One of the best things about the fantasy genre is that it allows your imagination to run wild. You have no restrictions whatsoever and you can concoct whatever story you want, however you want it. While there is a joy in creating your own world, it also allows the danger of letting it get out of hand. If you keep expanding it, you will lose touch with your own creation, and then, where will we be? It is for this purpose that maps are recommended.
Every great fantasy series comes with a map. Be it ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’, we would be lost and confused if not for the maps. Same goes for ‘The Witcher’, another series that jumps leaps and bounds when it comes to creating fascinating empires and awe-inspiring creatures.
The problem, however, is this. We don’t have a map for it. It is generally on the authors to tell us where they are taking us, right? Andrzej Sapkowski has not provided any map for his creation, despite writing eight books of the series. The video games have tried to come up with their own versions of what lies where in the world of ‘The Witcher’, and fans have poured over the books to be the cartographers on their own. The author is yet to confirm the most accurate representation of his work. Until then, here is our version of what the world of ‘The Witcher’ looks like.
Almost all of the action in ‘The Witcher’ series takes place on the landmass that is called the Continent by its inhabitants. It lies in the Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, but there are some kingdoms that might have their southernmost tips crossing over to the Southern Hemisphere. The Continent is home to most kingdoms and empires mentioned in the series. There are a few island states that exist around it. But beyond that, there is little to no knowledge.
The Southern Hemisphere is a complete mystery. It is considered to be mostly water, but it is suspected that there could be a yet unexplored landmass floating out there. Since the story barely turns in that direction, we will consider the North and the South with reference to the Continent only.
The Northern Realm
The Continent is most prominently divided into the Four Kingdoms to the North and the Nilfgaardian Empire by Amell Mountains. The inhabitants of this part of the world are generally referred to as Nordlings. Humans rule all the kingdoms, but it is also home to dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings and other creatures. However, they are considered second-class citizens here, and hence, there is a certain level of distrust amongst the people. Most of the places that the Witcher visits and that become an important part of his journey are on this side of the world.
The series starts with the Witcher walking into the town of Blaviken. This is where he comes across Renfri and Stregobor and eventually gets caught up in their quarrel, leading him to kill Renfri and her men, and gains notoriety for being the Butcher of Blaviken. This small port town on the shore of Gulf of Praxeda is located in the kingdom of Redania, which is surrounded by Temeria and Aedirn on the South and Kovir in the North.
On its east are the Kestrel Mountains, beyond which lies Kaedwen. The colours of the Kingdom of Redania are white and red, with the silver eagle in a red field appearing on its coat of arms. The Witcher’s bard friend, Jaskier, is also a Redanian. The free city of Novigrad, where the First Landing of the humans took place, is also located in Redania, but is not considered a part of it.
In the second episode, the Witcher meets Jaskier at a tavern, where he gets the offer to get rid of the sylvan. This leads him to an altercation with the elves, but he and Jaskier manage to make it out alive. These events take place in Dol Blathanna, also known as the Valley of Flowers. It is located in the kingdom of Aedirn, and is bordered by the Blue Mountains on the east. The colours of Aedirn are red, black and gold, which are found on the flag and the coat of arms, which is a chevron of red in gold in black. It was primarily inhabited by elves, but then, the humans came along and laid claim on the entire region. They drove the elves away, who now live in the mountains, often stealing from the humans to feed themselves.
The capital city of Aedirn is Vengerberg, the place that the sorceress Yennefer hails from. After the completion of her education in sorcery at Aretuza, she was assigned as the advisor to the King of Aedirn. However, she soon grew tired of the banal nature of their politics and felt stuck in a rut. And then, the king ordered the murder of his own wife and child, and Yennefer got caught up in between. Unable to save them, Yennefer ran away, abandoning what she had been tasked with and broke free from the Brotherhood of Sorcerers.
The largest of the Four Northern Kingdoms, Kaedwen is home to some of the most important locations in the story of ‘The Witcher’. On its eastern border with the Blue Mountains lies the fortress of Kaer Morhen, the place where witchers are trained. Geralt, too, spent a good amount of time here, under the tutelage of Vesemir. However, as people grew warier and more distrustful of the witchers, they attacked the fortress and brought an end to the act of furthering the race of witchers. Another important site of Kaedwen is Ban Ard. It is the place where the magical academy is located. Istredd, Yennefer’s first lover, finds tutelage here itself. Ard Carraigh is the capital of Kaedwen and its coat of arms is the black unicorn on gold.
