Spoilers for the quest in Skellige where the guy wants you to find out what happened to his sister’s fiance.
So I went to find Hjalmar’s sister and got distracted by a nice level 19 contract which I did to completion. This is the one where someone thinks a dude has run off on his sister, and the sister thinks he’s stayed loyal.
So here’s the thing: I KNEW he was dead. I KNEW the sister was right, and he was dead.
Which is another way this act (which I will call act 3) differs.
Way back in act 1 (Velen) there was some hope we were gonna fix things. The werewolf, Anna, we thought things were fixable. Even that ol’ grave hag: we stopped her, didn’t we? Then act 2 happened and, ok, maybe all these loves went awry and everyone turned into wraiths, but hey, they were romances that were doomed cuz people were mean. They lied, they betrayed, etc. These weren’t HAPPY people. Oh no. But now here, in Act 3, bad shit just happens. These two lovers weren’t lying to each other, or misbehaving. No. They were nice people, it seemed. And the world just said tough shit.
The game seems to be wearing down our optimism.
I’m curious how the witcher contracts (and themes therein) are when I get back to Velen. It’s curious that so many Velen contracts were designed to be done later in the game (I have several that are still red at level 22). It’ll be like “Act 1: Reprise.” I have a feeling themes will be turned on heads.
Yeah, that one with the guy who didn’t in fact run off and abandon his fiancee, who was good and true but was nevertheless just as gone as if he had abandoned her…that was grim. And there is that sort of grim in a few more of these. Bad stuff happens. You can’t fix it.
There’s one (no spoilers, because I genuinely can’t remember which quest it was, but something in Skellige) where you go back to the person who gave you a quest and say “if it’s any consolation, I killed the beast” or something and the person says “of course it’s no consolation!”
And it isn’t, is it. How would it be? He’s still gone. You’re still left without your husband/son/sister/whomever.
In many of these quests, you’re really completely useless when it comes to relieving peoples’ existing suffering. All you can do, I guess, is bring some sense of closure (now at least she KNOWS he didn’t run off), and hopefully prevent someone else from suffering the same thing in the future. It doesn’t help that woman that you killed that monster, but at least that particular monster won’t take any other people.
I think we as players (or at least me) tend to want to make everyone happy, but that’s totally impossible: how are these people going to be left HAPPY? Sure, we killed the grave hag, but their kids are still dead. This really speaks to the role of the witcher in society: You’re not there to comfort, you’re there to kill something so it doesn’t kill anyone else, and move on. If you want comfort, turn to religion. (Not that that seems to work out that well either, but maybe if you’re not one of the people being burned, it gives you a sense of righteousness and purpose.)
I tried to refuse that woman’s reward, because she’d suffered enough (plus her brother already paid me), but she insisted.