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The Real Mythology Behind THE WITCHER’s Monsters

Geralt of Rivia would prefer to not involve himself in the problems of mankind. People are too complicated. He’d much rather focus on an easier enemy—monsters. Sure, they might be able to bite your head off or swallow you whole. But at least they won’t double cross you or fall in love. A witcher knows what he’s getting into when he fights a terrible beast. So do we. The magical creatures of the Continent are based on myths from around the world. And as this video from Netflix shows, we would need The Witcher‘s Geralt if any of our monsters prove to be real.

The Witcher‘s Bestiary” takes a look at all of the monsters from the first half of the show’s inaugural season. Some are directly based on famous mythological creatures found in different cultures. The first monster seen on the show, the giant spider-like beast known as a Kikimora, comes from a nightmarish figure of Slavic folklore. They are always female, rise from stillborn children or women who died in labor, and often have the face of the deceased. Traditionally they aren’t as big and horrifying as the one Geralt fought, but knowing their origins makes that many-legged creature even more terrifying.

Some of The Witcher‘s other monsters—like the Doppler, Sylvan, and Djinn—are already well-known mythological figures. But the series’ most terrifying creature, a Striga, also has connections to fictional (we hope) figures of folklore. That “vampire prototype” would scare Dracula himself.

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Also, it’s probably best not to go looking for the Brosno dragon. Geralt can fight his way out of a Selkiemaw’s stomach, but we can’t. We’re definitely not willing (or able) to face a Roachhound or any other type of giant insect monster it’s based on either.

Given the enormous number of monsters within the Witcher universe, the first bestiary video series only covered the first half of season one. But luckily, “The Witcher’s Bestiary” is back for part two, digging into all the monsters Geralt and co. encounter during the latter half of the season, including a basilisk, dragon, and even the nearly-extinct Hirikka—a creature created by The Witcher writer Andrzej Sapkowski.

What these video really show is how much the humans of the Continent take Geralt and his ilk for granted. They have actual horrible beasts eating them, yet they never want a witcher around. We’d like to hire one just in case these monsters ever prove to be real.

Originally published on May 12, 2020.