The Wild Hunt returns and are given a backstory in Netflix’s The Witcher: Blood Origin. In The Witcher series, fans get a real glimpse of the Red Riders in the second season’s finale. According to The Witcher Season 2, the Wild Hunt are a bad omen before battle but prove to be after Ciri’s grand power as well. But who are they? The Witcher: Blood Origin fleshes out the origins of the Wild Hunt as the elven history before the Conjunction of the Sphere is explored.
[WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Witcher: Blood Origin.]
Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer meet the riders in another world in ‘The Witcher’ Season 2
Fans were first introduced to the Wild Hunt or Red Riders in The Witcher. In the second season, Nivellen also claims to have seen them during the Battle of Sodden. Fans see the manifestation of the Wild Hunt in The Witcher Season 2 finale. The Deathless Mother is controlling Ciri. Yennefer realizes the only way to save Ciri is by sacrificing herself as a vessel for the Deathless Mother.
Geralt urges Ciri to use her powers to open the gateway to banish her to another world permanently. Ciri successfully transports her, Geralt, and Yennefer to another red-hued world. They watch as the Deathless Mother escapes Yenenfer’s body and manifests into one of the riders in the Wild Hunt. Its leader calls out, “Child of the Elder Blood, starry-eyed Daughter of Chaos. Join us in our hunt.”
They, too, prove to be after Ciri and know her grand lineage in The Witcher. Back in Kaer Morhen, Ciri calls them the Wraiths of Mörhogg. The Wild Hunt is a group of Aen Elle elves from Tir ná Lia in the books. Their backstory reads that after the Conjunction, elves from the Aen Seidhe world left behind their kin to venture into a new world using portals.
That world was inhabited by humans and unicorns, and the elves waged war and won. But they grew greedy for more power and developed the Wild Hunt to take over other worlds and enslave humans. But The Witcher: Blood Origin tells a different story of betrayal as one main character is thrust into a world and forced to survive, leading to the Wild Hunt.
Eredin is betrayed by Balor and Merwyn in ‘The Witcher: Blood Origin’ and starts the story of the Wild Hunt
In The Witcher: Blood Origin, Merwyn, Balor, and Eredin betray their king and take over Xin’trea. While Merwyn hopes to flourish the elven race further and bring their culture to other worlds. With the death of multiple monarchs, war-hungry mages and generals got their wish, and the peace treaty is no more. But Merwyn soon realizes she is expendable and appeals to General Eredin to join her. She promises that the law will change and allow Eredin to marry his lowborn male lover.
Her plan works and prepares him with a group of soldiers to explore the new world. But Merwyn also appeals to Balor, who she has imprisoned, and convinces him to work together to further the elves. In The Witcher: Blood Origin finale, fans see Eredin betrayed and the start of the Wild Hunt. Merwyn has Eredin and his soldiers looking for a suitable new world with viable resources to inhabit and beings willing to serve her empire. But she warns Eredin to watch Balor and his conniving ways.
As Eredin, Balor, and Fenrik venture through the gateway, Balor strikes. He sacrifices Fenrik to gain Chaos magic. Using his powers, he opens a new gateway and sends Eredin and the soldiers to their demise. In the aftermath of the Conjunction of the Spheres in The Witcher: Blood Origin, fans see Eredin in a red-hued world.
Frail and starved, he finds a unique skull in the rubble. He unearths it and wears it as a helmet of armor. The Witcher: Blood Origin reveals Eredin is the first of the Wild Hunt and its leader. Ithlinne also tells of a prophecy of Aen Seidhe “lost across the skies. Cast adrift in time.”
How ‘The Witcher: Blood Origin’ changes the story of the Wild Hunt
There are a few differences in how The Witcher: Blood Origin introduces the Wild Hunt and Eredin’s role. In the books and games’ storyline, Eredin is a high-ranking general, like in the prequel series. But his backstory plays out a little differently. Eredin was not betrayed like in The Witcher: Blood Origin. Instead, he was willingly appointed to lead the Wild Hunt when Aen Elle began to conquer other worlds for human slaves.
In The Witcher: Blood Origin, Eredin willingly ventures to find a suitable world to inhabit for Merwyn and the elven empire. It differs from the Wild Hunt’s desire to enslave humans and conquer worlds. After the Conjunction of the Spheres, the Wild Hunt lost access to time travel through worlds. In The Witcher Season 2, fans see the Wild Hunt go after Ciri, which occurs in the books and games because she will give them back their ability to travel.
Sadly The Witcher: Blood Origin does not dive deeper into how Eredin and the other riders in the Wild Hunt became spectral entities and an omen of death and destruction. It is the beginning before Eredin’s corruption. Fans will have to wait and see how The Witcher Season 3 tells their story.
The Witcher: Blood Origin is available on Netflix.