The world of a Witcher is one steeped in blood, magic and horrific nightmares, as the job of a monster slayer is never done on The Continent. With Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher book series fast approaching, we here at HN Entertainment felt it only natural to begin further exploring the untamed bestiary that keeps Geralt of Rivia on his toes and his pockets lined whenever he marches into town.
Last time we discussed at great length the dreaded Striga, where we not only explored the origins behind the creature but also the infamous battle that Geralt had with one in the Kingdom of Vizima. Of course, we didn’t get too into detail about some of the Slavic origins behind the Striga, if only cause Andrzej Sapkowski managed to fill in what his version of the creature was quite well. The same can’t really be said for the Kikimora/Kikimore.
First showcased within the short story titled The Lesser Evil, readers are first introduced to Geralt and his occupation as a monster slayer. Upon entering the town of Blaviken, a town that garners him quite a reputation later in life, the Witcher seeks out Caldemeyn the alderman in order to cash in a potential prize: a Kikimore.
Described in the book as having “bony, clawed paws” and a “spidery form, covered by dried black hide […] a glassy eye with a vertical pupil […] needle-like fangs inside the blood-stained jaws,” the Kikimore was said to have been found upon the dike embankment on the outskirts of the town, with who knows how many people falling victim to the creature.
While not necessarily having a starring role in the Witcher series, the Kikimore is often brought up time and again on the list of creatures that Geralt is knowledgeable of on his travels, and is often one of the first he lists when detailing his expertise. Of course, based on the description, the Kikimore can be assumed to be some sort of spider-like creature, one that hangs around damp areas and on the edges of towns.
Kikimore In The Witcher Video Games
The Witcher video games by CDProjektRed take it a step further, fully modeling and rendering the Kikimore as a social animal, not all that dissimilar from a termite colony. The monster comes in three different forms within the video game canon, from the Kikimore worker, warrior and finally, the Queen. Each subdivision holds its own duties, all working to support the Queen and continue her steady reproduction of eggs.
Workers manage to build structures within the swamps that they call home while warriors protect the Queen herself. The creatures, as stated previously, are typically found in marshy swamps, and they are known to be highly toxic creatures; according to in-game bestiaries within The Witcher 3, autopsies are fairly rare and hampered by their high toxicity.
Kikimora In Slavish Folklore
Of course, like most creatures within the Witcher universe, a lot of them are based on early Slavish folktales and mythology from other regions of the world. The Kikimore is probably the one that has gone through the most changes based on this translation, as the creature within the novels and the videogames doesn’t hold a large familiarity with the creature of folklore. Within old Slavic tradition, the Kikimore is known as a Kikimora, and is known to be a demonic spirit that lives in forests and invades the home of settlers.
The Kikimora is said to be a female spirit, with feet like a chicken and an elongated face that’s tied in a shawl. In some versions, the Kikimora typically appears alongside horrific events, like a stillborn child or a death in childbirth; as such, in these instances the Kikimora was said to take on the appearance of the female deceased in the family.
It’s not all bad, though; if you have a well-kept household, the Kikimora is more than happy to help you out with the chores at night or watch over the family chickens. She’s even said to guard family members, bringing warnings of impending danger that could harm her house. You can even get on a kikimora’s good side by feeding them at night; with enough coaxing, you may even get them to leave your home. However, in a house rife with fighting, misfortune and abuse, the Kikimora shows just how scary it can be. The Kikimora’s actions range from general mischief to eventual death of the occupants of the home.
She often greatly irritates the home by throwing and misplacing items in the house, or she can affect the dreams of everyone involved, resulting in horrific nightmares and life-absorbing dreams. The Kikimora has even been known to kidnap children, forcing them to see horrific visions of impending mayhem or even transform them into Kikimora’s themselves. They make their way around the house by moving through keyholes, which is why it’s important to leave keys in the door way or to leave brooms by the door to prevent the spirit from passing through.
While it’s more likely that Sapkowski wasn’t looking to create a 1 to 1 recreation of this creature within his Witcher series, it is still fascinating to see the differences between the two in relation to the other creatures that come from popular Slavic, German and Russian folklore, among many other cultures and traditions seen in Eastern Europe.
With that said, if you’re interested in seeing any more creatures explored let us know your recommendations! Leave your comments down below and feel free to follow me at @LukeAdaVA on Twitter!