What is the Continent anyway? Well, it’s where most of the Witcher takes place – the landmass containing both Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms. It’s also home to both the elves’ Brokilon Forest and the dwarfish mountain region of Mahakam. It’s part of the Northern hemisphere, with the southern being much less explored and populus. The planet this all takes place on, by the way, is generally just referred to as “Earth” or “The Globe,” despite our repeated suggestions to Netflix that they call it “Witcheros.”
Also known as the Northern Realms and the Four Kingdoms, the Northern Kingdoms are composed of several loosely aligned human states, although dwarves, elves, gnomes, and halflings also can be found in this region.
One of the major Northern Kingdoms, once ruled by Queen Calanthe, grandmother of Ciri. In the events of the books, Cintra is conquered by Nilfgaard in the First Nilfgaardian War. Cintra regained its independence after the second Nilfgaard war, but winds up under the control of Nilfgaardian Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, after his marriage to an imposter posing as Princess Cirilla.
The Nilfgaardian Empire/Nilfgaard
An imperialist, monarchist empire based in the South of the Continent, Nilfgaard’s aggressive expansionism casts it as a primary antagonist in the novels, where it launches an invasion of Cintra in The Sword of Destiny. This First Nilfgaard War came to a head at the Battle of Sodden Hill, where a huge Northern Kingdoms army spearheaded by 22 mages fought against Nilfgaard. Fourteen of the mages were killed, and the survivors included Triss Merigold, Philippa Eilhart, the elvish queen Francesca Findabair, and Yennefer of Vengerberg.
“The forbidden kingdom of the forest dryads,” and the only nonhuman kingdom in the Northern Realms never conquered by humans. Home to dryads, leprechauns, and other dainty forest dwellers. Despite its natural beauty, the forest itself seems to harbour a hatred towards humans. As such, it’s extremely rare for a human to leave alive, hence the name “Forest of Death.” The border of Brokilon, it’s said, extends as far as the arrows of its inhabitants.
“Pegasus perked up his floppy ears and dispassionately shambled towards the Forest of the Dryads. Called by many the Forest of Death.” – Time of Contempt
“People of the Hills” in elder speech, these are regular, Continent-dwelling elves. In the Age of Migration – around 2000 years before the arrival of humans on the Continent – the Aen Siedhe arrived on white ships. Humans would arrive later, around the same time as the Conjunction of the Spheres. Although their initial dealings with the Aen Seidhe were peaceful, humans gonna human, and these relations eventually resulted in bloodshed, driving the elves from their settlements and into ghettos, resulting in the tensions – and groups like the the Scoia’tael – that exist in the current setting.
“Will you believe me now? You, me, all of us, are – and always were – Dh’oine, humans, to her. And she, Aen Seidhe, has nothing to say to humans.” – Philippa Eilhart, of Francesa Findabair, Time of Contempt
The Witcher Season 1 Gallery
Kaer Morhen is a vast, ancient, ruined castle that is, effectively, the Witcher batcave. Despite being a ruin, the keep is extremely defensible, surrounded by rough and ruinous terrain that young Witchers used to train.
If you want to be really clever, it’s Caer a’Muirehen in elvish, meaning “Keep of the Elder Sea.” Ciri mentions this in a letter to Geralt to show off her rune-reading prowess, mentioning the snail, fish, and shell fossils in the stonework there.
“It’s hard to find a safer place in the whole world. This is Kaer Morhen, the Witchers’ Keep. There used to be a beautiful castle here. A long time ago.” – Geralt, The Blood of Elves
A prestigious magical academy for young women on Thanedd island, Aretuza is exclusive, expensive, and forbids its young pupils to leave during their training. Later, Aretuza would play host to the coup between Nilfgaard and Northern Kingdom mages that resulted in the formation of the Lodge of Sorceresses.
“‘That’s what I thought.’ Ciri nodded, staring at Aretuza’s shimmering roofs. ‘It’s not a school. It’s a prison. On an island, on a rock, above a cliff. Quite simply: A prison.’” – Time of Contempt
Lodge of Sorceresses
This is an (ostensibly) politically neutral, secretive group of strictly female mages, started by Phillipa Eilhart after the Brotherhood of Sorcerers were all but wiped out during a conflict between mages loyal to Nilfgaard and those loyal to the Northern Kingdoms. Its members include Eilhart, Triss Merigold, Cedric Keira Metz, and Yennefer of Vengerberg.
“You once told me and I remembered it… that no borders should ever divide magic. That magic should have the highest values, be above all divisions. That what was needed was some kind of… secret organization… Something like a convent or a lodge…” – Assire var Anahid, Baptism of Fire
Pronounced “skoy-ah-tell,” and more commonly known as the “Squirrels.” These are nonhuman guerilla fighters formed in response to human racism and colonialism. They’re mostly elves, but there are also a few handy halflings and dwarves among their ranks.
Now you have a basic idea of the world where all that monster-hunting action happens! Did we miss anything important? Let’s discuss in the comments!