Elven-human War in The Witcher Explained: How Did Humans Win?

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One of the things that we saw in The Witcher: Blood Origin was the arrival of humans through the Conjunction of the Spheres. Of course, during the events of the mainline story of The Witcher, humans became the dominant species of the Continent, while the elves were the oppressed minority after they lost the war to the humans. So, how did the war between the elves and the humans begin, and how did humans win?

In the books, the war between elves began with the death of Cregennan, a human sorcerer. The humans thought the elves killed him out of jealousy, while the elves believed that the humans killed him for the sake of bigotry. Humanity won the wars against the elves because they outnumbered them and controlled chaos.

One of the things that we saw in The Witcher is that the elves were already a minority race compared to the humans, who dominated the Continent and built kingdoms on top of the ruined kingdoms that the elves once ruled. Of course, there is a deep history behind the relationship between the two races. Now, let’s look at how it all started and how humans defeated the elves.

How Did The Elven-Human War Start In The Witcher?

We saw in The Witcher: Blood Origin that the elves roamed the Continent as the dominant species, all while humans were yet to set foot on that land. Of course, this is different from the events of The Witcher’s main series, when the humans were already the dominant species on the Continent while the elves were the oppressed minority. Season 2 also allowed us to see that the elves were now looking to re-establish their former glory in the Continent. So, how did the war between the elves and humans start?

It all began after the Conjunction of the Spheres, which we saw during the events of Blood Origin. The series allowed us to learn more about how the Conjunction started, as this was never explained in any of Andrzej Sapkowski’s books or in CD Projekt’s games. However, the Netflix adaptation sought to create an original story that allowed us to see what happened before the Conjunction and what led to this cataclysmic event.

conjunction

What happened was that the Seven found a way to defeat Balor, who had harnessed the power of chaos magic. Syndril used the same chaos power against Balor to destroy the Monolith and the evil mage that sought to put everything in the Continent under his control. But the power emitted when the Monolith was destroyed was too powerful that it led to the Conjunction of the Spheres, which opened several portals from different worlds, with the Continent as the convergence point.

In that regard, monsters and humans found their way to the Continent. This all happened 1,200 years ago in the Netflix adaptation (1,500 years in the books and the games). During that time, the Dauk and the Wozgor were the first type of humans on the Continent, and most of them were peaceful. However, chaos magic also found its way to the Continent.

It was during the arrival of the Nordlings that humans were able to harness chaos magic to its full potential, and that was when the mages came to be. These mages were also the ones responsible for creating the Witchers, as none of the races were able to defeat the monsters that found their way to the Continent. Of course, that’s a different story to tell.

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The Nordlings waged war against the elves and the other inhabitants of the Continent to build the northern kingdoms on top of the ruined kingdoms of the elves. Unlike the other humans on the Continent, the Nordlings were intolerant and brash. They were also a lot more barbaric compared to the elves and the other humans.

But it was the story of Lara Dorren, who is one of the ancestors of Ciri and the progenitor of Elder Blood, that led to the all-out war between elves and humans. Lara fell in love with a human sorcerer named Cregennan. However, their marriage was controversial due to the fact that it was between two races. Still, they represented the possibility that two warring races could actually find common ground.

However, Cregennan was killed, and the humans said that the elves were responsible for it due to their jealousy. On the other hand, the elves blamed the humans as they believed that they killed their own kind to display aggression and progression because they didn’t believe that humans and elves were supposed to be together.

That was what led to the war between elves and humans despite the fact that Lara was pregnant with her daughter with Cregennan. According to the humans, Lara cursed the queen, who would not pardon her due to the queen’s belief that she was using her magic to do evil deeds to others. The humans also said that Lara whined and begged for the queen’s mercy when she saw that she was not intimidated. 

However, the elves say that Lara never begged for mercy for herself but only for her unborn child. The queen ordered Lara’s fingers to be chopped, but she still tried to protect her child. Upon Lara’s death, the child was adopted by Cerro, who was the queen of Redania at that time.

In that regard, the war between the two races began due to the death of a human mage, as neither side wanted to take responsibility for his death. That was what led to the different battles and skirmishes between both sides until the humans eventually defeated the elves and forced them out of their homes and into the mountains, where they struggled to find homes for themselves.

As you probably saw in The Witcher, the elves are now the minority in the Continent due to the dominance of the human race. And this is despite the fact that the humans had a weaker claim to the Continent because they merely took the lands from the elves by force when they arrived due to the Convergence of the Spheres.

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Of course, the hostilities between elves and humans never ended. The elves became oppressed people that struggled to find homes for themselves. We saw in season 2 of The Witcher that Jaskier worked in secret as the Sandpiper to smuggle elves into Cintra, which became their new home. And the elves are now looking to try to re-establish the glory that they lost when the humans invaded after the Conjunction of the Spheres. 

How Did The Humans Win?

Obviously, humanity won the war against the elves because humans became the dominant race in the Continent during the present timeline of The Witcher. On the other hand, the elves were forced to become a minority race that didn’t have a place in the world. But if the elves were on the Continent first, how did the humans win the wars against them?

In the books and the games, the humans were described to be much more barbaric and predisposed to war compared to the elves. While the elves are skilled warriors as well, as we saw in Blood Origin, the humans were simply more barbaric. And the arrival of the Nordlings allowed humans to gain control over chaos magic, which proved to be too difficult for the elves to match with their own magic.

yen fire magic

As we saw in season 2 of The Witcher, we also understood that elves struggled to conceive. While elves have longer lifespans, their fertility windows are shorter. That’s why the elves were fewer in number during the events of The Witcher. On the other hand, humans reproduced faster, and that meant that their numbers were easier to increase and replenish.

But we also saw in the events of The Witcher: Blood Origin that the uprising of the people against the noble elves basically toppled the Golden Empire, which was the first true united empire of elves under Empress Merwyn. When the Seven instigated an uprising among the lowborn, the Golden Empire fell, and it is possible that no other united empire or kingdom was ever strong enough to contend with the humans during the time of the wars against humanity.

As such, while Blood Origin’s story was meant to allow us to see how the common people rose up to determine their own fate, it also tells us the consequences of the actions of the Seven. That’s because their actions led to the Conjunction of the Spheres, the creation of the prototype elf-monster hybrid (or the prototype Witcher), the arrival of chaos magic, and the fall of the Golden Empire. All of those led to the eventual fall of the elven race to the humans during the next 1,200 years.

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