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"Do you really wish to know?"
Spoilers from the books and/or games 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 V about chess and politics, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Radovid V the Stern (Polish: Radowid V Srogi) was the King of Redania during the game series. He was the son of Vizimir II and Hedwig of Malleore, and thus a brother of Dalimira and Milena.

When he was 9 years old he was formally engaged to Cirilla, Princess of Cintra, when she was 12. The engagement was formalized between King Vizimir II and Queen Calanthe, Ciri's grandmother, but the king broke the engagement off after half a year without any explanation.

Radovid bore a deep hatred of mages. His father was secretly assassinated during Radovid's infancy, most likely by the sorceress advisor Philippa Eilhart, who then assumed the regency in his name and dominated and demeaned him throughout his youth.

Biography Edit

Radovid the Stern, fifth of his name, king of Redania, was a polarizing figure. Some considered him a brilliant strategist, a superb general. Others - a bloodthirsty, paranoid madman. The truth lay, as the truth always do, somewhere in the middle.

He liked to say a soldier is only as strong as his breastplate. In the end, even the best swordsman cannot change the tides of battle if he falls to one stray arrow or a single lucky blow. That's why Radovid never begrudged his infantry quartermasters the coin to buy solid armor.

Human soldiers are neither as strong as dwarves nor as dexterous as elves. Yet they have one clear advantage over both elder races: their numbers. Gather a mass of humans, put a sword in their hand and a half-decent commander in front...and there is no force that could hope to stop them.

Radovid is known for stating there is no problem a gallant charge of heavy cavalry cannot solve. Some doubt the truth of his declaration. Some clearly have not seen Redanian riders in action.

The Witcher (PC)Edit

Radovid is mentioned then and again throughout the game, but in Chapter III, Geralt gets to meet the king face to face. Their first meeting is not actually "live" as Radovid's image is merely visible courtesy of a telecommunicator, Hartmann's mirror. Their second meeting is actually face-to-face and in the flesh and takes place at Radovid's hideout. He is then seen outside the city on the landing at the beginning of Chapter V. Their final meeting is in Vizima's Trade Quarter.

In the game, Radovid is attempting the same thing his father tried a couple of decades before: joining the royal families of Redania and Temeria. Because of this, he asks Geralt's opinion about Adda. He fostered a link with Salamandra through "mutual acquaintances", and at one point considered them a possible ally; however, he eventually discarded them. A mannered, calculating individual, he is more refined than his opposite number Foltest but no less ruthless.

If Geralt manages to break Adda's curse anew, there is a scene of the happy couple promising a bright future and the union of the two kingdoms into one. If Geralt kills the striga, though, Radovid reigns alone in Redania.

Associated QuestsEdit

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Edit

Radovid screen2

Radovid is a main character in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. He participates in the talks at Loc Muinne during Chapter III and plays a major role in deciding its outcome.

"This child is a bastard." - Radovid when John Natalis declares Anaïs the rightful heir of Temeria during A Summit of Mages.

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

Tw3 Radovid on his ship

Radovid V also appears in the third game. Radovid remained the only monarch to have the strength to resist Nilfgaard.[5] During the winter break, he invaded a weakened Kaedwen and absorbed the Kaedweni forces into his own.[6]

Radovid re-encounters Geralt when he and Roche come looking for the whereabouts of Cyprian "Whoreson Junior" Wiley. Radovid provided the information in exchange for a favour from Geralt later on. As soon as Geralt leaves Whoreson's estate, Redanian soldiers bring him before Radovid on his flagship, the HMS Oxenfurt-Tretogor. Radovid assigns Geralt to find Philippa Eilhart and bring her to him alive.

Later on in story, after carrying out a series of tasks for Sigismund Dijkstra and Vernon Roche, Geralt can take part in a plot to assassinate Radovid, in retaliation for his mage/nonhuman hunts. If Geralt joins the conspiracy, he lures Radovid to the Saint Gregory Bridge by telling him that Philippa Eilhart is hiding there.

Once at the bridge, Temerians attack Radovid and his men, cutting them down in a ferocious battle. Radovid tries to run away, but is surprised by Philippa, who shows up to get her revenge. She blows a powder in his face that blinds him and causes him agonizing pain, before she finally stabs him to death.

Associated quests Edit

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.

Trivia Edit

  • Radovid has the face of Michał Madej, chief designer of The Witcher.
  • Radovid may be very well inspired by Polish and Czech king Boleslaus I the Brave.
  • Redanian Herbal, according to its description, is called "stern" in honour of Radovid.
  • Although Radovid is 3 years younger than Ciri, in The Witcher 3 he looks much older than her. As Geralt said in The Witcher 2, time in another world flows differently.
  • In the first game his role is of little significance. You see it in Foltest's behavior towards the young ruler. In the second game he becomes a significant figure in the Northern Kingdoms. In the third he becomes the most powerful ruler in the North.
  • Radovid's name can be translated as "A joyful sight" (RADOst - Joy, and VID - Look, Appearance)
  • If Geralt chooses to kill Radovid in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, he can still hear Redanian Soldiers yelling "Long Live Radovid".


Gallery Edit

References Edit

  1. Propaganda posters
  2. 2.0 2.1 in The Witcher game series
  3. Depending on choices made in The Witcher (PC)
  4. Depending on choices made in the first two games
  5. Radovid V the Stern - The Hard Slog to Greatness
  6. Conversation between Ambassador and Geralt

External links Edit

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