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Vilgefortz's Conspiracy
Desiring to rule the world, the powerful mage Vilgefortz spent decades plotting behind the scenes in both the Northern Kingdoms and in the Nilfgaardian Empire to gain allies and power. He sought Ciri in order to take the power of the Elder Blood from her and claim it as his own.


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    Vilgefortz of Roggeveen 

Vilgefortz of Roggeveen

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/023db817185a089fd07d3bfc8768dc1d_d5xvvu6.png
"I could smash your brain out from your ears. But this was supposed to be a lesson."

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_nlvan1ymhs1ru0pj9o1_1280.jpg
"You constantly want to paddle against the current and piss into the wind. It had to end badly. Know that today, here in castle Stygga, you have pissed into a hurricane."

Appears in: Blood of Elves | The Time of Contempt | Tower of the Swallow | Lady of the Lake

"To you, Ciri was only a silly sentiment consisting of equal parts of the penalty of your infertility and your guilt. Yes, yes, Yennefer, a sentiment of guilt! After you had actively participated in genetic experiments, by which Ciri came into the world. Incidentally the trials failed because the experimenters lacked the knowledge."

One of the most eminent and potent sorcerers in the world; though he is young (less than one hundred years, which is nothing compared to some of his elder colleagues pushing a millennium), he is nonetheless incredibly talented and powerful, traits which also won him a seat on the governing body of the Northern Kingdoms' magicians (the Council and Conclave) after he led them to victory over Nilfgaard at the Battle of Sodden Hill. His participation in the coup during the mages' symposium on Thanedd Island reveals that he is a defector with Nilfgaardian backing, aiming to deliver Ciri to the Emperor himself, although his true motives are far more sinister...


