A Witcher School in Poland, known for running live-action role-playing events based on The Witcher games, has been abruptly closed by the games’ publisher, who have revoked their license. Allegedly organisers have claimed that the decision was due to a staff member’s involvement with an ultra-conservative political group, according to Eurogamer.
The Witcher originated in Poland, when Andrzej Sapkowski started writing short stories with that title in 1986, which turned into published novels from 1994 onwards. The Witcher is described as having a “cult following” in Poland. CD Projekt Red began publishing videogames based on the books in 2007, which sold over 50 million copies. In 2019, Netflix turned The Witcher into a television series starring Henry Cavill. Cavill lobbied hard for the role of Geralt of Rivia, as he was a huge fan of the games.
Reportedly, a staff member and wife of the founder of 5 Elements (as the Witcher School is called) has ties to ultra-conservative Polish Catholic organisation Ordo Luris, which is anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ+, and rejects the idea of gender equality. The far-right has been on the rise in Poland in recent years.
The school has trained over 3000 Witchers across seven years. One of the Eurogamer writers attended the event with a hidden Go-Pro camera and compared the experience to a “military boot camp.” It sounds as if it was physically rigorous, with activities such as fencing, and he describes some of the people attending the event getting injuries. He says it was freezing and dark due to the lack of electricity – it definitely does not sound like a holiday.
If you want to learn more about the Witcher School – and who would blame you? – check out Eurogamer’s video below;
In happier news, filming on The Witcher season three has begun, and we’re looking forward to finding out how Geralt, Yen, Ciri, and Jaskier are faring.