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Literature / Lady of the Lake

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The seventh and final book in The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski, originally in Polish (original title: Pani Jeziora).

Through the actions of men like Redanian spymaster Sigismund Dijkstra, the Nordling kingdoms finally start to get their act together in war with Nilfgaard. However, these distant events bear little importance to the heroes. Geralt, in his search for the druidic coven that may have the knowledge of Ciri's location, finds his way into the mountainous kingdom of Toussaint. As it turns out, Dandelion is already well-known to the locals, who also have a need for a professional monster hunter. Meanwhile, Ciri is trapped in the oneirous world she's entered through the Tower of the Swallow. But, can any trap hold the Blood of Lara Dorren?


Tropes found in the book:

  • Back for the Dead: After disappearing from the saga after about the first third of Blood of Elves, Coën the witcher shows one of the casualties in the Battle of Brenna.
  • Back for the Finale: Yarpen and Zoltan show up in a bar to shoot the breeze with Geralt and Dandelion in the very last chapter of the book. Just before the fateful pogrom that takes Geralt's life begins.
  • Backstab Backfire: After seemingly convincing Ciri not to kill him on account of the fact he's beaten and unarmed, Bonhart pulls a knife and tries to attack her from behind. Ciri hears him coming, dodges his attack with ease and opens his throat with her sword before watching him bleed to death.
  • Badass Boast
    • This gem by Vilgefortz:
    You have a tendency to piss against the wind. Know, that here, [...] you have pissed against a hurricane.
    • Another one from Regis, drunk on blood, who at this point had to assure Geralt that no, actually he didn't mean it literally:
    I feel so much power within me, I could blast this whole castle to pieces!
    • Geralt has, curiously, a nonverbal equivalent of a boast when he unshackles Yennefer (who has a collar on her neck) with a single sword-strike.
  • Because Destiny Says So: This works to bring all necessary actors to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, mixed with Stable Time Loop in one case.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: The battle of Brenna. Which in itself has nothing to do with the main characters, but is immensely important In-Universe.
  • Bittersweet Ending: After all the struggle Geralt finally rescues both Ciri and Yennefer and decides to quit his job and settle down, but all his friends who were helping him save for Dandelion die. He decides to defend victims of pogrom for the last time and is killed in the process. Yennefer tries to heal him but also dies of exhaustion. It all takes place before Ciri's eyes and she can't save her foster parents. On the bright side, Geralt and Yennefer are reunited in the afterlife while Ciri escapes her arranged marriage and gets a Maybe Ever After ending with Galahad.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    Regis: There are times you just can't refuse a drink.
  • Breather Episode: The hanse's stay at Beauclaire. Which is more or less a lot of Padding. It's even lampshaded with a quote from Rudyard Kipling.
  • Cannibal Larder: While travelling between worlds, Ciri is attacked by a lecherous old man called Gramps. After killing him, Ciri enters his house, finds the mutilated corpse of a child clearly cut up for consumption and realises she would have suffered the same fate had the guy not tried to rape her first instead of merely killing her.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The amulet Fingilla Vigo gives Geralt saves his life during his final fight with Vilgefortz by casting an illusion spell to prevent Vilgefortz's blows from landing.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Five books of wait, but Ciri's training on the Pendulum now pays off.
  • Consummate Liar: Elf sage Avallac'h. He spins the tale about how Aen Elle need Ciri's powers in order to save the inhabitants of her world from impending apocalypse. Turns out they are power hungry conquerors just wanting an option to kill and enslave in every existing universe.
  • A Degree in Useless: Jarre's abilities as a scribe turn out to be of little help when he enlists in the Temerian army, as the skills they want (archery, swordsmanship, horsemanship) aren't something he possesses. Therefore, he ends up in the Poor Fucking Infantry.
