Geographers at the University of Warsaw have created a map of the world featured in The Witcher, showing locations from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s original series of novels as well the popular video games and Netflix series.
Its authors say the new map, part of a state-funded atlas showing “Poland in the contemporary world”, is the first such detailed representation of the terrain, borders, and location of towns and islands in the Witcher world.
“Everybody has heard of The Witcher,” write the authors on their Facebook page. “But where does it all take place? Where is Kaer Morhen – the witchers’ keep? Where is Vizima, the capital of Temeria, where Geralt fought the striga in the first story?”
“How far is it from the Skellige archipelago to Cintra? You will find the answers to all these and other questions on this map. With it you can follow the characters’ fortunes understand the geopolitics of the Northern Kingdoms and the topography of the Continent.”
The project team say that the map, designed by Marcin Wereszczyński, is inspired by the original books as well as many subsequent adaptations and works set in the same world, including the TV series, games and comics. Among its features are settlements marked by number of inhabitants and elevation.
It also includes many names and geographic features invented for the purposes of the map, although Wereszczyński ensured that the general layout of countries, mountain ranges and main rivers matches other maps previously created by fans.
The “Geographical-political atlas of Poland. Poland in the contemporary world” project, which received almost 1 million zloty funding from the culture ministry as part of a scheme marking the centenary of Poland’s independence, is releasing a series of maps on its website.
Among them are the linguistic origins of river names, the home countries of participants in the International Chopin Piano Competition, and foreign film locations in Poland. Many will be published in a new atlas later this year.
The stories of Geralt of Rivia, first published in fantasy magazines in the 1980s and then in book form in the 1990s, have become one of Poland’s most successful pop-cultural exports.
CD Projekt’s video game based on the books, first released in 2007, launched The Witcher to even greater international renown.
The series was then adapted by Netflix into a TV show, starring Henry Cavill in the main role, which launched in 2019. For a short time, it was the streaming service’s most-watched production. A second series followed last month, and a third has been commissioned.
I had a lot of fun talking to filmmaker Tomek Bagiński about his work as executive producer on the big TV series @witchernetflix: the challenges, successes, inspirations and mistakes of a mega-project. https://t.co/GdAGJSggdV
— Stanley Bill (@StanleySBill) February 6, 2020
Main image credit: Uniwersytet Warszawski
Ben Koschalka is a translator and senior editor at Notes from Poland. Originally from Britain, he has lived in Kraków since 2005.