  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: An utterly egregious case of this. He opts to fight Geralt in single combat, weapon to weapon, out of desire to crush him utterly when he is capable of ending Geralt in the wink of an eye with a bolt of magic. Guess how this little stunt turns out for him. Though, to be fair, Vilgefortz used to be a mercenary and had previously delivered a Curb-Stomp Battle to Geralt in a previous fight, giving him some precedent to think he could best the Witcher again.
  • Ax-Crazy: Is a pathological sadist driven to hurt others for his own twisted amusement.
  • Artificial Limbs: After the magical explosion of the portal in Tor Lara took out one of his eyes, he replaces it with a magically-cultivated artificial one made from a gem.
  • Big Bad: His plans set the Witcher Saga in motion and he's by far the biggest threat Geralt directly faces in the novels.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Despite starting out as a clear-cut Big Bad of the Saga, Vilgefortz eventually drifts to his "real" role in the big picture of events, turning to be a small fry with almost no power. At the setup, he is a full-fledged Chessmaster who has everyone playing the hand he's dealt them. Later, however, he makes the mistake of trying to con Emperor Emhyr Var Emreis. This move proves to be a disastrous setback for Vilgefortz, costing him all of the resources, power and influence. From this point on, he is reduced to operating out of a secluded ruin, having to rely on a pack of common criminals to do his dirty work. It doesn't help that the other major players hunting Ciri and Geralt include a vast empire with almost limitless resources to burn, a powerful race of elves from another dimension, and a conspiracy made up of influential sorceresses, all of whom regard Vilgefortz as little more than a deviant to be rooted out and disposed of. Furthermore, after the Saga's climax, where Vilgefortz is at last defeated by the heroes when they storm his castle, that same emperor he tried to outsmart arrives at his doorstep with a legion of soldiers at his back. And judging by how things played out, they were more than prepared to to do the job themselves. One way or another, this story was not going to end well for the mage.
  • Bishōnen: Described as "classically beautiful". Later, though, he gets badly scarred in a magical explosion inadvertently caused by Ciri, ending with a freakish crystal eye of his own design replacing his ruined socket.
  • Catchphrase: "You've mistaken the stars with their reflection in a gladed pool."
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: For the most part, Vilgefortz ranks among the smarter villains. That doesn't stop him from sparing Geralt on two different occasions where he has the witcher at his mercy.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dishes out a nasty one to Geralt in the second book. The fight goes so badly for Geralt that he concludes that he never stood a chance again Vilgefortz and the only mistake he made was choosing not to run away.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: All of his atrocities are committed in pursuit of world domination with himself as a god-like being.
  • Evil Genius: The intellectually inclined, schemer and part-time evil mastermind among the bad guys.
  • Evil Plan: Like that of Emhyr, it involves Ciri, but some details of execution differ, and it's for personal-megalomaniac reasons rather than imperial-dynastic and world-saving ones.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Easily the most scheming and talented wizard in the North, and he has let it go to his head.
  • Eye Scream: He loses an eye during the portal explosion at Tor Lara. He replaces it with a magical gem until he can magically regenerate a new one. By the time of his death, a new eye has grown back but it's not yet finished and is disturbingly smaller than his other one.
  • Facial Horror: Ciri fleeing through the teleporter at Tor Lara caused the portal to explode, destroying the left side of his face and costing him an eyeball. This isn't just limited to his face either, as he lost even more flesh across his body. When Yennefer sees the ruin his face has become, Vilgefortz remarks it looked even worse before he began regenerating his injuries with magic.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Even in his most evil moments, Vilgefortz remains fairly well-mannered. However, any semblance of politeness is only a facade, as Vilgefortz only cares about himself and takes active delight in his sadistic actions.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: If his own words are to be believed, Vilgefortz went from being a baby abandoned in a gutter who was raised by druids, to a simple mercenary to one of the most powerful wizards in the world in a relatively short span of time. That is pretty damn impressive.
  • Hero Killer: Geralt barely survives duel with him during Thanedd coup. Regis, a higher vampire, is literally melted into a mass of amorphous glass when trying to attack the mage.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: His motives aren't what they seem at first.
  • It Gets Easier: He claims that he once felt troubled by the things he did as a mercenary, which included robbing and killing, but experience weaned him of any regrets or scruples he may have once had. In the present day, he's become a full-fledged narcissistic sadist.
  • Karmic Death: Vilgefortz takes every opportunity to mock the other characters for "mistaking the stars reflected on the water's surface at night for the heavens." In the end, he is killed by Geralt because he can't see past an illusion.
  • Kick the Dog: He is almost ludicrously cruel, for no other reason than his own amusement.
    Vilgefortz: Try to remember that though my guests may destroy furniture and artwork, steal small valuables, and dirty the carpets and facility chambers. They cannot beat or rape other guests. The last, at least until the host has finished beating and raping and signals that you can begin.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He encouraged Lydia van Bredevoort to experiment on an artifact that ended up permanently mutilating her face, then later, ordered her to commit suicide on his command to further his own plans. During the Thanedd coup, Vilgefortz attempt to pursue Ciri ends with Vilgefortz's own disfigurement from a magical explosion. He even ponders if what happened to him was Lydia getting revenge from beyond the grave.
