16 Times "The Witcher" Borrowed from Real-World Mythology
16 Times “The Witcher” Borrowed from Real-World Mythology

16 Times “The Witcher” Borrowed from Real-World Mythology

Steve - May 22, 2019

16 Times “The Witcher” Borrowed from Real-World Mythology
Baba Yaga as depicted by Ivan Bilibin, (c. 1902). Wikimedia Commons.

1. Inspired by the Slavic mythological character Baba Yaga – “one of the most memorable and distinctive figures in Eastern European folklore” – the Crones of Crookback Bog are a trio of evil and malicious witches

Known also as the Ladies of the Wood, the Crones are a trio of witches who reside in the swamps of Velen. Making their home in Crookback Bog, the powerful sisters dominate their surroundings, communicating with the outside world predominantly via an enchanted tapestry. Offering both benevolent services as well as inflicting punishment, the Crones successfully compel the nearby villages into cult-like worship of themselves. Adopted from Slavic folklore, the Crones are unquestionably inspired by the prominent supernatural figure of “Baba Yaga“. Represented as either an individual or as one of a trio of sisters all bearing the same name, Baba Yaga is a deformed maternal character commonly depicted as an old woman with the legs of a chicken.

Residing deep within a forest, Baba Yaga is one of the most recurrent figures in Slavic fairy tales. Ambiguous in morality and nature, appearing as both a savior and as a villain, Baba Yaga may elect to either help or hinder those who approach her. First recorded in 1755, various cultural interpretations of Baba Yaga have induced a highly enigmatic and emblematic figure, with modern commentators remaining disputed whether or not she was meant as a didactic lesson concerning the human condition or merely a stock character designed to frighten disobedient children.

 

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

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“Early Modern Supernatural: The Dark Side of European Culture, 1400-1700”, Jane P. Davison, Praeger Publishing (2012)

“The Encyclopaedia of Witches, Witchcraft, and Wicca”, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Facts on File Publishing (2008)

“Celtic and Germanic Themes in European Literature”, Neil Thomas, Mellen Publishing (1994)

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“Pesta on the Stairs”, T. Holmoy, Academic Medicine (2008)

“Folklore Rules: A Fun, Quick, and Useful Introduction to the Field of Academic Folklore Studies”, L. McNeil, Utah State University Press (2013)

“The Witcher: Everything We Know About the Crones of Crookback Bog“, By Jennifer Melzer, CBR, Published Jan 20, 2021

“Wendigo”, J.R. Colombo, Western Producer Prairie Books (1983)

“The Encyclopaedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters”, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Checkmark Books (2004)

“Baba Yaga and the Russian Mother”, Andreas Johns, The Slavic and East European Journal (1998)

“Baba Yaga: The Ambiguous Mother and Witch of the Russian Folktale”, Peter Lang Publishing (2004)

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