Follow TV Tropes


Context Franchise / TheWitcher

Go To

1[[quoteright:350:]]²²''The Witcher'' franchise started off as a collection of [[CharacterOverlap loosely connected]] {{dark|Fantasy}} [[LowFantasy Low]]/HeroicFantasy short stories which deconstructed classic FairyTales and then evolved into a series of novels with a strong MythArc. Written by the Polish author Creator/AndrzejSapkowski during TheNineties, the books were translated into multiple languages (including Russian and German) and adapted into comics, the {{Film}}[=/=]LiveActionTV series ''Series/TheHexer'', and [[TabletopGame/TheWitcherGameOfImagination The Witcher tabletop RPG]]. The franchise first gained widespread attention in the English-speaking world, though, with the release of ''VideoGame/TheWitcher'', a video game adaptation-slash-sequel by the then-unknown Polish developer studio, Creator/CDProjektRed, English translations of the original novels have followed. As of 2018, all eight books have received official English translations. They have also been fan translated, and were freely available in ''VideoGame/TheWitcher'' forum community "Our Community Fan Translations" tread. Also, after a long development, a long-awaited [[Series/TheWitcher2019 English-language series]], written by TV veteran Thania St. John and based on two short stories collections (''The Last Wish'' and ''Sword Of Destiny''), has been co-produced by Creator/{{Netflix}}, Platige Image and Sean Daniel Company, and was released on Netflix on the 20th of December 2019.²²The original books were:²²[[index]]²* ''Literature/TheLastWish'' (''Ostatnie życzenie'', 1993; English edition: 2007)--a short story collection with a FramingDevice, reprinting four stories from a previous collection, ''The Witcher'' (''Wiedźmin'', 1990), alongside new material, [[ArcWelding arranged in order to better fit into the emerging continuity]];²* ''Literature/SwordOfDestiny'' (''Miecz Przeznaczenia'', 1992; English edition: 2015)--a short story collection;²* ''Literature/BloodOfElves'' (''Krew elfów'', 1994; English edition: 2008)--a novel (''The Witcher Saga'' #1);²* ''Literature/TheTimeOfContempt'' (''Czas Pogardy'', 1995; English edition: 2013)--a novel (''The Witcher Saga'' #2);²* ''Literature/BaptismOfFire'' (''Chrzest Ognia'', 1996; English edition: 2014)--a novel (''The Witcher Saga'' #3);²* ''Literature/TowerOfTheSwallow'' (''Wieża jaskółki'', 1997; English edition: 2016)--a novel (''The Witcher Saga'' #4);²* ''Literature/LadyOfTheLake'' (''Pani jeziora'', 1999; English edition: 2017)--a novel (''The Witcher Saga'' #5); and²* ''Literature/SeasonOfStorms'' (''Sezon burz'', 2013; English edition: 2018)--a novel, set around the time of the short stories.²[[/index]]²²The five novels from ''Blood of Elves'' to ''Lady of the Lake'' are collectively known as the Witcher Saga. In addition to these, there were two loosely related short stories: ''Droga, z której się nie wraca'' (''Road of No Return''), a prequel telling the tale of Geralt's parents and ''Coś się kończy, coś się zaczyna'' (''Something Ends, Something Begins''), a non-canonical story of Geralt's and Yennefer's wedding.²²Other books: ²²* ''Tales from the World of The Witcher'' (''Opowieści ze świata Wiedźmina'', 2013), an anthology of short fiction by Russian and Ukrainian authors.²* ''The World of the Witcher'' (2015), a guide to world written from the InUniverse perspective of Geralt and his companions.²* ''Claws and Fangs'' (''Szpony i kły'', 2017), an anthology of short fiction by Polish authors, a result of a contest organized by a Polish speculative fiction magazine. ²²Video games:²[[quoteright:350:]]²²[[index]]²* Main series:²** ''VideoGame/TheWitcher'' (2007)²** ''VideoGame/TheWitcher2AssassinsOfKings'' (2011)²** ''VideoGame/TheWitcher3WildHunt'' (2015)²* Spinoffs:²** ''The Witcher Battle Arena'', a [[/index]]{{MOBA}} (2014)[[index]]²** ''The Witcher Adventure Game'', a digital adaptation of the boardgame (2014)²** ''VideoGame/GwentTheWitcherCardGame'', ''Witcher 3'''s MiniGame made into a full game.²** ''VideoGame/ThronebreakerTheWitcherTales'', a Gwent-based singleplayer RPG (2018)²* [[/index]][[GuestFighter Guest Appearances]][[index]]:²** ''VideoGame/SoulCaliburVI'' (2018)²** ''VideoGame/MonsterHunterWorld'' (2019)²** ''VideoGame/DaemonXMachina'' (2019)²[[/index]]²²Comic Books:²* ''Wiedźmin'' (1993-1995)²* ''The Witcher: Reasons of State'' (2011)²* ''The Witcher: House of Glass'' (2014)²* ''The Witcher: Fox Children'' (2015)²* ''The Witcher: Killing Monsters'' (2015)²* ''The Witcher: Matters of Conscience'' (2015)²* ''The Witcher: Curse of Crows'' (2016-2017)²* ''The Witcher: Of Flesh and Flame'' (2018-2019)²* ''The Witcher: Fading Memories'' (2020-)²²Film:²* ''Film/TheHexer'' (''Wiedźmin'', 2001)²²Tabletop games:²[[index]]²* ''TabletopGame/TheWitcherGameOfImagination'' by [=MAG=] (2001)²[[/index]]²* ''The Witcher: Adventure Card Game'' (''Wiedźmin: Przygodowa Gra Karciana'') (2007)²** ''The Witcher Promo Card Game'' (2007)²* ''The Witcher Adventure Game'', an {{Adventure Board Game|s}} by Creator/FantasyFlightGames (2014)²* ''TabletopGame/TheWitcherRolePlayingGame'' by Creator/RTalsorianGames (2018)²²Television Series:²[[index]]²* ''Series/TheHexer'' (''Wiedźmin'', 2002)²* ''Series/{{The Witcher|2019}}'' (2019) (English language) ²[[/index]]²²Please add installment- and character-specific examples directly to their respective pages.²²----²!!The world of ''The Witcher'' provides examples of:²²* ActionGirl: Dozens. There are also dryads, a OneGenderRace of Action Girls.²* ActiveRoyalty: Various examples.²* AllMythsAreTrue: Averted. There are many examples of false hoaxes and folk tales during the series. There are various myths about vampires, witchers and monsters that people groundlessly believe. Though some of them turn out to be more or less correct, like the story about [[spoiler:golden dragon]], or belief in destiny.²** The story of Cinderella exists in-universe, and was based on an actual event. The true story? Princess Cendrilla was eaten whole by a Zeugl living in the palace pond, leaving behind only a shoe. Less of a happy ending there. There was another take on it where the woman in question, tired of unwanted advances from a nobleman at a ball, fled the ball, dropping her shoe in the process. ²* AllWomenAreLustful: If the female characters aren't propositioning Geralt for sex, they're talking about it with other characters.