What Is the Conjunction of the Spheres That Leads to 'The Witcher' Netflix Prequel 'Blood Origin'?

On Monday, Netflix announced a six-episode spin-off of their hit fantasy series, The Witcher, to be called The Witcher: Blood Origin. From the few details released by Netflix, the series looks to be set more than a thousand years before the adventures of monster hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill). This would place Blood Origin around the time of a massively consequential event in the fictional universe of The Witcher, called the Conjunction of the Spheres. What happened during the cataclysmic Conjunction is key to understanding the order of Witchers that emerged in response.

"Twelve-hundred years before Geralt of Rivia, the worlds of monsters, men and elves merged into one, and the first Witcher came to be," Netflix announced in a tweet, establishing the setting for the upcoming live-action miniseries.

1200 years before Geralt of Rivia, the worlds of monsters, men and elves merged into one, and the first Witcher came to be.

Announcing The Witcher: Blood Origin, a 6 part live-action The Witcher spin-off series from Declan de Barra and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich.

— NX (@NXOnNetflix) July 27, 2020

Additional details about Blood Origin confirm it will portray not only the origins of the first Witcher, but also the events leading to the Conjunction. Here's what we know about the magical event, which is a pivotal moment in the novels and short stories written by Witcher series author Andrzej Sapkowski.

What Was the Conjunction of the Spheres?

Fifteen-hundred years before the events of the novels—or 1,200 years, according to what we know so far of Blood Origin—multiple worlds in the multiverse overlapped. Instead of a Conjunction, one translation of Sapkowski's Polish-language stories described the event as an "interpenetration."

The primary world, where the Continent is located (that's The Witcher's main setting), was originally home to gnomes, dwarves and halflings. Together with the elves—who are believed to have come from another world through a portal, hundreds of years before the Conjunction—they are known as The Witcher's Elder Races.

During the Conjunction of the Spheres, overlapping realms forced the collision of new people and species, stranding not only the Elder Races, but ghouls, vampires, bobolaks, vran and humans on a single world after the Conjunction ended. (The Conjunction also filled the world with a mystic energy that formed the basis of magic.) The generations after the Conjunction of the Spheres were a chaotic and dangerous time.

Mundane and fantastical creatures were thrown together during the Conjunction of the Spheres. Netflix

Humans also arrived in the world during the Conjunction, though the first humans on the Continent—the Dauk and Wozgor—eventually died out. Humans became a more serious threat about 500 years before the events of The Witcher, during a wave of colonization known as the First Landing.

The Conjunction of the Spheres remains a mysterious event in The Witcher's present day. A book players can find in the game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt gives some perspective, though it shouldn't be considered canon in relation to Sapkowski's stories or the Netflix series based on them.

In the in-game book, written by a human historian named Adam Nivelle, the Conjunction of the Spheres is compared to a storm upon a "cosmic sea," which tosses ships—or worlds, in this metaphor—against each other, allowing crew and cargo to move between vessels. The fictional Nivelle, who prefers to call the event "When the Worlds Collided," compares ghouls and basilisks to passengers from another ship. Humans are "castaways, flung against our will from somewhere far away onto a world previously inhabited by the Elder Races."

"Could the worlds collide once more? Perhaps," Nivelle writes. "Can this cataclysm be avoided, or the opposite—hastened?"

The First Witchers

According to Netflix, its upcoming series will show how "the first Witcher came to be." The Witchers themselves are a response to the dangerous new status quo created by the Conjunction. They represent one of the the human reactions to the mashing together of monsters and fantasy races, and the arrival of magic.

While The Witcher: Blood Origin seems to conflate the two events into a single narrative, timelines based on the Sapkowski books suggest that the Witchers took centuries to emerge after the collision of worlds. The apparent differences may mean that Blood Origin will tell a very different story from what's currently known about the origins of the Witchers.

Nevertheless, here's what we think we know: The Order of the Witchers was originally intended as an order of magic-using knights, which Nordling kings could deploy in the extermination and subjugation of monsters and other non-human races. But the efforts of the mages to create magical super-soldiers was largely considered a failure. Even still, two mages continued to refine their methods for creating magically imbued humans: the mostly forgotten sorcerer Cosimo Malaspina and his famous protege Alzur (namesake for many spells in the world of The Witcher).

Instead of magical soldiers, their refinements led to capable monster hunters, whose warrior monk rituals came to be passed down through "Witcher schools," like Kaer Morhen, where Geralt was trained.

Geralt is one of the last in a long line of witchers. Netflix

Using orphaned and abandoned children, the Witcher schools subjected its pupils to dangerous—often deadly—alchemy and mutagens, in addition to years of training. Beyond the mutating mushrooms and herbal stimulants used to nurture superhuman speed and endurance, young Witchers are most famous for enduring the Trial of the Grasses, which gives Witchers cat-like eyes and the ability to see and fight in the dark. Witchers are sterile and slow-aging, with incredible combat skills and a limited capacity for casting spells. They're also a dying breed by Geralt's time, as the Witcher schools fall into disrepair.

However, The Witcher: Blood Origin looks to revisit the very beginnings of these rites and rituals, which may even have roots in the world before the Conjunction.

"As a lifelong fan of fantasy, I am beyond excited to tell the story The Witcher: Blood Origin," screenwriter Declan de Barra and Blood Origin showrunner told Entertainment Weekly recently. "A question has been burning in my mind ever since I first read The Witcher books: What was the Elven world really like before the cataclysmic arrival of the humans? I've always been fascinated by the rise and fall of civilizations, how science, discovery, and culture flourish right before that fall. How vast swathes of knowledge are lost forever in such a short time, often compounded by colonization and a rewriting of history. Leaving only fragments of a civilization's true story behind. The Witcher: Blood Origin will tell the tale of the Elven civilization before its fall, and most importantly reveal the forgotten history of the very first Witcher."

Newsweek has reached out to Netflix for additional Blood Origin details, but the streaming service had no other context or details ready to share.