Welcome to Witcher Wednesdays, where I read and comment on The Witcher series of books by Andrzej Sapkowski. Today I’m covering the next two stories in The Last Wish , through page 201 in this edition.
This post CONTAINS SPOILERS so don’t read it until you’re caught up with the book. Ready? Let’s go!
The Voice of Reason 4
This frame story entry is a first person monologue where Geralt talks to Iona (who has taken a vow of silence). In it, he speaks about what happened in Blaviken and how he was raised to be a Witcher. He ends by mentioning that he will never go back to Cintra.
This is the most we have heard Geralt talk uninterrupted so far, and it’s nice to hear him talk about himself in his own words. We learn that Geralt has mixed feelings about his job as a Witcher. He was trained to eliminate monsters in exchange for money, and not to get involved in what is right and what is wrong, but finds himself drawn to trying to do the right thing, even though he is never rewarded for doing so. There’s also a lot of information on where Witchers come from. All in all, this is a nice piece that puts us deep in Geralt’s point of view while providing lots of worldbuilding information.
A Question of Price
Geralt has been summoned to Queen Calanthe of Cintra’s palace. He has been told she has a job for him but has not been told what the job is. Geralt asks the castellan, who tells him there is a monster in the castle but nothing further. Geralt is seated next to the Queen at dinner, and introduced as a noble from a far off province. It is revealed that the Queen’s daughter, Pavetta, is looking for a husband and the various men at the table are vying for her hand.
Geralt reveals to the Queen that he has already guessed at what she wants him to do. The Queen wants Pavetta to marry a nobleman from Skellige to cement her alliance with that country. The man from Skellige, Crach an Craite is accompanied by an older knight, Eist Tuirseach, who the Queen has been involved with in the past. Geralt says the Queen wants him to kill any rivals for Pavetta’s affections but he refuses, saying that he is a killer of monsters, not men. The Queen says that Geralt will do what she asks. It is just a question of price.
A knight appears, dressed in armor and a helmet that covers his face. He introduces himself as Urcheon and refuses to remove his helmet on the grounds that his vows prevent him from revealing his face before midnight. Urcheon says that he saved Pavetta’s father’s life before she was born and that as a reward the late King promised his daughter’s hand to Urcheon. He refers to Pavetta as a child of destiny, because the King promised her to Urcheon before he knew she’d been conceived. This, the Law of Surprise, is how Witchers are taken from their parents as children. The Queen refuses to give him Pavetta’s hand and debate among the nobles ensues.
The clock strikes midnight and Urcheon removes his helmet to reveal a monster’s face. He has been cursed and believes that Pavetta’s love has saved him. The Queen decides to allow Pavetta to choose if she will go with Urcheon or not. Pavetta chooses to be with Urcheon.
Several of the nobles attack Urcheon. Pavetta responds by unleashing a large wave of magic that knocks everyone over, sends objects flying, and threatens to tear the house down. Geralt and a one of the men present, Mousesack, manage to break Pavetta out of her attack. It is revealed that Pavetta and Urcheon have been seeing each other for nearly a year. The Queen decides to allow them to marry and that she will marry Eist Tuirseach in order to secure an alliance with Skellige. The Queen asks what payment Geralt wants and Geralt invokes the law of surprise, at which point it is revealed that Pavetta is preganant.
This is an interesting story. At first, it seems like it will be another exploration into Geralt’s morality, as the Queen and Geralt go back and forth as to whether or not he is willing to kill a human being. Then it turns into more of a discussion of destiny. Geralt is a child of destiny, and so are Pavetta and her unborn child. In the previous frame story, Geralt talks about how fate swirls around him in circles, and this story supports that.
I don’t have too much else to say about this story. It was okay, but didn’t grab me as much as the others have. On to the next one!
For next week, I’m reading The Voice of Reason 5 and The Edge of the World. That’s through page 265 in the mass market paperback edition of the book. See you next Wednesday!