A Look at the Roots of The Witcher's Creepiest Creatures

There’s a story behind every claw.
There’s a story behind every claw.
Photo: Netflix

We all know we’re supposed to toss coins to our witcher, but don’t forget there’s a reason why (it’s not just because Henry Cavill is cool). The witcher is a monster slayer who hunts down and incapacitates creatures from Andrzej Sapkowski’s series—creatures based on actual folklore.

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Netflix has released an explainer breaking down the reality behind The Witcher’s mythical monsters. It dives into the history behind some of the supernatural foes Geralt of Rivia faced in the first half of The Witcher’s debut season. Monsters like the kikimora, striga, selkies, and shapeshifters are traced back to their storytelling roots, as well as the real creatures and plants that may have inspired them in the first place.

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Sapkowski’s The Witcher series takes a lot of inspiration from Slavic (particularly Polish) folklore, particularly with its monsters. io9 previously released an in-depth feature looking at the medieval roots in The Witcher’s beasts and beliefs. The video from Netflix focuses on other details, mainly each beast’s physical composition and, in some cases, a modern comparison. I definitely recommend looking at both of them to get a full picture of The Witcher’s bestiary.

The first season of The Witcher is currently available on Netflix, and an anime prequel focusing on Geralt’s mentor, Vesemir, is on the way. The series has already been renewed for season two, but production was halted after just a couple of weeks because of the covid-19 pandemic. No word when it’ll resume.


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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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