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"Do you really wish to know?" — Spoilers from the books and/or adaptations to follow!
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Tissaia de Vries was a sorceress and a member of the Chapter of the Gift and the Art. She's also the rectoress of Aretuza. She recruits young women who have conduit moments.


Recruiting Yennefer[]

Tissaia de Vries recruits the deformed Yennefer from her home town of Vengerberg after Yennefer unintentionally portals to Aretuza briefly. Tissaia finds Yennefer and purchases her from her abusive father. Her mother objects, though it goes without answer, as do Yennefer's cries for help. Yennefer is forcefully taken from her home in Vengerberg and locked in a room in Aretuza. Yennefer shatters the mirror in her room and grabs a shard of glass as she contemplates taking her own life.

Tissaia heals Yennefer after discovering she slit her wrists. Yennefer, however, states that she wishes she had died, claiming that "at least she would've had control over that". Tissaia retorts that Yennefer wasn't taking control, but rather was losing it.

Later, Yennefer is summoned to the Greenhouse by Tissaia. There, she joins a group of other young women, all possessing similar magical capabilities. Tissaia explains the dangers of magic to them and how each one of them showed an aptitude for controlling it, describing them as "conduits of chaos", and explains that magic itself is the control of said chaos. She directs their attention to the items before them: a flower and a stone. She explains that they are to lift the stone without touching it, using the phrase "Zelil Ape". One of the girls, Fringilla, manages to successfully lift the stone; however, only seconds after doing so, her hand rapidly ages and shrivels up while the girl screams in terror. Tissaia is unbothered by this, simply thanking Fringilla for the demonstration. She tells the girls that there is a give and take with magic, and proceeds to recite the incantation herself, this time with a flower in hand. She also successfully lifts the stone in front of her; but remains unaffected while the flower rapidly withers and dies. The remaining initiates then follow her lead, and are each able to lift their stones to varying degrees: with the exception of Yennefer, who is completely unable to move the stone in any manner. Tissaia coldly remarks to the young girl that "sometimes the best thing a flower can do for us is die", further disheartening Yennefer. Discouraged by her failed attempt, Yennefer flees the greenhouse.

Several weeks have passed since Yennefer's arrival in Aretuza, and the initiates now sit across from each other during an exercise to determine their partner's greatest fear. Telepathy should be taking place, however, after hours of analyzing her partner, Yennefer fails to determine her fear and lies to cover up her inadequacies. Tissaia immediately identifies it, calling Yennefer out and berating her in front of the class.

Tissaia later takes the initiates to Tor Lara to bottle lightning. It's the most potent place on the continent, off limits to everyone except to the Brotherhood of Sorcerers. This latest trial is to test their ability to control the ultimate expression of chaos. After watching two initiates fail before her, Yennefer's up. She raises her bottle and fails; the lightning striking her and sending her across the room. Enraged by her own failures, Yennefer shoots the lightning at Tissaia, and she redirects it back into the sky. Tissaia relates to Yennefer. There are two types of mages. Those who can control their emotions and those who let their emotions control them, Yennefer and Tissaia being the latter. It's their job to control chaos, not become it.

Yennefer takes the flower she got from Istredd to Tissaia. This was a test orchestrated by Tissaia to see if Yennefer could control her emotions long enough to get it from him. She did so successfully, and Tissaia dismisses her, referring to Yennefer by her actual name rather than "Piglet." Yennefer asks if this means she's ready to "ascend." Tissaia tells Yennefer to listen for the knock.

Yennefer listens for the knock as instructed. However, it's not her door that Tissaia knocks on. Nevertheless, she takes the opportunity to spy on Tissaia as she turns three of the initiates into eels. Tissaia instructs her to push them into the water. Tissaia took away their control, but they still have power. They're conduits for Aretuza. So when Yennefer takes a broom and pushes them into the water, all of Aretuza lights up with magic.[1]

Sending Yennefer to Nilfgaard[]

Tissaia finds Yennefer with the enchanter in preparation for initiation. Tissaia tells Yennefer that they remake themselves on their own terms. Yennefer has the power to free the "victim in the mirror" forever. Tissaia instructs Yennefer to close her eyes and imagine the most powerful woman in the world. Yennefer opens her eyes and sees just that looking back at her in the mirror, if only for a brief moment, drawn from Yennefer's mind onto the mirror by Tissaia's magic.

