperor, now called the White flame, engulfed the entire world in flames in the quest to fulfill a prophecy. The prophecy foretold of a coming apocalypse that will destroy the world. Called the White Frost, the prophecy claimed that the human world’s lifespan is nothing more than 3000 years and that the world will end after a never-ending winter comes to pass and swallows the North and the rest of the world whole. There is no way to stop the prophecy.
But according to Emhyr, there is a way to escape it. Using elder blood, a gate to another dimension or plane could be opened via the Ard Gaeth, which is a nexus portal to all spheres, with each sphere, each sphere being an entirely new world. That was the belief the White Flame aka Emperor Emhyr var Emreis propagated as a religion and turned seemingly ordinary men into legions of fanatical hordes.
Depending on which source you go along with, the White Flame has different meanings. The TV series did take a different route, making a person bear the title of the White Flame. The game and novel series took a slightly different route but in the end, they too reach the same conclusion. The White Flame is not just a book or a person. It is the only way out for humanity. As the White Frost gets closer and closer to civilization, one day the prophecy will come true. The White Flame is the only thing that stands in its way. Like it or not, in the world of The Witcher – The White Flame is the one that holds the key to save humanity.
That is the very meaning of the term – The White Flame. It is the fire that will fight the White Frost aka End of Days for the world of The Witcher.
The Witcher was released on Netflix on the 20th of December this year. The official film synopsis for The Witcher reads:
“Based on the best-selling fantasy series of books, The Witcher is an epic tale of fate and family. Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. But when destiny hurtles him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a dangerous secret, the three must learn to navigate the increasingly volatile Continent together.”
The Executive Producer of the Witcher, Tomek Baginski, shares just how amazing he felt Henry Cavill’s performance was as Geralt of Rivia, the titular Witcher character in the hit Netflix show. As a killer of monsters who supposedly has no soul or emotion in him, the character would have been tough to play on screen and not just anyone can do it. Tomek Baginski says and we quote:
It’s about Henry, and how he became Geralt, and how he embraced this character and he literally became this guy. He was walking around in the jacket to make it work, because the leather had to be worn out, and there is no other way than to just live in this wardrobe, in this cloth, to make it work. For many weeks he was sticking close to the set, so he can be closer to the Witcher world. He was there. He became this character. You don’t have very often an actor who is so committed to the role, and this was beautiful. It was such a great, great thing to work with.