In The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, we follow a young Vesemir as he investigates some mysterious monster attacks. These aren’t regular beasts for him to slay, however, and the resulting investigation ends up reshaping the entire hierarchy of the witchers. Warning: spoilers ahead.
A father figure to Geralt of Rivia, Vesemir has made regular appearances throughout the Witcher novels and RPG games. This is the first time we’ve had something based entirely around him, though, and through the anime movie we get insight into how he became a witcher, his tragic backstory, and what compels him to be a decent mentor for Geralt.
Nightmare of the Wolf is a fascinating look into the history of the Continent, and the overall timeline of witcher-kind. In fact, a particular major event is depicted for the first time, making this a crucial piece of Witcher canon. What exactly does the Netflix anime prequel add? Is Geralt of Rivia in it? And what’s going on in the ending? We’ve broken down all of it, to keep you up to date on everything Redanian.
What happens in The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf ending?
Vesemir and Tetra Gilcrest, a sorceress, find out the new breed of lich is the result of experiments to create monsters for witchers to fight, leading to Kitsu, an elf-mage that has incredible, unforeseen powers. Tetra leads a mob against Kaer Morhen, where the mutations are being conducted. When she arrives at the gates of the witcher school, Deglan ignores appeals not to underestimate her, and declares battle.
Tetra harnesses the power of multiple other magic users to create portals for a swamp full of ghouls and other nasties to come through. Every available witcher, including Vesemir, begins defending the castle, but to no avail. Gradually, Tetra and her army make their way into Kaer Morhen. We see young witcher students being given an escape route, and eventually Tetra finds the Morhen’s sorcerers, the ones who were splicing different breeds of animal and people together, and goes to execute them.
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She’s interrupted by Lady Zerbst, and then Vesemir. A confrontation ensues, which Vesemir wins, until he finds it was all an illusion, and he mortally wounded Lady Zerbst and killed the sorcerers instead. Tetra goes to execute him, but Deglan interrupts and manages to kill her before dying . In his last words, he tells Vesemir to find the students that have run away, and make them into better witchers – better people – than they were.
In the heart wrenching final scenes, Vesemir watches one last sunset with Lady Zerbst, his long-lost love. They were separated as children when he decided to become a witcher, and because of his slowed down aging, he’s remained a young adult while she’s now in her sixties. They shared an embrace before Kaen Morhen fell, and now she dies in his arms.
Heartbroken, Vesemir finds the remaining young witchers-to-be, and hands them their witcher medallions to resume training. One of them, the bald one who discovered the escape route, is very significant, for reasons we’ll get to.
Why was Kaen Morhen sacked?
The fall of Kaen Morhen is oft-mentioned in The Witcher lore, but never quite examined because nobody who witnessed it, including Geralt, wants to talk about it. In Nightmare of the Wolf, the political landscape does not favour witchers. Viewed as uncaring, unflinching swords-for-hire, they’ve a reputation for being more trouble than they’re worth. There’s some truth to this: Tetra, a descendant of the first mages and advisor to the king, says her father was killed by a witcher.
Vesemir and Tetra wind up working together to find the source of the strange killings that have been happening in a nearby forest. They discover Kitsu, an elven-mage mutant that’s unlike anything either has encountered before, and after that, discover an underground lab where monsters are being manufactured to create demand for witchers.
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See, the Continent was starting to become peaceful. Less inexplicable deaths, and more experienced magic-users like Tetra who’re against abusing it. This means less business for witchers, who rely on people being desperate for a solution to make good money. Deglan and the mages of Kaen Morhen decide to create their own demand by making experimental monsters, then cutting them loose to do whatever damage possible.
It didn’t work, though, because too many people are suspicious of the sudden spike in unruly beasts. When Tetra finds the truth, she convinces the king to let her take Kaen Morhen. This leads to the witcher school falling, and many of the inhabitants there being executed
Is Geralt of Rivia in Nightmare of the Wolf?
Here’s where it all ties together – right at the end, when Vesemir finds the remaining few witcher candidates, he names one: Geralt. The short, bald, curious child who’d been looking for a way out is the most famous witcher of them all. Geralt and Vesemir would grow close over the years, Vesemir acting like a father to the protagonist of the known witcher franchise.
It’ll be interesting to see if all of this figures into The Witcher season 2. Nostalgia isn’t Geralt’s thing, but this film has depicted something fundamental to the overall lore. That’s without mentioning Kitsu, either. The Witcher’s world just got that much richer.