We just had a peek at the Wild Hunt in the pilot of The Witcher, but the second season of the show presented them in a much more eminent way. Especially in the finale, where they make fear run through all of our veins. But apart from being a scary presence in a few scenes, what exactly is the Wild Hunt in Netflix‘s The Witcher?
Even though the Wild Hunt has not been explained or talked about, what we need to understand is that they will play a significant role in the upcoming The Witcher Season 3. They are a baleful force that is important to understand the functioning of The Witcher universe. So, with no further ado, let us dive right into the details about the Wild Hunt from The Witcher.
What is the Wild Hunt in The Witcher?
Mentioned first in The Sword of Destiny, Andrzej Sapkowski’s second Witcher Book; the Wild Hunt is also at the center of the third video game. People living on the island of Skellige call them Wraiths of Mörhogg; their own people know them as the Red Riders. Wild Hunt is a group of riders that gallop across the sky, often referred to as an omen for war. The creators cleverly embedded this minor fact in the first season of The Witcher, when one king claimed to have seen the Wraiths just before the attack on Cintra by Nilfgaard. While in season 2, the sightings of these riders caused a sense of anxiety and fear among the locals.
The idea of Wild Hunt actually is much older than The Witcher books, predating centuries with mentions in Northern European folklore. In Scandinavia, Odin led this group of riders himself, while some Christians believe the Devil was the leader of this troop. Sometimes people believe them to be a pixie, while at other times undead. We have a plethora of beliefs surrounding these riders, but we credit the most commonly accepted version to Jacob Grimm (of Brothers Grimm fame) in his book, Teutonic Mythology; which was inspired by Germanic tales. Just like their counterparts from mythologies, the Wraiths kidnap souls to join their parade.
What do the Wraiths of Mörhogg do, and why?
Often said to be specters, the Wraiths are more than that. Their physical appearance is scary enough to weaken the strongest hearts among men, dwarves, and elves. Those skeleton armors and skull galea are nothing but a conceit to hide those in flesh and blood among them; it is nothing but a means to terrify onlookers while they raid their worlds.
In reality, the Wraiths of Mörhogg are not undead, but elves from another world. They know them as Aen Elle in their world, a world where humans never defeated elves. These riders visit this realm to kidnap humans, not to join their cavalry, but to be slaves to them. There once was a time when they rode in huge numbers, but ever since the conjunction of spheres, they have limited their number to a few; owing to their limited power.
The King of the Wild Hunt, Eredin Bréacc Glas, is the elf responsible for making sure the ride never stops, as he keeps feeding unwilling subjects to the riders. There is only one thing Eredin has in his heart for humans, which is contempt. He often refers to this world’s elves as Aen Seidhe, to be lesser because they let humans conquer them.
The power of once glorious Wild Hunt is diminishing now, and that is the reason they come out seeking sources of power: Elder Blood and Ciri possess it, making her a target for the Wraiths of Mörhogg.