In the aftermath of the Battle of Sodden Hill, Emhyr is furious, eager to direct his wrath at the Northern Mages. The very reason the Thanedd banquet even takes place is Emhyr’s direct involvement, as it’s an elaborate trap set by him that leads to a “Game of Thrones” style Red Wedding bloodbath. There are traitors in the mix, ready to strike, and the implications are both personal and political. Season 3 foregoes these necessary reasons, and nuances, in favor of Yennefer organizing the ball before the Conclave of the Mages, which makes little sense when measured against the larger conspiracies that grip the Continent.
The series sets up Vilgefortz (Mahesh Jadu) as the one covertly pulling the strings, possibly as a ploy to lure Ciri out and use her for his own ends. While Volume I ends with this major reveal, the effects are rather underwhelming — what could have been an exciting, complex series of politically-fueled backstabbings and ploys unravels as childish games instead. In the books, the coup completely destroys the Brotherhood, and while that still might happen in the show, the lack of urgency dulls the impact that the events hope to strive for.
Moreover, due to the way seasons 1 and 2 set up the dynamic between Yen and the other Mages, it becomes less than believable when they permit her to host the event despite the fact that they view her as a traitor. While Yen and Tissaia’s (MyAnna Buring) tender bond is still understandable, the role she ends up playing in exposing Stregobor (Lars Mikkelsen) comes off as extremely forced. While the Thanedd sequence is shot exquisitely, involving almost-clever event loops and reveals, it ends up feeling hollow in comparison to the one in the books.