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"Do you really wish to know?"
Spoilers from the books and/or adaptations to follow!
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They say it's the game of kings. That chess teaches one to think strategically. What a load of rubbish!... Both sides have identical pieces, the rules stay invariably the same. How does this mirror real life?
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- Radovid discussing politics, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Radovid V the Stern (Polish: Radowid V Srogi) was the king of Redania from the Redanian Dynasty in the last quarter of the 13th century. His reign became, along with witch hunts, one of the defining factors of the post-war period that followed the Peace of Cintra. He was a polarizing figure, a brilliant strategist and a superb general by some, a paranoid madman by others. There were also many who saw his policies as harsh but justified. The truth lay, as the truth always does, somewhere in the middle.

He inherited his titles and estates as the only son of King Vizimir II and Queen Hedwig of Malleore. His two older sisters were Dalimira and Milena. Even though his father died in 1267, Prince Radovid didn't succeed him immediately because he was only twelve at the time and for several years the kingdom was governed by a Regency Council under influential Duke Nitert and Count Sigismund Dijkstra, the-then spymaster of Redanian Secret Service.

Radovid bore a deep aversion towards mages that stemmed from his father being secretly assassinated by an unknown elf at the behest of the sorceress advisor Philippa Eilhart,[N 3] who then pulled strings from behind his back, ruled in his name and dominated and demeaned him throughout his youth.

Biography Edit

Early life Edit

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I knew she had marriage plans regarding Ciri, I think it concerned the young Tankred Thyssen... and perhaps the Redanian, Radovid.
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- Crach an Craite to Yennefer, The Tower of the Swallow

Radovid was born in 1255 in Tretogor to the royal pair, King Vizimir II and Queen Hedwig of Malleore, as their third child. He grew up with two older sisters: Dalimira called familiarly Dalka and Milena who was known as Milka in a similar fashion. Dalka eventually dedicated her life to the priesthood after her failed engagement with King Foltest of Temeria who instead chose to marry his own sister Adda, while Milka attended Aretuza to become a sorceress Millegarda.[2]

When Prince Radovid was 9 years old he was formally engaged to Cirilla, Princess of Cintra, when she was 12. The engagement was formalized between his father and Queen Calanthe, Ciri's grandmother, but the king broke the engagement off after half a year without giving any explanation and Ciri and Radovid never even had a chance to talk to each other.[3]

Regency years Edit

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The ambassador knew that Dijkstra was exaggerating, but not inordinately. Prince Radovid was still a minor, Queen Hedwig distraught by her husband's tragic death, and the aristocracy intimidated, stupefied, at variance and divided into factions.
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- Redanian situation in 1267, Baptism of Fire

On the day of the outbreak of the Second Northern War with the Nilfgaardian Empire, his father had unexpectedly fallen victim to an elven assassin.[4] A fact unknown to practically anyone was that it was Philippa Eilhart, at the time fighting on Thanedd Island, who hired the elf in order to gain more direct rule. Redania fell into chaos, as usually happens in such circumstances, and Queen Hedwig was not in a state to control things.[N 3] The aristocracy started to organize itself into factions, attempting to tear some land out for each and every one of them. Several practically licked the boots of Nilfgaardian emissaries led by Shilard Fitz-Oesterlen and were ready to rule with Nilfgaardian blessing, only to be caught off guard and stopped by the famous Redanian Secret Service. There remained but a handful of those who were spared, those with important enough social status and armed might to maintain peace, like Duke Nitert.[4]

Nitert was put in charge of the Regency Council appointed to save the realm from a total civil war and they managed to do so, by hanging everyone they deemed traitor in specially modified fortifications with internment camps - most infamous of which would be Drakenborg. Its members, however, overlooked their underage crown prince and none of the Northern Kingdoms' elites, not even Philippa who took it upon herself to raise him, expected him to grow into a firm monarch who would repay all humiliations he and his mother had suffered during the interregnum.

Beginnings of reign Edit

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A king, who – after paying back all the insults borne by himself and his mother – would pass into the history as Radovid V the Stern.
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- Radovid at Novigrad parade, The Lady of the Lake

A young but decisive, unrelenting King Radovid V's deed quickly earned him the epithet of "the Stern".[5]

The following is considered game canon only and may contradict Andrzej Sapkowski's works.

