Witcher

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Icon disambig.svg This article is about the occupation/race. For other uses of Witcher, see The Witcher.
'The' Witcher, Geralt of Rivia

A witcher (or hexer) is an individual who has undergone extensive training and mysterious rituals (often taking place at "witcher schools" such as Kaer Morhen) in preparation for life as an itinerant monster-slayer for hire. Amongst some folk, they are referred to as vedymins (or, witchmen).

The witcher Geralt, the central character in Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher series and videos games inspired by them, is said in the stories to be one of the greatest witchers. He is certainly legendary, but whether he remains famous or infamous is more open to interpretation.

Taken in as children (sometimes, kidnapped) when their innate abilities can only be hinted at, witchers-to-be are subjected to intense alchemical processes, the absorption of mutagenic compounds, and other trials to make them highly versatile against their opponents (many of which possess superhuman speed, strength and/or other dread powers). These procedures ultimately mean that each fully-trained witcher is a mutant. The key and permanent results of mutations shared by all witchers are:

  • Inhumanly acute sense of smell, sight

Hearing, taste, touch and unique predatory Instincts

  • Drastically increased strength, resilience

Pain tolerance, healing, speed, agility and the Ability manipulate his metabolism to further Improve his reflexes

  • incredibly long lifespan (Vesemir is said to be at least a few centuries old);
  • sterility (which partially explains the kidnappings, as they cannot breed to pass on their traits);
  • tremendous resistance to disease (in most cases, complete immunity).

Though it covers proficiency in basically any weapon that comes to hand, witcher training focuses on two primary tools - the Steel sword and the Silver sword - which are typically carried on the back. Most witchers are also frequent mixers and users of powerful potions, having developed a tolerance to their inherent toxicity but still limited to a few at a time (even one of their weaker brews will be fatal to an ordinary human). Finally, their formal magical training deals with Signs. Without extensive improvement and practice, these are mere tricks compared to what a sorceress can do, but they serve very well for someone with a sword in one hand to add a variety of edges to their efforts.

Though a witcher's eyes (see first glossary entry below) are one way to stick out, standard means of identification is the witcher medallion; this device aids in the detection of monsters, and no witcher would part with one willingly. (And of course, witchers are known for being 'hard to kill' - Leo Bonhart boasts a collection of three such medallions as proof of his martial skill.) The form of an individual medallion (head of a wolf, cat, griffin, etc.) indicates the school at which its owner was trained.

It is a common belief, even among witchers themselves, that they have no capacity for emotion. This may be debatable - and rather relative, considering the rigors of their training and the dangers they face as a matter of course. Perhaps they have simply never had the time (or exposure to society) to develop or recognize the reactions to mundane experiences that most take for granted.

Occasional references to witchers as 'non-human' are somewhat at odds with the original stories (in which Geralt only identifies witcher as a profession, never a race). There is certainly no official classification as such, and the relevant references (in the first game at least) are usually from Geralt identifying with the mistrust and/or hostility faced by elves and dwarves in human society.

Known Witchers[edit | edit source]

Known witchers in Sapkowski's books are:

Trained by Witchers:

  • Ciri - trained in witcher sword styles and given only non-magical herb mixtures; no mutations

Self-styled Witchers: These people claimed they were witchers ... "in their own way", but Geralt quite rightly put them straight:

Witcher Schools[edit | edit source]


  1. 1.0 1.1 in The Witcher game series

Adaptations[edit | edit source]

In the Movie and TV series[edit | edit source]

Old Witcher (Wojciech Duryasz) in The Hexer TV series

In the graphic novels[edit | edit source]

In Wiedźmin: Gra Wyobraźni[edit | edit source]

In The Witcher computer game[edit | edit source]

From the Wolf School:

Witcher-in-training:

  • Leo - could not use Signs after breaking his fingers during training; not subjected to mutations

Glossary Entry[edit | edit source]

