The first season of Netflix’s The Witcher gave us just a hint at what to expect of the Continent, its inhabitants and their cultures in future seasons. One detail that might have escaped the attention of most casual viewers is the extensive work done by language creator David Peterson, who is otherwise known for coming up with the Dothraki language for HBO’s Game of Thrones.
For season one of The Witcher, he developed the show’s version of the Elder Speech, taking it from what is known from author Andrzej Sapkowski’s writings. Since the elves did not have a huge presence in the first season very little of his work actually made it to the screen and we haven’t seen or heard much of The Elder Speech. Until now…
Recently, we found a ton of information written by David in Hen Linge, the language of the Aen Seidhe elves, including a whole runic alphabet, a list of common words and phrases as well as a number of morbid inscriptions telling the unwary traveler of the local customs. A fair warning ahead. This post is a bit atypical as far as Redanian Intelligence posts go. It contains speculation and will perhaps mostly be of interest to aspiring linguists, botanists or die-hard elf supporters. However, if you make it to the end of the article, we promise you will learn something about a mysterious new character appearing in season two.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into it, starting with the full elven alphabet of runes and their correct pronunciation. Also included at the bottom are the numbers from 0 to 9.
Below is a listing of basic words and phrases. Ever wanted to introduce yourself or address your love in Hen Linge? Look no further.
Also included are descriptions of flowers, plants and potions, probably used on labels, the likes of which we saw in Triss Merigold’s laboratory in season one. The potions and tonics seem to based on real-life draughts instead of witcher elixirs, although some of them like mandrake feature prominently in the books.
Next is a page titled “Elder Rune Signs (For November 3-6).” It contains inscriptions likely intended to adorn road posts or town signs. The postings are what you would expect to come across in a typical witcher country-side scene, ranging from announcements of local festivities to warnings such as “Watch out! Beast in the woods” and undisguised threats like “rape is punished by castration”. There is also mention of the Scoia’tael, the elven guerrilla troops who will play an important role in season two.
As for the date, Peterson mentioned that he finished working for The Witcher in 2019 and it’s likely this includes his work on season two as the first scripts had also been completed by that date. As such, November 3-6 could perhaps just be the date of a show executive meeting.
Written on a page titled “Yennefer’s carvings” are the slogans “Chaos is Power” and “Give. Live.Love”. While chaos and the power it grants was a prominent recurring theme in the first season, the second saying hasn’t been referenced yet (and sounds very 1960s).
Before we move on to the promised revelation, here’s a more cryptic sentence reading “And to orphans, earth’s destiny belongs, for they are the keepers of the lion’s scion”. We are not sure if or how this will come into play in the show but it sounds like a line straight out of a prophecy. “The lion’s scion” likely refers to Ciri, while the “orphans” could be Geralt and Yennefer, who were both abandoned by their biological family.
Last but not least, Peterson also published a single page, which will not mean much to most people at a first glance. It reads: “Voleth Meir. Deathless Mother”.
Perhaps you remember that the huge casting breakdown we published in February had a character code-named Vanessa-Marie, whose slide sounded suspiciously like a female version of The Witcher 3: Heart of Stones villain Gaunter O’Dimm.
Recurring Role, Age 70-100, Appears in three to four episodes,
A very old white haired woman. A demon, who roams the land bargaining and preying on people’s deepest and darkest desires.
We can confirm that Vanessa-Marie’s real name is Voleth Meir, keeping with the tradition of using first-name initials for code-names, and what is more her name translated from Hen Linge means “Deathless Mother“.
Can the name tell us anything about the type of character we can expect to see in season two or the arc she will appear in? The “deathless” part seems to hint at some kind of undead monster, of which there are many in the world of The Witcher.
As such, Voleth could be any type of higher vampire, which also fits the part about her “bargaining and preying on people’s deepest and darkest desires”. For example, species such as bruxae are mentioned to become quite attached to their victims, taking advantage of their emotions. Others like alps prefer to prey on sleeping humans, haunting them in their dreams.
The fact that Voleth seems to be an elven name could also hint at something more sinister and older like some sort of elven spectre, which has been around for centuries to be given its own name in Hen Linge. At this point, this is of course nothing but speculation. The only thing that seems certain is that Voleth will eventually cross paths with one of the main characters. Considering Ciri’s arc seems pretty fixed, the dubious honor will probably fall on Yennefer or Geralt.