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When the witchers are wintering at their respective schools aren't there monsters that are winter based and only last until spring? Couldn't they hunt all year round and amass higher rewards for higher priority targets?

Books and games related answers.

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    Be more precise: game, movie(s) or books? I assume game, and if that's the case the answer is: because. Also, they were working in the area of Northern Kingdoms, where winters are usually harsher than down south. Travel in winter is more expensive and much slower. High reward jobs will be "advertised" much further than immediate area.
    – AcePL
    Nov 28, 2016 at 15:43
  • I'm sorry, will update the question to books and games if possible. Nov 28, 2016 at 16:17

2 Answers 2

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My answer is speculative, based on my admittedly limited knowledge of medieval era and the Witcher world.

There are 3.5 reasons I can think of:

  1. As AcePL stated, northern realms tend to have harsh winters. Presumably this also affects the life cycle of animals and beasts, including those witchers are supposed to hunt. Presumably, it affects them to a point when they go to hibernation in order not to consume too much energy, since finding food is hard at winter.

And this brings us to second clause:

  1. Medieval life is year-cycle based. People lived from harvest to harvest. In between, they fed on what they harvested. They tried to limit their activities in such a way that they wouldn't have to go out much. This also applies to wildlife - they are year-cycle based too. Why do we care? Because humans and the wildlife actually feed monsters, and in absence of both monster have to go by saving energy, which would make them hard to find and hunt down.

Lastly,

  1. Witchers are humans too. I always assumed they liked to gather at their stronghold in Kaer Morhen to exchange stories, experience, and be among friends. Note that since witchers do not stay at one place when they hunt, it would be hard for them to find refuge in winter. Big cities where there is plenty of shelter do not (often) have pest problem; and smaller villages can't (often) provide shelter for one more mouth.

As a matter of fact, we are somewhat limited in our knowledge of the witcher world, since we can only witness one school, and a declining one at that. There is (to my knowledge) no direct evidence that witchers don't hunt in winter. It's just that the remains of the School of wolf don't.

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  • Considering that witchers are out of Kaer Morhen until winter, who supplies the harvest for the witchers during the winter? Nov 28, 2016 at 16:25
  • @BalinsonofFundin - AFAIR Vesemir is the oldest witcher and as such he's no longer going "on a trail". He's the Keep's Keeper. I assume he's the one who supplies most of the food and/or herbs for potions from the garden in the keep. Not sure if there's mention other witchers pool in for his upkeep. Not sure if there's mention of others compensating Vesemir for food, potion and other stuff they eat/stock on during winter break.
    – AcePL
    Nov 28, 2016 at 16:36
  • I will accept this answer because it seems this is as close as we get until further notice! Nov 30, 2016 at 19:30
  • Hm, pest should not be a problem for witchers, as their mutation makes them immune to diseases. However, there is another reason to avoid cities or even villages: Most people don't like witchers and highly distrust them (yeah, they might be useful to get rid of mosters, but they are somehow monsters themselves and may rob your children if you're not careful). So it is safer for witchers to stay among themselves, far away from other people.
    – luator
    Jan 21, 2017 at 23:34
  • A good point to add here in my opinion, is that Witchers aren't heroes. They slay monsters, sure, but they do it for payment. It's colder, it's more dangerous, and it's not worth the risk. So let's hole up in our keep, relax for a few months, and we'll get back to killing in the Spring.
    – Carson
    Jul 16, 2021 at 13:59
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Games are not considered canon and if there's no mention of the reason for wintering in Kaer Morhen, then there's none. That leaves out-of-universe explanation and Gallifreian did superb job.

As for books there is implicit meaning for spending winter in Kaer Morhen for witchers - this is their break from work (partly due to conditions, but mostly due to lack of work), the Keep is their home where they can feel safe and relax (for the values of relax) and there is need to stock back up on equipment and inventory (with potions being most important), make repairs and exchange knowledge, experiences and spend time with "family".

Potions are important to mention: some of them can be made only in Kaer Morhen from ingredients not found elsewhere and obviously instructions for making them are in the Keep's library.

Last point. Book(s) strongly suggest that there is only one place where witchers come from: Kaer Morhen. Different Schools are more like japanese , which translates loosely as "The way". They should be looked at like different learning tracks, rather than in terms of different locations and making them different sources of witchers is canonically unsupported.

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    Last paragraph made me go whaaaat. Do you have evidence for that? Nice catch about inventory and potions though. Nov 28, 2016 at 17:11
  • I mean, it is stated in Season of Storms that Alzur and his mentor created the witchers, but I don't remember any indication that the School of the Wolf was the first and the only true one. Nov 28, 2016 at 18:01
  • Because there isn't any. There is the one mention of "The School of the Wolf" by Geralt himself - and only that - and there is no other until Season of Storms, but it's not the same as saying that there aren't any. All I'm saying is that equaling Kaer Morhen with "The School of the Wolf" is incorrect. Because that implies other castles producing witchers, which is not the case. It is entirely possible that the Witchers' Keep was home to ALL the schools... Not unlike - bleh! - Hogwarts?
    – AcePL
    Nov 29, 2016 at 9:24
  • That what are the medallions Leo Bonart wears? He had a Cat school medallion. It is true that there is no explicit mentioning of other schools (though there is Coen, who is from the south), but leaping from this to proposing that Kaer Morhen is all witchers' origin is ridiculous. Nov 29, 2016 at 14:02
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    No, it's not. There are multiple statements about Kaer Morhen being the source of witchers (without any distinctions) that it's not leap. It's a fact. Bonhart was witcher hunter. He had Cat, Eagle/Gryphon and Wolf. Will dig out quotes for Kaer Morhen's "onlyness" later.
    – AcePL
    Nov 29, 2016 at 14:11

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