²** Arguably, {{played with}}. Some of them just act like that to manipulate men.²* AlternateContinuity: Sapkowski [[WordOfGod has stated]] that while he fully trusts the developers' skill at storytelling, he doesn't feel beholden to the games' continuity; they're effectively a high-budget FanSequel. However, he belatedly declared the basic assumption of the games' plot (the fact that [[spoiler:Geralt and Yennefer [[DisneyDeath survived the end of the books]]]]) to be official - but if he decides to write another sequel, he reserves the right to ignore the games' continuity. Unlike your typical adaptation, it's pretty evident that the game developers worked hard to maintain continuity with the books. They pretty much [[ShownTheirWork use any given opportunity]] to add {{Continuity Nod}}s to the events in the books, even when it might do nothing but confuse any poor player who enjoys the game but has never read the source material. ²** Sapkowski's own short story "Something Ends, Something Begins" presents an alternate happy ending where Geralt and Yennefer have married at last. According to him, the story is non-canonical, as it was a wedding gift to his friends. ²** Some of the comics could be considered this as well. For example, ''Fox Children'' tells the same story as part of ''Season Of Storms'', albeit with a number of differences in continuity, most notably that in the comic, Geralt begins the story with his swords, while he has already been divested of them at this point in the book and is attempting to travel to Novigrad to get them back.²* AnachronismStew: See MedievalEuropeanFantasy below.²* AndIMustScream: Object Compression is a spell that turns people into small statues. Lytta Neyd is particularly fond of using this spell on those who displease her. It's also how Yennefer is smuggled out of Thanedd after Vilgefortz's coup. The process is stated to be very painful, especially as it compresses the internal organs and can damage them when the spell is reversed. ²* BasiliskAndCockatrice: These are two separate creatures. A basilisk is a venomous reptile with an extremely potent neurotoxin, while a cockatrice is an avian-reptile hybrid (the description brings to mind an evolutionary missing link) that hunts by [[StealthExpert stalking]] its prey and attacking a weak point. Basilisk leather and cockatrice feathers are considered prime quality by, respectively, fashionistas and scribes. Also, both can be killed with a mirror -- if hit square in the head, of course.²* BlackAndGrayMorality: There is very little "white" or even "lighter gray" morality to be found here. In most cases, choices have to be made between letting a horrible person win, or letting a ''really'' horrible person win. Even heroic characters like Triss and Yennefer are lying and manipulative, and Geralt admits to being an UnscrupulousHero on several occasions, especially calling himself a "murderer". ²** This is especially evident with the ongoing war between Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms. The former is an expansionist empire that has started multiple unprovoked wars against the latter, committing atrocities up to and including ''outright genocide'' on the population. However, the North isn't really much better. They often war among themselves when they're not dealing with Nilfgaard, and even when Nilfgaard is on the warpath, they'll happily stab each other in the back to increase their own spheres of influence even slightly. Both sides also frequently serve as antagonistic forces against Geralt and company, making it all the more evident that there is no real "good" side in the conflict.²* BlessedWithSuck[=/=]CursedWithAwesome:²** On the one hand, Witchers have it good. Their mutations make them resistant to most poisons and diseases (which allows them to ingest normally toxic potions), they have superior strength and reflexes, are extremely long-lived, and can see well in the dark, among other things. On the other hand, they're social pariahs, widely regarded as freaks and monsters by the masses, are seldom treated or even paid well and they are sterile. Also, as Lambert makes clear, traumatized children taken from their homes for a career they might not want, made to go through an often fatal TrainingFromHell, and then physiologically altered tends to make for some pretty screwed-up adults.²** Ciri can arguably qualify. Being a princess of a politically important kingdom is nothing when compared with [[spoiler:the ability to travel through time and universes]]. Thanks to that she is hunted by virtually ''everyone'', for a dozen different schemes.²* BoringButPractical: InUniverse, this is the point of Signs. While not nearly as powerful or flashy as the spells mages and sorceresses can do, they can be cast quickly and with one hand, so they are very useful in the middle of combat. ²* CanonDiscontinuity: See AlternateContinuity above. While the newest novel didn't directly contradict the games, Andrzej Sapkowski has stated that potential future novels won't make references to or acknowledge the plot of the video games.²* ChurchMilitant: No less militant than anyone else.²* CodeOfHonour: Geralt often quotes The Witcher Code as a reason why he can't accept a certain contract or why he can't get involved with whatever problems someone else wants him to resolve. [[spoiler:He made the whole thing up in order to be able to avoid accepting contracts he doesn't want to do and to protect himself from the potential backlash of refusing to help someone. It also helps with his personal rep, since people believe he is bound by the Witcher Code and therefore not going to do his own thing and muck things up because he feels he should.]]²* ContinuitySnarl: Despite the amount of work put into the games to keep them as faithful to the novels as possible, there are some nagging anachronisms present such as wrong dates [[note]]the first game says that the Battle of Brenna and the end of the Second Nilfgaard War happened in 1265 instead of 1268[[/note]] and a book written 200 years ''after'' the series appearing in the first game.