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Spoilers from the books and/or games to follow!
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The fate is cruel. We are not in a fairytale anymore, we are discussing the matters of life, life that is evil, bad, and unforgiving, the life that does not spare anyone, neither the witchers nor kings or queens.
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- Calanthe of Cintra in Sword of Destiny

Calanthe Fiona Riannon of Cintra, known also as "Ard Rhena" ("High Queen" in Elder Speech), the "Lioness of Cintra" was a queen of Cintra, the mother of Pavetta, and grandmother of Ciri. Her nephew, Crach an Craite, called her "Modron". She was known for her bravery and beauty.

Biography Edit

Calanthe was the only child of King Dagorad of Cintra and Queen Adalia and took to the throne after her father's death when she was 14 years old. When she was 15, she won her first major battle in Hochebuz against Nazair, earning her the nickname "Lioness of Cintra".

First marriage Edit

Surprisingly, it was rather difficult for Calanthe to find a husband: she initially didn't want to get married and when she finally decided to do so for convenience, rumors had been spreading about her from everything from incest to affairs to even suggesting the queen and her distant cousin Meve were together. These rumors caused other kingdom's princes to politely refuse her hand. However, they eventually found Roegner, Duke de Salm, who agreed to marry her as it was a big step up for him, even if the rumors were true. Calanthe began to have second thoughts though and tried to think of ways to make herself look crazy to get out of it, but all this came to halt when she met Roegner, who was quite handsome. And so, at 17 years old, she married Roegner, who was 7 years her senior, and 2 years later the couple welcomed a daughter, Pavetta.[1]

Pavetta's 15th Birthday Edit

After Roegner died, Calanthe was then proposed to by several other kings, including Ervyll of Verden and Venzlav of Brugge. It was also known that Eist Tuirseach of Skellige proposed a number of times, but Calanthe turned them all down.

When Pavetta turned 15, Calanthe threw a celebration where a number of eligible suitors were invited along with some of their men, including Eist Tuirseach, who came with his nephew, Crach an Craite. However, because whoever her daughter married would automatically become king of Cintra due to the kingdom's customs, she wanted to ensure an alliance with Skellige and knew her daughter was secretly seeing someone she didn't want interfering with her plans. Thus, she invited the witcher Geralt, under the name Lord Ravix of Fourhorn, to attend the party, though she hid her true reasons for his attendance when he questioned her.

Eventually the man that Pavetta had been seeing, Duny, showed up to claim her due to the Law of Surprise when he'd rescued her father 15 years ago. Calanthe was forced to acknowledge that her late husband, on his death bed, told her the truth of the night he was helped by Duny. However, she also knew he had a hedgehog head and, thinking her daughter hadn't seen it, tricked him into removing his helmet, causing an uproar among the suitors while the queen triumphantly proclaimed that her daughter wouldn't dare go with such a creature and the Law of Surprise was void. However, Pavetta proclaimed that she still wanted to go with Duny, stunning her mother, who collapsed into her chair while some of the suitors tried to attack Duny.

Seeing her lover being threatened, The Force suddenly erupted from Pavetta, sending furniture and people flying, including Calanthe's throne with the queen still sitting on it. The throne smashed against the opposite wall and the queen was knocked unconscious and she fell to the floor, where Eist threw himself on top of her to prevent anymore damage from happening to her. Throughout the commotion, Eist kept telling Calanthe how much he loved her and she came to enough to hear him propose once more to her. However, she didn't respond immediately and with Geralt and Mousesack having gotten Pavetta calmed down, she went to talk to them to find out what happened.

After learning that her daughter and Duny had been seeing each other for a year and with everything that happened during the feast, she finally agreed to let the couple get married, unintentionally breaking Duny's curse. However, she told Duny that he wouldn't become king just yet and, turning to Eist, told him she accepted his earlier proposal and soon both couples were married.

Her death Edit

Calanthe and Eist were married for 13 years when Nilfgaard invaded and led to what became known as the Slaughter of Cintra. Her husband was killed at the Battle of Marnadal and, realizing the city of Cintra had fallen, she chose to jump to her death rather than surrender to the invaders.

Her body was never recovered so she was given a cenotaph instead in two locations: Skelliger created one to place beside Eist's resting place, and Emperor Emhyr had a beautiful one created and placed in the royal crypt beneath Cintra's castle a year after its capture.[1]


  • Calanthe is a widespread genus of terrestrial orchids (family Orchidaceae) with about 150 species.

Notes Edit

  • Calanthe appears in The Hexer TV series in episode 6 "Calanthe", and episode 8 "Rozdroże".
    • In the series, she's portrayed as being 59 though in the books she was 32 at the time of the story.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Genealogy of Ciri - Calanthe