  • Lost in Translation: Part of his A God Am I rant to Ciri has a very clear context of a Blasphemous Boast in original Polish, as his prayer for protection (sans the wrath part) is the invocation done by Catholics during Corpus Christi's procession. Not all translations kept that context.
  • Mad Scientist: An almost textbook example, magic in the Witcher-verse being pretty scientific in nature, but see Magic Knight below. As for the "mad" part, he's a megalomaniacal sadist who's vivisected hundreds of women in order to practice extracting Ciri's placenta so he can gain the power in her blood.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: He has several, before he goes into hiding. When one of them, deserted, is found, cue Vomiting Cop - performed by a hardened spy who already saw everything in his career.
  • Magic Knight: He was the only human to soundly trash Geralt in a one-on-one fight. Though it is implied that his skill was magically enhanced. While most mages show complete disdain for this trope, Vilgefortz runs with it, having been a mercenary before he became a mage.
  • The Man Behind the Man: He turns out to be the mastermind of the Thanedd coup, as well as the one (at least with most forces disposed towards) trying to kidnap Ciri. He's also the one who convinced Emhyr to father Ciri in the first place by faking his family's death, so (figuratively speaking) he's behind Nilfgaard's actions as well by poisoning Duny with the potential of the prophecy.
  • Mission Control: For Rience, whom he constantly sends out to run his errands.
  • Off with His Head!: How Geralt eventually kills him.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Starting with the end of the second novel, he is confined to his secluded castle and has to rely on his henchmen to do his dirty work. Justified as he has, by this point, become Public Enemy No. 1 and is being hunted by all the major powers in the world and few minor factions. Not to mention he's still recovering from his Facial Horror injuries sustained at the end of the book.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: On top of everything else, he's a sexist pig.
  • Sadist: He thoroughly enjoys to torture and humiliate people, along with maiming them and causing them as much suffering as possible. Why? Because he finds it amusing.
  • Self-Made Man: And very, very proud of it.
  • Simple Staff: In melee combat, he prefers a long iron bar, which he pulls from Hammerspace.
  • The Starscream: He isn't so loyal to The Emperor.
  • Squishy Wizard: Averted with flying colors.
  • Stalker with a Test Tube: This example is even more sinister than you think it is (he wants Ciri's placenta). Even the other baddies are squicked, although he finds it distasteful and responds with a rant that they're hardly better.
  • Take Over the World: Though he hangs a lampshade, saying he's a little ashamed to admit such a down-to-earth motivation. Basically, he's in the game for the thought of being able to say "A God Am I", that people pray to turn away his wrath.
    Vilgefortz: I'm ashamed to admit, but I'm terribly attracted to power. It's trivial, I know, but I want to be a ruler. A sovereign, before whom all will fall on their face and glorify, only because he exists, and worship as a god if he deign to save their world from destruction – even if it is done on a whim. Oh, Ciri, my heart rejoices when I think about how I will generously reward the faithful and how I will cruelly punish the disobedient and rebellious. Whole generations will pray to me and beg me for pardon, mercy, and forgiveness. Generations of whole worlds. Listen, Ciri. Do you hear those prayers? Protect us from famine, plague, fire, wars, and your wrath, O Almighty Vilgefortz...
  • Vain Sorceress: Gender-flipped. Being The Charmer who actively uses his looks to gain influence and political power, he's more pissed about loss of an eye and a hideous scar than all the other setbacks, including the fact his original Evil Plan failed spectacularly.
  • Villainous Breakdown: One that begins when his guards interrupt his sadistic games with Ciri, continues as his forces get steam-rolled by Geralt's party, worsens when Regis comes within a fraction of an inch of ending his life and reaches a crescendo when Geralt maims him and brings him to his knees.
  • Villain Decay: Downplayed. He begins his role in the Witcher Saga at the height of his power. He has a strong influence in the politics of his world, has numerous minions and resources at his disposal, successfully has both sides of the war dancing to his tune, and all while maintaining a Villain with Good Publicity image that masks his true nature. All of this goes out the window after the disastrous Thanned Coup. From this point on, Vilgefortz loses almost all influence that made him so powerful to begin with. Despite this, barring a couple instances of Bond Villain Stupidity, he remains just as dangerous and cunning as before and, remains the biggest, direct threat the heroes have to face.
  • Villain Team-Up: In Tower of the Swallow, despite their differing motivations, Vilgefortz manages to convince Stefan Skellen and Leo Bonhart to deliver Ciri to him in exchange for furthering their own goals. In Skellen's case this means helping him eventually transform Nilfgaard from an autocratic government to democracy. Bonhart, however, reacts to Vilgefortz's proposal of world domination with a bored, "No," and only agrees to the team-up after Vilgefortz buys his loyalty with a fortune and the opportunity to watch Ciri's planned vivisection as "a bonus."
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: When playing Mission Control for Rience, through an artifact that's basically a magical walkie-talkie.
  • We Can Rule Together: He makes Geralt the offer to join him in Time of Contempt. Geralt, being Geralt, tells him where he can shove that offer.
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    Rience 