[[note]]''Fairytales and Stories'' by Flourens Delannoy, with the author even being mentioned by name.[[/note]]²* CorruptChurch: But it's mostly due to the [[CrapsackWorld general world's crapsackiness]]. Nenneke of the Temple of Melitele (where Geralt tends to go for healing) is definitely a good character. The rule of thumb is: male priests are corrupt.²** A bigger example is the Church of the Eternal Fire, which is rotten to the fucking core. Most of the hired clergy is former torturers and assorted scum-of-the-earth types. They use hired thugs to harass unbelievers and people who they deem "heretics" and use their funds to cater to vices that they claim to be above.²*** And you can guess how a church that worships fire likes to deal with "heretics"...²** Downplayed with priest Krepp in "The Last Wish". He sure is an arrogant asshole with good share of prejudice in his worldview, but the way he helps Geralt with teleportation and even risking his life in the process reveals him as a sincere and faithful man that tries his best to actually be genuine and deserving of the moral authority his title implies.²* CrapsackWorld: Where do we begin... The world is mired in conflict, people eke out a living amongst the ruins of ancient civilizations, monsters and elven guerrillas prowl the forests, FantasticRacism rules the streets, nobles oppress commoners (that is, when they're not busy backstabbing each other), kings lead armies to war in the name of hollow-sounding ideals which do little to mask the monarchs' greed and hubris, the ominous shadow of TheEmpire hangs over all, and (if that wasn't enough) the world is prophesied to soon be engulfed by an ice age which will obliterate everything... and a Black Death-like epidemic starts when the saga ends.²* CreatureHunterOrganization: The eponymous Witchers hunt all kinds of monsters, but specifically those who invaded the world after the Conjunction of the Spheres. They would fall under the phlebotinum-powered subtype, since they are genetically enhanced since childhood and have number of supernatural traits to complement their TrainingFromHell.²* DarkAndTroubledPast: Practically everyone. It's easier to list the characters who were not terribly traumatized at some point in their past.²* DarkFantasy²* DoomMagnet: Less than serious attempts to create TheChosenOne may be [[GoneHorriblyRight unexpectedly successful]], but have some drawbacks.²* DoorStopper: The books grow progressively thicker. ''Literature/LadyOfTheLake'' is longer than almost any other two parts combined. There is not a single edition of it below 500 pages.²* DreamSequence: Multiple times in the books, sometimes overlapping with MushroomSamba, always laden with {{foreshadowing}}. Most often happens to Ciri, but Geralt, Yennefer and Triss get their share of the fun too.²* TheDungAges²* DyingRace: Elves, though it's partly their own goddamn fault. The Witchers too, granted they are technically still human ([[FantasticRacism to bad the general public didn't get the memo]]).²* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The two anthologies have a lot of references to fairy tales as real-life events Geralt is dealing with. This element disappears entirely once ''Blood of Elves'' comes out.²** The video games also establish that Witchers all have eyes that are in permanent, feline-like slits, which makes them easily recognizable. In the books they're capable of dilating their pupils at will, which also makes them capable of seeing in the dark. This also lead to the effects of the Cat potion being changed in the games as well. In the short story it was introduced in, Cat served to enhance Geralt's already superhuman senses so that he could better track the Striga he was confronting. In the games they just make him capable of seeing in the dark.²* ElvesVsDwarves: {{Subverted}}. The Elves and Dwarves had been at war a long time ago, but are now allies against the humans who treat both as second-class-citizens at best.²** Though Elves have more at stake in this conflict, while representatives of other races will sometimes say "oh, look, ''now'' it turns out 'we are all older races'. Until humans kicked them out, Elves weren't so nice."²*** Gnomes are said to be the aboriginal species.²* TheEmpire: Nilfgaard, the southern empire that is slowly conquering its way north.²* EncyclopediaExposita: The ''Encyclopaedia Maxima Mundi'' by Effenberg and Talbot, which is wrong on almost every detail, either as future Nilfgaardian propaganda or simply due to FutureImperfect.²* EverybodyLives[=/=]EverybodyDies: Played with and zigzagged severely; on the EverybodyLives end, a lot of characters a WrongGenreSavvy reader might have pegged as {{Redshirt}}s walk away alive, and they're relatively safe as long as they only encounter the main cast episodically. [[spoiler:But travelling with one of them if they weren't introduced back in the short stories? Put on your MauveShirt already. Geralt himself (appears) to die in the end.]]\²\²It's also been said that EverybodyDies -- but ''later''. It's used in the books to establish a feeling that Geralt is no just add boiling water instant superhero, is a part of a living world, has really been doing his thing for a damn long time, and knows people everywhere. This is also PlayedForLaughs somewhat, such as when a ChekhovsGun drops the anvil 2000 pages later on some poor sod.²** A random messenger that stumbles upon Ciri and Yennefer? Dead by the end of the chapter. That female merchant who stopped to listen to Dandelion's song? Dead two books later. One of the witchers? Died near the end of the saga.²*** The later books' DarkerAndEdgier vibe carries that up to eleven. By ''Lady of the Lake'', [[spoiler:people are dying in a war that is hammered on as being pointless. It's almost a DownerEnding if it wasn't for the EarnYourHappyEnding undertones to it all.]]