He began his reign by taking care of various nobles who ruled on their lands rather independently from Tretogor. He proved a capable political actor, manipulating events to the advantage of both his own position and Redania's. He utilized Redania's famed spy network to foster links with multiple potential allies, picking and choosing as he saw fit while ensuring those discarded were destroyed. In all his political actions, he attempted to embody the idea that a king should be ruthless towards his foes and generous to his friends.[6]

Time in Vizima Edit

Scenes Radovid projection

King Radovid meeting Geralt for the first time

Looking to secure relations with Temeria, Radovid made his way to the kingdom's capital of Vizima in 1270. However, while there he eventually came into contact with Salamandra through some "mutual acquaintances" and thought he could make use of the criminal organization but ultimately concluded not to do so. Despite this, the witcher Geralt of Rivia happened across some of the criminals communicating via a mirror with the king, who only revealed he wasn't backing the group before closing off communications with the witcher.[7]

Eventually, though, his hideout was discovered by the witcher. The two conversed for a bit, with Radovid revealing why he was in Vizima before asking the witcher's opinion on Adda the White, who he was seeing as a possible way to combine the two royal families. The two then parted ways.

If Geralt saves Adda: With Adda's curse lifted once more, Radovid then proceeded to marry her to solidify the two kingdoms' union.
If Geralt doesn't save Adda: With no other way to combine the two kingdoms, Radovid returned to Redania to reign over by himself.

Consolidating his power Edit

Back from Temeria, Radovid V began to gather his armies and erect fortresses. To counter the sorceresses' rising power, he invited the Order of the Flaming Rose to Redania and granted them lands.[8] He made several military reforms, espousing the idea that a soldier was only as good as their breastplate. He ensured that his armies were well-equipped, allowing his quartermasters as much gold as was needed to keep his infantry in solid armor. Aware that human soldiers were neither as strong as dwarves nor as dexterous as elves, identified their key advantage: their numbers. A mass of humans, led by a capable of commander, could overwhelm an individually superior force. His final military philosophy concerned the effectiveness of heavy cavalry, and he would suggest that any battlefield problem could be overcome by a gallant charge. These tactics would see him through several successful military campaigns, culminating in a subjugating nearly the entirety of the Northern Kingdoms and the defeat of the invading Nilfgaardian forces of Emhyr var Emreis' third invasion.[6]

In July 1271, Radovid came to the deliberations at Loc Muinne, followed by a number of regular soldiers and knights of the Flaming Rose who were meant to ensure that peace talks remained peaceful, as well as step in if things did not go Redania's way. Shortly after arriving, the King imprisoned Phillipa Eilhart with the help of Nilfgaardian delegation. To avenge his father, he had her eyes gouged out and meant to execute her before she escaped.[8]

Third Northern War and further life Edit

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"I shall organize, see to everything and whip the house into order."
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When the Third Northern War broke out, Radovid remained the only monarch to have the strength to resist Nilfgaard. Taking advantage of this, during the winter break, he invaded a weakened Kaedwen and absorbed the Kaedwenian Army into his own. He also had Temerian partisans[9] and Kovirian mercenary companies at his disposal,[10] and considered utilizing the Crescent Moon, an influential independence movement in the Nilfgaard-conquered Nazair.[11]

However, both Radovid and Emhyr had set their eyes on Novigrad, as whoever controlled the free city would not only have control over the ports but its hefty treasury as well, likely securing victory for the one who gained control of it. To try and weaken the city for his taking, Radovid employed the services of Whoreson Junior, one of the "Big Four" of Novigrad's underground crime bosses, enticing him with money and a nice estate in Oxenfurt in return for turning on the other bosses.

His plan worked to a degree, but once it was clear there was no more benefit from it, Radovid decided to turn on Whoreson Junior and thus let Geralt, who was searching for Whoreson Junior for other reasons, know where the crime boss was. However, always planning ahead, Radovid did note he would call on a favor later from Geralt. He later revealed this favor to the witcher while onboard his flagship, the HMS Oxenfurt-Tretogor, asking Geralt to find Philippa Eilhart and bring her back alive.[9]

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King Radovid overseeing defeated Aedirnians

In the end, Radovid managed to defeat the invading Nilfgaardian forces, winning the Third Northern War. With this victory, Radovid restored the old borders but attempted also at uniting most of the Northern Realms creating a powerful union with him in control as the "Protector of the North".[N 4] This seemingly involved further fights, during which his soldiers faced the Aedirnian and dwarven armies.[6]

End of game canon content.

