Skip to content

Is it better to free the tree Witcher 3?

My recommendation is to free the tree spirit for the greater good, despite the destruction it may bring to Downwarren.

The Ladies of the Wood quest in The Witcher 3 presents Geralt with a difficult moral choice – to free the ancient spirit of the Whispering Hillock tree or kill it at the Crones‘ request. This comprehensive guide will analyze the complex outcomes of both options to help players decide the “lesser evil” for themselves.

The Mysterious Tree Spirit‘s Plea

On his epic quest to find Ciri, the witcher Geralt comes across a mysterious voice calling out to him from a hollow tree in the swamps of Velen. This ancient spirit begs for Geralt’s help, promising to put an end to the evil reign of the Crones of Crookback Bog if freed.

But can our hero trust this unknown spirit? Or is slaying it on behalf of the townsfolk the safest path? There’s no easy answer here, so let’s break down the potential consequences of each choice.

The Deal with the Ladies of the Wood

The creatures known as the Ladies of the Wood or Crones of Crookback Bog have occupied the murky forests of Velen for ages. Though feared by local villages like Downwarren, the residents also worship the Ladies and offer them sacrifices in exchange for protection.

Yeah, these ladies sound super shady to me too! But sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.

Freeing the Tree Spirit – A Greater Evil?

If Geralt agrees to free the tree spirit, she promises to stop the Crones’ evil deeds and save the orphans they plan to kill. But this comes at a great cost – the spirit unleashes her wrath on the nearby village of Downwarren, killing all of its residents for assisting in her imprisonment!

Pros Cons
– Orphans at bog saved – Downwarren and its people slaughtered
– Ends Ladies of the Wood‘s evil reign – Baron‘s wife Anna cursed if timed poorly

So while freeing her has some positives, like saving the orphans, the cost may be too high if you care about sparing the lives of Downwarren‘s people.

Killing the Ancient Spirit

Alternatively, Geralt can complete the dark ritual needed to slay the tree spirit. While this prevents her from going on a murderous rampage, it also dooms the orphans at Crookback Bog to their fate.

Pros Cons
– Downwarren village spared – Orphans at bog still killed by Crones
– Safer short-term outcome – Allows Ladies of the Wood to continue evil control over Velen

So while the villagers live, the price paid in innocent lives lost still weighs heavy on one’s conscience. But preventing a potential massacre has merits too.

Impact on the Bloody Baron’s Quest

As if the decision wasn’t tough enough already, freeing the spirit can have unintended impacts on another key questline: lifting the curse on the Bloody Baron’s wife, Anna.

If Geralt frees the tree spirit after starting the Ladies of the Wood quest specifically, the vengeful Crones will take it out on Anna by cursing her. This ultimately leads to her death when the curse is later removed, causing the Baron much additional grief.

But if done beforehand, Anna can be saved from the curse temporarily and the Baron spared this extra misfortune. So timing matters greatly!

Making Your Choice – It‘s Up To You!

While I lean towards freeing the spirit for the greater good, the destruction she causes cannot be ignored. As with most choices in this morally gray witcher world, there are merits to both options depending on your perspective.

Tree Spirit Freed Tree Spirit Slain
Orphans Saved Downwarren Village Saved
Downwarren Destroyed Orphans at Bog Killed
Ends Crones‘ Evil Control Allows Crones‘ Evil Control
Risks Cursing Anna Safest Short-Term Choice

My advice is to reflect carefully on the impacts before you decide which choice weighs least heavy on your conscience. There are compelling arguments either way, and only you can pick the “lesser evil” for your Geralt.

Whichever you choose, thank you for taking the time to read this comprehensive guide to an unforgettable quest! Let me know in the comments if I can elaborate further or provide any other Witcher 3 tips.

Your fellow gamer,
Steven Erikson