Witcher Wisdom: The Purpose & Origins of Witchers

Netflix is coming out with its newest show, The Witcher, Q4 this year. Many franchised fans have been waiting in anticipation for its release, and are familiar with aspects of the lore via the games and/or the books.

We at TheWitcher.tv have decided to create spoiler-free introduction articles to the world, its characters, and useful backstories for those who would like to learn before the start of the show. The first Witcher Wisdom lesson:

The Purpose and Origins of Witchers

Actor Henry Cavill is playing the lead role as Geralt, but don’t let that fool you. The witchers get a bad rap from society- most believing that the witchers are barely worth more than the monsters they kill.

"Verily, there is nothing so hideous as the monsters, so contrary to nature, known as witchers for they are the offspring of foul sorcery and devilry. They are rogues without virtue, conscience or scruple, true diabolic creations, fit only for killing. There is no place amidst honest men for such as they." - Andrzej Sapkowski, Blood of Elves

Geralt is among the few monster hunters left in the world (simply called The Continent in the books). These hunters-for-hire are trained from childhood, and have been genetically modified to enhance their skills in various “schools.” Those that survive to adulthood are sent off to protect mankind from monsters, carrying a silver medallion specific to that school.

The population of witchers and monsters have significantly diminished over the centuries, and are a few and far between when the story starts.

Powers and Abilities

All witchers have been modified with qualities that make them much more qualified to rid towns of deadly creatures than even the most skilled soldier. Each potential candidate is subjected to a deadly ritual named ‘The Trial of the Grasses.’ This closely guarded process was so deadly, that a small fraction out of ten survived the process to gain any mutations. If you were lucky enough to survive the ordeal, you were also completely sterile.

Those that survive gain:

  • Cat-Like Eyes: Just like cats, witchers can maneuver well in both day and night and can maneuver through the darkest of environments
  • Toxin Resistance and Rapid Healing: Most creatures in The Continent have lethal poisons that would kill normal humans, but a witcher either is completely immune or able to heal much faster
  • Heightened Sense of Smell, Hearing, and Reflexes
  • Basic use of Magic Signs: They are able to conjure up rudimentary forms of magic through hand formations, but these pale in comparison to a sorcerer or sorceress’ magical capabilities

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Credit: The Witcher 3, CD Projekt Red

Tools of the Trade

A witcher can never be too prepared while out on the road, and carries a few essentials that are vital to their survival. Each professional monster hunter carries two types of swords with them: a silver sword for monsters, and a steel sword for humans or ordinary creatures.

Silver is an essential metal to witchers, as other metals are completely ineffective against specific types of supernatural creatures. A witcher’s medallion is also made of silver, and is sensitive to magical auras, like a dowsing rod.

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Illustration by Denis Gordeev

That’s it for this lesson! We will provide more, but we’d love feedback along the way. Did this entry help? What do you want to learn more of? Let us know in the comments below or in our forums!

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Editor-In-Chief / Owner
Kelsey Johnston is the primary admin of TheWitcher.tv. She also works for Supergirl.tv, Batwoman.tv and Stargirl.tv. She's a published author and has been involved in the entertainment industry for over four years now.

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