It seems that Deglan, the chief witch in Vesemir’s time, devised an even better con by having Reidrich, Kaer Morhen’s personal mage, create new monsters that they could kill for money. While it seems extremely unwise to apply mutagenic alchemy to an elf, who eventually becomes the source of the creature army that decimates the witch population, Reidrich’s secret processes also explain the mysterious origins of the witch race that The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (and so forth The Witcher: Blood Origin) investigates.
It’s this hubris and its consequences that transform Vesemir from a reckless assassin into the older, more serious mentor that fans of The Witcher have come to know from the books and games. As Deglan takes his last breath, he tells Vesemir to take the most recent crop of young witches and “make them into something more—better men.” Vesemir’s love story with Lady Zerbst is proof that witches have hearts and are not the soulless, emotionless mutants that Tetra and others wanted people to believe in Geralt’s time.
The implication is that with Reidrich’s death no more witches can be created, an idea that doesn’t exactly fit the story of the books, but so be it. Just before the boys completed their final transformation, the names Eskel and Lambert were mentioned, and it seems that Coen and not the predicted Remus also survived the mutagenic process. These three are the witches viewers will encounter in The Witcher season 2, which returns to the ruined Kaer Morhen for Ciri’s training.
But of course it is the little hairless child that attracts the most attention when The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf concludes his story. Young Geralt will become that “better man” Deglan urged to raise Vesemir, a witch who is not only concerned with the money he can make killing monsters, despite what he may tell his clients. And with less of its kind in the world, monsters will rebuild where Kaer Morhen can’t.
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is certainly not the perfect backstory. Filavandrel’s cameo appearance and the involvement of the persecution of the elves in the fall of Kaer Morhen felt a bit forced, as if the writers were trying all the bigger themes of The Witcher in one movie. But the transformation of the witch profession was handled skillfully and provided the perfect context for Geralt’s unlikely heroism in the bigger story, leaving us looking forward to his return in The Witcher season 2 that much more.
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