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Spoilers ahead:

So, in season 3 of The Witcher, the White Flame makes it apparent that finding Ciri is priority #1.

However, in the last episode

When it becomes apparent that Ciri has been found and captured, it turns out that it is actually one of the fakes that Vilgefortz had been creating/experimenting with.

At the end of season 2 we find out that the White Flame is actually

Ciri's father. Who we thought had died when Ciri was 5.

But even then, would he not recognise her?

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    Was Emhyr not in on it? I assumed that Vilgefortz would know better than to try to trick Emhyr when for all he knew, Ciri could pop up anywhere at any time, whether in the custody of his searchers or in the North, where his spies might get news of her.
    – Adamant
    Aug 11, 2023 at 2:53
  • Emhyr is quite satisfied with having somebody he can pass off as Ciri for political reasons. Doubtless, Vilgefortz reported that the real Ciri died at Aretuza - a logical assumption, since her body wasn't found. A fake Ciri suits Emhyr's purposes almost as well as the real one and is certainly more pliable. Aug 11, 2023 at 7:29
  • While adults tend to change very slowly with the pass of the years, children can change a lot in few years. Differentiate two quite similar youngsters and identify the correct one is just obvious to anyone that have been with the correct one recently, but could prove defying to someone that hadn't contact with her in many years.
    – Bardo
    Aug 11, 2023 at 7:29
  • @KlausÆ.Mogensen - It seems to me that it would have been more sensible to report her dead if her body had been found. After all, Vilgefortz's body had not been found, either, and he was quite alive, even though he was feet behind her in the same explosion. And besides, Emhyr clearly did not believe she was necessarily dead, since one of the band that found her said: "No, if they found her then why is the prefect still offering a reward?"
    – Adamant
    Aug 11, 2023 at 16:11

1 Answer 1

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This is currently impossible to answer since the show deviates quite a bit from the books here.

In the books it goes like this (big spoilers for the books, not so much for the show since the final episode of season 2 already dropped the biggest spoiler of the books):

The biggest spoiler in the books being that Emhyr is Ciri's biological father and that this was the main reason Nilfgaard was searching for her all along. In the books, Emhyr keeps this to himself and nobody knows that Duny and Emhyr is the same person.

In the books, Geralt hired Codringher and Fenn. The "fake Ciri" was someone that Codringher and Fenn had found and planned to use to make the real Ciri safe from Nilfgaard's attempts. As it turned out, this served Vilgefortz's plans as well, so he had Codringher and Fenn assassinated to cover the tracks of the plot.

Emhyr sees through the decoy plot however and realizes that the woman sent wasn't the real Ciri. Publicly his reason for finding Ciri was to put an end to rebellions in Cintra and legalize his rule there. Secretly, he just wanted to find his daughter and keep her safe.

And so to keep the real Ciri safe, he marries the fake Ciri knowing she is fake. The decoy becomes Empress of Nilfgaard, in order to secure Cintra and keep the real Ciri safe both. Nobody knows she is fake but Emhyr, Geralt and the Lodge.

In the final chapters, Emhyr eventually sends Nilfgaard elite troops in order to save the real Ciri, although they arrive too late and Ciri has already been saved.

So in the books it makes perfect sense for Emhyr to marry the fake Ciri. The show deviates from the books a lot here and while it does, it doesn't make much sense at all... so there it is.

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