We have already seen the new movie of The Wolf’s Nightmare, a prequel that seeks to get closer to the character of Vesemir, Geralt of Rivia’s teacher, while we discover the conflicts that have always divided men and witches.
While Netflix warms up engines for the second season of the witcher, The Nightmare of the Wolf It now comes with several objectives: as an appetizer and before the series, as an ingenious way to alleviate the information overload that it will contain and as a way to present one of its characters, much loved by the community of readers and players: Vesemir; the old sorcerer and teacher of Geralt of Rivia. The oldest of the sorcerers left in the wolf school.
The Witcher: The Wolf’s Nightmare it is his past. One of his many stories, but one that is becoming increasingly relevant to fans as the animated film unfolds. Indeed, we will see the origins of Vesemir before his transformation, but it will be thanks to the events of his “youth” that we will discover more about the hatred of witches, the strength of Kaer Morhen and the mutations that took place there.
Although I won’t get into spoilers just yet, I can say that The Wolf’s Nightmare leaves fans with several canonical issues to debate. It was already complicated sometimes the marriage between the canon of books and that of video games, so that there is a third party in contention. Your screenwriter, Handsome DeMayo, He assured that he was relying more on books than on video games, and recalling some of his passages (including Storm Station), so it seems; but the truth is that I have found similarities with the games and also some facts that contradict both.
The purpose of the film is so specific that it can perform better than the main seriesAlthough it is logical to ask for coherence, I am not an ultra strong defender of continuity. Even less so in the Geralt of Rivia saga, in which Sapkowski tends to play in his worldbuilding more with insinuation than with contrasted data. The important thing is that what you want to tell uses that background with a purpose. And, in this sense, I think that The Nightmare of the Wolf tends to fulfill more objectives than those left on the way. It is a film that seeks, in short, to tell the story of how the distrust between men and witches (and between different races and factions) takes root until it takes roots that are very difficult to uproot. And we see it to its last consequences. In a way, the purpose of this film is so specific that it can actually perform better than the main series, which must juggle too many plots, characters, and messages to convey.
Let’s be concrete, then. We follow the path of a “young” Vesemir who must Investigate the increasingly abundant and dangerous monster appearances in Kaedwen. Although some dialogues from both books and video games make us imagine a Vesemir somewhat rogue in his youth, I think Netflix has taken advantage of this to turn the witch into an attractive character for the screen, but too cocky. Vesemir is a braggart; always carefree, with a prepared answer and showing less humanity and wisdom than we could expect from someone like him as soon as we know some of his characteristics.
Still, its main story is well built. Even in their flashbacks, as a stable boy, in which we see a boy who dreams of having adventures and being rich. However, the only money their hands have ever held has been to fulfill the errands of their masters. When a sorcerer gives him two coins for the first time, everything will change for him. His arrival in Kaer Morhen is very interesting, since any plot that touches the bloody theme of the Herbs Test catches the fan’s attention immediately. More in the spoiler paragraphs, I promise.
However, the monsters will also continue to be protagonists. In this one there will be a good repertoire of the bestiary, such as the Leshen, the apparitions or the ghouls, but special attention will be paid to the ability to hybridize creatures. For now, I will only say that those who have read Storm Season, The last novel written by Sapkowski in the world of Geralt of Rivia (which is also a prequel), you will notice that the writer has been inspired by some of the events in the book.
It’s hard to go on commenting on the plot without spoilers, so I’ll stop here to focus later. Technically, The Wolf’s Nightmare is a well-produced play. It is created by the Studio Me, also responsible for The Legend of Korra. It’s not maybe my favorite type of animation, but it delivers. So does the music that has some really inspired themes during Vesemir’s battles and performance.
In short, I think that with La Pesadilla del Lobo we are dealing with the classic product dedicated to fans who enjoy the world of Geralt de Rivia and want to know more about him. Although the story is solvent on its own, it relies on the fan who comes with desire. If it is not your case, the same leaves you indifferent. There are also good opportunities to discuss lore, with interesting points and others that can raise an eyebrow (such as the use and abuse of the igni signal or excessive pirouettes in the air). In conclusion, like Kaer Morhen for witches, The Wolf’s Nightmare is a haven for fans.