Rience

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rience_gwent_card_art.jpg
"With these hands, I will teach you pain."

Vilgefortz's Dragon and errand boy, a wizarding school dropout expelled for theft and taken in by Vilgefortz to do the things not really suitable for a respectable sorcerer. His background shows he was up to no good from the start, but as merely a servant, he pales in comparison to the rest of the villains.


  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Desperately begs Ciri to pull him out of a freezing lake he's trapped in, offering information of Yennefer's whereabouts in exchange. Ciri's response is to cut off his fingers and leave him to die.
  • Catchphrase: As the caption shows, "With these hands/fingers, I will teach you pain."
  • Co-Dragons: With Schirrú the half-elf, but the latter gets less screen-time. Or sort of; he is definitely The Heavy early in the Saga, until the plot becomes more complicated and his role becomes less pronounced. Ciri and Geralt also have to get through, respectively, him and Schirrú at some point in their journey.
  • Disconnected by Death: Rience has the equivalent of a magic walkie-talkie he can use to communicate with his boss. For two days it was unresponsive and by the time Vilgefortz can finally respond and demands an update, Rience is a corpse at the bottom of a frozen lake.
  • Dirty Coward: Rience is cocky and sadistic but only so long as he has the advantage. Whenever he loses it, his default strategy is to beg his boss for help and jump through the nearest portal to safety. Even with four professional killers at his back, he runs rather than face Geralt. He also desperately begs Ciri for his life when she decimates Rience's forces and has him at her mercy.
  • Fingore: Seems to be his favorite go-to torture. Not only is he introduced interrogating Dandelion by threatening to dunk his hands in a bucket of lime, he later reduces Yennefer's hands to a mass of clotted blood. Ciri pays him back by slicing off Rience’s own fingers, ensuring he can’t keep hold of the edge of a frozen lake and drowns.
  • For the Evulz: He loves his job, what's to say.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: He was formerly part of the Kaedwen secret service before becoming Vilgefortz's henchman. Though, it turns out he was a criminal even before that, having been expelled from the sorcerers school at Ban Ard for theft, and recruited by Kaedwen because of his magical abilities.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has a huge burn on his cheek, from Yennefer's fireball and Vilgefortz's refusal to heal it.
  • The Heavy: He fills this role in the early stages of the Witcher Saga. He starts off as the villain who the rest of the characters are most concerned with. After the first novel, he becomes less prominent after his master decides to take a more direct role in the events of the story.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He uses a fire spell to crack the ice of a frozen lake to trip up Ciri, who’s fighting her pursuers while ice-skating. It ends up backfiring and causing the break in the ice that leads to his death.
  • Inept Mage: If you stretch the definition a bit. Most of the time, he's more a magic-using agent than a real mage. Spells that he actually casts, though working as intended, don't come out as very impressive. It might be due to the fact he was expelled from his magic school for theft before he could be properly trained. The only time his spell fails is when his fingers are too stiff from cold for proper gesture, but he pays for this with his life.
  • It's Personal: With Yennefer, who burned off half his face during their first meeting.
  • Karmic Death: During the battle on the ice in the penultimate book. After boasting about how he uses “these hands/fingers” to teach others pain, Ciri uses her skates to slice off his own fingers, causing him to lose his grip on the edge of an icy lake and drown. Adding to that is the fact the ice under which he drowns was only broken by one of his spells.
  • Overt Operative: Not as ostentatious as most but a lot of people are amazed he's a cloak-and-dagger type who goes by his birth name, Rience.
  • Pet Rat: He serves as one to Vilgefortz, doing the dirty deeds that a popular and well-respected sorcerer can’t be seen sullying his hands with.
  • Psycho for Hire: To a lesser extent than Leo Bonhart, but Rience is a thug and hired killer who admits to Dandelion—as he's preparing to torture him—that he just loves hurting people.
  • Sadist: The man really, really loves his work.
  • Smug Snake: He loves to gloat at his victims and generally be a jerk, knowing that his boss will always support and cover him.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: When things get tough, Rience has a habit of escaping via magic portal.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Despite his promises of inflicting pain on Ciri and his admission to having tortured Yennefer, when he's powerless before Ciri, Rience begs for mercy. She doesn't have any.

    Schirrú 

Schirrú

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/schirru.jpg
"Time to look death in the face."

Vilgefortz's second Dragon. A vicious half-elf, wanted for manslaughter and arson. In comparison to Rience, he is more of a side-character. He is responsible for killing Codringher and Fenn.


