When CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher III: Wild Hunt was released with Eredin Bréacc Glas as the primary villain, he became instantly popular among Witcher fans. In the books, Eredin is the leader of a group of elves called the Red Riders who can briefly invade other realities in a spectral form and are on a hunt to harness Ciri’s powers.
The Witcher and Blood Origin takes a slightly different approach to Eredin’s backstory and motivations. Now, after Blood Origin‘s recent release, Netflix published a new video explaining their take on Eredin and his ultimate motivation as a character.
In the show, Eredin’s main motivation is love
“[Eredin is] incredibly ambitious,” says Eredin actor Jacob Collins-Levy in the video linked below. “I don’t think being Captain [of the Xin’trean military] is enough for him, he wants to become High Commander and maybe has aspirations beyond that.” This does not stray from Eredin’s characterization in the novels, where he was depicted as a ruthless, ambitious conqueror who wishes to use Ciri’s powers for his own benefit. The next part Collins-Levy discusses, however, is an original addition of the show.
“Eredin has a lover, Brían, who’s of a completely different class,” Collins-Levy explains. “Despite their differences, there is an incredibly strong love between the two.” The Eredin actor further describes how love is Eredin’s central motivation in the prequel series.
“I think his ambition is primarily driven by love. I mean, he wants to conquer, but he wants to conquer in the name of what he believes is best for his people. But also, I think the way that we can finally relate to Eredin is when we see that he is totally in love with Brían. I think that anyone who’s been in love before will know the lengths that they would go.”
“We don’t know when we meet the Wild Hunt in the Witcher series what they want with Ciri, why they’re chasing her”, says The Witcher showrunner Lauren Hissrich in the same video. “Blood Origin provides just a tiny bit of color behind that. Eredin is actually separated from his lover, and separated from his home, and sent to the dark elf Sphere as we’ve come to know it. He is sent there by Balor when Balor harnesses chaos magic. You understand that so much is ripped from him in this story.”
“One of my favorite things that [Witcher author] Sapkowski does is he sort of blurs the line between good and evil. So, Eredin who is the head rider of the Wild Hunt, when we meet him in The Witcher, he seems solely like a bad guy. So when debating putting Eredin in Blood Origin, one of the things that was very important to [Blood Origin showrunner] Declan, was that we could fill out his backstory. That we could understand when we meet him in The Witcher, why he’s after Ciri and what that could do for him. He would do anything to get back to the Continent, to get back to that life that he lost.”
Executive producer Tomek Baginski also have a description of the Wild Hunt in a Season 2 behind the scenes featurette: “The Wild Hunt, they are just elven warriors, who are trapped between times, trapped between worlds. They are traveling in the circle of time through the thousands of years, going back and forth trying to get out of this endless entrapment.”
The Wild Hunt will continue to be a looming threat
Additionally, Lauren Hissrich spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the Wild Hunt recently and teased their future in the show: “One of the things that I love in the books that [author Andrzej] Sapkowski did beautifully is he teases the Wild Hunt for so long. They pop up, then they go away for a while. So we are definitely sticking to that school.”
She continued, “We all know that, eventually, Geralt is going to learn a little bit more about the Wild Hunt, as will Ciri, but right now it stays this ever-looming threat to her. It sort of goes between her fingers. She can’t quite catch it and figure it out yet.”
In the books, the Wild Hunt appears briefly in Time of Contempt and The Tower of the Swallow in their ghostly form before becoming a key part of the story in the final Witcher novel Lady of the Lake. It is in the final novel that the myth of the Wild Hunt is busted when they manage to imprison Ciri in their own dimension, at the great elven city of Tir na Lia, the home of the Aen Elle elves who are a faction of elves that split off from the elves we know in the books, games, and show (who are called Aen Seidhe).
The Red Riders often invade the primary reality in which The Witcher is set, where they are seen by the common folk of the Continent. Since they don’t know about the Aen Elle elves and their ability to travel between dimensions in a spectral form, the common folk always believed the Red Riders to be some form of ghosts, a terrible omen of war and chaos. This sprouted the myth of the Wild Hunt and their mysterious king.
The show takes a different approach to the elven lore in The Witcher: Blood Origin. There is no mention of Aen Elle in the prequel series, despite the fact that Eredin himself, who was Aen Elle in the books, is a key character in the show.
There is also no mention of Tir na Lia in the show, as it seems that Eredin and his Red Riders are stranded in a wasteland dimension that The Witcher‘s showrunner calls “the dark elves sphere” instead of the dimension of the Aen Elle. With all that in mind, it’s hard to imagine how The Witcher intends to adapt Ciri’s storyline further down the line in a way that would resemble the source material.
Season 3 of The Witcher is in post-production for a Summer 2023 release. The live-action prequel The Witcher: Blood Origin had just had a December 25 release and the Rats spin-off is in pre-production Stay tuned to Redanian Intelligence and do pop into our Discord server to join in on The Witcher conversation.