The kingdom of Temeria lies to the south of Redania and is separated from it by the Pontar river. Currently, the coat of arms for the kingdom is a black shield aspersed with silver lilies. Its ruler is King Foltest and the capital is Vizima. It appears in the series in the third episode when Geralt is invited to take care of a monster that is hunting the locals. It turns out to be the daughter of the king, born of the incestuous relationship between him and his sister, Princess Adda. A curse had turned the child into a striga, but Geralt manages to break it and brings the princess back to normal.
Another place that Temeria is known for is the Thanedd Island. It is connected to Gors Velen by a bridge and is known for being the place where sorceresses are trained. We come across this place in the second episode, when Yennefer is sold by her father to Tissaia de Vries and comes here to start her training. This place was built by elves and is divided into three main parts- Aretuza, Garstang and Loxia.
Lyria and Rivia
On the south of Aedirn lies the kingdom of Lyria and Rivia. The two of them have a history of coming together and falling apart; time and again, they find themselves at war with each other. The Rivia in “Geralt of Rivia” is exactly this place. However, to connect it with the Witcher would be futile because he has never actually been here.
Further south lies the kingdom of Cintra. This is where Princess Cirilla comes from. Before it was taken over by Nilfgaard, Queen Calanthe had been its ruler. Known for her fiery personality, she took charge after the death of her husband and didn’t get married because according to the laws of Cintra, her husband would overrule her seat and be crowned the King. Her daughter, Princess Pavetta, was offered to a man who helped her father, bound by the Law of Surprise. Her daughter, Cirilla, is also bonded with Geralt of Rivia in a similar manner.
Off the western coastline of the Continent lie the islands of Skellige. Known for their naval prowess, it is an archipelago of six islands. The kingdom is mostly known for its affiliation with Cintra. It had always had tense relations with other kingdoms of the North. But the relations with Cintra became stronger after King Eist married Queen Calanthe. After the death of the king in the battle, they became sworn enemies of the Nilfgaardian Empire.
Brokilon aka the Forest of Death
After the humans persecuted the rest of the races, they found refuge in these jungles and made it their own. Brokilon is the only place that humans have not been able to conquer, and hence, serves as a safe haven for other races. We come across this place when Ciri is on the run and hears a voice calling out to her. She finds her way to the forest and discovers a whole different world there. They offer her to stay with them and become one of them by drinking the water and forgetting her past life. However, Ciri decides to move on with her quest to find Geralt. The place is protected by Dryads who are skilled archers and successfully kill any intruder before he/she can even touch the border of their forest.
The northernmost kingdom of the Continent, Kovir often keeps itself away from the wars and the trouble stirring in the southern countries. Its mountains are rich in ore which makes its one of the richest kingdoms in the Continent. It is bordered by the Dragon Mountains in the north, which mark its territory. The area beyond that is considered the Far North. Cut off from the rest of the Continent, the people of the Far North are exceptional craftsmen. The land is also rumoured to be inhabited by white dragons, and maybe, even, mammoths.
The Eastern Side
The various mountain ranges separate most of the Continent from its eastern kingdoms. Both the Northern Kingdoms as well the Nilfgaardian empire are separated from them. One of those regions is Zerrikania. It is separated from the rest of the civilization by the Fiery Mountains and the Korath Desert. They are mostly known for their warrior women with incomparable skills on the battlefield.
The Nilfgaardian Empire
The Nilfgaardian Empire is the single most powerful force in the entire continent. With its stronghold in the South, it is a thriving state with a growing economy and a strong army. It took over all of the provinces surrounding it, hence increasing its geographical hold over the Continent. Its tendency to take over kingdoms has also been experienced by the Northern kingdoms, where Nilfgaard is considered a constant enemy. It first comes into focus when it declares war on Cintra, and effectively defeats it, laying waste to the subjects as well as the royal family. The emperor of Nilfgaard is singularly interested in Princess Cirilla, which, in turn, pits the empire against Geralt of Rivia.
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