At the start of the game, Geralt and Yennefer join up and make their way to the Emperor of Nilfgaard, Emhyr. While paying him a visit after his demands, Geralt gets a crash course on court elegance from his Chaplain, before eventually being granted a decision on whether he should bow to Emhyr when they finally meet. We are here to tell you what happens no matter if you choice to bow or not, and explaining if it even matter at all.
Should you bow in the Witcher 3’s Imperial Audience Quest?
Once you get through the practice bow, wear your fancy clothes and are escorted to the throne room with Emhyr, you then get a choice to bow to Emhyr. The good news is that the decision has absolutely no impact on the storyline. So, you’re largely doing it for your own role-play reasons.
However, depending on which option you take will result in the Chamberlain saying different things once you leave the throne room and return to Yennefer. If you bow, the Chamberlain will escort you back through the palace, saying the business-as-usual lines about what’s going on and to get you out of the palace as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, refusing to bow means the Chamberlain is rather angry at you, and mentions how he is likely to be punished for not correctly addressing you on the manners of court. Whether the Chamberlain is punished, we’ll never quite know for sure. So, bow for the Chamberlain’s sake, or refuse to bow for reasons. On our first playthrough, we didn’t bow just because I thought it would be comical, and it was.
It’s also worth mentioning that Geralt can get away with not bowing, largely thanks to the great debt Emhyr has over Geralt. In the books, Emhyr is cursed, and the one who saves him from that curse is Geralt. This allowed Emhyr to conquer the Nilfgaardian throne when it was usurped from him while he was cursed. In turn, this allowed him to begin his quest to find Ciri. This is largely where this quest resides, as Emhyr is depicted as en evil ruler through most adaptations and the second Witcher game. However, now we are in the Witcher 3, Emhyr mentions the whole point Geralt is even there is so he can begin looking for Ciri and bringing her back to him. So, with such a demand and trust placed in Geralt, bowing or not really doesn’t make very little difference in the grand scheme of things. So, bow, or don’t bow, it really doesn’t matter at that moment in time, as his daughter’s whereabouts and safety are more pressing than whether or not to be insulted by Geralt or not. Not to mention that Geralt is the entire reason Emhyr is doing what he is doing in thew first place. Letting a bow slide is no big deal.