“Steel for Human, Silver for Monsters”
As I played through the Witcher games, I realized how isolated the Witchers are, no one really likes them.
Here are the link to my game reviews:
As seen in the games and in the books, Witchers have a trademark of using two swords: Silver for monsters and Steel for humans. Despite popular belief, the Silver swords are not made entirely from silver, that would be stupid as remarked by Geralt in the book “World of the Witcher”. I linked here a discussion on Reddit that gives further explanation on the swords, more specifically “wouldn’t having one silver sword be better?” Simply put, silver is wasted on humans and having 2 swords make Witchers iconic and something to be feared, so less thugs are likely to screw with them.
They are genetically mutated humans who have been trained since childhood to become superhuman monster slayers. But they sworn to take no political sides, and work only for gold. Neutrality is their favored stance, or at least it is said. There are cases where Witchers have to take sides, like Letho or even Geralt. But Geralt makes it clear that he wants to stay neutral whenever possible.
The main conflict in the first 2 games are between the humans and the non-humans. Especially in the second game, it is clear to see that Geralt, the titular Witcher is liked by neither sides. His mutation renders him a freak in the human society, where as non-humans like elves and dwarves see him as another human. Witchers then fall as too monstrous to be human, and too human to be non-human. In the beginning of the Witcher 3 (currently playing), Geralt and Vesemir saves an inn from what could have been a slaughter. And the victims rescued were terrified and screamed they leave and never return.
In terms of capabilities, Witchers are master swordsman, they use magic called Signs, and are capable alchemist. There are 5 Sign used in the game: telekinetic push of Aard, blaze of fire that is Igni, Jedi mind trick that is Axii, magical armor Quen, and multi-purpose trap Yrden. While they can use magic and alchemy, they are not mages nor alchemists. This is very transparent in Geralt’s reliance on Triss for powerful magic and teleportation, as well as his use of Kalkstein’s alchemic abilities in the original game. Witchers have vast knowledge on killing monsters, ranging from necrophage to essentially demigods. There are scholars and researchers that has more knowledge of monsters than Witchers; however, Witchers have the most in terms of killing monsters. This is to say, Witchers don’t always kill their target. If possible, Witchers prefer to lift a curse rather than executing the cursed.
There are various schools of Witchers spread across the world. Geralt comes from Wolf School located in Kaedwen. Other schools include Cat School, Griffin School, Bear School, Viper School and more. Each school seems to have a characteristic. Excuse me since I have not read the books, but my limited research seems to show the following
- Wolf School: The school where Geralt was trained in. Seems to me, it is most balanced of the schools, favoring strong and quick rather than extreme of either.
- Cat School: famous being the “bad” school as they started to accept contracts on humans. They seem to favor more agile style attacking based on their armor from Witcher 3 and their attack style from Witcher 1.
- Griffin School: This school focuses more on magic than the other schools, and their armors strengthens the Signs more so than other armors.
- Bear School: Their armor suggest that they favor defense over agility as their armors are heavy but strong.
- Viper School: Not much is known about their school, but Letho suggests that they gather knowledge unknown to many, including information on the Wild Hunt. Letho helps Geralt track down and confront the Wild Hunt prior to the beginning of the games.
To become a Witcher, the Witcher apprentices must take Trial of the Grasses where they consume alchemic agents called the “Grasses” and undergo mutation. This is where men become mutants and gain superhuman traits as well as their cat like eyes. Unlike most apprentices, Geralt shpwed far greater resistance to the mutation, so he participated in further mutations. These experiments rendered his hair white, but he is stronger and faster than other Witchers.
Once gone through the Trial of the Grasses, there are many changes to the person’s body. One big one is they become sterile. Because of this, all Witchers are outsiders as they cannot be naturally born. Witchers are immune to all diseases, and coupling that with sterility, Witchers can have sex literally without any consequences, apart from personal ones.
It is said that Witchers do not have emotions, be it due to mutations, killing monsters on daily basis, or due to lack of social interaction. However, Geralt and many other Witchers like Letho and Lambert clearly show emotion. But it does seem like Gearlt struggle with this concept and wonder whether or not he is merely pretending to have emotions.
Well I hope this was fun for you to read as it was fun for me to write. If I made any mistakes, please feel free to correct me!