²* EverybodyHasLotsOfSex: We get to see Geralt do this a lot from his perspective and he seems to be an extreme case even by Witcher standards (the other Witchers refer to him as "Pretty boy" due to is way with the ladies). However, most other major characters are just as promiscuous, and several plausible theories are offered as to why. On the one hand, it's seen as the natural consequence of [[GladToBeAliveSex living dangerous lives]] amongst TheBeautifulElite while being immune to all disease and universally infertile. On the other hand, some characters (such as Dandelion) theorize that people and creatures brimming with magic tend to be drawn to one-another, which he says explain why Witchers and Sorceresses are such a common pairing. That being said, Dandelion is neither of these things and he's another ''very'' extreme case of promiscuity.²* EvilWearsBlack: Nilfgaard forces [[PuttingOnTheReich wear black]] and are firmly on the Black side of the local BlackAndGreyMorality.²* ExoticEyeDesigns: Witchers have cat-like eyes with slit pupils, as a side effect of their mutation that allows them to see in the dark.²* {{Expy}}: Geralt, an AntiHero sometimes known as the White Wolf, is more than a little similar to a certain [[Literature/TheElricSaga other]] AntiHero sometimes known as the White Wolf... And Geraldo Rivera.²* FactionCalculus:²** '''The Nilfgaardian Empire:''' The Powerhouse faction, due to its massive size and consumption of other, smaller kingdoms.²** '''The Northern Kingdoms:''' The Balanced faction, in-between Nilfgaard's massive military power and the Scoia'tael's minuscule guerrilla tactics.²** '''The Scoia'tael:''' The Subversive faction, due to its small numbers and guerrilla tactics.²* FangsAreEvil: One of the things elves use to justify their FantasticRacism. Elves have no canine teeth, so ''clearly'' they must be better than humans, who are fanged like beasts! Right?²** The supplementary materials (like ''Pamiętnik znaleziony w smoczej jaskini'') explain why do the elves have no canines: [[spoiler:there aren't a product of evolution]].²* FanSequel: The games. Rather than adapt the books themselves, ''Videogame/TheWitcher'' picks up five years after the events of the last book. And while they have Sapkowski's approval and some story input, he reserves the right to contradict them if he writes another book. ²* FantasticDrug: ²** Witcher potions are brewed up from a variety of substances and are used to enhance a witcher's already impressive abilities.²** Fisstech is basically the Witcher-verse's equivalent of cocaine.²* FantasticRacism:²** Takes the trope and runs with it. Everybody just hates ''everybody'', with [[HumansAreBastards humans]] being both most hating and most hated, though the other races are no slouches either.²** The protagonist himself is a victim to this because Witchers are considered mutants and often meet prejudice. Hell, he's even [[spoiler:killed in a pogrom]].²* FantasyConflictCounterpart: Nilfgaard's conquest of Aedirn, for the Nazi invasion of Poland that led to UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Nilfgaard itself is [[ANaziByAnyOtherName a totalitarian state with visions of world domination and disdain for any nation it regards as less civilised]], and tactics it employs against Aedirn include {{False Flag Operation}}s, Blitzkrieg raids deep into the heart of their territory (with cavalry instead of tanks), and forming pacts with Aedirn's old allies, who betray it in exchange for a share of the conquered lands.²* FantasyCounterpartCulture: ²** Skellige Islanders are shameless Viking expies, although the prevalence of Celtic names and cultural influences (and Irish accents in the English dialogue for the third game) suggests they're based more on the [[ Norse-Gaels]] than on Scandinavian Vikings.²** Nilfgaard seems to be some cross of AncientRome (expanding city-state, speaks language of scholars as native language, calls army units "legions"), [[UsefulNotes/SovietRussiaUkraineAndSoOn The Soviet Union]] (heavy use of secret police, uses economic and cultural power to bully neighbors) and [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany the bad side of Germany]] (predilection for wearing black, sun-associated imagery, policies of ethnic and cultural purity, disdain for "degenerate" outsiders). ²** The Elves seem to be inspired by ''something'', but the fandom is not sure whether it's the Celts conquered by Rome or Rome conquered by barbarians. ²** The various Northern Kingdoms are all representative of some European Medieval Kingdom. Redania is Poland, Kaedwin is Russia, Temeria is France, Cidaris and Verden are England, Aedirn is likely Bohemia or Switzerland, Lyria is similar to Spain, and the petty kingdoms in the far north like Kovir and Povis are representative of Italy. Collectively, the North roughly represents medieval Poland: able on its best day to unite and beat back its hostile Teuton-esque neighbor, but is riven by squabbling fiefdoms and ignorant prejudices which threaten to destroy it.²** The dwarves are pretty much Jews. Renowned as craftsmen and bankers, live in main-culture communities without being a part of them, victims of casual prejudice and the occasional pogrom. Many of them have Italian sounding names, which meshes well with them being bankers.²* FantasyGunControl: Played straight for the most part, but it's referenced in passing that at least one mage has attempted to develop firearms, including an artillery piece that is described as CoolButInefficient.²* FaunsAndSatyrs: Succubi in this series are a blend of the popular demonic type creature, with horns and hooved feet that physically resemble satyrs and satyresses. Then there are the Sylvans, who resemble [[DistaffCounterpart male Succubi]].²* FiveRaces: Technically there are four sentient races which are not considered Monsters, but Witchers are often seen as no longer human.²** The Mundane race are humans, by far the most populous race.²** The Stout race are dwarves, they are known for their strength and battle prowess (also banking).²** The Fairy race are elves, the most magically inclined and technologically advanced race.²** The Cute race are halfings, to be expected from lawyer friendly Hobbits.²** Finally the High Men are titular Witchers: they are highly educated and trained, their mutations give them enhanced senses, strength, and immunity, and they are dedicated to preserving both human and monster worlds and act as a link between the two.²* FlowerPotDrop: In the short story ''Eternal Fire'', Dandelion was flower-bombed by his current mistress breaking with him, after she threw all his possessions out of the window.