Beyond the frame - Part 2: Books, games & real life
Saer Qu’an is a rather obvious reference to Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Bengal Tiger Shere Khan and his Gwent pendant alike crave for human meat. Easha just craves for human souls and my unicorn-kittens for human attention and pets. Needless to say I prefer my cute little fur balls over bloodthirsty beasts. An interesting detail of Saer Qu’an is his fur colour: while the stripes of Bengal Tigers are usually black or dark brown, they seem to be much lighter in his case.
The sword Andúril mentioned in the flavour text of Cintrian Artificer is the sword of Aragorn in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Musing about its name the artificer engraves the sword in his workshop – and the sword in the books does have its own name engraved into the blade which reads “I am Andúril who was Narsil, the sword of Elendil. Let the thralls of Mordor flee me.“
One of the most iconic game references is hinted in the flavour text of Deithwen Arbalest: “I aim for the knees. Always.“ Adventurers beware, or you might take an arrow in the knee just like many of the guards in the cities of Skyrim in The Elder Scrolls V.
Welcome to the grim darkness of the far future where there is only war, Gwent probably less popular and most likely everything what I am going to write here would be considered heresy. There is indeed a Warhammer 40.000 reference in Vabjorn’s flavour text “Blood for Svalblod! Skulls for his throne! “. The original quote is not about Svalblod, but a similar grim and dark god of the Warhammer universe. “Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!” is Khornate warcry, and Khorne himself is the god of blood, war, murder and everything that goes along with it. I should have lunch with him some day, it seems like we have some interests in common…
Scepter of Storms has an alternate name in its flavour text: The Stick of Truth which is also the name of a PC game based on the South Park TV show. Unlike the original Stick of Truth which is literally just a stick, the Gwent card has the power to influence the weather. It is also featured in The Witcher Tales: Thronebreaker where a she-troll shaman uses it against you with a much more devastating effect.
The card art of the Nilfgaardian Emperor Jan Calveit was inspired by another, albeit far less Nilfgaardian emperor: The statue of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great in front of York Minster has the same pose. I am just not sure whether the statue’s chair is moving like the one Calveit is using. There were several little bugs with Calveit’s leader model and at one point his chair started to move across the screen on its own – it was truly hilarious. Calveit’s face also has a counterpart in our times: He looks like the Dutch actor Rutger Hauer.
The scene depicted in the artwork of Free Company is loosely based on Ilya Repin’s painting Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire. The Cossacks considered themselves free people as well, which is why they answered the ultimatum of Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire with a letter full of insults. If you compare the card and the painting, you spot many similarities: The lute, cards on the table (even though I doubt the Cossacks had Gwent cards at their disposal back then), their sabres, the magnificent moustaches and the man slouching on a barrel.