The Witcher 3 - From Riv or Drift ?, a short story by Nora

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Aina Prat
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When I heard the examiner finish blowing her nose loudly before briefly bleating my name, I realized I wasn't ready and hesitated again. Yet on this hot early summer afternoon that many can afford to call “the end of school”, anything would have been conducive to laziness. But I had chosen not to work this year, thinking that the final year was a phase (without a bad pun) much less difficult to pass than it was said, because in my eyes everyone had their baccalaureate. Obviously and strong in my pedantic convictions, I failed miserably, forcing myself not to savor like most of my comrades the delights of the release of high school to return to do something that I had neglected to do for a year: to work .

And here I am on this delicious Monday, working on a subject of philosophy in front of a strict-looking examiner on the question as thorny as it is disturbing: do we always have a choice?

Throughout my preparation time, I found myself in the grip of a dreadful doubt making me hesitate between what my instincts dictated to me and the probability of a bitter failure that I could not afford. As I sat down across from her to begin my speaking in a voice quavering with stress, I felt that, even if the choice I had made was certainly not the right one, I would at least have something to say. to my friends :

“Uh… So, I start. Hmm… The choice is the fact of having the possibility, or even the obligation sometimes, to make a decision… Which therefore determines the fact that there are at least two possible outcomes beforehand for a choice to exist. "

With my start which sounded pretty good to me, I continued, choosing to focus my gaze not on trying to decipher her expressions that might disturb me, but rather on observing the glow of the sun shining on its pin-shaped pin. cat.

“By preparing my oral earlier, I was able to experiment with the subject because I found myself in the throes of a dilemma: should I proceed in an academic and therefore expected manner, offering myself more chances of pass this oral, or should I choose to stand out by preferring to practice a philosophy through a work that was not in my program this year? "


I cleared my throat and tried to wipe the nasty wetness of my hands off my jeans.

"So I made the choice to combine these two possibilities that were offered to me: to rely on recognized philosophical theories while arguing with examples that I consider concrete because they have punctuated my daily life for more than 172 hours. know the Witcher 3. "

I dared a quick glance at hers, noting that she was as bewildered as she was deeply perplexed.

“The Witcher is a video game based on the literary work of a Polish author… Who is called, I believe, Sapcowski. We play a man (very often qualified rather pejoratively mutant) Géralt de Riv who is a witcher and whose job is to track down and kill non-human creatures under contract, at least when they are harmful to man. . I am going to base my argument on the Witcher 3 which is the one I prefer and to which I have devoted the 172 hours that I mentioned previously. "

I paused for a few moments, but immediately got into the heart of the matter, feeling that she was going to try to cut me off, undermining my meager self-confidence with her directives:

“My plan will be a three-part plan and, rather than telling you, I will try to start it now so that I don't waste any more time. First of all, we will see that yes, we are constantly given the opportunity to decide our actions. By playing Géralt de Riv, we quickly realize that decision-making is not only commonplace in the game, but that each choice offered to us immediately or much later leads to a succession of events that we do not cannot necessarily predict unless we spoil ourselves… Sorry, unless we choose to know in advance what our decisions lead to. As this is not my case, I discovered the sensation of taking risks without any guarantee of knowing the scope of my decision with the perspective of consequently having to assume it. "

I perceived that I was losing her more and more, so I had to quickly engage a philosopher to reassure her:

“Descartes explains that the fact of doubting is already a decision in itself: that of choosing to question the choices available to us. By doubting, we therefore avoid acting hastily, preferring a form of premeditation which certainly leads to decision-making. For example, thanks to this doubt, it is feasible, in the measure of the unfolding which is offered to us, to turn back by finally taking a decision whose track which we thought to take beforehand was not this one. I am thinking here of one of the quests, or story, of the game the Witcher which is called "a matter of life and death" and one of the possibilities of which is to try to seduce one of the protagonists of the game: Triss Merigold. However, even if this choice is made, it is possible to finalize it or even forgo it in another “Now or Never” quest by deciding whether or not to let it go. "

I was hardly sure if my presentation would hold up as well as I had hoped earlier, but decided to continue, the dice having already been cast:

“The fact of always being able to choose can present us with a multitude of inconveniences, and the complexity of the decision-making can probably approach a difficult dilemma. Le dilemma corneille is an expression taken from the author Corneille and his theatrical works whose finality was determined by a dilemma allowing the character to choose between duty and love. We too can face such a complex dilemma in the Witcher 3, concerning the fate of one of the main characters: Princess Ciri. Ciri is a witcher like Gerald with whom she has an almost filial bond, despite the fact that she has a father who is the Emperor of the Nilfgaard. Following the many decisions that we have to make in the game, Ciri's fate is confirmed and Géralt will have, without knowing it, to make the choice for the latter between love (the one he has for his putative daughter) and duty (her role as heir to the throne that her father wishes to cede to her). The choice of Ciri's heart being to be freed from her role of Empress, which can happen if we choose more positive options, such as declining the pile of gold offered to us by the latter's father. "