Section WITH SPOILERS
Being able to speak openly now, there is no doubt that the Netflix production has been drenched in topics that, so far, are still somewhat shrouded in mystery. The fall of Kaer Morhen and the Trial of the Herbs are undoubtedly some of the most important. The books are not very specific when it comes to talking about these events. Sometimes people talk more about the fortress as a place that gradually collapsed and after successive attacks, than the fact that it suffered such a siege. If I remember correctly, the vision of video games was somewhat more similar to that of the series. In one of the missions that was added in patch 1.3 and la Enhanced Edition del primer The Witcher, where we learned more about the warlocks and Kaer Morhen, it speaks precisely of a mob of men from the region who attacked the fortress and, as suggested, they would never have been able to achieve it without the help of the magicians. The vision of The Wolf’s Nightmare is more dramatic and spectacular, perhaps too much; with wizards teleporting monsters through portals. It is certainly effective for an animated film, but somewhat implausible even for a handful of experienced warlocks.
Narratively, however, it works, because it is the hatred and mistrust that is sown between men and witches that generates the conflict. The fact that it is a sorcerer who is creating more creatures not only to earn money, but to remain necessary and that men depend on them, denotes the twilight state in which the order of the sorcerers is. The ploy recalls, as I said earlier, to Storm Season and the Brotherhood of Sorcerers. In addition, the monster used, a hybrid between Kitsu and Mahr, resembles the figure of the Aguara that also appears in the book, also with illusory powers.
I think one of the great successes of the film is that Vesemir’s personal story worksIt is interesting this conjugation that DeMayo makes between the experimentation with monsters and that of the witches themselves, who are also mutants. Mutagens used during Herbs Test they are always a mystery, the product of renegade magicians who helped witches and whose secret, it is said, seems to have been lost forever; but it is clear that the tests are so harsh because human blood mixes with monstrous blood and, for the sorcerer to be created, he must mix well.
Sinning again spectacularly, one can see too cruel the training of children, who are left in the forest to face all kinds of creatures. It is true that Lambert goes so far as to say in The Witcher 3 that the tests were brutal and that many children perished in the swamps and caves where they trained; but the truth is that perhaps the order of the series is not adequate. They should first face the Trial of the Herbs, study the creatures well, and improve their sword skills, rather than be left to fend against so many monsters.
I believe that one of the great successes of the film the thing is Vesemir’s personal story it works. As I said before, I am not convinced by his personality, and when we also understand that he is 70 years old (technically and according to the canon he should have many more) he seems even more silly. The reinforcement of Illyana in her character, however, is very interesting and the two twists of the character, too. First, we realize that the old woman who is defending the witches in court is herself; At the end of the film, we see that it was the illusion of Kitsu that caused Vesemir to destroy the wizards … and also Illyana. A bitter ending that, at least, is sure to end his swagger.
There are moments a bit ‘freaked out’ with an endless number of monsters and too many pirouettesI think I have enjoyed The Wolf’s Nightmare because it has been a good excuse to review some concepts that had a little rusty, but it is also possible to enjoy it without the need for them. The message of fear, mistrust and prejudice to the different sent by the film (inherited from the novels) is universal and does not require any prior knowledge. It is true that its character as an animated film makes it moments maybe a little “freaked out”, with an endless number of monsters and too many pirouettes. There are funny contradictions, like the fact that they know how dangerous fire magic is and then Vesemir makes igni signals that seem worthy of the most skilled magician; but the use of the Aard signal has seemed quite creative to me. Or that Vesemir should be older than he is right now. The ages of the next generation of witches also seem to dance a bit. But it’s easy to miss.
I liked it, of course, the wink of seeing a Geralt as a child, trying by all means not to think too much about her white hair causing her to have lost all her hair in the Trial of Herbs. Seeing Geralt in his training will cause us to draw links to the series when it is Ciri who trains in Kaer Morhen, with a handful of worn out warlocks who, deep down, are aware that their order has fallen and do not know very well what. They are doing. For all these reasons, I believe that this film is enjoyed and will help lay the groundwork so that the second season does not have to be so expository and that everyone understands the events of Kaer Morhen and the state of the warlock order when we visit it all in the Serie.