The Chapter gathers to discuss their concern with Cintra refusing to use their mages. King Dagorad has banned mages from Cintra entirely, and although Stregobor has heard rumblings that the king is ill, assuming Princess Calanthe will be more inclined to accept their mages if he dies, but Tissaia is doubtful. Artorius asks what of Nilfgaard, and Stregobor criticizes King Fergus for squandering the kingdom's money on women while his people starve to death. Fringilla, Artorius' niece, will be in Nilfgaard by week's end, and Tissaia assures everyone that she will bring sanity and bread to the kingdom. However, Stregobor has little faith in her. Artorius suggests sending someone with a bit more "spine" to Nilfgaard, and Stregobor recommends Yennefer, since they'd be spitting in Dagorad's face to send her to Aedirn, Cintra's biggest trading partner. The only thing Cintra hates more than mages is elves, and Yennefer is a quarter-elf. Tissaia is very much against sending Yennefer to Nilfgaard, even accusing Artorius of nepotism for sparing his niece of her duties. The chapter puts it to a vote, and Tissaia is overruled; Yennefer is reassigned to Nilfgaard.

Tissaia is confronted by Yennefer, who demands an audience with the Chapter after discovering that she is being sent to Nilfgaard rather than Aedirn as promised. Tissaia reveals that it was her blood that finalized the Chapter's decision. Sending a quarter-elf to Aedrin would only further ostracize Cintra given their hatred for elves. It was Stregobor who told the Chapter about Yennefer's true father.

Tissaia, Artorius, Stregobor, and the rest of the Chapter gather to initiate the new recruits into the Brotherhood, which Yennefer does not attend following her reassignment. However, she does attend the Aretuzan ball completely transformed. King Virfuril discards Fringilla in favor of Yennefer, and the two dance center floor with Tissaia, Artorius, and Stregobor watching angrily.[2]

A shot at redemption[]

It's been over 30 years since they last spoke, but with Yennefer drawing unwanted attention, Tissaia decides to pay her a visit. Tissaia informs Yennefer that King Virfuril is dead. King Demavend rules now. Yennefer remained hidden for a while, but now she's making noise in search of a solution to her problem; she wishes to bear children. Tissaia has come to warn her, saying that the mages that Yennefer is enlisting won't help her because Yennefer is "pure chaos" at the moment. She wants a cure, and it's making her sloppy. The Brotherhood left her to her own devices after she abandoned Aedirn, but her recent behavior will make her a target. Tissaia invites Yennefer to return to Aretuza, but she turns Tissaia down. Yennefer suspects that Tissaia only wants to see her thrive so long as she has a hand in it. Tissaia swears this is not true. She questions what more Yennefer could want, to which she replies "everything."[3]

Conclave of Northern Mages[]

After discovering that Yennefer had returned to Aretuza, Tissaia confronts her as she attempts to poison the minds of three young initiates. Tissaia interrupted Yennefer's schooling of the girls and sent them to their rooms. She went on to tell Yennefer that she should stop with the one life she'd already ruined, that being her own. Yennefer never wanted to come back, referring to Aretuza as a joke. Letting in girls who couldn't even do magic. Tissaia explained that they had to make compromises in order to survive. Tissaia departed as an emergency conclave of the Northern Mages was called after Nilfgaard took Marnadal.

Tissaia, Stregobor, and Artorius led the conclave. Artorius and Stregobor had no desire to go to war with Nilfgaard. Especially not for Cintra, who rejected their mages for decades. Rather than watching them fall, Tissaia wanted to help Cintra defeat Nilfgaard. Sabrina, Vilgefortz, and Vanielle sided with Tissaia, wanting to convince the kings to send their armies because if they didn't stop Nilfgaard now, more kingdoms would fall.

Fringilla arrived at the conclave and denounced any suspicion that Nilfgaard was planning to take over the continent. Under their new leader, Emperor Emhyr, Nilfgaard had strengthened trade and funded research. Tissaia accused Fringilla of rejecting the order and way of life that took centuries to build. Tissaia retorted that they simply modified it. They'd taken a new path, guided by the White Flame. Nilfgaard believed in shared sacrifice and that there was no such thing as dark or light magic. Fringilla believed that in taking Cintra, they had a chance of saving the continent. If the Northern mages wouldn't take sides, Fringilla asked that they at least stay out her way. Tissaia wagered that Cintra was scared and suggested that they lend a hand. The mages put it to a vote. Unfortunately, most side with Stregobor and Artorius to allow Cintra to fend for itself.