Glossary Witchers

Witchers came into being when the first settlers were colonizing the untamed lands of present-day Temeria. The elite caste of warrior-monks was to defend Humans from the monsters which inhabited the wild. Thanks to mutagenic mushrooms, herbs, and plant stimulants, the bodies of young apprentices developed superhuman speed and endurance. As a result of the painful and dangerous Trial of the Grasses, young witchers gained cat-like eyes, which allowed them to see in the dark. With the help of sorcerers they learned to utilize simple combat spells called Signs as well as magic potions that augmented their fighting skills. Nowadays, when monsters have become something of a rarity, the demand for the witchers' services has declined significantly. Only a few representatives of the caste still travel the world, and no more monster slayers are being made.

Due to their otherness, unusual abilities and magic skills, Witchers are treated as outcasts and sometimes even meet with hatred. This hatred was made manifest during the infamous attack on Kaer Morhen, which led to the destruction of the fortress and the death of most of the Witchers wintering there. Those who survived are doomed to extinction since they no longer train successors.

People need Witchers but are simultaneously afraid of them. The itinerant warriors inspire fear because they are mutants and have superhuman powers. A Witcher is rarely a welcome guest and contacts with members of this profession are almost always limited to business. Witchers are invariably attacked during pogroms and social upheavals directed against those who deal in magic.

Mutagens and magic render witchers' bodies resistant to all kinds of disease, even to the point of outright immunity.

In The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings[edit | edit source]

From the Viper School:

Journal entry[edit | edit source]

Despite my long friendship with Geralt, I know little more about this peculiar brotherhood or guild than learned tomes provide. On top of that, I am obliged to discretion, so I shall write nothing more than necessary on the subject. Once as numerous as the beasts they fought, today the witchers are seen as a relic of times long gone. The exact character of their training remains a mystery. It is known it consists, among others, of the Trials - processes that transform the organism using a specific combination of secret herbs and infusions. Those who survive them gain superhuman reflexes, speed of reaction, the ability to see in the dark and many other traits making them lethal foes. During their training they learn swordplay and basics of magic, known as Signs. Armed in this set of abilities, the witchers can effectively fulfill their objective, that is protect humans from the monsters inhabiting our world.

In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt[edit | edit source]

Eskel, Lambert and Vesemir return in The Witcher 3. Their pupil Ciri will play an important role, while Letho's appearance is dependent on decisions made by Geralt in the previous game.

From the Bear School:

From the Cat School:

From the Griffin School:

From the Viper School:

From the Wolf School:

Name[edit | edit source]

The original Polish name for "witcher" is "wiedźmin". The English translation initially preferred by Andrzej Sapkowski was "hexer" and is the name used in the international version of the film adaptation. However, CD Projekt chose to translate it to "witcher" in the computer game, and this word was subsequently adopted by Danusia Stok (in her translation of The Last Wish) and even by Sapkowski himself (in Historia i fantastyka).

Warlock has been used in informal English translations, though "witcher" - being a neologism in English (as wiedźmin is in Polish) - is arguably better at capturing the spirit of Geralt's profession.

In other languages[edit | edit source]

  • Wiedźmin (Polish)
  • Вещер (Bulgarian)
  • 狩魔猎人 (Chinese)
  • Vještac (Croatian)
  • Zaklínač (Czech/Slovak)
  • Noituri (Finnish)
  • Sorceleur (French)
  • Hexer (German)
  • Μάγιστρος (Greek)
  • Vaják (Hungarian)
  • Strigo (Italian, only in Il Guardiano degli Innocenti)
  • Raganius (Lithuanian)
  • Bruxo (Portuguese)
  • Ведьмак/Vedmak (Russian)
  • Veštac/Вештац (Serbian)
  • Čarovnikar (Slovenian)
  • Brujo (Spanish)
  • Häxkarl (Swedish)
  • Efsunger (Turkish)
  • Відьмак/Vidmak (Ukrainian)

In languages from the novel[edit | edit source]

In languages from the game[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]



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