35

What exactly did Geralt of Rivia ask the genie in the short story "The Last Wish" in "The Last Wish" collection by Andrzej Sapkowski? I know what happened after with Geralt and Yennefer - is it revealed what the exact words were?

P.S. I am still in process of reading the series, so if it is a really big spoiler than by all means let me know of that and not answer :P :D

23

Geralt's first wish
The rough translation of what he commanded the djinn to do while holding the sigil was "get out of here and go fuck yourself". He didn't know that was what he was saying, because he didn't speak the language, but the sigil heated up right after he said that, showing that it had activated, and later Geralt insisted that the priest translate the command. At that point he knew it was he who had wished, and that it was that particular phrase, but he had to know its translation to be certain. See pages 280 and 330 of the standard paperback edition.

Geralt's second wish
His second wish was for the sadistic guard to literally 'burst', which he does.


Geralt's third wish
We cannot know for sure what it was; Sapkowski leaves it to our imagination. All we know is that it had the effect of both protecting them from the djinn and binding their fates together, as the priest later said. Yennefer also said it was something so powerful that she doubted there was any force in Nature that could grant it, but that if there was, Geralt had condemned himself to her.

See also this post from the Arqade/Gaming Stack Exchange.

The most commonly cited possibilities are things it couldn't have been, given the evidence:

  1. For Geralt and Yennefer to have a baby together. This is sort of clever, since the djinn after fulfilling this wish wouldn't be able to kill them, at least not for awhile, and whatever his wish was certainly had the effect of preventing the djinn from killing them. But Sapkowski explicitly denied that this was the wish in an interview. Also, Geralt he would never force his offspring on a woman without asking her consent, even if it would save her life.

  2. For Yennefer to fall in love with Geralt. This is very popular, but impossible for two reasons. Firstly, again, Geralt would never force his love on someone else: that would directly conflict with the code of conduct and morality which is the centrepiece of the book. Secondly, this would do absolutely nothing in protecting either of them from the djinn, which at that point was out for Yennefer's blood and possibly Geralt's as well. Had he wished that, the djinn would have granted it and then happily killed her and possibly him too.

  3. For Yennefer to forget that she had ever been a hunchback. A few people think this because it was on his mind shortly before he made the wish, but it's impossible because again it would not have prevented the djinn from killing them. Also (minor spoilers):

    she remembers that she was one in a future book; and she also remembers later on what his wish was, but if it was this she would have had to forget because the very wish would have reminded her of it.

Answer copied with some modifications from here, where you can also find a longer discussion on the topic. For more details about the story, see here.

  • Too bad he never reviled what was the wish... Thanks anyway :) – Vanja Vasiljevic Nov 3 '15 at 1:23
  • I think first one is impossible because witchers are sterile (even if many theorists want to prove the contrary). "binding their fates together" is the more reasonable as it could explain the djinn letting Yennefer. – Hamdi Douss Jan 8 '18 at 13:14
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    @HamdiDouss Not only Witchers, almost all Sorceresses too. It's one of the main ires of Yennefer in the books. – DonFusili Apr 10 '18 at 7:13
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    It's a pity the author disproved the first possibility since, IMHO, it matches the scenario the most. Yennefer acted like whatever he asked for was nigh on impossible and since both witchers and sorceresses are unable to have children that would fit the bill perfectly. – Allan Mills Nov 3 '19 at 10:08
16

What was the last wish? It is pretty simple, obvious, but tremendously genius. Whether or not he knew it would save her life, Geralt wished to die alongside Yennefer. As they say, death is the only Destiny that exists, and up to that point, Geralt was someone who had an extremely hard time believing in Destiny, which we can notice mainly in the short-story "Something More" in the next book. So when we talk of the wish in terms of "bind their fates together", the only thing it could mean is to "bind their deaths together". For there is no bigger love proof in the world than to be willing to give your life for someone. Nothing is more significative before that than Yennefer's astoundment:

‘Wait,’ she whispered. ‘That wish of yours . . . I heard what you wished for. I was astounded, simply astounded. I’d have expected anything but to . . . What made you do it, Geralt? Why . . . Why me?’

To which Geralt simply answers:

‘Don’t you know?’

Destiny is, by all means, the end. Destiny is not the beginning. Destiny is not the middle. Destiny isn't but the end. If Yennefer's end was to be in Rinde, by the hands of the Djinn, then by making his wish, Geralt established that his end would also be at that same moment, alongside her. And turns out that because Djinns cannot kill their masters, then that was not what the Djinn could fulfill. Therefore, if he could not fulfill Geralt's end, he would be necessarily forbidden of fulfilling Yennefer's end as well. So all he had left to do was to go away.

