You thought I was going to start with Lawful Good, didn’t you?
UPDATE: This is a character alignment profile based on the videogame version of Geralt, not the Netflix series. There may be similarities however.
So Geralt and Vesemir walk into a bar where the bartender is defending herself not displaying the colors of Temeria. The drunken woman arguing with the bartender reaches up and starts bashing the bartender’s head against the counter, and the two Witchers intervene, only to find themselves fending off the entire tavern of loyal, inebriated Temerians. Jen: I really thought he was starting this post with a bar joke…
Geralt himself follows the Witchers’ ill-defined code as closely as possible (depending on the player’s actions of course). Witchers themselves tend to stay out of meddling with politics, as it muddies the waters too much and makes it difficult to carry out jobs with ease.
Bound By The Code
The code is a bit of a nebulous term in The Witcher series of books and games, with Geralt alluding to its contents while never outright stating it in full. There’s been some speculation as to what the code itself entails, with some going so far as claiming it’s a means-to-an-end; a fabricated excuse for Witchers being able to do whatever they damn well please. However, if that were the case, then Witchers like Vesemir wouldn’t exist.
However, I’m not writing this to debate the existence of a Witcher code, but instead making the case that Geralt of Rivia conforms to the Lawful-Neutral alignment.
The Witchers’ code, according to what I can gather, asserts that Witchers are to avoid getting involved in the affairs of nations. Instead, their task is to provide the service of policing the interactions between mundane and magical. They do it for coin, because that’s how it has been done for years. When the Conjunction occurred (according to legend), and the planes of man and magic converged, the world was filled with all manners of new horrors.
To combat the new terrors that came about, the Witchers were created by mutating their physical form in order to make use of magic and to withstand the might of their new foes.
I’m sounding awfully verbose. I love writing like this!
Anyways, Geralt is one to follow the teachings of his organization, with a little wiggle room of course. He can leave some monsters to live as long as they don’t pose an overt threat to those around them, though often that isn’t the case. The manner in which he actually accomplishes his goals is a bit of a grey area however.
In The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, Geralt finds himself helping his old friend, Keira Metz (Jen: His “old friend,” yeah that’s what she was), discover and neutralize the source of the haunting on Fyke Isle. During the course of the investigation, it’s discovered that the haunting is from the spirit of a scorned lover who died during the events that unfolded between the villagers and the sorcerer who inhabited the tower.
Geralt’s code dictates that he must dispel the curse that has bound the spirit to the island, but doesn’t provide him a precise course of action to carry it out. There are a number of ways that the player can guide Geralt into completing the task of ridding the tower of its spectral inhabitant, but each option for the quest leads to the death of the spirit’s former lover. Jen: As River would say, “spoilers!” Shelby: The game released in 2015. Two years is plenty of time for not worrying about spoilers in a side quest. Geralt knows that one way or another, he must carry out his duty.
Each of the Witcher contracts follows a similar track, with Geralt plying his trade in the aim of performing his service. Jen: His services vary, if you know what I mean. However, the overall course of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt has less to do with the general duties of a Witcher and more to do with Geralt looking for Ciri. Jen: Ciri is this chick that he raised from a wee one and helped train to be a Witcher, but then doesn’t become a Witcher. He raised her with the help of his
hawt ex-girlfriend, Yennifer. Ciri is also the daughter of a really rich dude. And you search for her for an incredibly long time. Geralt doesn’t compare to Aragon very well.
Still, Geralt sticks to his teachings, and goes to great lengths to make sure he avoids compromising his code. At worst, Geralt makes mistakes that result in unfortunate circumstances. Jen: Whoopsie daisy!
A Mercenary, For Better Or Worse
Geralt (like many Witchers) doesn’t really care about the affairs of others. Jen: Which makes him a really awesome character to play as! His code doesn’t dictate that he needs to intervene in other’s lives, but he has the freedom to do so if he chooses. Much like a mercenary, a Witcher generally carries out tasks for compensation, not in a nation’s service.
This can put them in a position of strength, and has made it possible for them to continue on despite the constant wrangling of influences and power. It also puts them in a bit of a bind when dealing with patriots and loyalists though. If a Witcher is seen as opposing a loyalist’s viewpoint, that could easily be attributed to their unwillingness to choose sides.
Loyalties to a Witcher, like Geralt, are a means to an end. They keep them as long as it’s required, usually under the influence of a contract. Even in the service of the Emperor of Nilfgaard, Geralt still maintains his autonomy and actively opposes the interests of the Nilfgaardians as he pleases. That doesn’t mean he’s working against them, just that he retains the neutrality that he needs to accomplish his mission. Geralt instead has loyalties to his friends and colleagues. Jen: And the lady-folk *wink wink*.
Geralt of Rivia, The Lawful-Neutral Witcher
So in conclusion, the White Wolf, Geralt of Rivia, appears to fit well into the paradigm of a Lawful-Neutral character. Someone that abides by an internalized code of ethics, yet doesn’t subscribe to the notion of loyalties that aren’t personal in nature. I initially considered the possibility of Geralt being a True Neutral or Chaotic Neutral character, but he does abide by his order’s rules for the most part, and does often abide by the laws and customs of the societies he interacts with.
Do you agree with this assessment? What are your thoughts? Also, let me know if there are any characters you’d like to see a profile of.
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Great write-up and you’re absolutely right; Lawful Neutral is indeed his whole shtick. You hit it right on the head – He has his code; he follows his code and that’s what being Lawful is all about. Neutral because eh, he doesn’t really care about the ethics, so long as his laws are upheld.
I’ve got one for you to do a profile on, if you’re up for a challenge – Manny Calavera from Grim Fandango. I’d personally give him a Chaotic Neutral, as he does things that he himself considers to be good, but it has to either benefit him or those he cares about. He doesn’t care about authority, he’s willing to, and I quote “blow the lid off this place!” But he’s not about causing problems for the sake of it 🙂
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I never actually played Grim Fandango, but I’ve hear many great things. I can’t remember if I own it or not from the free games on PS+ or Xbox GWG.
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Great post on Geralt – He’s accurately Lawful-Neutral.
Interesting characters to possibly profile:
Martin Hatch – Quantum Break
Sylens – Horizon Zero Dawn
Both are played by the actor, Lance Reddick, and are quite similar to eachother, probably because of the actor’s personality.
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I really like Lance Reddick as an actor, so it’d be a treat to profile his recent game characters. I can’t decide which one I’d like to start with though…
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I agree with the assement, although I do feel Geralt does things for himself more than for his code. I haven’t really noticed any mention the code, but then again I’ve only played Witcher 2 and partially Witcher 3 and haven’t touched any of the books, so I could be just missing some context here. I do feel he takes the law, or whatever version of his code is into his own hands though. That’s just how I’ve interpreted it based on the decisions I’ve made as Geralt in my playthrough. I follow what I believe my personal code is.
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The code I’m referring to is less spoken and more implied. Geralt and Vesemir both seem to follow the same line of thinking, and there seems to be rules and guidelines in place for how things are done. All of the Witchers seem to have the same understanding that they should steer clear of political interference at all costs (with notable exceptions from the school of the Viper).
It’s worth noting that Lawful Neutral characters also can abide by their own personal code.
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I fucking love the witcher 3 Geralt the bad ass
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I’m going to agree, lawful neutral but put a caveat on it – lawful neutral with good tendencies.
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I can get behind that. Thank you for reading!