Having no love for mages and elves due to the circumstances of his father's death, Radovid allowed for the witch hunts to continue in the North for four more years until 1276.[5] He seemingly lived up to an elderly age[6] and was remembered in the history as Radovid the Stern.[5]

Legacy Edit

A beverage known as Redanian Herbal was called "stern" in honor of Radovid.[7]

The WitcherEdit

Associated quests Edit

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Edit

Radovid screen2

Journal entryEdit

When Radovid's father, Vizimir II, had fallen victim to an assassin a few years earlier, the prince had had but thirteen summers. The country fell into chaos, as usually happens in such circumstances, and queen Hedwig would not have been able to control things. The aristocracy, as they tend to, started to organize themselves into factions, attempting to tear something out for themselves. Some practically licked the boots of Nilfgaardian emissaries, doing so with much practice and a real sense of commitment. The Regency Council appointed to save the kingdom from the conflict managed to do so, and properly hung the traitors, yet its members disregarded their underage ruler. Therefore nobody among the Redanian nobles expected that Radovid would grow up to become a firm monarch who would repay all humiliations he and his mother had suffered during the regency. The king was quick to show that, if his father had earned the moniker of"the Just", he would be remembered by history as "the Stern".
If Geralt chooses Iorveth's path during the end of chapter I:
The sorceress Philippa Eilhart had the dubious pleasure of seeing the aptness of Radovid's moniker with her own eyes, so to speak. After presenting her with a list of charges, reinforced with personal animosity and information from the Imperial envoy, the king had her eyes put out. You might say that Radovid couldn't turn a blind eye to her sins.
Even before Geralt related his impressions of the discussion with Radovid to me, I already had an feeling that it would be best to avoid attracting the Redanian monarch's interest to my modest self. When Geralt ended up in his dungeon, the king unhesitatingly provided him with a list of arguments detailing why it was in Redania's national interest that the future be deeply unpleasant for the witcher and Triss. He did point out, however, that it was nothing personal.
Unlike the proud and sometimes self-centered Foltest, or the fitful, coarse Henselt, the king of Redania was a reserved, calculating politician. Geralt learned that he was not the sort of man that would allow himself to be deceived or led astray by prevarication. The king could instantly sense falsehoods and was gifted at maneuvering his opponents into revealing whatever information he desired.
Radovid had very specific plans concerning his neighbor, the chaos-riddled Temeria. With the prospect of another war against Nilfgaard looming, he and the Kaedweni monarch aimed to partition Temeria in order to forestall the Empire from acquiring its lands.
If Geralt chooses Roche's path during the end of chapter I:
Radovid wanted to use Geralt to recover Anaïs La Valette, King Foltest's youngest child. Although she was oblivious to the fact, the girl was a trump card in a high-stakes game. The prize: Foltest's legacy.
If Geralt chooses to give Anaïs La Valette to him:
Radovid had very specific plans concerning his neighbor, the chaos-riddled Temeria. In this situation Fate, embodied by a certain witcher and a military captain, had delivered Anaïs La Valette, Foltest's illegitimate daughter, into his hands. Thus the Redanian king had a strong argument that Temeria should be acknowledged a Redanian protectorate. Thanks to skillful political maneuvering, Radovid greatly strengthened himself and his kingdom's position.
If Geralt chooses to give Anaïs La Valette to John Natalis:
Radovid had very specific plans concerning his neighbor, the chaos-riddled Temeria. Yet Fate, embodied by a certain witcher and a military captain, had delivered Anaïs La Valette, Foltest's illegitimate daughter, into the hands of Temeria's regent, John Natalis. Radovid would have to find some other way to expand his dominion.

