Nilfgaard isn't really a nation to be trifled with, whether we're talking about its incarnation in Netflix's Witcher show or the games and books that the series takes tons of cues from. Not only is it a wrathful and power-hungry kingdom, but it wants things that Geralt can't let them have...

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Namely the secret daughter of their emperor, Emhyr Var Emreis. Geralt is bound to Ciri by the Law of Surprise, which means that regardless of who her father is, she's connected to Geralt by destiny, and nothing can get in the way of that, although many have tried to oppose the law in the past. Let's see which Nilfgaard we prefer, between the Nilfgaard we see in the show and in the games.

10 Games: Emhyr Is A Captivating Villain

Emhyr is one of the most captivating villains in all of the Witcher series, and not just because of his generally commanding appearance. Emhyr is a master tactician, who really did a lot for the Nilfgaardian empire as a whole. Although the line that he inherited the throne from laid a lot of groundwork for making Nilfgaard the empire it was, he really contributed by sacking Cintra, even if it was mostly because first and foremost, he was trying to reclaim his daughter, Ciri. While he's a pretty evil guy with no real regard for how people live their lives especially when it comes to the lower folk, he's doing what he thinks is best by trying to capture Ciri.


9 Show: Calanthe Was Arrogant

Even though we've only encountered Emhyr as Duny in the show thus far, the way Calanthe treated him without even knowing who he really was was more than just a little bit awful. Not only did she reject him for coming into the court in an admittedly crass manner, but once he had taken his mask off and Pavetta went on and on about her love for him, she still did her best to put a stop to his marrying into the family. Eventually once Pavetta starts screaming everyone's heads off, Calanthe understands that she can't get in the way of destiny, but it's still no big surprise that Emhyr is holding a giant grudge against her after all that.

8 Games: We Constantly Hear How Much Everyone Hates Them

One of the best things about playing The Witcher games at least as far as NPC stuff goes is hearing everyone constantly badmouthing Nilfgaard, and for good reason. Pretty much no one, especially in the provinces that have been conquered by Nilfgaard, appreciates their new rulers.

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Maybe if Nilfgaardians didn't shun anyone who wasn't born in the Nilfgaardian heartlands there wouldn't be such bad blood between people in the different provinces, but Nilfgaardians are a prideful folk. There are also sidequests where people who used to serve their communities are forced to provide goods and services to their conquerors.

7 Show: They Almost Annihilated At The Battle Of Sodden Hill

While the mages did a great job at setting up a pretty good defense before The Battle of Sodden Hill, they really didn't know what they were dealing with. While some fans say that things would be different if Yennefer had been sent to Nilfgaard instead of Fringilla, Yennefer openly disputes this. She says that she only would have enabled the high court at Nilfgaard because it would have been comfortable for her, which might be just as bad as when we see that Fringilla has basically gone mad with power. Either way, mostly thanks to Fringilla, the lack of reinforcements that The Council had, and the vast numbers the Nilfgaardian army had, without Yennefer, the opposing side would have been completely destroyed.

6 Games: Cahir Hated Being Sent To Look For Ciri

In the lore of the source material, Cahir is a general who gets sent out to go and find Ciri at Emhyr's bidding, after he fails to do so when the Nilfgaardian army was sacking Cintra. If Cahir can do his job correctly this time, he'll have redeemed himself and would most definitely secure himself a nice spot on the Nilfgaardian court.

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Something we don't get in the show is that Cahir confides in Geralt that he feels like the mission he's on is a complete waste of his potential, which means that Netflix wasted a good little nugget of his personality traits by not having him portray that to the audience.

5 Show: Cahir's Casting Is Great

Eamon Farren does an absolutely wonderful job at portraying Cahir. Something about Eamon Farren's face kind of screams villain at the viewer, while definitely not looking completely evil or anything. He's the type of person who could easily become typecast after playing a kinda evil character in Twin Peaks: The Return and Cahir in this series most notably, but he does a really good job at giving Cahir a reasonable amount of depth.

4 Games: Ciri Can Take The Throne

One of the cool things about the games both from a gameplay and a mechanics viewpoint is that the player can make various decisions which have real impacts on the continent, on Geralt's relationships, and on the geopolitical system of The Witcher's society itself. One of the big things that happens at the end of the game has to do with whether or not you decide to take Ciri back to her father or not. If you do, then she'll take the throne as queen of Nilfgaard, which she'd be much better at than pretty much anyone else up for the job. If not, it's assumed that she continues "witching".

3 Show: We All Felt Fringilla's Betrayal

While Fringilla wasn't established much in the show beyond the viewers seeing her train with Yennefer at Aretuza, she always seemed like someone who would figure prominently in the story, and she does. Originally Yennefer was to go to Nilfgaard and defuse most of the situation up there, but instead was sent to Aedirn after Stregebor rudely outed her as having Elven heritage.

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Because of this, Fringilla was sent, which means that it really hurt when we saw her turn against everyone she had went to Aretuza with, including her teachers. That being said she was ridiculously powerful, which was a fun spectacle.

2 Games: The Cult Of The White Flame Is Crazy

Something we haven't gotten too much from the show yet, most likely just due to time constraints, is a real look at The Church of the White Flame, which is something like the state-religion of Nilfgaard. While it's obviously not a direct analog or anything, the Church has a striking resemblance to the imperialist, convert-or-die nature of early Christianity. The Church is portrayed as a group of religious zealots, who really don't take kindly to any other belief system, and some side-quests reveal some of the priests to be nothing more than charlatans.

1 Show: There's An Air Of Mystery About Them That Makes Them Dangerous

While it's most likely due to the fact that we've only had one season of the show, Nilfgaard is kind of always portrayed as a looming threat, whether that's a threat to Ciri, a threat to the mages, or a threat to the autonomy of entire nations themselves. In the games, Nilfgaard is ever-present, helped by the fact mentioned earlier on in the article that literally everyone who isn't Nilfgaardian in the games hates them with a burning passion. While constantly knocking on an empire as evil as Nilfgaard is a lot of fun to hear, it's almost nice that Nilfgaard is as much of an impending doom kinda thing as The Wild Hunt is in the third game.

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