The Witcher’s showrunner addresses the Nilfgaardian armor

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In an unanticipated but greatly appreciated move, The Witcher’s showrunner Lauren Hissrich took to Reddit to share some exlusive behind-the-scenes images and answer the fandom’s most urgent questions, including what thoughts went into the design of the Nilfgaardian armors, who will play Borch and what was the most challenging episode to shoot.

Lauren Hissrich at San Diego Comic Con

Fans have been longing for an explanation of the Nilfgaardian armor set ever since we had our first look at it in May and now Lauren has provided us with one.

She said: “The thought process was this: unlike the Cintran army, which consists of highly-trained knights and specialized soldiers under Calanthe’s royal lead, the Nilfgaardian army is one of conscription. As they march northward, the army pillages towns and forces villagers into military servitude. They are not an elite fighting force — yet. There are powerful leaders in the forefront, yes, but the army itself is more rag-tag, borne of necessity, without glamour or means. Their armor reflects that.”

She later elaborated: “I quite understand the inspiration and parallels [with Rome and Nazi Germany]. But the important word from my post above is “yet.” We’re hoping for a show that goes for years and years — which means we specifically chose not to depict Nilfgaard at their end point, as the most powerful force on the Continent. As with all storytelling, we try to start at the beginning (or close to it) and then give everything room to change and breathe and grow into its fantastic final form.”

The Battle of Marnadal pits the massive Nilfgaardian legions against a smaller elite force of Cintran knights

While the armor design has been the subject of much debate, the controvery evidently came too late to make any changes for The Witcher’s first season. Fans will be relieved to hear that there is room for a general restructuring of Nilfgaard’s armies in future seasons that might just go along with a general redesign of their armors. When asked about whether she will change the Nilfgaardian armor, Lauren jokingly said: “Before the show airs? Not even Yennefer is that powerful…”

Another burning question fans just had to ask is who will portray the beloved Borch-Three-Jackdaws aka Villentretenmerth on the show. We have hunted this character for many months, and before this site came into being, but the actor has proven elusive up until now. While Lauren did not reveal his name just yet, she disclosed that Borch will not be played by a total newcomer…

Make of that what you will. It’s not much but we’ll take it!

Borch-Three-Jackdaws alongside his Zerrikanian bodyguards Véa and Téa. Artwork by Nastya Kulakovskaya

As executive producer Tomek Bagiński puts it, working on the set of The Witcher was an everyday challenge. For Lauren, there is no doubt that the first episode was the most challenging though.

She said: “Everyone is learning at that point, figuring out what’s working and what’s not, figuring out costumes and wigs and locations and how to be a family. Because of all the hard work, I think it’s the episode I’m most proud of, too.”

Although the team of writers considered all of the short stories it’s inevitable that some of them wouldn’t make it into the show’s first season. However, that’s not to say that we might not see them at some point in the future. After all, when asked about the season finale, Lauren ended her first Reddit visit on a promise: “It is.. the very beginning.”

3 comments on “The Witcher’s showrunner addresses the Nilfgaardian armor”

  1. Not to make more GoT comparisons but there were a few times where they changed & redesigned the armors. As long as it’s changed for season 2, I’ll be happy.

  2. Laura – we would not mind „rag-tag“. The problem is that it’s completely out of this world!

    You have full plate armor on Cintran rich knights. So that’s the top technology for your armorers. What technology would an armorer use to produce this wrinkled abomination? Skin an orc? And use its scrotum?

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