²* FunctionalMagic + MagicAIsMagicA: It seems to operate on scientifically explorable principles, and there are several mentions of mundane magical utilities.²* GambitPileup: The final book, where it is revealed that all that crap around Geralt and his group was just a fallout from ''several'' [[GambitIndex gambits]] chewing at each other, with an additional prophecy actively trying to fulfill itself.²* GoldColoredSuperiority: Golden dragons are considered a myth, but they actually exist and are the most powerful (and rarest) kind of dragon, preferring to disguise themselves as humans, as the ''[[Literature/SwordOfDestiny Bounds of Reason]]'' short story demonstrates. ²* GratuitousForeignLanguage: The Elder Speech in particular takes words and phrases from both the Irish and Welsh languages, as do a few placenames, such as Ard Carraigh (High Rock) in Kaedwen. And there are a few words (like "Scoia'tel") taken from Italian. The pronunciation in the games though is usually nothing like the correct pronunciation in the respective languages, though, unless the voice actor has some familiarity with them.²* GreyAndGreyMorality: Sometimes leaning on [[BlackAndGrayMorality black-and-gray]]. There are good characters (like Nenneke), but they're few and far between.²** The best way to describe the mix of BlackAndGrayMorality and BlackAndBlackMorality. ''The Witcher'' is probably coming from ''The Lesser Of Two Evils'', where it's said that there is no lesser evil. There's only Evil and Greater Evil. And there is Greatest Evil, hiding in the shadows. And one day Greatest Evil will grab you from behind and say "I am what I am. [[SadisticChoice Choose - me or that one, lesser]]."²* {{Grimmification}}: The saga itself, but most of short stories are simply grimmer versions of classical fairy tales. To name few: Beauty and the Beast, The Snow Queen, Little Mermaid, Snow White and many more.²* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Discussed repeatedly by Geralt. He never stops dwelling on his role in society as a Witcher and killer.²* HopelessWar: Elves (and other old races) against humans in the past; and the conflict between the Northern Kingdoms and Nilfgaard looks increasingly like this for the former, as the games advance the universe's storyline - each successive war ends with Nordlings losing more territory to Nilfgaard or its puppet states, barely holding the rest by winning a desperate victory in the field, then succumbing further to internal strife (much of which is incited or sponsored by Nilfgaard and its agents), as soon as a temporary peace agreement is brokered, while the enemy prepares for the next round. Northern kings even draw comparisons between the fates of elves and their own on their council in the books (and the plan to reverse the trend they create in response fails badly).²* HumansAreTheRealMonsters: Oh yes. All the time. Not that other races are particularly better. Compared to what Cirilla did witness during her trip between worlds, humans can be seen as ''nice guys''. [[CrapsackWorld Humans, due to their dominance, have the biggest potential for bastardy.]] ²* HunterOfMonsters: A Witcher's job is to hunt down and destroy monsters.²* IdealIllnessImmunity: The mutations that Witchers go through make them immune to any and all diseases. Of course, this also includes [[STDImmunity STDs]], and Geralt in particular is only too happy to take advantage.²* IllegalReligion: Coram Agh Ter, the Cult of the Lionhead Spider, is a forbidden religion in many of the civilized nations due to its practice of HumanSacrifice, and while the persecution is not as intense as it has been in the past, very few places will allow Coram Agh Tera cultists to preach openly. The government of Temeria is particularly keen to suppress the cult within their borders, and membership of the Lionhead Spider cult is a crime akin to murder.²* InhumanlyBeautifulRace: Elves are noted to on average be much more attractive than humans are, and the WorldsMostBeautifulWoman (apparently by quite a large margin) is an elf.²** Also, the dryads are a OneGenderRace of hot {{Action Girl}}s. They can also transform human girls into one of them, which comes with a free +100 bonus to the Hotness stat. (And complete lack of interest with men except for procreation.)²* InSpiteOfANail: Despite the series taking place on a separate world from our own (and with our own explicitly confirmed to exist as part of the multiverse), a large number of animals and plants that exist in real life also exist in the alternate world. It also appears that multiple, separate worlds managed to evolve humans or humanoid beings capable of breeding with humans.²* IOweYouMyLife: According to the Law of Surprise, if someone saves another person's life, they may ask for what the rescuee has, but yet is not aware of. If it turns out to be a child, a bond of destiny is formed between the child and the rescuer. This is the witchers' favourite recruitment method. ²* IronicEcho: Too many examples to list. Sapkowski is in love with this trope.²* KnightInSourArmor: Pretty much every good character.²* LastOfHisKind: At the beginning of the series the witchers are a dying breed of whom only a few survive, due largely to a pogrom led against them in the {{backstory}} where their citadel Kaer Morhen was sacked, most of them killed, and much of the knowledge on how to create more witchers lost.²* LineOfSightName: Sapkowski likes this trope. One character shares her name with a city in France. Another one with a mountain in Iran. Yet another one is named after a town in Ireland. Vilgefortz of Roggeveen is a more complicated case -- Roggeveen was the surname of the captain who discovered Easter Island. The most egregious example is probably the mare named Chiquita, which is a brand of banana. There's a whole long list of such "creative" names.²* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: And most of them [[AnyoneCanDie are dead at the end]].²%%* LoadsAndLoadsOfRaces: See OurMonstersAreDifferent and then add HumansAreAverage.²* LockedIntoStrangeness: Geralt's milk-white hair. Possibly due to his unique heritage, Geralt received minimal side effects from the Trial of the Grasses. His teachers decided to subject him to additional experiments, which he survived, with the most noticeable results being his white hair, totally devoid of pigmentation.