'The Witcher' Designer Reveals How Nivellan's Castle Honors the Author

Season 2 of The Witcher expands Geralt, Ciri, and Yennefer’s world, taking them from the cold gray keep of Kaer Morhen to the exotic Temple of Melitele. Here’s what concept designer Andrew Laws said inspired the show’s impressive sets. 

‘The Witcher’ set designer reveals Indian citadels inspired kaer Morhen

The Witcher Season 2 takes Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) back to one of the most important places in his life. He brings Ciri (Freya Allen) to Kaer Morhen, the old keep where he was trained to be a Witcher. The massive fort-like structure sits high up in the snowy mountains and features huge halls and dungeon-like bedrooms. 

Laws wanted to make the second season look and feel fresh. So in designing Geralt’s home away from home, Laws said he used elements found in Indian citadels.

“We’re not bound by a lot of rules,” the designer told IndieWire. “We’d sort of used Northern hemisphere influences for Season 1, [so for Kaer Morhen] we liked the idea of really differentiating and pushing it into an architecture we hadn’t seen. And so we sort of went to the Southern hemisphere and to India and looked at citadels and things that gave us a language that was different.”

Nivellan’s castle honors ‘The Witcher’ author

The Witcher is based on Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s books and short stories. Season 2 features a story from The Last Wish, in which Geralt visits his old friend Nivellan (Kristofer Hivju). The cursed man lives in a secluded castle on the edge of a small town. And he houses a terrifying bruxa that he’s fallen in love with. 

According to Laws, Nivellan’s castle home was inspired by an estate in Poland. And he noted it was meant to honor the author’s homeland. 

“That was all based on a particular castle in Poland,” he said in his chat with IndieWire. “And I think it was a bit of wanting to sort of honor [the books, written originally in Polish].”

The Temple of Melitele was inspired by a palace in Spain

In the second season of The Witcher, Geralt takes Ciri to the Temple of Melitele to meet the priestess Nenneke (Adjoa Andoh). The beautiful sunlit sanctuary features long hallways and opulent rooms.

In his interview with IndieWire, Laws said that the Temple of Melitele was inspired by Alhambra — a palace in Andalusia, Spain known for its Islamic architecture. Laws also noted that most of The Witcher Season 2 sets were made to look much bigger than they actually are. And he revealed that some feature a multipurpose design. 

“Columns were designed in a way that if you looked at them from a different angle, it actually became a hallway, and you wouldn’t have any idea that it was connected to [the larger space],” the designer explained. 

“You could play lots of different scenes in different places in that set and feel like you were in a much more expansive environment than we would physically be able to create on the stage,” Laws added. “Which is saying a lot, because the stage we had was absolutely enormous. We always want the world to feel bigger.”

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