With my argument in which I began to believe, I continued on the part that had given me the most difficulty:

"We are now going to see that no, despite everything we remain under the yoke of fate. Because if we base ourselves on Spinoza's determinism, we have no possibility of free will. Indeed, the least of our decisions is really only a chain of causes that pushes us to take them. We cannot therefore claim to be free in our actions and above all decision-making since we… Or at least God and nature have already orchestrated everything beforehand for this decision to be taken. I think we can relate that once again to the Witcher, but this time like any other multiple-choice RPG game. "

I hesitated for a moment to explain the definition of the word RPG to him but, looking at the time, I saw that I unfortunately had little time.

“The idea of ​​a determinism in which each of our actions will have been anticipated by a higher force can be compared to a video game whose choices will have been thought out and planned by its designers. If I choose, for example, to convince the witch Keira Metz to join me as an ally for the battle of Kaer Morhen, I unknowingly spare her a heretical burnt death in public or even having to face it myself, the precipitating in the last two cases to its demise. And this decision which seems to me to be a carefully considered choice is in fact already anticipated by the creators of the Witcher who lead us, like the works "the book of which you are the hero", to a plurality of available ends. "

I didn't allow myself time to catch my breath, I was way too intoxicated by my demonstration, thinking that I must have looked as enlightened as a philosopher discovering an innovative theory:

“Finally, I think it is interesting to address the fact of choosing not to choose, because that is already a choice in itself. I immediately think of as an example the story of Buridan's donkey who, both hungry and dehydrated, found himself faced with fresh water on the one hand and a sack of oats on the other. He did not know which of the two to run first to quench his hunger or thirst and died of indecision. We find a more or less similar example again in the Witcher, during the quest featuring the bloody baron whose wife, possessed by moiré, has gone mad. We can indeed choose to help him find it, and in this case I again spare you the different choices that appear with this decision, or quite simply not to choose by not lending him a hand, condemning the guy to roam the marshes. By not helping him, Géralt therefore reacts with indifference, and indifference if we are to believe Bossuet is already a choice. "

I remembered neither the quote from this Bossuet, nor the title of the work from which it was taken, which made me lose track for a moment. I noticed then that the examiner didn't interrupt me, patiently waiting for me to resume.

"As you advance throughout the game, you see that unless you start over a whole part several times (and this is unthinkable for me given the number of hours spent on it without having finished exploring everything), it is strictly impossible to discover and experience all the choices available to us. We could therefore rely on this sentence of André Gide "to choose is to give up".

By choosing to push Triss away to finally confirm the sincerity of his feelings to Yennefer, Géralt will never know what his future could have been with Triss. By choosing to choose, we prevent ourselves from experimenting with all the opportunities, unless of course we succeed in recreating them according to the same circumstances. "

I smiled quickly at him, aware that I had to finish now.

“I'm going to wrap up because I hope I didn't take too long, if so I'm sorry. I believe that learning to choose is learning to grow. This subject touches me a lot because I have always believed that to choose was to inflict something on oneself or on others. I was thinking that because I saw the drift my dad ended up in when my mom chose to leave us. But in the end, playing Géralt de Riv, I realized that not choosing is as much lacking in courage as missing out on something, like my father does. And being able to choose ultimately allows you to feel alive, to know that you exist in a world, ours like that of the Nilfgaard where Géralt evolves. "

I finished my presentation as I had started it: as perplexed as it was stressed. Having exceeded my speaking time, the examiner, with a dubious pout and hasty gestures, announced to me that there would be no questions because the next student was already late for his own oral.

Aware of my failure, but surprisingly resigned, I returned home with the certainty of having been imbued with as much nerve as stupidity.

On the day of the results, I saw that I had received an email from my philosophy teacher, the one who had to put up with my antics and my lack of involvement during the year. I then read, taken aback:

" Hello,
I take the liberty of writing to you on behalf of Madame L., your examiner, during your oral examination. Having neither the possibility nor the right to contact you herself, she asked me to send you a message. This one put you, and against all odds, 14 out of 20. It seems to have appreciated your courage which would even border unconsciousness when you know that you were betting your year. In addition, and even if your second part as well as some of your arguments were a little weak for her taste, she knew how to recognize your capacity to lean as well on several great philosophers, as on a video game. She concluded by telling me that, since your interview, she has started to discover the saga you told her about with her children and, surprisingly, she too loves being Géralt de Riv and finds that some of the choices that you told him are not the most relevant to do. All my congratulations and good luck. "

I did not know then if I was deeply amazed or immensely happy, and then made the choice to be both.

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