  • Disney Death: Retroactively, thanks to a belated Word of God and the games, Geralt and Yennefer survived the events in Rivia.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Stefan Skellen and his men try to stop Geralt from leaving Stygga after Vilgefortz bites it.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: The entire hanse - save Geralt and Dandelion (who stayed behind) - die very suddenly during the battle at Stygga. And then Geralt gets seemingly killed by a random guy with a pitchfork and Yennefer apparently dies failing to heal him.
  • Dwindling Party: One by one, every member of the hanse dies. Milva engages in a Mutual Kill against an enemy archer, Cahir is slain in a personal duel by Leo Bonhart, Angoulme takes a deep stab to the thigh and bleeds out, and Regis is incinerated by Vilgefortz. Some time after the battle, even Geralt and Yennefer die, leaving Ciri all by herself.
  • Enemy Mine: The unicorns help Ciri escape from the Aen Elle, partially because she saved the life of Ihuarraquax during the events of The Time of Contempt, but mostly to spite the elves they detest and prevent them from achieving whatever goal they need Ciri to fulfull.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Geralt to Dandelion, near the end. Preceded by a Dwindling Party.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: And so Geralt knows now what to do, purely by accident... or destiny.
  • Feed the Mole: Geralt gives Fringilla false information on the location of Vilgefortz's lair, knowing she'll report it to the Lodge of Sorceresses. The Lodge promptly goes racing off to the location Fringilla provides, only to learn too late Geralt duped them with a false trail so he could get to Ciri and Vilgefortz without their interference.
  • Five-Man Band: Geralt's original troupe from Baptism of Fire is expanded with The Sixth Ranger-slash-The Chick Angouleme, Dandelion leaves the gang, and Regis gets briefly promoted to The Lancer, when he starts feeding on humans again and Cahir suffers a bad case of dead.
  • Flash Step: Ciri does this unintentionally and for the first time when she runs into Bonhart in Castle Stygga. She meant to teleport to another world, but botched the attempt and only warped across the room.
  • Forced to Watch: Bonhart suggests to Vilgefortz they make Yennefer watch Ciri be raped, impregnated and vivisected as part of their plans to get their hands on her powers.
    • Ciri forces Bonhart to look at her as she watches him bleed to death, so the sight of her unafraid of him is the last image Bonhart takes with him to hell.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Jarre enlists in the army prior to the Battle Of Brenna and is sent to a division known as the "Pee Eff Eye" due to his qualifications, or lack thereof in terms of fighting. Turns out that PFI stands for Poor Fucking Infantry.
  • Gainax Ending: Geralt and Yen seemingly die... and they are on the island of Avalon at the same time? Or is it the afterlife? Avalon? And Ciri leaves for Camelot, with Galahad?. Lampshaded and foreshadowed at the very beginning of the book by an Audience Surrogate character, discussing in-universe legend about Geralt and Ciri some hundreds of years in the future — she grudges she hoped for Happily Ever After fairy-tale like ending, and was dampened by the real one.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: Relatively early on in her world-hopping adventure, Ciri actually does manage to return to her world at around the time she left it, winding up in Vizima of all places. Unfortunately, she never figures this out because the one fellow she grills for information is so shocked by her sudden appearance that all he can do is mumble indecipherably at her questions, prompting her to just storm off in frustration.
  • The Hero Dies: And his love interest, too.
  • Honey Trap: What the Lodge of Sorceresses wants Ciri to be: they want her to seduce Prince Tancred, the heir apparent of Kovir, becoming his lover and mother of his child, so that the Lodge can raise said child as a puppet.
  • Hope Spot: With Bonhart and Vilgefortz dead, Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer try to make their way out of Castle Stygga. Steffan Skellen and his thugs remain, but none of them stand a chance against the trio, despite their exhaustion. It seems like they're all about to leave the ruined castle and see the sky together just like they want to... only for the Nilfgaardians to march in.
