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The last novel in Andrei Sapkowski's Witcher saga, The Lady of the Lake, draws heavily from the Arthurian legend, from its obvious title, to the naming of characters like Nimue and the Fisher King, over Ciri ending up in Arthurian Britain and meeting Sir Galahad,

to Geralt's and Yennefer's mythical "death" and travel to (what is similar to) the island of Avalon...

What I do wonder, though, is if that is only so prevalent in this very last book of the series or if the earlier novels already employed references to the Arthurian legend that I simply missed. As a (possibly hard to answer) related question in the former case, I'd also like to know if Sapkowski always planned to reference the Arthurian legend at the end since the novel series' inception or if he decided that rather on the fly when writing the last book.

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    Even if not directly, Arthurian legend might still have great impact on the whole series. In 1995 Sapkowski wrote an essay on the legend ("Świat króla Artura. Maladie" - "The World of King Arthur. Maladie"), so you can assume he was fascinated with the legend even earlier, when he started writting the Witcher short stories. Of course, you can also say that this legend circle greatly influenced fantasy genre in general. – nuoritoveri Jul 2 '16 at 9:02
  • @nuoritoveri That looks like the base for an interesting answer. – TARS Jul 3 '16 at 19:22
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I'm pretty sure that Arthuric references appear only in the last book.

As Ciri travelled to what seems to be another world, it's not strange that these references are exclusive to this book, as previously we didn't seen anything about it.

IMHO the way in wich Ciri jumped between worlds and how it's longer presence in this kind or Arthurical Europe started to permeate to the rest of the novel are a resource that the author is using to tell us that those different worlds are "closer" that we can think... they are not distant planets, instead they are more or less different realities or versions of the very same world (dimensions?).

As the separating layer between these realities seems to be quite permeable for those gifted, and due to the special link between Geralt and Ciri, the reality of Ciri's world starts to impregnate Geralt's surroundings once she sets up there. This is what I feel when I read the novel, and if it's deliberate (as I think it is) is just a touch of genius.

  • Well, the references aren't limited to Ciri's adventures alone, though, but also prevalent to story elements set in the "normal" world. – TARS Jul 1 '16 at 12:06
  • Yes, but I think this is done totally on purpose, like if the jump of Ciri to the other world started to impregnate Geralt's world with it's personality. And this, presumably is due to the special link between both characters. Sadly I haven't any source for this, it's only my impression. – Bardo Jul 1 '16 at 12:14
  • Hmm, that's sounds interesting, though. You might want to flesh out your answer a little more in this regard. – TARS Jul 1 '16 at 12:15
  • Done, I think the answer is better now. – Bardo Jul 1 '16 at 12:25
  • Indeed, but with this approach we actually have the problem that Ciri doesn't go to Arthurian Britain until after the end of the novel. Her adventures there build a frame narrative for the rest fo the book's story. After Geralt and Yennefer die she goes there, meets Sir Galahad and tells him her story. It is however, still an interesting viewpoint nevertheless. – TARS Jul 1 '16 at 12:33
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The Celtic-Mythology/Arthurian-Legends theme is very visible in Lady of the Lake, but it's seen throughout the saga.

Examples:

The Tor Zireael is very similar to the seat of the Fisher King as described by de Troyes in Percival... And it's mentioned in The Time of Contempt. In this book we start to see more clearly who really is Ciri (Cirilla = Zireael, by the way), so the ending to the saga is at least somewhat logical conclusion to the overall theme of the books. The very nature of the Tower (as a Gate to Other Places and Times) is very similar to the Castle of The Graal as well.

The Tower of the Swallow ends in a way that is also similar to - again - parts of de Troyes' Percival...

The whole universe is also heavily influenced by celtic myths, which are - in turn - also inspiration for the Arthur's legend. Or so say some wise men.

Which makes neat conclusion that it is something planned. Add to it the fact that Sapkowski is very thorough in his research (as can be seen in his other books as well), so I would say with medium-high confidence that this is the case.

I will try to find some of his essays or interviews, so that there will be some links to go with the above.

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