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Jan Marek Skelligers

Islanders or Skelligers and Skelligirls[1] informally also as Sons of Skellige[2] are a society of men from the archipelago of Skellige. Despite living in nearby area, they had developed an entirely different culture than people of Northern Realms. The Islanders have a natural resistance to the frost, which evolved in the area. Eager to augment their martial skills beyond the traditional methods, they excel in all manner of traditional warfare. Culture centers on the quest for honor and glory, with emphasis also on the family and community.

Jan Marek Skelligirls

The rocky, inhospitable Skellige Islands is one of the earliest lands settled by humans. Its people are valiant and skilled sailors-merchants, as well as robbers and pirates-who in addition to the Common Tongue also speak native dialect, one Skellige jargon, based on the Elder Speech. Also in contrast to the continental North, the Skellige Islanders are predominantly freemen, possessing rights nearly equal to those of the jarls who lead them.[3]

The inhabitants of Skellige are divided into seven clans, each seated on one of the archipelago’s larger islands. Every Skellige clan has its own characteristic colors that define it as a distinct group bound by family ties and age-old traditions. These colors also act as a distinguishing mark that lets warriors easily identify each other on the field of battle.[4]

Culture Edit

Tw3 Tuirseach architecture

One’s attention immediately is drawn to the fact that their seemingly impoverished huts shine with cleanliness. The walls of their homes are usually made from pine and covered with a substance derived from sap which keeps out all manner of vermin. It is believed by scholars of Oxenfurt Academy that this serves to scares off insects as well.

The interiors of their huts are quite spacious and usually divided into two rooms. The first is used by the members of the household during the day and is separated by a doorway from the second, which acts as a bedroom and contains only simple wooden beds covered with linens that resemble somehow more sacks than Continental bedding.

In the middle of each main chamber stands a large round table around which the members of the household gather to eat only once a day. This usually happens just after dusk, the time for their main meal. This supper is hallowed event and is carried out in a nearly ritualistic manner. At its start, before the family members have even taken their seats around the table, the eldest of family tears off a piece of bread and places it on something of a household altar, which occupies a place of honor in each Skellige home. This serves as a symbol of respect for deceased ancestor. At the end of this ceremony for departed, the entire family sits down to eat. The eldest woman places a steaming bowl in the middle of the table. Everyone has their own spoon, which they dip, one by one, into the basin of food. They most often eat porridge, over which they pour a gravy made from meat or fish.

Tw3 Islanders feast

Curiously, immediately upon supper’s conclusion the eldest takes the piece of bread sed aside at the start of the meal and places it in a large amphora. When an amphora becomes full, it is filled with boiling water and a beverage is brewed which in taste somewhat resembles classic beer, though it is much weaker.[5]

Religion Edit

Cult of Modron Freyja Edit

Tw3 Statue Freya

Statue of the Freya.

Main article: Freya

As is true of most realms, the predominant religion in the Skellige Isles has its roots in the prehistoric cult of the Great Mother, Mother Nature. On the Continent, such worship has taken as its object and namesake Melitele. In Skellige, her counterpart is Freyja also called Freya.[6]

She is the goddess of fertility, love and beauty, also known as the Great Mother. She wears a magical necklace called Brisingamen and is principally worshipped by the people of the Skellige Islands. There is a Temple of Freyja on the island of Hindarsfjall

Cult around Hemdall and Heulyn Edit

Main articles: Hemdall and Heulyn

Hemdall is a mythical hero. According to the beliefs of the inhabitants of Skellige, there is a magical golden rooster known as Kambi whose task it is to awaken Hemdall before the final battle of good and evil, known as "Ragh nar Roog".[7]

Heulyn is hero’s mistress and mother of his sons.[8]

Cult of Forefathers Edit

Main articles: Grymmdjarr, Modolf, Broddr, Otkell, Sove, and Tyr

Forefathers are progenitors of main clans, legendary and heroic sons of Heulyn and Hemdall, and first rulers of the archipelago. They are honored, worshipped and many places are named after them.

Gods of the Sea Edit

Not much is known about so-called Sea Gods or Gods of the Sea since they are only briefly mentioned in the books by Eist Tuirseach and almost totally forgotten in the game series. Its possible that Sedna (after which is named the famous abyss near the archipelago) is one of them though it is not confirmed.

Druidism of Skellige Edit

Tw3 Vilmar druid

Vilmar, one of many druids

Main article: Druid

The disciples of the Isles' local pantheon are not the sole spiritual devotees in Skellige, for some druids also call the archipelago home. Yet this is no cause for conflict, for Freya's adherents and the Druids' Circle coexist and treat each other with great respect. To the druids, men form a part of nature and should treat the world around them with the utmost respect.

Druids are seen as wise men and priests are held in high esteem by society. They act as spiritual guides, herbalists and alchemists. Skelligers seek their council in times of trouble, summon them when ill and ask them to settle thorny conflicts. Like their continental brethren, the druids of Skellige have a Circle.[9]

Forbidden deity of Svalblod Edit

Main article: Svalblod

Svalblod was an ancient deity worshipped by a cult cast out of the lands of Skellige many years ago. Even in a land of violence-orientated culture, the worship practised bloody and cruel rituals that repulsed the minds of many islanders. Later jarls drowned most of the worshippers and priests, destroyed their temples and the only centre of this religion remains in Fornhala, village of vildkaarls.[4]

Trivia Edit

  • The Culture of the islanders resembles a mix of both Celtic and Viking cultures.
  • Their clothing is modelled on early medieval dress worn in northern parts of Europe in The Witcher 3.[4]

Notes & references Edit

  1. Conversation between Agnetha and Count Monnier
  2. Conversation between Arnvald and Geralt
  3. The World of the Witcher
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Witcher 3: Artbook
  5. In-game book that was not implemented into final game but you can find it in files (the Witcher 3)
  6. Beliefs of Skellige: Freya
  7. The Tower of the Swallow
  8. Heroes of Skellige: Tyr
  9. Beliefs of Skellige: Druids

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