²* LoveTriangle: A long-running and complicated one between Geralt, Triss, and Yennefer, PlayedForDrama. Geralt and Yennefer have been in love since ''Literature/TheLastWish'', but in practice have an on-again, off-again relationship ([[spoiler:in part due to Geralt tying their destinies together with the eponymous last wish from a djinn, so they're not entirely sure how much of their relationship is genuine]]). Triss seduced Geralt when he and Yennefer were "off", and Triss has carried a massive torch for him ever since. Thing is, she's also Yennefer's best friend and she frequently hates herself for loving Geralt. In the books, [[spoiler:Geralt chooses Yennefer.]] By contrast, [[VideoGame/TheWitcher3WildHunt the final game]] allows players to choose between the two, [[spoiler: and even gives you the opportunity to undo the effects of the wish, either to cut off loose ends or to make sure that your relationship with Yennefer is genuine.]]²* LowFantasy: Good and bad? Black and white? Screw that, there is no such thing in ''The Witcher''.²* MagicEater: Two species passively absorb loose magical energy in the world. The first are dragons, which makes sense. The second are ''cats''. No one's entirely sure what they do with it, if anything. This being Witcherverse, it still has practical application - cats like to lie down around PlaceOfPower, thus being handy as a familiar.²* MagicKnight: Witchers use simple spells ("signs") in combat, and magicians often have some level of combat ability.²* MayflyDecemberRomance: Any relationship Geralt has with a human woman is this, considering they typically range from their late teens to late 20s, whereas he begins the series at almost 80, and ends at almost 100.²* MedievalEuropeanFantasy: A planned aversion of this trope. The architecture, fashions, and technology in general suggests a Late Medieval-like setting, but characters talk about concepts like racism, drug addiction, and genetics, Postmodernism, satire. Sapkowski on numerous occasions commented that he tried to include things like existence of monsters and magic into the mindset of the characters. In his vision, wizards (who actually know how the world operates on a very low level) are more scientists than sages or flamboyant combat specialists. In fact, responding to numerous accusations that his stories are not "period-accurate", Sapkowski has pointed out that fantasy takes place in an entirely fictional world, with a history, geography, culture etc. unlike our own. Nothing, not even individual words of a language can "realistically" be the same, as fantasy is not necessarily a recreation of anything "real" - by definition. Sapkowski has used the Polish word for "king" as an example, the word being originally derived from Charlemagne's name, and thus impossible to exist in a fantasy world where Charlemagne never lived. Yet no-one seems to complain that fantasy works use the word "king". While fantasy is often inspired by Middle Ages, Sapkowski reasons that there's no "requirement" for it to follow any real-world logic. It can be as close or as distant from the real world as desired, and there's nothing "unrealistic" about, say, a peasant girl wearing underwear in the modern sense.²* MeltingPotNomenclature: Characters have all actual Polish or German names, which would have been very common in large parts of central Europe during the Middle Ages and still nothing unusual. While the German names mostly exist in English as well, the Slavic names might [[AerithAndBob seem a lot more exotic to western audiences]]. Several place names, particularly in Kaedwen have a mishmash of Irish and Welsh names and the Elder Speech borrows from both languages. Even Geralt's name seems to be derived from the Irish name Gearailt, which translates into English as Gerald.²* MundaneUtility: The Igni sign gets this a lot. In addition to being a combat spell, it's often also used to perform such tasks as light candles or solder broken pots.²* MythArc: While it wasn't as touched in the second game, the whole deal with the White Frost and the Wild Hunt is one for the games.²* MythologyGag: Sapkowski created a simple RPG called Oko Yrrhedesa (''The Eye of Yrrhedes''). In one of two scenarios the [=PCs=] were trying to traverse DeathWorld of a river called Yarra. Jaruga, a river that's on the beginning of the border between Nilfgaard and North kingdoms is called Yarra in Elven.²* ANaziByAnyOtherName: The Nilfgaardian Empire. A totalitarian state with world dominance ambitions (with ''Lebensraum'' gist), a disdain for other nations as uncivilized subhumans, troops with black uniforms and lightning emblem (aka ''Sig'' rune) and so on. Also, the conquest of Aedirn follows to the smallest details the history of the [[ Poland Campaign,]] including: false-flag operation as a cause, ''Blitzkrieg''-like deep raids of cavalry (in the place of tanks) and backstabbing from a former ally, who make a pact with an aggressor to acquire territories they claim are rightfully theirs. Though ironically, Sapkowski's Czech fans reportedly tend to interpret the Aedirn situation as a FantasyConflictCounterpart to ''Poland'' annexing Silesia from Czechoslovakia a few years earlier (a secret portion of the Hitler-appeasement deal that publicly netted Hitler's government the Sudetenland). ²** Additionally, Nilfgaard's expansionist ambitions, leadership, totalitarianism, military might and wish to absorb all countries into their empire can also make them the fantasy counterpart to Soviet Russia during the UsefulNotes/PolishSovietWar, which aimed to spread world revolution to all of Western Europe by defeating Poland.²* OlderThanTheyLook:²** Witchers age slower than normal humans. Geralt is more than eighty years old -- Kaer Morhen was assaulted some sixty or seventy years before, and there weren't any new Witchers since. Those who remained alive (including him) were out of the castle at the time of attack, which means that he already was a full-fledged Witcher at the time.²** Elves live hundreds of years, and mages are effectively immortal, with a resistance to most diseases.