  • The Brute: He is a murderer for hire, and that's pretty much the only thing to say about him.
  • Co-Dragons: With Rience, though he has way less screentime.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Burned alive by the Caed Myrkvid, as an example.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Is described as very large at over six-feet tall.
  • Fantastic Racism: Repeatedly insults Geralt by calling him mutant. Ironic, considering he is a half-elf.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: He's a half-elf, meaning he's got elf and human ancestry.
  • Karmic Death: After deliberately going out of his way to give Fenn a cruel death by burning him alive, the druids he leads an attack on end up doing the same thing to him to send a message to any future attackers.
  • Kick the Dog: He claims he burnt Fenn alive because his physical deformities disgusted him and he wanted to listen to him howl. Yennefer's also notes that he never passed up an opportunity to kick her when she was down while she was Vilgefortz's prisoner.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: As mentioned above, he is burned alive. The same thing he did to poor Fenn.
  • Make an Example of Them: After he attacks the druids at Caed Myrkvid, they decide to send a message that, though normally peaceful, they'll defend themselves if needed. Since superstitious peasants spread lies that they stuff people inside their Wicker Hags and burn them alive, they decide to do so for real on Schirrú and his men in front of their surviving fellows.
  • Middle-Management Mook: Due to his lack of screen-time, Schirrú comes across more as muscle sent out to do things that Vilgefortz or Rience can't, usually acting as an intermediary to other hired goons in the process.
  • Smug Snake: Like Rience, he is far too full of himself.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": See the little line on top of the u?
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: He takes the time to rub it in Geralt's face how he killed Codringher and Fenn, noting that he deliberately made Fenn suffer for his own amusement.

    Lydia van Bredevoort 

Lydia van Bredevoort

Vilgefortzs's assistant, Lydia is a skilled sorceress in her own right. Due to being maimed in a magical accident she cannot speak, but instead uses telepathy to communicate.


  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Invoked by Vilgefortz, who comments that he initially thought being maimed by the portal at Thanedd were Lydia getting her revenge on him for her own facial injuries beyond the grave.
  • Cultured Badass: She's a powerful sorceress as well as a gifted painter. Wild Hunt also reveals she wrote a book entitled "The Natural Obscurity of Curses", presumably inspired by her injuries that stemmed from a cursed object.
  • Dark Chick: The only female member of Vilgefortz's conspiracy, she acts mostly in a support role to her boss whom she serves out of genuine love and loyalty.
  • Facial Horror: Her true face is hidden behind an illusion. When she dies, that illusion drops to reveal terrible burns, a mangled jaw, and horrific damage to her throat and larynx. Everyone who sees it is extremely disturbed.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Everyone can see that she's in love with Vilgefortz but she's too proud to admit it and Vilgefortz has no interest in pursuing a physical relationship despite others sorcerers and sorceresses encouraging him to do so.
  • Love Martyr: She throws her life away at the command of the man she loves but who never gave a damn about her outside of her being a useful tool.
  • Please Keep Your Hat On: After she dies and her glamour fails, the people present are so distressed by her appearance that they request her face be covered up.
  • Scars Are Forever: Vilgefortz encouraged her to take part in experiments performed a mysterious artifact uncovered in a necropolis. It was cursed and Lydia escaped with her life but at the cost of hideous disfigurements that can't even be healed by magic.
  • The Speechless: The aforementioned disfigurement renders her unable to speak.
  • Telepathy: Her only form of communication due to the damage her vocal cords suffered.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Vilgefortz. She even kills herself on his command during the Thanedd Coup in order to cause a distraction that allows him to summon rescue.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: She only gets a few brief appearances in Blood of Elves and The Time of Contempt before dying on her master's command.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: She commits suicide on Vilgefortz's command, essentially to serve as a distraction.

    Leo Bonhart 

Leo Bonhart

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/leo_bonhart_in_colour_by_afternoon63_d7vz0s0.jpg
"I’ll release the blood from your veins, Witcheress, and then, before it gets cold, we will celebrate. You’re mine. All mine. Raise your weapon!"

Appears in: Baptism of Fire | Tower of the Swallow | Lady of the Lake

"It was once so, that good people were afraid of the witchers more than the monsters. Monsters, after all, will stay in the woods and caves, however, witchers had the nerve to walk the streets, enter taverns, and hover near shrines, temples, schools, and playgrounds. Decent people were offended, so they started looking for someone who could bring the insolent witchers to heel. They found someone. Not easily or soon, not even close. But they found someone. You see, I have killed three. Not another mutant appeared in the area to upset the honest citizens. And if he appeared, I do to him what I did to the previous ones."

An infamous bounty hunter hailing from south of the Yaruga, tasked with eliminating Ciri's highwaymen friends and hunting Ciri for two different clients, which he performed without incident, save for those he made for others. Bizarrely smitten with the heir of Lara Dorren's swordsmanship, he decides not to take her to either employer just yet and instead brutalizes her physically and mentally for as long as his depravity allows. Yet despite his sociopathic nature, Bonhart is as cunning as a fox, relentless as a magic construct and seemingly fearless. A trait only acceded by his skill with a blade.