  • Humiliation Conga: Bonhart gets a spectacular one at Yennefer's hands when he tries to rape her for deriding him as a coward: despite getting beaten in the process, Yennefer stabs him in the face with a stolen fork, only missing his eye by inches, breaks his nose and hits him in the balls with well placed kicks, and cuts his face to ribbons with the edges of her shackles. Her guards also refuse to help Bonhart get some payback on her because they don't want her to inform on them to the approaching Geralt.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Ciri has an unfortunate encounter with a hermit in one world who initially appears to be friendly and helpful, only to turn out to be a cannibal who intends to rape, kill, and eat her.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Leo Bonhart tries this. It fails, and Ciri finishes him off.
  • "Leave Your Quest" Test: Beauclaire for the heroes, but especially for Geralt. Dandelion stays.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Though he had his moments before, it's now that Regis shows what he can do in spectacular fashion.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: When it becomes abundantly clear that Ciri will not be able to escape Tir ná Lia, she reluctantly goes along with the elves' plan to bear a child with King Auberon just so that she can get back to her home world and reunite with Geralt. It ultimately doesn't amount to anything, because nothing about her is able to arouse the king even slightly.
  • Life Will Kill You: Geralt battles monsters, omnipotent sorcerers, leads an army to victory, survives a Suicide Mission... and is seemingly killed with a pitchfork by an angry mob. Just a moment later, Yennefer (who also duked it out with aforementioned omnipotent sorcerers and stood up to an entire coven of witches) apparently dies from magical overexertion while trying to heal him.
  • Lighter and Softer: The stay in Toussaint is notably more lighthearted than the rest of the book. Or the saga, for that matter.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: The majority of the story is told by Ciri to a listening Galahad.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: The Aen Elle just need one little thing out of Ciri; a child with their ruling monarch that will return the Elder Blood to their lineage. There's just one little problem: King Auberon isn't able to properly sleep with her, either due to his physical disgust of her human nature, or his own natural impotence brought about by age.
  • Lost in Translation: In-Universe example: During their last conversation, Emperor Emhyr bids Ciri farewell in the Elder Speech, addressing her as "luned". Ciri understands this word literally as "young girl". Its second meaning in the Elder Speech, however, is "daughter", which is what her biological father really meant.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The battle is shown through the eyes of multiple minor characters (both appearing first time ever or the ones that figured in the previous books) having their 15 minutes of fame one after another. And most of them die. Horribly.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Geralt and Fringilla have sex in a library atop a pile of books. The whole scene is humorously sprinkled with the titles of the various tomes surrounding them.
  • The Multiverse: Ciri's powers allow her to travel trought time and universes. Turns out this power is the original goal of elven eugenic experiments that lead to Ciri's existence.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: During a pogrom, Geralt decides not to kill a terrified peasant that was trying to kill him (and some non-humans) a moment ago. Then, Geralt gets stuck in the crowd for a moment, and the peasant takes the opportunity to stab him, with seemingly fatal results, with a pitchfork.
  • No Sneak Attacks: What kills Bonhart: he was inches from stabbing Ciri in the back when he lets loose a shriek of rage, giving Ciri enough warning to dodge the attack and then kill him.
  • Off with His Head!: How Vilgefortz dies at Geralt's hand.
    • Regis also rips the head off one of Vilgefortz's lackies while saving Ciri.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Regis bursts into the lab in Stygga Castle where Ciri is being held captive and promptly disembowels, decapitates and devours the lab staff who were going to assist Vilgefortz in effectively raping and impregnating Ciri.
  • Pet the Dog: A major one from Emperor Emhyr. After explaining to Geralt that he intends to marry his biological daughter, Ciri, and sire an heir with her, and that the Witcher and Yennefer can't be allowed to live on account of knowing too much, he makes a promise to the latter that he will never make Ciri cry. He holds true to it; Ciri starts crying almost immediately upon hearing what will happen, prompting him to abandon his plan on the spot. He lets her go back to her parental figures and departs, leaving the three of them to live their lives however they see fit.
  • Post-Final Boss: After both Bonhart and Vilgefortz bite it; Geralt and Ciri have to fight through Stefan Skellen and his squad to make their way out of the castle. They barely even slow down much to Skellen's understandable frustration.