However, there is one huge implication in this that most people fail to notice and which is exactly what effectively binds their fates together: If Geralt's wish was not fulfilled, therefore the wish is still active, awaiting to be fulfilled! It's pure logic. The fact that the Djinn could not bind Geralt and Yennefer together in their death does not mean that their death should not be bound anymore, because Geralt didn't wish specifically for the Djinn to kill them, but to both of them die together. And it is this apparent contradiction which makes Yennefer skeptical about the mere possibility of such thing:

‘Your wish,’ she whispered, her lips very near his ear. ‘I don’t know whether such a wish can ever be fulfilled. I don’t know whether there’s such a Force in Nature that could fulfil such a wish. But if there is, then you’ve condemned yourself. Condemned yourself to me.’

NOW HEAVY SPOILERS FROM LADY OF THE LAKE BELOW, BE WARNED

But nothing is more fully meaningful that the saga ending is the full fulfilling of the last wish. And nothing else consolidates the saga as a brillant and masterful piece of literature and Sapkowski as a genius writer, because, as we can see, the end was in the beginning. Something ends, something begins.

TL;DR: Geralt was too much in love for Yennefer to leave her alone to die, so he just wished to die alongside her. But since Djinns cannot kill their master, he couldn't kill Yennefer as well, so he just ran away. Thus, since Geralt's wish was not fulfilled yet, they still will have to die together at some point. That's what "bind their fates together" is about, because fate ultimately means death.

  • 1
    Interesting... Although I am not sure could Geralt be still considered a genie's master after speaking the third wish (which set the genie free). – Yasskier Feb 14 '18 at 18:44
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    The thing is, Geralt is still his master because the wish is yet to be fulfilled, so the Djinn was never set free. – Vitor Assis Feb 14 '18 at 18:53
  • Yeah I think it is interesting way of thinking. You sir made me think :) – Vanja Vasiljevic Feb 14 '18 at 20:59
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    Except if this was actually his wish, they should have avoided each other ever after, rather than spending as much time together as they do following the wish. – Wlerin Jun 24 '19 at 6:37
  • This is nothing but speculation and also clearly wrong, since the djinn would be free and would leave as soon as Geralt made his third wish. – Amarth Nov 2 '19 at 18:09
1

In The Witcher 3, Geralt tells Yen his wish was for them to always be together.

1

Sapkowski gives hints throughout the short story as to what the nature of the wish must have been, but it is never explicitly revealed:

'Genies,' Krepp turned up his nose, 'are spiteful and deceitful beings. They don't like being packed into bottles and ordered to move mountains. They do everything they possibly can to make it impossible for you to express your wishes and then they fulfil them in a way which is hard to control and foresee, sometimes literally, so you have to be careful what you say. To subjugate a genie you need a will of iron, nerves of steel, a strong Force and considerable abilities.

'[...] You've still got one last wish, haven't you? So make it. You'll free the djinn and then I'll bottle it.'

[...]

'No, Yennefer. I can't . . . The djinn might fulfil it, but it won't spare you. It'll kill you when it's free. It'll take its revenge on you . . . You won't manage to catch it and you won't manage to defend yourself against it. You're weakened, you can barely stand. You'll die, Yennefer.'

'But he's . . . 'he groaned suddenly, 'still got one wish in reserve! He could save both her and himself! Mr Krepp!'

'It's not that simple,' the priest pondered. 'But if . . . If he expressed the right wish ... If he somehow tied his fate to the fate . . . No, I don't think it would occur to him. And it's probably better that it doesn't.'

The djinn opened his mouth and stretched his paws towards her. The witcher suddenly understood what it was he wanted. And he made his wish.

'That wish of yours ... I heard what you wished for. I was astounded, simply astounded. I'd have expected anything but to . . . What made you do it, Geralt? Why . . . Why me?'

'Don't you know?'

She leant over him, touched him. He felt her hair, smelling of lilac and gooseberries, brush his face and he suddenly knew that he'd never forget that scent, that soft touch, knew that he'd never be able to compare it to any other scent or touch. Yennefer kissed him and he understood that he'd never desire any lips other than hers, so soft and moist, sweet with lipstick. shoulders and breasts freed from her black dress, her delicate, cool skin, which couldn't be compared to any other he had ever touched. He gazed into her violet eyes, the most beautiful eyes in the world, eyes which he feared would become . . .

Everything. He knew.

'Your wish,' she whispered, her lips very near his ear. 'I don't know whether such a wish can ever be fulfilled. I don't know whether there's such a Force in Nature that could fulfil such a wish. But if there is, then you've condemned yourself. Condemned yourself to me.'

Additionally we have this quote from Philippa Eilhart in Blood is Elves:

Your destiny is in [Yennefer's] hands, witcher. You placed it in those hands yourself.

-1

I still can't reply/comment others, so this is an "answer" that actually comments the best voted ones.

