The love for Iorveth that the hardcore fanbase surrounding The Witcher series has is about is subtle as the scar across his face. They love the “sly elf” (as Vernon Roche once put it), and I’ll admit to being partially enamoured by him.
But sadly, there are a few reasons as to why you’ll never see him again. Not in the Blood and Wine expansion for The Witcher 3, and not in another (inevitable) entry in The Witcher series.
You see, Iorveth has now become a cult icon, particularly among The Witcher fanbase. What does a cult icon mean, you ask? Well, in the context that I’m talking about, he’s become arguably one of the most popular characters in the entire series, perhaps second only to Ciri.
There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that CD Projekt have noticed Iorveth’s meteoric rise to fame. They definitely seem like the kind of company that actually listens to their fans, be it directly or scouring the internet message boards for thoughts from the community.
And through doing their homework, they’ll have come to the conclusion that Iorveth isn’t a character that can merely be thrust back in the series at any opportune moment.
This is mainly because of his popularity and his huge cult following, but it’s also because there’s now a certain mystery that now surrounds the elf, thanks purely to the work of CD Projekt.
Before The Witcher 3 was released, CD Projekt published a short comic, titled “The Witcher: Matters of Conscience.” In this comic, it was revealed that (SPOILERS) Geralt journeyed back to Vergen shortly after the events of The Witcher 2, to help both Iorveth and Saskia take care of some monster business.
Standard Witcher business, you might be thinking. But there’s a twist yet. After dealing with the monster, Saskia immediately heads back to Vergen to repel the invading Nilfgaardian forces. However Iorveth and Geralt both split, leaving Saskia to ultimately die at the hands of the southern invaders.
Does this mean that the Iorveth route in The Witcher 2 is canon? Probably, but that’s an entirely different article. The point is this: Iorveth is still out there, somewhere in the wilds, probably still running a guerilla campaign against either Nilfgaard or Redenia.
And that’s where the events of The Witcher 3 come into play. If you can make your way to a small Scoia’tael camp not too far outside of Novigrad, you’ll be able to eavesdrop on some very speculative conversations between the warriors.
The phrases you can overhear include “so full of arrows he looked like a hedgehog” and “rubbish, they also say that Isengrim escaped. When in fact he’s been worm food for years.”
Firstly, let’s unpack the former quote. It definitely sounds like Iorveth met his end on the battlefield, and most likely at the hands of the Nilfgaardian forces. However another soldier then counters with “dead? No, he’s been spotted in Novigrad!” The entire thing ultimately means no one has any idea where Iorveth actually is.
However there’s also the latter quote to consider. Isengrim actually did escape from his cell, according to the books, which logically means that Iorveth would also have had to have escaped with him. Both quotes packed together show how the whereabouts of Iorveth is ultimately a mystery, even to his Scoia’tael brothers in arms.
CD Projekt has very cleverly given us two directly conflicting statements, in an attempt to spur on the mystery surrounding the fate of Iorveth. And spur on the mystery they have. Visit any online message board that even carries a hint of Iorveth, and everyone immediately goes up in arms about the whereabouts of one of the best characters in the Witcher universe.
Which is saying something, by the way, because the universe of The Witcher carries droves of fantastically written and polarising characters, of which Iorveth is most definitely one.
So, back to the point I’m trying to pitch to you. Why won’t you ever see Iorveth again? In short, it’s because CD Projekt fully realise what an amazing mystery they have on their hands with Iorveth and his fate.
They have infinitely more to gain from merely keeping quite and providing more wood for the fire of speculation, than to outright reveal what became of Iorveth. CD Projekt have played us like a damn fiddle, and for that, you’ve really got to hand it to them.