  • Arch-Enemy: Bonhart is definitely Ciri's as far as the books are concerned. It all begins when he cuts down her highwaymen friends, including her lover, then forces her to watch as he cuts off their heads. What follows is a long period of psychical and psychological abuse at Bonhart's hands that leaves Ciri traumatized. Bonhart replaces Cahir as the figure that haunts her nightmares and she fears most. Bonhart, for his part, becomes obsessed with being the one to kill her.
  • Attempted Rape: Bonhart tries to rape Yennefer because she doubted he'd be skilled enough in combat to best three witchers, let alone Geralt. She stops him by driving a stolen fork through his cheek and into the bone.
  • Ax-Crazy: A sadistic psycho who deliberately toys with his victims so he can take joy in their suffering.
  • Backstab Backfire: After Ciri disarms and wounds him, Bonhart tries to convince her to spare him since she's too noble to kill a defenseless man in cold-blood. The second she turns away, Bonhart pulls out a knife and tries to stab her in the back, causing Ciri to slice open his throat.
  • Badass Normal: He claims to have killed three witchers, despite having the advantage of neither their mutations nor any magical abilities. In light of that, taking on six bandits at once is hardly worthy of mention.
  • Badass Grandpa: He's getting on in years but remains one of the most dangerous and deadly bounty hunters alive.
  • Blood Knight: Leo loves nothing — nothing as much as fighting and killing. He became a bounty hunter just so he could make a career out of his passion and he also partakes in duels in the Claremont Arena run by cousin.
  • Bounty Hunter: And a very successful one. It's said a cemetery of all the people he's put to the sword would fill half an acre.
  • Broken Ace: Rumoured to be the best sword fighter in the whole series, as several characters note. He effortlessly beat the Rats at the same time, only to beat Ciri, one of the series most capable sword-fighters. The broken part comes from the fact that he's an utter sociopath who became a bounty hunter to essentially become a legalized serial killer.
  • The Brute: Despite his wiry almost skeleton-like appearance.
  • Catchphrase: "Play, music!" Which he utters before his duels.
  • Consummate Professional: Even though he's a sociopath who enjoys killing for a living, Bonhart remains highly recommended as a bounty hunter because of his reputation as a professional who never goes back on his contracts. That's what makes it so shocking to his employers when he goes rogue and abducts Ciri for his own purposes. Turns out he's thinking of retiring, so he doesn't much care about burning bridges so long as he gets a bigger payout.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dishes these out like candy. The Rats and poor Cahir never stood a chance.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has his moments.
  • Death by Irony: Ciri kills him with the same sword he forced her to wield in the arena.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Not even the Wild Hunt stops him from pursuing Ciri. Unfortunately for Bonhart, his horse isn't as brave as he is.
  • Dirty Coward: Bonhart displays remarkable courage throughout the final two books, even willing to stand up to the Wild Hunt to claim Ciri for himself. However, that courage only comes from the fact that he's skilled enough to almost always be in control of a fight. When Ciri seriously injures him in their duel and he loses the advantage he's always held, Bonhart reveals himself to be a coward at the precipice, practically begging for his life before trying to kill Ciri when her back is turned.
  • The Dog Bites Back: He ends up on the receiving end of this trope when he meets his Karmic Death at the hands of Ciri, the girl he kidnapped and abused.
    • Before Ciri, he gets this from Yennefer too; when he tries to rape her after she mocks his belief he could kill Geralt, though she gets hurt herself in the process, Yenn stabs Bonhart in the face with a stolen fork and breaks his nose.
  • The Dragon: Becomes this for Vilgefortz in The Lady of the Lake.
    • Dragon with an Agenda: Though he serves Vilgefortz in The Lady of the Lake, he has no personal loyalty to him and only wants to slay Ciri in a duel. The first chance he gets, he betrays him and goes after her.
    • Co-Dragons: He and Stefan Skellen become Vilgefortz's top enforcers in the final book. Though neither Skellen nor Bonhart have any loyalty to the sorcerer and are both just using him for their own ends.
  • The Dreaded: Even the most deadly of cutthroats quake in fear at the mention of Bonhart's name.
