Sit down, get comfy, and, if you’re not too sick of reading my ramblings, enjoy my closing statements. It goes without saying (except that I’m still saying it) but if you haven’t completed the game yet-there are enough spoilers here to make your head explode. Or at least, I hope so. Also note that these musings are willfully ignorant of anything and everything that occurs in the sequel-I won’t provide spoilers for the sequel here, however insignificant.
The Grand Master was apparently none other than our dear, annoying Alvin. We were warned several times that source of his power might have the ability to travel through time and space-and this Alvin apparently did. If that wasn’t enough, the blue eyes should have been another giveaway. I mean, really, how many people have blue eyes? He was hounded from an early age by the Prophecy of Ithlinne, and it’s no surprise that such visions carried on into adulthood.
The only real question remains- and this is purely speculative at this point-is whether he was seeing honest prophetic visions, or if he was just making it up? As a potent mage who could travel through time and space, he may have actually seen the ice age that doomed humanity… or he could have just been a psychopath with an over-active imagination. Kids are liable to believe anything, and carry it with them into adulthood with conviction.
In the end, Geralt was one of his major role-models. The Dimeritium Amulet we gave him might have dampened his powers-but they certainly didn’t eliminate them, as evidenced by his disappearance during the Battle of Murky Waters, and the later spells he cast as an adult. He certainly took an interest in swordplay, too, which can probably be attributed to Geralt. Perhaps we’re fortunate he kept his amulet around, either as a keepsake, or to protect himself from hostile magics, or visions, and we might even be more fortunate that he split his focuses, instead of becoming a truly great mage. More obviously, what Geralt told him during the quest "Alvin" influenced several key ideas of his. While it didn’t change his ultimate plans, the reasons why all provided different justifications for his actions. I doubt, however, those who were killed because of his schemes care too much whether there were noble ambitions behind his plots.
What Alvin did after vanishing at the Battle of Murky Waters remains a mystery. It does, however, allow us to make sense of why Salamandra was so interested in Alvin-Alvin wanted to ensure the safety of Alvin. But considering how much Geralt shaped his views, it’s odd that older Alvin even bothered trying to have Salamandra abduct him… unless he felt he could do a better job.
Still, we must assume-given how everything worked out-that Alvin did not, in fact, have prophetic foresight as to how his plan would ultimately fail. Still, the Grand Master would have had to have known everything young Alvin did, and why he wasted so much effort to kidnap himself will just have to remain a mystery… unless perhaps he was doing what he knew he must do, to ensure that his youth played out the same way… but now we’re talking the cyclic paradox of time-travel, and I refuse to get into it.