  • The Promise: Yennefer makes Emhyr promise to never make "her daughter" cry, as she and Geralt are about to commit suicide, and Ciri taken away to marry the Emperor. Guess what Ciri does the moment she is told that she has to part with Geralt and Yennefer again. It actually makes Emhyr abort all his plans for Ciri, turn around, and leave.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: When Leo Bonhart comes into her cell to brag about the fact he's killed three Witchers in his time and plans to do the same to Geralt, Yennefer dismisses his claims as utter lies, deriding Bonhart as a smug piece of shit and a opportunist who only picks fights he can win, and the only way he could have killed witchers was either in his dreams or by fighting dirty, and that Bonhart doesn't stand a chance against Geralt. A furious Bonhart tries to rape Yennefer in response, only to get utterly humiliated when Yennefer fights back.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: Castle Stygga is far, far away from any large body of water, yet is surrounded by scores of shipwrecks. About 16 years earlier Vilgefortz set up a teleport in the sea next to Cintran shore, used by Emhyr (who was back then pretending to be a knight named Duny) to fake his, Pavetta and Ciri death. Problem is, infant Ciri wasn't on-board and Pavetta died for real when the teleport malfunctioned. Ever since, Vilgefortz had no reason or need to disable the teleport, so it's sucking any unfortunate ships passing over it and crashes them right next to the castle, getting less and less stable with each transport.
  • Ship Tease: Very briefly between Ciri and Cahir. Then he gets killed off.
  • Stable Time Loop: While Ciri travels The Multiverse in search of her home, she receives unexpected help from two sorceresses from her future. How exactly it worked is a bit complicated. Upon researching the Legend of the Unexpected Child, they realized that being lost between times and spaces, she can be practically anywhere - thus, she may appear to them just as well as anywhere else. By some effort on their side they summon her, and show her the way to her destiny - the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Storming the Castle: The final battle. Ending with Everybody's Dead, Dave.
  • Together in Death: Geralt dies when stabbed with a pitchfork and Yennefer dies trying to save him. There is one final scene afterwards where they get to be together on a secluded island. Of course, the three games and Word of God confirm that they came Back from the Dead.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Geralt's hanse after Angouleme joins them.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Ciri inadvertently spreads a deadly plague that goes on to ravage the Northern Kingdoms when an infected flea from one world hitches a ride on her to her own.
  • Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The castle itself may look unassuming, but it's surrounded by scores of shipwrecks, not to mention being host to enough evil to make Ciri's powers fail. Almost every plot thread is resolved there.
  • Villain of Another Story: Eredin and the Aen Elle. They play a tremendous role in the saga's backstory, and they have plans for Ciri that will have enormous ramifications for both the Witcher world and multiverse, but at most, they only serve as the Arc Villains for a relatively small section of the book, and disappear from the story completely once she escapes them and returns to her world.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Vilgefortz has one when his attacks keep missing Geralt. Bonhart also has one when in their final duel, Ciri seriously injures him for the first time.
  • Villains Want Mercy: After all the horrific abuse he's inflicted on her, when Ciri defeats and leaves him seriously injured, Leo Bonhart all but begs her for his life, insisting she's too noble to kill an unharmed man in cold blood.
  • The Wild Hunt: It finally turns out that it's made of Aen Elle, elves living in another world (elves of the Witcherworld being known as Aen Sidhe), who travel between the dimensions to kidnap humans for later enslavement. Their leaders led the aforementioned eugenic experiments, until they were derailed by Lara Dorren's love affair with a human. When her powers resurfaced in her distant descendant - Ciri - they decided they want their results back in their hands.
  • Wretched Hive: City of Rivia, as always, further helped by the Second Nilfgaardian War. There's a lot of poverty going around and racial tensions are at an all-time high. It erupts in a bloody pogrom that claims the lives of both Geralt and Yennefer.


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