The Witcher is currently the hottest name of Netflix and has quickly conquered millions of fans as soon as it debuted the first season in late 2019. This series revolves around the adventures of Geralt’s Continent, an expert witcher and a monster hunter for daily living bounty. However, his fate changed completely when he was caught up in the game of fate, connecting him with witch Yennefer and her “daughter of unexpected law” Cirilla, along with a lot of good other property.
One of the most unique traits of the witcher is that they always carry two swords with them: a steel sword to deal with humans, and a silver sword for the evil monsters. Not because silver contains magic or possesses tremendous power, but simply in Sapkowski’s fantasy world, this is the material that makes nearly all monsters. terrified.
Witchers usually carry two swords with them: a steel sword for humans, and a silver sword for monsters.
At first glance, it seems that this detail is merely a product of imagination, but when it comes to science, it turns out to be very reasonable. YouTube channel Because Science, with more than 1.3 million followers, gave convincing explanations of why the witcher chose silver during his hunts.
The YouTube Because Science channel has very scientific explanations on why witchers use silver swords to deal with monsters.
People have been using metal for farming tools, weapons, jewelry and money for centuries. Besides copper and iron, silver is also a very common metal and can easily be found in its pure form. Not only that, silver has also appeared in many legends of the world, often related to purity, holiness and the gods.
Pure silver possesses many useful characteristics. It can conduct heat, electricity surpasses any other metal, and has very good reflective properties. However, it is very soft, thin and prone to bending. Pure silver has an extension of only about 125 MPa, which is even lower than that of a human hair. So, in fact, a sword made entirely of silver will be almost very harmless, no matter how good the user is. The same applies to witcher worlds. Therefore, the monster hunter’s “silver sword” was actually made from steel and plated with silver on the outside.
Silver is a very common metal in the real world, and the applications that have it are also mined in witchers scientifically.
Back in ancient Greece, or even farther away, people discovered some strange uses of silver in preserving food. For example, when putting fruits in wooden barrels wrapped with a few layers of silver around, they will maintain the freshness longer than usual. By the 1800s, when Americans started going west to explore new lands, they often put a silver coin in their water jug. This will help less water scum over time.
However, everything has two sides, and pure silver also presents many dangers to many species in the world. Like many metals, silver has a trace effect, can act as a biocide and threaten the existence of many bacteria. That’s why after washing dishes, a silver spoon is always faster than a wooden spoon. This is also the main reason for silver to become a deadly weapon for the monsters in the witcher universe.
Silver has a very good ability to kill bacteria, and this is also the main basis for it to become a deadly element to monsters in the witcher universe.
Let’s analyze it a little deeper: In the process of destroying bacteria and microorganisms, silver ions play an important role and can “go down” in 4 steps. First, when exposed to bacteria, silver ions will completely reverse the cell structure of this bacterium. Specifically, it will attach to and permanently deform the cell wall, causing metabolism to be abnormal as before. The silver ions then continue to penetrate inside, attacking proteins and ribo bodies, destroying mitochondria (mitochondria containing ATP and enzymes involved in cellular metabolism).
Next, the silver ions penetrate more with denser density, creating a toxin inside and destroying cells on a large scale. In the end, not only does it destroy, but silver ions completely change the basic functions of the cell, making them unable to function normally and dying slowly over time.
Because of its ability to effectively kill bacteria, silver was used as an antibiotic before the modern pharmacology. Today, silver still plays an important role in medicine and has many different applications such as creams for burns, bandages or wound sutures. It is even used against some antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA.
Silver has the effect of treating human wounds, but can destroy the cells of many monsters.
In the witcher universe, every monster, no matter how strange, possesses certain biological traits based on practical elements. In other words, their bodies are made up of cells containing proteins and enzymes similar to bacteria in our reality. Therefore, slashes from a silver-plated sword will undoubtedly cause higher damage to these creatures. Not to mention that Geralt or the other witchers can use enhanced oils (which may contain silver) to increase the power of their weapons.
In short: In the witcher universe, the silver metal we use to help people recover from wounds can cause fatal attacks to monsters. These metal ions interact with them, causing many changes in the cell structure, destroying the body and eventually taking their lives. If silver in the real world can help us fight off “monsters” like MRSA, Geralt may also use it to deal with monsters in a similar way.