So what is "Slavic" about The Witcher?
10.02.2013 @ 06:17 #1
I'm American, so obviously the Scandinavian stuff sticks out to me (Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, etc.), but what parts of the Northern Kingdoms were inspired by Polish folklore and the sort?
Thanks for your answers ahead of time!
10.02.2013 @ 07:07 #3
Some aspects of the games, such as the Nilfgaard wars and the rise of the Order of the Flaming Rose, are, I believe, directly connected to the Northern Crusades, the outstanding political event of the Baltic in the 13th C.
Much of the Murky Waters sequence, notably the Noonwraiths and the story of the Midday Bride, is straight out of Polish folk tales. So is the dragon hunt in the books and the Kayran quest in TW2.
It might be more profitable to ask what part of the books and games are not inspired by Slavic mythology...
10.02.2013 @ 07:20 #4
Is a "witcher" something straight out of Polish/Slavic folklore? I should have put this in my original post, because I first assumed that was the case when I was first introduced to the series.
Most fabricated stories (based on mythology or not) center on a hero that is, more or less, some Christ-like savior of the entire setting. Witchers seem pretty mundane ... a type of person who specializes in monster slaying. Nothing really too glorious or glamorous, so I always assumed it was yet another small element of a grand mythos.
10.02.2013 @ 07:30 #6
But that's what makes these stories different. They're not about a man who's out to save the world, just one who might save a town from bandits if he's paid well enough. Geralt's the hero of a hard-boiled detective story or a spaghetti Western, not the Return of the King.
10.02.2013 @ 07:35 #8
Things like wise and benevolent dragons (dragons in European legend are uniformly vicious; "good" dragons are of Chinese legend). Elves, dwarfs, trolls are more Nordic, but vampires and similar undead are of Slavic origin (vampire stories started with an incident in Serbia).
10.02.2013 @ 07:39 #10
Guy N said:
Yeah, I didn't learn about the "benevolent dragon" mythos until I played Jade Empire -- I knew nothing of Chinese mythology until that game.
Another highly recommended game; it's on Steam, I believe.
10.02.2013 @ 07:49 #11
Guy N said:
Thanks for the great responses! The info about the dragon and vampires is new to me.
10.02.2013 @ 07:59 #13
In Britain, they were called just that, "cunning man" or "cunning woman". Sweden had the "klok gubbe" or "klok gumma", same thing. Supposedly they could do things like lift curses or protect crops from failures, and often they were the closest thing a village had to a physician. Probably because of that, they were not often persecuted even in the height of witch hysteria.
Witchers cut a much darker figure than these usually benign old folk.
10.02.2013 @ 08:03 #14
Guy N said:
Witchers cut a much darker figure than these usually benign old folk. ›››
Wow, I didn't know any of that. 0_0
10.02.2013 @ 08:18 #15
Guy N said:
It might be more profitable to ask what part of the books and games are not inspired by Slavic mythology... ›››
Hm, the war with Nilfgaard seems to me time around WW2 and not mythology. There is the equivalent to Ribbentrop-Molotow pact. In the last book Nilfgaard is clearly Germany, which fights against the other allies and even with it's own elfish Waffen-SS. And After the war in the last book there are mass expulsion and resettlement, like after WW2.
There are also pogroms and such things.
10.02.2013 @ 08:34 #16
There are also pogroms and such things. ›››
Again, it's very much a mixture of many historical elements and references. The Teutonic Knights are quite often symbolically connected to nazi Germany in fiction, such as in Sergei Eisenstein's film Alexander Nevsky:
10.02.2013 @ 08:39 #17
The Silver said:
Well, I'm not sure about this game incorporates Slavic mythology much. Even though it uses the Slavic words for some monsters, they are absolutely inconsistent with Slavic depiction of them. Koshchey in myths is something like immortal undead king, in TW1 it's oversized crab. Vodyanoi way more human-like than depicted in TW1. Rusalka is only mentioned in the game. Noon wraiths are definitely Slavic and depicted properly. And yeah, all vampires kind of Slavic too since originated from Serbia but their form today is a fusion of original ones with western fiction of 19th and 20th centuries.
None of the monsters from TW2 are Slavic even by name. TW2 is almost completely western-like. TW1 has more Slavic elements in it.
Some design choices though are definitely has a Slavic flavor. In TW2 the idols in the forest definitely look pagan Slavic. Murky Waters village from TW1 is a Slavic village.
The tall archers-elves are definitely from Tolkien's lore, not from Norse, where they has the same name but very different in appearance and traits.
The witcher himself though a Slavic concept but Slavic witchers were not mutants and were not sword fighters, they were like male witches but rather benevolent.
So, looking at all the aspects of the game it only has a Slavic elements but in the majotiry it's a Germanic/Norse style fantasy.
10.02.2013 @ 08:54 #19
10.02.2013 @ 09:15 #20
And sometimes there's no clear distinction between various myths in folk lore. Jure Grando for instance is described as a vampire and a warlock. Grando was from Kringa, a village not far from real life Novigrad />/>
And about witchers, there is a folk figure that somehow reminds of them in my geographical area (Istra and Friuli Venezia Giulia). Though I have no doubt other similar myths are common in central and eastern Europe. It's the Beneandante, the Good Walker. />/>