The Origin Of Every Monster Seen In The Witcher Season 1

The Witcher in all its versions has a world chock full of monsters, heavily influenced by Slavic mythology and fairy tales. While gamers and book readers are already familiar with the creepy stuff we’ve seen in the Netflix show, new fans may have found themselves scratching their heads pretty often and saying “Kiki-what?”

But even if you’ve fought, killed, and skinned them all throughout the games, you may yet be surprised by the source of inspiration for the monsters. Interestingly, not all of them stem from Slavic mythology, and even when they do, they may look completely different from how they’re described in local lore. The good folks at Top Rated Casino Sites (weird, we know) put together the origins of all the beasties found in Witcher Season 1.

9 Episode 1: Kikimora

First appearing in the show as an introduction to Geralt’s skills, the Kikimora are large, insect-like creatures that are described as having a “spidery form, covered by dried black hide” in the books, along with needle-like fangs and glassy eyes. In the games, you may have come across the kikimore, a monster type with three subtypes: workers, warriors, and queens, by order of difficulty.

The creature’s name is inspired by a Slavic female house spirit, who usually lives behind the stove or in the cellar. If a house is in order, she will look after housework and chickens – otherwise, she will break dishes and wreak havoc at night. Other than the name, it bears no resemblance to Geralt’s foe from the first episode.

8 Episode 2: the Sylvan

The sylvan seen in the show is a mischievous humanoid creature that helps feed the elves in the mountains by stealing crops from humans. They also appear in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and while they look fat and slow, they are actually quite hard to kill, and are best fought from a distance.

Sylvanus was the Roman god of the woods and fields, and the equivalent of the Greek god Pan. The English word sylvan, while relatively obscure, actually means “one who frequents the woods.” With the description of the Sylvan in the Witcher universe, it is obviously inspired by these gods, but it also bears resemblance to the hobgoblin Puck from English folklore.

7 Episode 3: Striga

Those who have played the first Witcher game are probably well aware of the cutscene after the game is launched, where Geralt fights the striga – a human turned monster through a curse. In the books, the striga Geralt fought (and whose curse he broke) was actually Princess Adda, born already cursed, from the incestuous relationship between King Foltest and his sister, who is (confusingly) also named Adda.

In Albanian legend, the Shtriga were blood-sucking witches who would transform into insects by day. However, in Slavic (especially Polish) folklore, a strzyga is a usually female demon somewhat similar to vampire.

6 Episode 4: Duny (the Cursed Ones)

While we all know Duny is actually human (and book readers also know exactly who Duny is), he is actually an anthropomorphic hedgehog in the show. In the games, slightly related are werewolves, also cursed to become anthropomorphic monsters, and notoriously hard to kill.

The inspiration for Duny comes from a Brothers Grimm’s story called Hans My Hedgehog, about a boy born with human legs, but a body and head of a hedgehog, who helps two kings find their way out of his forest on separate occasions. His reward was also the origin of the Law of Surprise: he asked for “the first thing that greets them upon their return to the court,” and both are greeted by their daughters.

5 Episode 5.1: Doppler

Dopplers are shapeshifters with an especially tricky twist: they take on not only the physical appearance of someone, but also gain their skills and memories, making for a much better infiltration. They’re usually good-natured, so the malevolent doppler from this episode is definitely unexpected. Dudu is a doppler from both the books and the games, who faces Geralt in the short story Eternal Flame, giving him an idea of what it’d be like to fight himself.

“Doppelgänger” is a German word used to mean someone almost identical to someone else, usually strangers. It doesn’t seem to have a mythological origin.

4 Episode 5.2: Djinn

Although in the show, the djinn doesn’t really appear physically, it is said to be an extremely powerful creature, able to grant wishes. In the third game, Geralt can fight a djinn in a side quest called The Last Wish, attempting to break the magic holding him and Yennefer together, to see whether their love would still be there.

The djinn actually comes from Arabic folklore, often encountered in the One Thousand and One Nights collection of folk tales, also known as jinni or genie. The creature is also present in Islam as extremely similar to humans – with free will – but invisible.

3 Episode 6.1: Dragon

Dragons in the Witcher universe are extremely rare, so witchers try to protect them instead of killing them. In the games, they’re pretty difficult opponents that are best evaded unless you really have to fight them.

A famous dragon in Polish folklore is the Wawel Dragon, a story from the 13th century. According to one version of the story, it was killed through the ingenuity of a cobbler named Skuba, who filled calf’s skin with sulfur, so the dragon had to drink water until it died. Andrzej Sapkowski thought it was dumb that a shoemaker could defeat a dragon, so the concept of a witcher was born.

2 Episode 6.2: Hirikka

A hirikka is even rarer than a dragon, and is not dangerous unless it’s hungry – you can just feed it and it will leave, or they can trample your head and chest and then eat you according to the books. The creature does not appear in the game. They don’t seem to have mythological origins.

1 Episode 7: Ghouls

Players of the games are extremely familiar with ghouls, as you can’t really go anywhere without encountering the creatures. They are feral, corpse-eating beasts who appear on battlegrounds (for obvious reasons), as well as cemeteries. In the games, they can be dangerous in packs, although individually, they’re pretty weak.

They also stem from Arabic folklore, and are considered a subspecies of the jinni that eat human flesh.

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