Once the conclave concluded, Yennefer and Tissaia resumed their previous discussion. Tissaia insisted that there are girls who need the help that only Aretuza can provide. She also added that Yennefer was right back in Rinde when Tissaia visited her. But they had to put their differences aside to stop Nilfgaard. Tissaia, Vilgefortz, and some of the other mages were planning to fight, and she was hoping Yennefer would join them.[4]

Battle of Sodden Hill[]

Approximately 60 mages, Tissaia, Yennefer, Triss, Vilgefortz, Vanielle, Coral, and Sabrina included, board a ship headed for Sodden Hill. They must get to the Elven keep that guarded it before Nilfgaard did. They had already sent word to the Northern kingdoms. Temeria and Kaedwen agreed to join them in defending the land. The plan was to protect the keep. Tissaia, Yennefer, Triss, Vilgefortz, Vanielle, Coral, and Sabrina arrived at the keep. The only thing separating Nilfgaard from the North. They were greeted by a man. Yennefer advised him to take the children and hide, but as he explained, there was no more hiding from Nilfgaard. Their only chance was to fight.

Tissaia and Yennefer discussed Nilfgaard's encroachment and the need to enjoy the night while they could. Yennefer noticed that Tissaia had taken a liking to Vilgefortz. Tissaia looked to her and asked if she was ready to die should they fail to stop Nilfgaard. Yennefer claimed that she was, having lived several life times, none of which satisfied her, Tissaia remarked. Yennefer had accepted that life had no more to give. However, Tissaia argued that Yennefer still had more to give.

The keep was attacked in the late hours of the night by Fringilla and Nilfgaard. The sun had risen and the Northern mages made it through the night. Unfortunately, Nilfgaard arrived much sooner than they anticipated and the Northern armies were still a ways out. There were only 22 of them left, Tissaia, Yennefer, Triss, Vilgefortz, Vanielle, Coral, Atlan Kerk, and Sabrina included. They watched as a thick fog consumed the mountains around them, signaling Nilfgaard's encroachment. Tissaia ordered Sabrina to take the villagers to the artillery room while she and Triss head down. Yennefer was instructed to keep watch on the tower and reserve her chaos.

Yennefer telepathically communicated with the others to alert them of Nilfgaard's arrival. Tissaia guided Triss to an open field, where she proceeded to make mushrooms grow out the ground that when inhaled, its gases caused the Nilfgaardians to die.

Tissaia confronted Fringilla in the woods. She offered her a way out if she would willingly return to Aretuza. Fringilla laughed. She then explained that Nilfgaard was able to take Cintra after a horrible storm, where fifty Skelligen ships sunk to the bottom of the sea. Wrecked in a horrible fog caused by her. She then incapacitated Tissaia by throwing dimeritium in her face.

Tissaia woke up in the darkness to Yennefer's call, shivering and weak. She regrouped with Yennefer on the hillside. Tissaia had been severely weakened, but with the Northern armies close, Yennefer refused to give up. She looked Tissaia in the eyes and for the first time admitted that Tissaia saved her. It was Yennefer's turn to save the continent. Tissaia urged her to let her chaos explode. Yennefer got back to her feet, absorbed the fire that was consuming the keep and unleashed it all on the Nilfgaard army.[5]

Aftermath of Sodden Hill[]

In the aftermath of the Battle of Sodden Hill, Tissaia searched for Yennefer by looking through the memories of the fallen and observing their final moments. With thousands dead on all sides, Vilgefortz advised Tissaia to accept that Yennefer was gone, but she wouldn't give up on her, as she continued calling out to her protégé. However, instead of Yennefer, she crossed paths with Geralt and Ciri, who asked Tissaia if Yennefer was alive, but despite her efforts to find her, Tissaia was doubtful.

The mages returned to Aretuza, where they tended to their wounded, among them Triss, who suffered bad burns and was experiencing seizures, which they eventually managed to get under control.