The Witcher 3: Wild HuntEdit

Journal entry Edit

It did not take long for King Radovid of Redania to prove himself a hard and ruthless ruler, one fully deserving to be styled "the Stern." His father, King Vizimir, was murdered when Radovid was quite young, and his mother, Hedwig of Malleore, and a Regency Council ruled in his stead.
Young Radovid soon seized power in his own right, however, and wrought vengeance on those who had treated him with disrespect. He took to forcing all his potential political opponents to swear allegiance – or face death.
He waged war not only against Nilfgaard, but also against mages, whom he saw as the root of all evil. Radovid also made every effort to gain control over the Free City of Novigrad, whose fleet and treasury could tip the scales of the ongoing conflict towards Radovid's victory.
Geralt's meeting with Radovid confirmed the rumors circling around the king's mental state. The Redanian king was a dangerous madman trapped in his own world of disturbing visions. This did not make him one jot less intelligent or cunning, however.
Despite his mental afflictions, the young king was manipulating his opponents like an adroit puppet master.
Radovid burned with particularly intense hostility (first kindled in his earliest childhood days) for the sorceress Philippa Eilhart. Rumors spoke of how he had prepared a special torture regimen just for her - and while the two dozen points they mentioned were surely an exaggeration, they accurately conveyed the general scale of his hatred.
If Geralt completes Reason of State:
The terror of Radovid's reign had led not just enemies, but also his allies and even his subjects to long for his death.
The phrase "monster in human flesh" fit Radovid the Stern perfectly. Perhaps it was awareness of all the cruel and bestial acts this madman perpetrated that led the witcher to get involved in the plans for his assassination.
Hatred for Philippa Eilhart proved to be Radovid's weakness. He was ready to do anything to capture her - even abandon the safe confines of his flagship.
The plan for luring Radovid out of hiding worked, though not without complications. Irritated by Geralt's typical cheek, Radovid brayed for the witcher's blood, and Geralt only dodge the executioner's axe thanks to the intervention of his co-conspirators.
Perhaps the delay this caused was what allowed the ruler to nearly escape his assassins, but in the end he could not cheat fate and died at the hands of Philippa Eilhart, who descended suddenly, a veritable demon of vengeance, to revenge the wrongs he had done her.

Associated quests Edit


Trivia Edit

  • Radovid has the face of Michał Madej, chief designer of The Witcher.
  • Radovid's name can be translated as "A joyful sight" (RADOst - Joy, and VID - Look, Appearance)

Notes Edit

  • Although Radovid is 2 years younger than Ciri, he looks much older than her in The Witcher 3. A possible explanation for this is that, because time flows differently in other worlds (as Geralt explains in The Witcher 2), Ciri's age may be distorted slightly. Radovid could have also aged quicker due to the stress of war.
  • Despite it no longer being canon to the game continuity, there's a possibility for Radovid to be killed in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. In that case, Geralt approaches him and reveals he had found Phillipa's location, at the far end of St. Gregory's Bridge, and provides proof in the form of Radovid's father's ring, which Philippa had used to pass decrees in the late king's name. With this, he sets off for the bridge at once but turns on the witcher, claiming he irritates him, and orders his men to kill him while the king heads down the bridge. Temerian guerrillas then ambush the area and Radovid races down the bridge to escape. At the last house, he bangs on the door to open up but is stunned as Philippa opens the door to greet him. The sorceress then proceeds to blow powder in Radovid's face, blinding him and leaving him in agonizing pain, before she thrusts a dagger in his back. Despite this, Redanian soldiers can still be heard exclaiming "Long live Radovid".

Videos Edit

Gallery Edit

Footnotes Edit

  1. Depending on choices made in The Witcher
  2. Depending on choices made in the first two games
  3. 3.0 3.1 Though not explicitly stated in The Witcher series, there are huge hints to Philippa being behind the assassination by the end of The Lady of the Lake. The final confirmation comes from 2001 Polish fan interview with Andrzej Sapkowski.
  4. In The Witcher 3 it's possible to let Radovid die thus making this development optional. However, with the Iron Judgment expansion for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, CD Projekt RED established Radovid's survival as canon to their continuity, a fact that also aligns with Andrzej Sapkowski's [higher-grade] canon in the Baptism of Fire which states the Northern Kingdoms were still independent as late as 15th century.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 CD Projekt's The Witcher franchise
  2. Redanian Dynasty - Vizimir II
  3. Redanian Dynasty - Radovid V
  4. 4.0 4.1 Time of Contempt
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Lady of the Lake
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
  7. 7.0 7.1 The Witcher
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  10. A Fractured Land: Tales of the Northern Realms
  11. The Witcher Role-Playing Game

External links Edit

  • Gwent icon See the GWENT standalone game version card: Radovid
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