‘The Witcher’: Why Did Vilgefortz Betray Tissaia?

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The highlight of episode 6 of season 3 of ‘The Witcher’ was the big battle between the mages of Aretuza and the Scoia’tael that entered the sacred ground of the mages to eradicate them all and take Aretuza back. But the Scoia’tael could only enter Aretuza because Vilgefortz, a respected member of the Brotherhood and the lover of Tissaia, betrayed the mages. So, why did Vilgefortz betray Tissaia and the other mages?

Vilgefortz betrayed Tissaia and the other mages because he allied himself with Emperor Emhyr and the Nilfgaardians. He had ambitions of his own, and he believed that the only way to achieve his desires and aims in life was to join up with Emhyr, who had the power to give him what he wanted.

The thing that was clear about Vilgefortz was that he was a man of great ambition. It seemed like being one of the most powerful mages in the Brotherhood wasn’t enough for him, as it was clear that he had something greater in mind. That led to his betrayal, the eventual fall of the Brotherhood, and the deaths of countless mages.

Vilgefortz was hungry for power

During the fifth episode of season 3 of ‘The Witcher,’ one of the things that Geralt and Yen did was try to implicate Stregebor as the mage that was planning on betraying the Brotherhood for his selfish desires. Of course, they were able to point the clues back to Stregebor.

But Geralt eventually realized that they may have gotten the wrong man and that it could have been Vilgefortz who had hired the fire mage named Rience and was the one who had been conspiring with the Nilfgaardians to take Ciri.

But the Redanians had been watching Vilgefortz closely, and that was why episode 6 started with a trial that Dijkstra orchestrated to get to the bottom of the mages that had been working together with the Nilfgaardians the entire time. He saw Vilgefortz as his prime suspect, but the other mages weren’t willing to put their people on trial. The mages escaped from their shackles and were able to kill Dijkstra’s men.

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Meanwhile, as that was happening, Vilgefortz fled the premises and was about to open the door that would have allowed certain forces to enter Aretuza. At first, Tissaia and the other mages thought that this army set to attack Aretuza was Redanian because Dijkstra admitted that he had called for Redanian soldiers to come to Thanedd to attack Aretuza.

But Vilgefortz said that these soldiers were not Redanian but were the Scoia’tael, who were allied with the Nilfgaardians. The Scoia’tael had every reason to try to attack Aretuza because this was once a sacred ground for the elves back when they were still the ones that roamed the Continent.

And Tissaia was left shocked at the revelation that Vilgefortz, the man she loved, was willing to betray her and the other mages.

Scoiatael

While Vilgefortz wasn’t vocal to Tissaia about why he betrayed everyone, he mentioned a few things when he and Geralt fought. He told Geralt that the White Flame (Emperor Emhyr) was the good guy in this story and that Geralt was the bad guy. As such, it was clear that Vilgefortz believed in Emhyr’s vision and had sided with the Nilfgaardian Emperor, who dreamt of taking over the entire Continent and ruling it under his banner.

But Vilgefortz was always a man that was hungry for more power. He was always a very ambitious mage with selfish desires far beyond those of the other mages. Vilgefortz lusted for power and sought to obtain more power, which explains why he decided to team up with Emperor Emhyr.

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However, it was also clear that, while he did believe in Emhyr’s visions, he had his own goals. That’s because, in episode 8, he was willing enough to give a fake Ciri to the Nilfgaardian Emperor even though he knew who the real Ciri was and what she looked like.

This means that, in a way, Vilgefortz was also using Emhyr to get what he wanted. And we aren’t sure what his ultimate goal is, but it is probably related to Ciri because he once offered his mentoring services to her so that she would learn how to better control her power.

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So, if that’s the case, Vilgefortz also plans to use Ciri’s power for his own good, especially because she can travel from one sphere to another. That’s why Vilgefortz may be planning on using Ciri to gain more power for himself. And the only reason he decided to give a fake Ciri to Emhyr was so that he could search for the real Ciri without needing him to give her up to Emhyr.

He was merely using Tissaia

Of course, Vilgefortz had only been using Tissaia and the other mages to consolidate more power for himself. It might be true that he and Tissaia seemed to be in love with one another. But it became clear that it was only a one-sided relationship because Vilgefortz probably never loved Tissaia. When Tissaia asked him why he betrayed them, he had this to say:

“I have my own aims, and they no longer include you. Stregebor, with his pride, was easy to set up. And you, with your undying trust, were easy to fool.”

In short, he was merely manipulating Tissaia, Stregebor, and the other mages to get what he wanted. He knew that Ciri would be there on Thanedd and that the Scoia’tael were looking to try to retake Aretuza. As such, Vilgefortz used both parties to get what he wanted, and that explained why he didn’t even participate in the battle between the mages and the Scoia’tael.

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A man with the same ambition and lust for power as Stregebor would never be too shy about manipulating all the pieces he has on the table. As such, he didn’t think twice about manipulating Tissaia and the rest of the Brotherhood to get what he wanted. And it is clear that he was also manipulating the Scoia’tael and even Emperor Emhyr.

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