The Wild Hunt solely get a fast, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it point out within the pilot of The Witcher, however they’re actually a extra distinguished presence within the second season — notably within the finale, the place they put the concern of god into everybody.
Whereas not touched on with a ton of depth in season 2, they’re an ominous drive that’s integral to understanding the machinations of the season and the grander Witcher universe heading into The Witcher season 3. And most significantly, their king is featured prominently in The Witcher: Blood Origin.
What’s the Wild Hunt?
The Wild Hunt is first talked about within the second of Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher books, The Sword of Future, and is the main target of the third online game. Known as the Wraiths of Mörhogg by the islanders of Skellige, and recognized to their very own because the Crimson Riders, the Wild Hunt is a convoy of spectral riders that gallop throughout the sky and are considered an omen signaling approaching instances of struggle, one thing The Witcher present appears to noticed. Their first point out within the Netflix collection got here simply earlier than Nilfgaard invaded Cintra, from a king who claimed to have seen the Wraiths. On the outset of season 2, sightings of those terrifying riders have fittingly sparked murmurings amongst people of an apocalypse coming to their world.
The thought of the Wild Hunt truly predates the Witcher books, having an actual world mythological counterpart in Northern European folklore motif, which dates again centuries with quite a lot of interpretations. In Scandinavia the riders have been lead by Odin, whereas for some Christians they have been lead by the satan. Typically they’re the undead, typically they’re faeries. Whereas there are lots of accounts that line up, essentially the most generally accepted model was solidified by Jacob Grimm (of Brothers Grimm fame) in his e-book Teutonic Mythology, who claimed he primarily based them on Germanic tales.
Like their counterparts, the Wild Hunt are recognized for kidnapping unsuspecting souls to hitch the ranks of their ghastly cavalcade. Folks from Skellige declare the Wraiths of Mörhogg raid their shores aboard a ship known as the Naglfar, a longship created from the nails and toe-nails of useless males, which result in their observe of chopping the nails of the useless to deprive the wraiths of constructing supplies. It’s a fairly gross and horrifying picture, all instructed.
So why do the Wild Hunt try this?
These riders aren’t mere specters, nor are they aimless. Most of their qualities are the results of psychological warfare: Their skeletal armor is made to seem like it was lifted from corpses, their spectral look to inflate their numbers and conceal these of their rank who’re flesh and blood. It’s all a way to terrify any onlookers whereas they make their raids on the world of people.
In reality, the Wild Hunt aren’t the undead come to assert the souls of the residing. They’re truly elves from one other world, generally known as the Aen Elle, whose world has by no means been conquered by people. The Aen Elle come to this world to kidnap people, to not be a part of their cavalry, however to take them to change into slaves again of their world.
They might as soon as transfer nice numbers between worlds, which allow them to discover and conquer at their whim. However because the Conjunction of the Spheres, the cataclysmic occasion that introduced dozens of dimensions into collision, their powers have been restricted. The Wild Hunt can now solely take a number of riders every time, therefore their illusions and theatrics, which intimidate but in addition conveniently conceal their true numbers.
That they’ve any energy in any respect to maneuver between worlds is a feat potential for the riders due to the King of the Wild Hunt, recognized to his brethren as Eredin Bréacc Glas, a basic among the many Aen Elle who retains his folks provided with unwilling topics. Eredin has nothing however contempt for people but in addition regards the elves of the human world, the Aen Seidhe, to be lesser as a consequence of their being conquered by the hands of people.
The Witcher: Blood Origin marks the primary time Eredin is on display screen within the Netflix Witcherverse, displaying how he grew to become the chief of the Wild Hunt — and with an origin story that differs from the one within the books. Captain Eredin (Jacob Collins-Levy) and a small band of his males get stranded in an odd new world after double-crossing the evil mage Balor (Lenny Henry). As he despondently kneels in a wasteland, Eredin sees a damaged cranium buried within the dust. He places it on his head, and the Wild Hunt, it appears, are born.
With a number of thousand years of in-universe historical past between the world of Blood Origin and The Witcher correct, there’s a variety of Wild Hunt backstory unaccounted for. However as The Witcher season 2 finale exhibits, they’re about to change into a complete lot extra related. As their energy to maneuver between worlds is diminishing and the Wild Hunt now units its eyes on a particular prize: searching for these of Elder Blood.