    • Up to Eleven in Ciri's case. It's safe to say that he effectively replaces Cahir as the nightmarish figure that haunts her dreams. Whereas Cahir turned out to be a decent guy who was Just Following Orders, Bonhart is a legitimate monster hellbent on endless bloodshed.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Geralt. Both are supremely skilled swordsmen, with Geralt being considered one of the best witchers in the world, while Bonhart has reportedly killed three witchers in the past. Both make their living through hunting, but Geralt slays monsters that are a danger to people, while Bonhart is a bounty hunter who will kill criminals and innocents alike. Both are seen as figures completely lacking in compassion, but Geralt is actually a very compassionate person who only thinks his mutations stripped him of emotion, while Bonhart is a remorseless psychopath. Both are also strongly fixated on Ciri and willing to go through hell and high water to reach her; the former because he loves her unconditionally and is in full Papa Wolf mode throughout the saga, and the latter because he loves her carnage and wants to duel her himself.
  • Evil Old Folks: An elderly bounty hunter who delights in murder and bloodshed.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Bonhart and his cousin, Houvenaghel, have a mutually beneficial business relationship. Houvenaghel profits from Bonhart's fighting prowess and fearsome reputation, while Bonhart benefits from Houvenaghel's business acumen and connections.
  • Fish Eyes: His eyes are one of his most notable physical characteristics. They're described as empty, cold and fishy.
  • For the Evulz: His main motivation. He's a psychopath and ''proud of it". When a psychic scans him once, she compares the experience to putting her head into a freshly opened grave.
  • Forced to Watch: Bonhart first forces Ciri to watch Mistle's final moments, then watch again as he saws off her head as well as those of the rest of the Rats. He later suggests to Vilgefortz that they force Yennefer to watch Ciri's artificial insemination, which the sorcerer agrees to before Geralt's company storms their base.
    • He also gets this treatment from Ciri, who stands over him as he bleeds to death so the sight of her no longer afraid of him is the last sight Bonhart takes with him to hell.
  • Genius Bruiser: Bonhart is a lot smarter than his reputation as a bloodthirsty killer would lead you to believe. He's able to deduce Ciri's true identity by piecing together several clues, manages to manipulate and outmaneuver his employers, one of whom is a Nilfgaardian black ops specialist, and is the only one in his group to realize when they're being led into a trap.
  • Gladiator Games: He and his cousin run an arena in Claremont where humans and animals are made to fight. Bonhart isn't above dueling in the arena himself, or forcing others, like Ciri, to fight for the entertainment of the crowds.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: A man so evil that a psychic who scanned his mind compared the sensation to sticking her head in a freshly opened grave has empty, fishy eyes.
  • Hero Killer: He toys with and brutally dispatches the Rats when they taunt him for a washed-up-has-been, effortlessly cutting them down during a six-on-one duel, defeats Ciri, one of the best swordsmen in the series, slew three witchers in combat, and later unceremoniously kills Cahir when the younger man tries to protect Ciri from him.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: You wouldn't think it to look at him. But he is a monstrously skilled fencer. A staple of The Witcher series' fans' Epileptic Trees is how he would fare in a duel with Geralt.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Though he claims that he finds Ciri physically unattractive, he really becomes aroused by her combat expertise. Eventually, he tells her that he plans on raping her after killing her in their duel.
  • Ironic Name: It doesn't take a linguist to see Leo Bonhart stands pretty much for Lion Good-Heart. While the first one might arguably fit, the rest definitely won't.
  • Jerkass: In addition to being a murder-happy psycho, he's also personally unpleasant to just about everyone he meets.
  • Killed Off for Real: By Ciri's sword.
  • Kick the Dog: His treatment of Ciri. He abuses her to no end and causes her devastating psychological trauma.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Bonhart's no saint himself, but few tears were shed when he slaughtered the Rats.
  • Lean and Mean: Bonhart is described as being ghoulishly thin to the point of having a skeletal appearance, and he's one of the most depraved villains in the series.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He hits fast and hard, despite his rail thin frame. He's fast enough to be a match for a witcher, having killed three of them already.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Bonhart is surprisingly good at playing other people. He stages events so the minions of Baron Casadei find him at the Claremont Arena and successfully goads them into dueling Ciri. Later, he deduces Ciri is leading him and his comrades into a trap, so he pretends he's going back to his horse and leaves them all to die.
