A striga (Polish: strzyga, gomb or vampiress in early English translations) is a woman transformed into a monster by a curse. She is filled with hatred towards all living beings, devouring them without a second thought.
|“||I looked for the words "Witcher urgently needed". And then there'd be a sacred site, a dungeon, necropolis or ruins, forest ravine or grotto hidden in the mountains, full of bones and stinking carcasses. Some creatures which lived to kill, out of hunger, for pleasure, or invoked by some sick will. A manticore, wyvern, fogler, aeschna, ilyocoris, chimera, leshy, vampire, ghoul, graveir, were-wolf, giant scorpion, striga, black annis, kikimora, vypper... so many I've killed.||”|
Curse and Transformation[edit | edit source]
There is not much known about the curse that turns females into striga. The only well-documented example of a striga's lifetime was that of Adda the White, daughter of Foltest, king of Temeria. She was cursed prior to her birth, then born a striga. Both she and her mother, who did not survive the birth, were laid to rest in a single tomb. For seven years she grew inside the sarcophagus, only to emerge a creature of predatory instinct with the size and skill to carry it out.
|“||"For seven years after the funeral there was peace. Then one night - it was a full moon - there were screams in the palace, shouting and commotion! I don't have to tell you, this is your trade and you've read the proclamation. The infant had grown in the coffin - and how! - In a word, she became a striga."||”|
Some details of the curse which transforms people into strigas, are outlined in Ostrit's journal.
Lifting the Curse[edit | edit source]
In the short story The Witcher (short story) Geralt talks about how to lift the curse on a striga.
|“||"I confirm, your majesty, that the spell might be reversed. And, unless I am mistaken, it can be done by spending the night at the palace. The third crow of the cock, as long as it catches the striga outside of her sarcophagus will end the spell, that is what is usually done with strigas."
"It is not simple. First you have to survive the night. Then there are exceptions to the rule, for example, not one night but three. Consecutively. There are also cases which are...well...hopeless."
Life After the Curse[edit | edit source]
After a person has been cured from the striga-curse, there is the chance that the person will not fully recover mentally, keeping part of the vicious and somewhat dull-witted nature of her previous striga-form.
|“||"Mentally...There is no telling."||”|
There is also the chance of a relapse, turning back into a striga. To prevent this, "cured" strigas wear sapphire amulets, or an inclusion on a silver chain and participate in rituals designed to ward off the curse. Juniper, broom and aspen should also be burned in their fireplaces at intervals. In a worst-case scenario if they die after a long swoon lasting several days their bodies must be burned quickly.
In The Witcher computer game[edit | edit source]
|A striga may tolerate necrophages; she needs a hideout during the day, often choosing a sarcophagus in a forgotten branch of a crypt|
|Resistant to steel|
|Sensitive to silver; a striga may be freed from her curse by those who survive a night near her sarcophagus|
|A striga is a very strong and agile creature, but not as resilient as she might seem; she attacks by surprise and tries to tear opponents to pieces without giving them a chance to fight back; near her sarcophagus, a striga is always stronger. The striga attacks use the blinding critical effect.|
The striga is the first monster we are introduced to in the opening cinematic sequence of the game. It depicts the tale of the night Geralt cured Adda's curse, the first time around.
Journal Bestiary Entry[edit | edit source]
"Where does it come from? Spells, magic?"
"I have no idea, sire. The Sages research these phenomena. For us witchers, it is enough to know that strong will may create them. We also like to know how to fight them."
"And kill them?"
"Most frequently, yes. That is what we are usually paid for. Few want the spell lifted. People usually just want to be protected. If the monster has killed people, revenge may be another motive."
Location[edit | edit source]
Sources[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Just outside the striga's crypt is a group of refugees, and among them is the "Desperate father" who tells Geralt a tale of his own encounter with the striga.
- Ostrit's journal is required for the game to progress.
Developer CD Projekt's characterization of the striga taken from the monsterbook, which was enclosed with the Collectors Edition of the computer game The Witcher for Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic:
Geralt of Rivia made his first appearance in a story titled simply "The Witcher". His task there was to lift the curse holding Princess Adda, who was born a striga. This seemingly simple story of a contract for a professional monster slayer proved to be a fascinating tale of jealousy and hatred. No wonder Geralt's literary debut served as the basis for the film that opens the game.
The striga also had to appear in the game itself. Initial ideas called for it to be the result of Salamandra's experiments, but we ultimately decided it would once more be Adda, possessed by a recurrence of the curse.
The concept for the striga follows faithfully its literary description. A foul, well-muscled monster, the cursed princess runs about on all fours. Her jaw extends from ear to ear, and her fingers end in claws capable of tearing a man to shreds. Her breasts and red hair are the sole reminders that the striga is, in fact, a young girl possessed by an evil curse.
In the cinematic that introduces the game, the striga is deadly, aggressive, and bursting with hatred. At one point the beast begins to fear Geralt and for a moment behaves not unlike a little girl. Presenting the storm of emotions with which the creature grapples would have been impossible without an array of animations and facial expressions.
|“||Velerad leapt up from his chair. "The princess looks like a striga!" he yelled. "Like the most strigish striga I have heard of! Her Royal Highness, the cursed royal bastard, is four cubits high, shaped like a barrel of beer, has a maw which stretches from ear to ear and is full of dagger-like teeth, has red eyes and a red mop of hair! Her paws, with claws like a wild cat's, hang down to the ground! I'm surprised we've yet to send her likeness to friendly courts! The princess, plague choke her, is already fourteen. Time to think of giving her hand to a prince in marriage!"||”|
Translations[edit | edit source]
The word strzyga was translated as "vampiress" in Agnieszka Fulińska's translation of "The Witcher" and as "gomb" in Michael Kandel's translation. In Danusia Stok's translations of the books and in the video game series, it was translated as "striga" instead.
Video[edit | edit source]
TV-Series[edit | edit source]
The Hexer (TV series) as well as the In the Netflix series feature the Striga. Episode 8: Rozdroże (Polish: "Crossroads") of The Hexer (TV series) is a retelling of the short story "The Witcher" with some changes to the original plot and inclusions of other short story parts. The Netflix series shows the Striga in Episode 3: Betrayer Moon - here the show also interweaves "The Witcher" story with other plot lines and the series' way of storytelling. Both shows created their own creature design, not exactly staying faithful to the description of the source.