Not only did they win the battle, they took a prisoner of war, that being Cahir, who Tissaia tortured for answers, using her Chaos to pick through his brain, a terribly painful experience, if Cahir's screams were any indication.[6]

Yennefer's return[]

Tissaia was practically speechless during a council meeting, with the surprise return of Yennefer, who many suspected of perishing during the battle. Tissaia waited a month before finally carving out the names on a plaque of those lost at the Battle of Sodden Hill. She was glad that it no longer included Yennefer's. Artorius could feel his hold on the council slipping and Stregobor was desperate, making him dangerous. Yennefer's actions turned the tide of the battle, and for that she was a hero to Tissaia and many others, but they needed to allow Vilgefortz to carry the mantle of victory because he and Tissaia were making a play for their council seats.

Tissaia intervened on Stregobor's unauthorized probing of Yennefer and presented his treason-like actions to the Brotherhood, where Stregobor reasoned that with Yennefer having survived fire magic, imprisonment by Nilfgaard and capture by elves, he didn't see it as unreasonable to suspect that she may have been turned.

In order to prove her loyalty, Tissaia revealed to Yennefer that the Brotherhood had decided she needed to kill Cahir. It would prove that Yennefer was not a spy, but she worried it would only prove she was a killer, which would be just another way for Stregobor to vilify her. If not kill him, Tissaia advised Yennefer to tell them the truth — that she was not a threat because she lost her magic. For a month, Yennefer searched the Continent, trying every herb, potion, and spell to get back what she deserves. Unfortunately, all Tissaia could say was that "What is lost, is lost."

During Cahir's execution, Tissaia watched as Yennefer cut him free of his chains and helped him escape.[7]

Hunting Ciri[]

Tissaia received an unexpected visit from Triss, who revealed that Ciri had the power to either save the world or destroy it, as prophesized.[8]

Tissaia stared out the window as Vilgefortz lied in bed, waiting for her to return. Something was clearly bothering her, but she didn't seek to burden Vilgefortz, who insisted they were partners in every way. And so, she reluctantly revealed they had an unexpected visitor, Dijkstra, from whom the Brotherhood learned that an elven baby had been born of a mage, which Artorius and Stregobor saw as a potential threat. However, Tissaia and Vilgefortz had no intentions to act on unfounded prejudice and rumor, to which Dijkstra replied that today's gossip is next month's news. For instance, he heard that Triss had returned, which the Brotherhood was not aware of, but Tissaia claimed she simply came back to recover after falling ill.

Tissaia revealed to Triss that she saw Ciri at Sodden. She was there with Geralt, but Tissaia didn't know who she was at the time, and they had come looking for Yennefer. Tissaia then asked who else knew about what Triss saw when she performed the Dol Durza on Ciri. No one outside of them and the other witchers, Triss revealed. Vilgefortz interrupted them after having learned the truth from Tissaia and demanded to know everything about Ciri. Triss viewed this as a betrayal, as she asked Tissaia not to tell anyone, and exited without saying another word. Tissaia blamed Vilgefortz for not heeding her warning and waiting until the time was right, but Vilgefortz saw this as a potential to end all war, because if she fell into the wrong hands, she could destroy the world. Vilgefortz always considered Tissaia his equal partner. He wished he could prove to her that he's equal of the same.[9]

Tissaia attended a meeting with the Northern Kings and Queens of the Continent, during which she revealed that Ciri was alive and well, accompanied by a witcher. Tissaia recalled Dijkstra coming to Aretuza and suspected that he knew of Ciri's existence all along, with the goal of King Vizimir marrying her in order to claim Cintra. When Meve remarked that Ciri created far less trouble for them when she was believed to be dead, Tissaia and the Northern Kingdoms authorized a bounty on Ciri and anyone protecting her.[10]

Celebration in Aretuza[]


  1. Season 1, Episode 02: Four Marks
  2. Season 1, Episode 03: Betrayer Moon
  3. Season 1, Episode 05: Bottled Appetites
  4. Season 1, Episode 07: Before a Fall
  5. Season 1, Episode 08: Much More
  6. Season 2, Episode 01: A Grain of Truth
  7. Season 2, Episode 03: What Is Lost
  8. Season 2, Episode 06: Dear Friend...
  9. Season 2, Episode 07: Voleth Meir
  10. Season 2, Episode 08: Family