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I'm replaying TW3, and in Crookback Bog I noticed something that looks like a plot contradiction:

  • The children of the Orphanage say Johnny told them that he saw a girl with ashen hair. This knowledge leads Gerald to track down Johnny and advance the main quest.
  • When Geralt meets Johnny, Johnny can't give him any information about Ciri because he's voiceless. Geralt needs to help Johnny get his voice back before Johnny is able to tell him anything useful.
  • Right after getting his voice back, Johnny tells Gerald about his run-in with Ciri, and mentions in passing: "I yelled some unpleasantries - she'd disturbed my morn. Sadly, I'd lost my voice, so I don't think she heard me."

If Johnny had lost his voice by that point, and wasn't able to regain his voice until Geralt arrived, how did he subsequently tell the children at the Orphanage about seeing an ashen-haired girl?

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  • Do we know if Johnny can write? – fez Jul 9 '20 at 17:38
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    Didn't Ciri run through the swamp twice? One time before she got captured, then again as she was escaping. It's possible that Johnny saw her earlier and mentioned her to the kids, but only had an actual run-in as she was making her way out. Correct me if I'm wrong, I could be forgetting some details. – Misha R Jul 9 '20 at 18:10
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    I wouldn't be surprised if Johnny can write, but I would be shocked if the orphanage kids can read. – Topher Hunt Jul 9 '20 at 18:12
  • @MishaR I like that theory, but Johnny's story begins with a loud "bang" and describes Ciri as appearing out of nowhere (which sounds like a teleportation to me). Johnny also doesn't mention the ground frosting over, the pursuit of hellhounds, or the other notable things I'd expect to accompany Ciri's flight from the Wild Hunt after her encounter with the Crones. It makes a lot more sense to me if Ciri's arrival in the swamp is what Johnny is describing to Geralt. – Topher Hunt Jul 9 '20 at 18:14
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The other godling we meet during the course of the game (Sarah) has the ability to implant images into other people's dreams. It stands to reason that Johnny might have this ability too, so maybe that's how he "told" the kids about what he saw. A series of images to establish it was him communicating with them and then (potentially as part of a larger dream-discourse) what he saw about Ciri.

As for why he couldn't tell Geralt the same way, well, maybe he could, if Geralt were sleeping, but he wasn't at the time. Also, let's not discount the idea that Johnny intentionally "kept quiet" so that Geralt would be convinced to help him recover his voice first.

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  • That seems unreasonably elaborate. I don't think the story gives us a lot of indication that Johnny understood the importance of this, or that he felt especially strongly in making sure someone did something about any of it. If he really wanted to communicate it that badly, I think it would have been far more obvious than some kids mentioning it vaguely in passing to Geralt. Plus, I think the kids would have mentioned something about it being a dream. Being so prosaic as to omit that point seems kind of un-kid-like. – Misha R Jul 9 '20 at 19:53
  • @MishaR Have you spoken to many kids recently? They omit all sorts of details when retelling things. More often than not because they don't realize the significance of how those details change the context. In particular with dreams, my daughter routinely speaks about her dreams as if they happened in reality. Sometimes it takes us a minute to figure out this is a dream she's talking about. As for Johnny telling them in the first place - he didn't need to "understand the significance" in order to tell them - they were friends. Friends talk about cool things they saw. – Steve-O Jul 10 '20 at 13:47
  • Kids omit details. Seeing a magical dream isn't likely to be one. They would omit every other detail first. I agree that Johnny telling them would just be something friends do. But him going into their dreams as they sleep and communicating that he has seen an ashen-haired girl wouldn't be. I'm sure you could rationalize every bit of this in its own way, but all in all it just seems like a post hoc stretch. If there's some narrative explanation, good. If it's a plot hole, then it's a plot hole. But I have trouble believing that what you're describing is what the writers had in mind. – Misha R Jul 11 '20 at 19:15
  • @MishaR I make no assumptions about what the writers had in mind, I only provide what I think is a reasonable explanation based on information given in the game world. You and I will just have to agree to disagree on this one. I don't see any reason why a magical dream would be different than a normal dream to a child, nor why a child would feel compelled to mention that detail over any other, especially to a stranger who was specifically asking if they had seen any blonde girls go by recently. – Steve-O Jul 13 '20 at 13:41

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