  • Master Swordsman: Bonhart is one of most feared fighters in the series for a reason. Despite lacking the mutations and magical enhancements that bolster the skills of witchers and sorcerers, Bonhart is merely an old man who just so happens to be one of the deadliest duelists in the series. He manages to cut down multiple experienced swordsmen effortlessly, even cutting down three witchers through skill alone.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: In addition to his age, he is described as ghoulishly thin and yet makes short work of several young and vigorous adults, one of them even being a knight in full armor.
  • No Sneak Attacks: What proves his downfall; inches from stabbing Ciri from behind, he lets loose a shriek of rage and hate, giving Ciri the warning she needs to dodge and then kill Bonhart.
  • Not Worth Killing: Ciri was initially going to just let Bonhart die of his injuries after besting him in their duel, but when he tries to attack from behind, she doesn't spare him twice.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: At first Bonhart agrees to hand Ciri over to Vilgefortz in exchange for getting to watch her vivisection, but he eventually realizes that he just can't content himself to watch. Bonhart claims Ciri's life is his alone to take, and becomes obsessed with killing her in a duel. He claims not even gods and devils will stand in his way, and backs up that claim when he shows he's willing to take on the Wild Hunt for the chance to kill her himself.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He is merciless, but not stupid. He knows when to behave.
  • Psycho for Hire: As he claims, he's lucky like nobody, save perhaps certain whores. He's paid for work he truly enjoys.
  • Retired Monster: What Bonhart wants to be. He says he's considering retiring from bounty hunting since he's getting on in years. One of the reasons he goes rogue and takes Ciri for himself is because he's deduced her true identity and wants a bigger payout. At least until his obsession with dueling her gets the better of him.
  • Slashed Throat: Ciri opens his throat with her sword.
  • The Sociopath: A textbook example. Just read the rest of his tropes to get a clearer picture.
  • Stealth Parody: If one knows about Sapkowski's involvement in Tabletop RPG, Bonhart becomes a case of Perspective Flip on your typical player character, as seen by character in-universe, rather than by players. Bonhart is an insanely skilled fighter that does nothing but roams from place to place, always slaying tons of people in the process, is afraid of nothing and lacks emotions in general, takes his time to find new, better gear, never shows any remorse or regrets about his victims and does all those things for no other motivation than his own amusement. Just like average murderhobo.
  • This Cannot Be!: His reaction to Ciri opening his throat from ear to ear. Even before that, Bonhart was having that reaction when Ciri started outclassing him in their final duel and was badly injuring him.
  • Underestimating Badassery: People find his thin, bony frame to be very underwhelming and mistake it for a sign of weakness. Said mistake often turns out to be fatal. Just ask the Rats.
  • Unknown Rival: Funnily enough, Bonhart is as desperate as the readers are to see if he can test his mettle against Geralt and gloats of how he'll be the best swordsman in the land to both Ciri and Yennefer once he beats the White Wolf. Geralt never even crosses paths with him even when they're in the same fortress.
  • Villainous Crush: He develops one for Ciri, after witnessing her fighting skills. While probably not averse to sex, he may even be asexual as what really turns him on is fighting and killing. It means he'd like to impale her on his sword in the Claremont Arena and feel her die, though raping her before or afterwards would be nice as well. And his last words are that their fight would have been a great show.
  • Villainous Valor: The people he kills, he tends to kill in single combat — but that's the one and only admirable quality he gets. And even that's subjective!
  • Villains Want Mercy: When Ciri has him at her mercy, Leo almost pleads for his life, saying she's too noble to kill a defeated and defenseless man. The second she turns her back on him, he tries to kill her, leading to Ciri slashing open his throat.
  • Wicked Cultured: Though not exactly in the sense of refined taste, save for a fine taste in wine, this trope (or its cross with Genius Bruiser) does appear in that Bonhart is actually quite intelligent. He and his cousin have set up legitimate business enterprises and it speaks well of his wealth and standing that bounty hunting is more or less his freakin' hobby.
  • Wild Card: Despite his reputation for professionalism, Bonhart pretty much betrays everyone he works with. He betrays both Baron Casadei, who wanted Ciri brought to him alive, and Stefan Skellen, who ordered her dead. He later agrees to Vilgefortz's offer to bring Ciri to him for a bigger payout, only to betray him twice to try to kill Ciri himself.


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