I find if funnier to think about the phrasing of the wish, instead of just the overall idea, as it is kind of easier to just think about the meaning, while phrasing it can be tricky because it may allow the djinn to do what it really wants to by that moment: to kill both.

So it seems that the best options for Geralt are either binding their deaths together, or wishing something related to a child--because we know he had to find a way to bind his and Yennefer's fates together.

Someone said death is the final destiny. Well, having a child is also a way of binding two people's fates, isn't it?

In any circumstances, the witcher had to wish something as to necessarily bind their fates together, which by definition goes against his 'principle' of never imposing anything at other people, especially on women and especially on matters such as living with or loving him forever. Because he knew she would die otherwise, killed by the djinn, he had to overlook this principle of his at least this time. So, the critics against asking for a child as being something to be ousted because it would mean and imposition on her does not work, as the same critics would be necessarily valid against any other wish binding their fates together. There was no other way.

Let's say it was death then, something like "I wish us to die together". Ok, djinns can't kill their masters--but what if a master wishes the djinn to do so, or phrase their wish in a way that allows the djinn to do so? So this would be the case, a risky and tricky wish to do in such a situation where a djinn is slightly obsessed about destroying its goddamn master who told him to scram and fuck itself. Would you speak such a wish in such a situation and wait to see what would come of it?

Besides, because of other fragments of the story, I believe the wish was around a child. Something close to "I wish Yennefer to be the mother of my child". Please note I didn't word it like 'to bear my child', nor 'give birth', 'have my child' whatsoever--so the child could be someone other than a biological offspring. The child could be, say, a child of destiny who could become, not out of birth but rather out of parental relationship and love, their true child. Even if it was very unlikely for the witcher to think of such an outcome at that moment... You know who I'm talking of if you read the whole saga.

Anyhow, such a wish would oblige the djinn not to kill Yen, nor even allow her to die, which it fulfils by protecting them both from all the debris of the ruined house. And such a wish would beautifully fit with the whole mess that happens after that with the long saga with Ciri, and the way their bonds become so strongly linked together.

It would also be a witty wish to trick the djinn. Why? The witcher knew all too well that both witchers and sorcerers are sterile. By wishing something the djinn could not fulfil, at least not easily nor instantly, the witcher would at least buy themselves some time and at best get themselves rid of the raged djinn, saving both their arses on top of that.

What other possible clues are there? Well, Yen says she was 'completely astounded', yet she's not someone to be easily astounded. What would be more surprising? To wish for them to die together, or to wish the sterile sorceress to be the mother of his child? Even the fact and the precise moment Geralt realises she was a hunchback also may give some clue on this, because he could have realised it earlier in the story, but it only happens at that critical fight against the djinn and is likely related to his final decision on what wish to make. By realising she was a hunchback, one could think of her having a child to compensate her surely difficult childhood or something alike, but what would this hunchback thing have to do with wishing to die together? I can't think of any possible connections to understand why the author would put this hunchback element in that critical moment if not for bringing a reference to childhood...

'Why me?' and ‘I don’t know whether such a wish can ever be fulfilled. I don’t know whether there’s such a Force in Nature that could fulfil such a wish. But if there is, then you’ve condemned yourself. Condemned yourself to me’, are both comments that would work well with a wish of being the mother of a child, just as much as they would with a wish binding their demises. Right?

Now, if the wish was for them to die together, how come an intelligent lady would find it hard to imagine if 'such a wish can ever be fulfilled'? The djinn could allow them to die together just by waiting for time to take its toll and arrange for it to happen as so for them to die together whilst avoiding to force the death of its master. But to make a couple of steriles have a child? Well, that could be harder, because it's against nature, and death, you know, is just part of nature and happens to all of us, sooner or later.

So, here goes nothing. I think his last wish was for her to be the mother of his child, and that's that. :)

-2

I think the last wish was simply for Geralt and Yennefer to 'always be together', for then the Djinn couldn't kill Yen separately from Geralt. This protects her from the Djinn and also binds their fates together.

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    Why do you think this? Can you provide any sort of reasoning? – amflare Feb 2 '18 at 15:35
-3

I think he ask for her to be part of his family. Just before he asks, he realizes what was that he most wanted. I think they tried to have a baby to make this possible, but later learned that she could not have one and ended up adopting one. This would explain the "condemned" thing.

  • 3
    What “condemned thing”? Could you elaborate? – Adamant Nov 1 '16 at 2:07
-4

The Djinn would have killed her shorty after being set free. Although the author does not disclose it, but you may assume it was something like "Be gone and let her live." Also a it bound their fates together, so I think a wish for mutual love was involved.

  • Hi fgt, welcome to the site. This answer could be improved by providing quotes from the books that support your assumption. You also may want to take the tour: scifi.stackexchange.com/tour – Raj Jan 10 at 14:02

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