How (and Why) The Witcher Unleashed the Wild Hunt

How (and Why) The Witcher Unleashed the Wild Hunt
Photo: Jay Maidment/Netflix

If you watched the finale of The Witcher’s second season, you got a good look at what will be season three’s new villains — the Wild Hunt, a group of seven spectral riders on skeletal horses who travel through the sky and are deadset (pun obviously intended) on capturing Princess Ciri and magic-granting Elder blood. Now, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has explained how The Witcher brought them to life — and why the Wild Hunt has come to the show, even though they barely appear in Andrzej Sapkowski’s original novels.

As for the why, the answer is partially because they’re the major antagonists of CD Projekt Red’s immensely popular video game The Witcher: Wild Hunt. Given that the critically acclaimed game is how most of the Western world first became fans of The Witcher, leading to both book sales and the live-action adaptation, Hissrich knew that those fans would expect the Wild Hunt to appear on the TV series. But they’re also an important part of Ciri’s character development, as Hissrich explains in the video about the villains:

It’s interesting that Hissrich says they’re “like folklore” in the world of The Witcher, because they’re also folklore in the real world as well, especially among Northern European cultures, including Sapkowski’s native Poland. Like their fictional counterparts, the Wild Hunt were a group of ghostly, supernatural beings who were often characterised as riding through the sky, abducting people to join their host, and portending war, plague, and other tragedies. In some places they were thought of as the dead, and others as faeries.

To say how much The Witcher’s Wild Hunt does or does not adhere to these legends would be an unnecessary spoiler, but suffice it to say they have a lot more going on than Hissrich is currently letting on. Whether those secrets will be revealed in the prequel series Blood Origin or The Witcher season three remains to be seen, but either way, the hunt has begun.