²** Nobody's truly immortal. It's stated that everybody ages. And everybody who ages, will die eventually. Some just age ''very'' slowly, either with the help of alchemy and magic, like witchers and mages, or naturally as is the case with elves. The average Elven lifespan is stated as around 300 years in the first novel, and as for mages, one of the oldest of them is over 500 years old. Despite his power, he has the appearance and health of a 100 year old man, and looks like he could keel over any time. He eventually dies of a heart attack. Witchers' potential lifespan is especially hard to determine, since the realm's history does not know of a single one who's died of natural causes.²*** While we're going into individual examples, the oldest Witcher, Vesemir, is said to be even older than the castle where the Witchers were trained, yet despite his age, he's still in excellent physical condition and many a (human) youth would envy his health.²* OurMonstersAreDifferent: The series as a whole plays with traditional myths and conventions regarding monsters.²* OurDragonsAreDifferent: [[spoiler:At least one of them, a golden dragon who actually likes humans, is a shapeshifter. Shapeshifting dragons are common in Asian mythology, but the difference is that these are Western-type dragons, not Asian ones.]]²* OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: They're also bankers. Dwarven bankers may be unwaveringly polite in public, but in private they're the same as any other dwarf.²* OurElvesAreBetter: They are long-lived, pretty, and skillful, and have developed a sophisticated culture, but they're [[NotSoDifferent not that much better]] in terms of morality. Basically, they suffered the fate of Rome, with humans playing the role of barbarians adapting their culture, or perhaps Celts ran over by the Romans (with Boudicca and all). Then there's the Aen Elle, a separate civilization of [[FantasticRacism racist]] elves from a different world, who subscribe to this notion wholeheartedly.²* OurGnomesAreWeirder: They're good craftsmen, possibly better than Dwarves at certain precise and complicated tasks, or those requiring theoretical expertise. Dwarves make excellent swords, but the best swords in the world are gnomish.²* OurTrollsAreDifferent: They repair bridges, love drinking, and ask for tolls from travelers who cross their bridges. They are also one of the very few monsters that humans are willing to have around, since paying the toll is cheaper than maintenance of the bridge. They also tend to use HulkSpeak.²* OurVampiresAreDifferent: For one, they don't need the blood to ''survive''. There is also a clear difference between the 'low' and 'high' vampires. The lowly ones are no different from monsters and basically look like giant humanoid bats, while the high ones are the more familiar vampires, who can happen to be quite nice and friendly folks [[spoiler:like Regis]]. Also, most of the 'high' vampires easily tolerate sunlight, and holy water, crucifixes, and garlic pose no threat to them. They also do not need blood to survive, although drinking it increases their strength and gets them drunk. It appears that there is some sort of middle ground, as creatures like Bruxa are intelligent, but concentrate on sucking blood.²** ''The World of the Witcher'' (released alongside ''[[VideoGame/TheWitcher3WildHunt Wild Hunt]]'') distinguishes between the monstrous "lower" vampires, the more intelligent of "higher" vampires, and a separate species of more powerful "true" higher vampires (such as [[spoiler:Dettlaff and Regis]]).²* PsychoForHire: Several, but Leo Bonhart IS this trope.²** Although, Bonhart's lifeway includes killing wanted criminals, collecting bounties, buying new equipment from weapon smiths etc, making him look suspiciously similar to the token hero of an RPG / Heroic Fantasy book. Knowing the author, this could be an intentional [[{{Deconstruction}} to show]] how these guys outside of their own P.O.V. actually look like.²* ReallyGetsAround: Geralt, other Witchers, and Dandelion. Also most of the mages - the classic course for them appears to be: a period of promiscuity after leaving the academy, a period of [[ExperimentedInCollege interest in own sex]], and finally settling to intercourse with other mages. Triss, who is said to be a 'young' sorceress has already completed it, and another, much older, sorceress, Filippa, is apparently going through it again, being 'currently' a lesbian. Most of the shown sorceresses seem to be erotically bored to death after decades of sexual activity with the world apparently not having that much new to offer, which is one of the reasons they are so hot for Geralt. ²* TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized: The Scoia'tael, a non-human revolution.²* RoyallyScrewedUp: ''All'' royal families in the series.²* ScarsAreForever: Happens despite regeneration and transformation magic. It's that not everyone can afford magic, and not everyone who can afford magic considers it worthwhile. In one case the scarring was so unresponsive to therapy that it was substituted with an extraordinarily strong illusion.²* SchizoTech: A relatively subtle example. While the general technology of the setting is late medieval to early Renaissance, the degree of understanding regarding medicine and biology is nearly modern. Mention is made of rather advanced medical concepts like antiseptics, washing of hands to fight disease, lactic acid buildup in muscles, and viral and bacterial cultures. Admittedly, those who understand these sciences best are clergy, wizards, or witchers; the average villager doesn't know much about medicine beyond the common remedies.²* ScrewYouElves: Present in short stories, but the saga takes it UpToEleven.²* ShoutOut: In addition to the first two books being a deconstruction of fairy tales, there are numerous references to history, geography and popular culture.²* SparedByAdaptation: {{Subverted}} by [[spoiler:Geralt and Yennefer]]. While it initially seemed so, Sapkowski revealed that they also survived in canon.²** Played straight however by [[spoiler:Regis]].²* TheSpartanWay: The process of becoming a witcher is so unrelenting, that few survive it. Seven out of ten typically die while undergoing the mutations in the Trial of Grasses. Even after that, there's more rigorous training to be done and more brutal trials to complete, many of which that have similarly fatal results.