The Witcher is making waves on Netflix. People seem to be very interested in this monster hunter as he prats around the continent with his Child Surprise. The show is peculiar because of its strange setting and monster-infested world. But the first season threw a curveball to the viewers by introducing random time jumps without any context. However, the second season follows a much more linear path. But this time around we get a different kind of surprise, like the identity of the White Flame. So Who is Emperor Emhyr?’
Fans may remember Duny from season 1. This character came to the court of Queen Calanthe in Cintra and claimed the hand of Pavetta in marriage. He claimed it was based on the Law of Surprise. Duny declared that he had saved the life of the Late King ergo Pavetta’s father and claimed the law of surprise as his reward. This part was never shown in the show but it is pretty close to what happened in the books. We do not know the exact events of the series, but in The Witcher books and short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski Duny saves Calanthe’s husband after he is lost in the woods and is wounded.
The series does iterate how Duny and Pavetta ended up together but it leaves out several other essential details. The backstory of Emhyr aka Duny is completely left out. It is only briefly mentioned that he had a curse whereby he would turn into a hedgehog every morning and turn into man by nightfall. This curse was broken when Pavetta was wed to him, more precisely when Calanthe agreed to their union. However, a fan who has only watched the series would be immensely confused by a third party called Nilfgard.
Who Is Emperor Emhyr
Moreover, there is all this discussion of the White Flame and The Usurper. Let me explain what all this means. You see, the books and the series are strikingly similar so I am going to iterate the parts of the source material that the Netflix show skips over. Before Duny came to Cintra and saved the King’s life he was known as Emhyr Var Emeris, the son of Fergus Var Emeris the former king of Nilfgaard. He lived peacefully until a character known as the Usurper usurped his father’s crown.
The conqueror wanted Fergus to legitimize his claim to the throne so he started to torture him. When Fergus refused to break the Usurper turned his eyes towards the 13-year-old prince. The boy was tortured in front of his father’s eyes but the King refused to break. Finally, the usurper grew tired of the torture and put the king to death. The prince was then handed over to the Nilfgaard mages so that he may be cursed and sentenced somewhere from the eyes of the ruler. Nilfgaard mages decided to turn the prince Emhyr Var Emeris into a humanoid hedgehog by putting a curse on him.
He was then released into the woods and dogs were sent to chase him down. Unbeknownst to the mages, Emhyr turned into his human form during nightfall. He wore a helmet to conceal his curse during the day. It was at this time that he took the name of Duny and saved Pavetta’s father. Moreover, after he was married to Pavetta and ruled Cintra as king he had decided to return to Nilfgaard and retake his kingdom by once again becoming Emhyr. He planned to fake his and his family’s death on a boat and return to his kingdom.
When Pavetta found out about this plan she smuggled Ciri out of the boat. In the book, this is the moment that Duny reverts to being Emhyr. He pushes his wife off the boat and fakes his death as Duny. Emhyr then returns to Nilfgaard and leads the revolution against The Usurper. Here he earns the name The White Flame because he is “The White Flame who dances on the barrows of his enemies”.
The reveal of Emhyr as The White Flame is taken right from Andrzej Sapkowski’s stories. So we think that the show is following the source material very closely. The only place it can deviate is if the Pavetta is also alive and Emhyr did not kill her. But right now it is clear that Emhyr wants Ciri because she is Hen Ikeir ergo Elder Blood and the savior of the Elves.