The Witcher: Blood Origin — does it link to The Witcher? All your questions answered

Laurence O'Fuarain and Sophia Brown in The Witcher: Blood Origin
Laurence O'Fuarain and Sophia Brown in The Witcher: Blood Origin (Image credit: Lilja Jonsdottir/Netflix)

Now that The Witcher: Blood Origin is out and available for anyone to stream via Netflix, there are likely plenty of fans of fantasy, action or The Witcher itself who are diving in.

The Witcher: Blood Origin tells the story of seven warriors who team up to take on a corrupt empire, and it also explores how witchers were created and some other aspects of world's origin. But being set apart from The Witcher, and inspired by but not based on Andrzej Sapkowski's books, you might have some questions about... well, everything.

To help you out, we're here to answer some of your big questions about The Witcher: Blood Origin.

What is a Witcher?

New to the show, are we?

The title of The Witcher refers to Geralt, the lead character in almost all of Sapkowski's books (and the show, and most of the games). But Geralt is just one of many witchers.

Witchers are mutated humans, who are forced to undergo a transformation when they are young called the Trial of the Grasses. This gives them "superpowers," like quick reflexes and reactions, and the ability to see in the dark.

So they don't quite turn into Superman, but these skills help them with witchers' main task. These characters roam the world, working as mercenaries to fight monsters for pay — usually scraping by and being hated as much by suspicious humans as they are hungry monsters.

The Witcher: Blood Origin doesn't actually star a witcher, because they didn't exist in the time the show is set in. However we do get to see how the breed of mutated humans did come about.

What is the Conjunction of the Spheres?

The Conjunction of the Spheres is a pivotal event in the world of The Witcher, but it's always spoken about or used as part of the lore. That is, until Blood Origin, which depicts the event.

Originally in this fantasy world, only elves and dwarves existed. However at one point "spheres," or alternative worlds, aligned, letting people from one fall into another. After this event, humans and monsters were both introduced to the world, which led to quite a political sea change. 

In the main series of the show humans are in charge, with elves badly mistreated, so clearly the 1,200 between Blood Origin and The Witcher weren't great for them.

Previously, the Conjunction of the Spheres wasn't very well understood, either by characters in The Witcher or the fans of the franchise. However now that Blood Origin shows the event, we understand how it came about.

How many episodes of Blood Origin are there?

The Witcher: Blood Origin is a mini-series split over four parts, but you might be confused because lots of sources call it a six-part series. 

The reason for this is that Blood Origin was initially slated to be split across six episodes, but just before release, and after some last-minute reshoots, that was revised down to four.

At Netflix Tudum in September, showrunner Declan de Barra explained that the decision was to improve the pacing of the show. That was backed up by the showrunner to the main Witcher show, Lauren Hissrich, who said, "It's a road story of seven people who meet up and journey to Xintrea, so it didn't make sense to make a lot of pauses in those stories," explaining that many of the dropped scenes are people talking around campfires that affected the pacing too much.

Francesca Mills and Laurence O'Faurain in The Witcher: Blood Origin

Francesca Mills and Laurence O'Fuarain in The Witcher: Blood Origin (Image credit: Susie Allnutt/Netflix)

How is Blood Origin related to The Witcher?

While Blood Origin is set 1,200 years before The Witcher, it acts as a prequel for two core parts of the world of both shows.

First, it explains how the first witcher came about — these monster-hunting mutant humans, which Geralt (Henry Cavill) is in The Witcher, weren't around forever.

Second, it explores the "Conjunction of the Spheres." You might not know this, but in The Witcher's lore, only elves and dwarves used to inhabit the planet. Then the Conjunction happened, dropping creatures from loads of different dimensions amongst the elves. This is how humans and monsters joined the fray.

The Conjunction of the Spheres is mentioned through the various Witcher properties as a fundamental part of the lore, but Blood Origin depicts how it came about.

But there is one part of Blood Origin that stands as a more overt cross-over...

Why is Jaskier in The Witcher: Blood Origin?

A fan-favorite character of The Witcher is Jaskier (played by the delightful Joey Batey), who functions both as comedic relief and the singer of everyone's favorite "Toss a Coin to Your Witcher."

However, Jaskier is actually in Blood Origin, despite it being set 1,200 years before he was born.

Why? Well, slight spoilers here: at the beginning of Blood Origin, we start with Jaskier as he's being rescued by Scoia'tael (a guerilla band of elves) from his captivity with a group of Temerians (a human empire). He's rescued from this encounter by Seanchai (played by Minnie Driver), an ancient elf who requires him to use his bardic abilities to adapt a story she tells him into a song.

This story ends up being the tale of Blood Origin, with Seanchai acting as our narrator as she tells Jaskier the story. 

Is The Witcher: Blood Origin based on a book?

While author Andrzej Sapkowski's series of Witcher books inspired Netflix's TV show, as well as the series of video games, Blood Origin isn't actually based on one of his books.

Sure, Sapkowski has written stories in the world of The Witcher that aren't about Geralt and his adventures, and other authors have written tales in the universe too, but Blood Origin isn't based on any of them.

Instead, it's an original exploration of some of the lore that is mentioned in those stories. So in that regard, it's loosely based on the Witcher books, but the characters and story are invented for the show.

Is The Witcher: Blood Origin linked to the games?

No, Blood Origin has nothing to do with any of The Witcher franchise of video games, neither the main-series titles nor the various spin-offs.

This is because while both the TV show and video games are based on the same book, they're different interpretations of the source material, with no further links between the two beyond that.

Just imagine it as two unattached branches from the same tree. So if something happens in Blood Origin, it's not necessarily canon for The Witcher 3 and vice versa.

A tiny bit of confusion may arise from names: The Witcher 3 has a downloadable expansion called Blood and Wine and the double use of the word "blood" has led some to think the two were linked... but in the Witchering world, there's no shortage of blood.

The Witcher: Blood Origin is now available to stream exclusively on Netflix.

Tom Bedford
Streaming and Ecommerce Writer

Tom is the streaming and ecommerce writer at What to Watch, covering streaming services in the US and UK. His goal is to help you navigate the busy and confusing online video market, to help you find the TV, movies and sports that you're looking for without having to spend too much money.