²* SpellMyNameWithAnS: There are a few spelling differences between the translated games and novels, and even between different novels; for instance, ''The Last Wish'' features Yennefer of Vergerberg (instead of Vengerberg), and the Sign of Axia (Axii).²* SuperSerum: The various potions used to create Witchers and amplify their abilities on a temporary basis. In "The Witcher" ingredients listed include veratrum, stramonium (jimsonweed), hawthorn, and spurge, along with other ingredients with no name in human language and it's clear they would kill Geralt if he wasn't inured to them from childhood²%%* SuperWeight:²%%** Type -1: Children, victims of debilitating curses.²%%** Type 0: Most townsfolk and non-military nobility²%%** Type 1: All soldiers, knights and witch-hunters, most bandits, Saskia in human form.²%%** Type 2: Necrophages, dopplers, succubi, trolls, most hounds and riders of the Wild Hunt, lower vampires.²%%** Type 3: Witchers, specters, unicorns, giants, the Lady of the Lake, individual members of the Wild Hunt, the Crones, mages/sorcerers/sorceresses, plague maidens, higher vampires.²%%** Type 4: Geralt at the end of B&W, Dragons, Saskia's true form, the Unseen Elder, djinn, Ciri's full power, the White Frost.²%%** Type 5: [[spoiler:Gaunter O'Dimm.]]²* ThunderboltIron: Every Witcher carries a blade of steel made from meteorite iron.²* TinMan: It's commonly propagated, rumored and believed that witchers are incapable of feeling emotion, even by witchers themselves. However, both the books and games show that this isn't true at all. All the various witcher characters have distinct personalities and run the full gamut of emotions. Geralt, who appears to adhere to the stereotype the most simply on account of being TheStoic, is himself fully aware that it doesn't apply to him, and frequently expresses bitterness about it.²* TitleDrop: Sapkowski likes this. It's particularly prominent in ''The Last Wish'' and ''Sword of Destiny'', where the title of each short story forms the ArcWords for that story.²* TwangHello: The Dryads used to be fond of this. Nowadays, they will simply shoot you.²* VainSorceress: Sorceresses in general. They use their magic to preserve their youth and beauty. [[spoiler:And sometimes to make themselves look beautiful.]] It's a matter of both professional prestige and the result of many of them being born as commoners or even cripples.²** In many cases, the girls who train to become sorceresses are the ones who have no hope of attracting suitors. Even after magic fixes their appearance, many of them [[FreudianExcuse still bear the emotional scars]] of their past as ugly people and resent the humiliation of having to wear a mask of fake beauty for the sake of their profession. The author describes them as "pseudo-pretty women with the cold, bitter eyes of ugly girls".²** The book also points out the DoubleStandard of ''male'' practitioners of magic preferring to make themselves [[WizardClassic look like old, wizened wizards]].²* VanHelsingHateCrimes: Generally defied. Witchers do not usually kill sapient monsters without evidence that the monster in question is guilty of wrongdoing. Witchers are quite often [[FantasticRacism treated as monsters by the general public]] despite being humans augmented with alchemy and magic, and many experienced Witchers can attest that [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters people are often little better than monsters themselves]], so sapient monsters with complex personalities and sympathetic motivations appear frequently.²* VirginPower: {{Inverted}}; a virgin cannot summon magical power with any form of control.²** Or {{averted}}, since when it is mentioned, it's played as a sort of not-necessarily-true UrbanLegend.²* TheWarJustBefore: The saga of novels follows a war between the Northern Realms and Empire of Nilfgaard. CD Projeckt Red's trilogy of VideoGame adaptations take place after this war and lead into another. Protagonist Geralt was the personal friend turned enemy of the Emperor, Emhyr var Emreis, and is also the adoptive father figure of Emhyr's daughter Ciri. In ''VideoGame/TheWitcher3'' Emhyr hires Geralt to find the missing Ciri while he is in the midst of invading the North.²* TheWildHunt: It's a kind of annual astronomical/celestial phenomenon happening on Midsummer. Some consider it a natural occurrence, but the others point out that people tend to disappear when it's around. [[spoiler:It turns out to be something far more sinister.]]²* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: Witchers won't hunt sentient monsters unless they're actually evil. Several creatures, such as werewolves, trolls, and dragons are depicted as having complex personalities and motivations. Witchers themselves are [[FantasticRacism considered subhuman by the general populace]] in spite of being genetically modified humans.²* WholePlotReference: Sapkowski is a big fan of Arthurian myth, which he credits as the original inspiration to ''The Lord of the Rings'' and generally all fantasy literature. Thus, there is a ton of homages to it in the series, both obvious (especially in the last book) and more obscure. Geralt can be considered an expy of Lancelot, Yennefer - of Guinevere (it's actually two different forms of the same name) and Ciri - both Galahad and The Grail.²** Which doubles as FridgeBrilliance [[spoiler:when she meets Galahad]].²* WorldOfBuxom: Especially the games where just about every woman, from the Sorceresses of the Lodge to Skellige Shieldmaidens to peasant women are all well-endowed and shapely. Further, the more "important" a woman is to the plot, the more willing she is to have little fabric covering her chest. Even Ciri counts on this.²* WorldOfSnark: Due to the WorldHalfEmpty and WorldOfJerkass nature of the work, the savviest characters are aware of their setting's immense dangers as well as the fact that everyone is pretty much out for themselves. The only levity they can allow themselves is to make fun of the seriousness.²* WorldsMostBeautifulWoman: The Elven sorceress Francesca Findabair.²----


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: