The Witcher: The Conjunction of the Spheres, the cataclysm behind the universe of Netflix, CD Projekt and novels

news culture The Witcher: The Conjunction of the Spheres, the cataclysm behind the universe of Netflix, CD Projekt and novels

If you are told The Witcher, you answer Geralt de Riv, and you are right. But long before the White Wolf made your head spin, a mysterious phenomenon gave birth to the universe of The Witcher. This phenomenon is the Conjunction of the Spheres, and today the editorial staff of JV will return in detail to this event at the origin of a universe of Heroic-Fantasy.

Summary

  • A bit of context
  • A mysterious cataclysm
  • Two versions of history
  • Age of Monsters and Magic
  • The birth of the first witchers

A bit of context

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s provide some background. The Witcher is originally a literary saga of Heroic-Fantasy written by Andrzej Sapkowski and centered on the witcher Geralt of Rivia. The Polish author has imagined a whole lore, but his universe is based on a few scattered pieces of information… nothing more. We are very far from JRR Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings universe. We are talking about 6000 years of fictional history told in 22 books and therefore thousands of pages. In The Witcher, only a few written traces and oral transmissions allow us to explore this universe whose history goes back to the dawn of time.

Novels, video games and to a lesser extent the Netflix series only scratch the surface of the subject that interests us today… the birth of the world of The Witcher. The information is scarce, not to say almost non-existent. It will therefore sometimes be necessary to show imagination in order to fill the gaping holes left voluntarily or not by Andrzej Sapkowski. Want an origin to magic, monsters and witchers? The author offers you the Conjunction of the Spheres. Where, when, how, why? It’s time to do some fictional archeology on the Continent… the main geographical area where the adventures of Geralt of Rivia take place.


A mysterious cataclysm

To understand the chronology of The Witcher, we must locate a landmark, the first year. Year 1 is called the Resurrection here, and all subsequent dates refer to this event. As a reminder, the literary saga The Witcher covers the period from 1245 to 1267. It was in -233, 15 centuries before the novels and games, that an unprecedented cataclysm of unknown origin struck the Continent, and plunged the world into a new era, that of magic and monsters. The world then collides with other realities. Historians call this alignment of the planets… the Conjunction of the Spheres. Between divine punishment and “simple” natural phenomenon, opinions differ, but one thing is certain… the universe of The Witcher will never be the same after that.

Rifts appear here and there, and create bridges between dimensions. Creatures invite themselves to the Continent and begin to ravage the land. Man’s domination is coming to an end. Realities, dimensions, worlds are synonyms to express a truth. The universe of The Witcher is in fact a multiverse made up of a multitude of spheres. Some chosen ones would even be able to reopen the portals. Following the Conjunction, the elven magicians develop a genetic program aimed at bringing gifted children into the world. This genetic program is called the Old Blood and would allow these chosen ones to open the “great door” and travel between dimensions. Lara Dorren was the first to possess this gift, and Ciri, the franchise’s main character, is the descendant… seven generations later. A little anecdote, the Lady of the Lake is a reality in one of the many universes of The Witcher and with it the Arthurian legends.

The Witcher: The Conjunction of the Spheres, the cataclysm behind the universe of Netflix, CD Projekt and novels

Two versions of history

History diverges from this point. It is simply impossible to disentangle the true from the false. Elven scholars hold that Men first appeared on their world at the Conjunction of the Spheres 1500 years ago. This theory is highly criticized by human thinkers who totally refute this version of history. Scientists swear that Man has always been there. The priests go even further, and accuse the ancient races – elves, dwarves and hobbits – of blasphemy. It would be an elven deceit proving their perfidy and their desire to establish their legitimacy on the Continent.

Did Men arrive on the Continent with the Conjunction of the Spheres? The mystery remains intact. History with a capital H being written by the victors… one can easily question the assertions of the human kingdoms. According to author and scholar Adam Nivelle, “The elves claim that it was at the Conjunction of the Spheres that humans arrived. (…) These are of course only vile lies and ignoble fabrications peddled by non-humanswho resort to the worst calumnies to justify themselves.” (The Witcher – extract from the book The Conjunction of the Spheres by Adam Nivelle)

766…this is a date shared by the human and elvish versions of history. Four boats appear in the Yaruga estuary and in the Pontuar delta with men on board a millennium after the Conjunction of the Spheres. This migratory wave is at the origin of the creation of the first kingdoms of the North – Aedirn, Kaedwen, Redania and Temeria – and of the colonization by the human civilizations of the Continent. Since then, humans have dominated the non-human races. But, because there is always a but!

The Nordics would not be the first men to tread the lands of the Continent. Remains bear witness to the presence of other human peoples in the past. The latter who would have appeared during the Conjunction of the Spheres… we always come back to this… were called Dauk and Wozgor. There is even mention of Men having destroyed their planet in less than 5 million years… does that really mean anything to you? Did these two human civilizations die out before the arrival of the Nordics? Nothing is less sure. Even if it means making the lore even more complex… the elves themselves would not be from the Continent, but would have landed on its shores 2000 years before humans. This can mean around -2200 or -1200 depending on whether we refer to the Conjunction of the Spheres or the first landing.

The Witcher: The Conjunction of the Spheres, the cataclysm behind the universe of Netflix, CD Projekt and novels

Age of Monsters and Magic

Let’s return to the Conjunction of the Spheres and the consequences of such a phenomenon on the world of The Witcher. This “natural” cataclysm transports all sorts of creatures from other dimensions (also called spheres) into the universe that interests us and transforms it forever. Ghouls, graveirs, vampires, but also trolls, necrophages, werewolves, specters, wyverns, drowners or even leshen find themselves prisoners of this dimension, and threaten human and ancient peoples. These unexpected guests continue to sow chaos on the Continent 1500 years after their appearance!

Men learn by force of circumstance to be afraid of the dark, travel in groups and survive as best they can for centuries in the face of a hungry and bloodthirsty bestiary. The Conjunction of the Spheres is also the origin of the appearance of magic in the world of The Witcher… or should I say primordial chaos. Mastery of such a power allows humans, but also elves to repel monsters. Paradoxically, magic is initially condemned by human peoples who consider it blasphemy.

Others on the other hand perceive in these magic forces a proof of the existence of the divine, study them, channel them to better exploit them and benefit from them. Magic then becomes the first bulwark against the monstrosities that torment the populations of the Continent and call into question the hegemony of Man. There is also another line of defense well known to players, readers and Netflix subscribers… the witchers of which Geralt de Riv – hero of The Witcher saga – is the most famous representative.

The Witcher: The Conjunction of the Spheres, the cataclysm behind the universe of Netflix, CD Projekt and novels

The birth of the first witchers

The witchers are mutants trained from an early age and for many years to slay all kinds of monsters. To put it simply and not be overwhelmed by details, those destined to become witchers absorb a mutagen which modifies their DNA. Unfortunately, the death rate is very high and few remain alive. Their mutations, which come from a ritual considered blasphemous, give these exceptional warriors and trackers increased longevity, a great capacity for healing, superhuman resistance and eyes allowing them to see in the dark. In summary, they are powerful, sharp, difficult to kill and to complete the whole nyctalopes.

The name of the first witcher has been lost in the limbo of time. However, we know from reliable sources that the first mutants appeared around 950, i.e. 3 centuries before the events told in the novels. They are the fruit of the work of the mages Alzur and Cosimo Malaspina, two renegades at the origin of the creation of the sect of the Witchers. The Witcher: Legacy of Blood should bring its share of answers on December 25, 2022 on Netflix. Be careful, this mini-series set in the Elven era 1200 years before the adventures of Geralt de Riv, i.e. the first century after the Resurrection, risks once again taking many liberties and moving away from Andrzej’s work. Sapkowski.


Find out more about The Witcher universe

The Witcher: The Conjunction of the Spheres, the cataclysm behind the universe of Netflix, CD Projekt and novels