The Witcher

Poster for The Witcher showing the main charactersI just finished watching The Witcher on Netflix.  This was a series that I initially resisted getting into.  From a distance, it looked too much like a Game of Thrones knockoff.  But after numerous people recommended it, I decided to give it a try.

It turns out that The Witcher is based on a book series, a series that actually predates George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, so definitely not a knock off.  Indeed The Witcher series seems like part of a much older sword and sorcery tradition going back to the likes of Robert E. Howard and Michael Moorcock.

The world presented in the series is, in many respects, a typical fantasy one, with a roughly high medieval society, but one that also includes elves, dwarves, and various other mythical creatures, including monsters, and where magic works, so there are sorcerers.  Magic in this world is actually pretty common.  Every village seems to have its local sorcerer for various needs.

There are references to a historical event called the Conjunction of the Sphere, which apparently brought humans and the other races and beings together in one land, called The Continent.  This is far from a fairy tale world however.  It’s pretty dark, and its view of humanity is not at all complimentary.  In general, humans in this world mistreat and discriminate against just about anything different from them.

On the other hand, there are likable characters.  And we’re able to see the point of view of even the most ruthless ones.  There does appear to be an overall villain to the series, although his motivations are not yet clear.  Which, of course, means that this first season ends on a cliffhanger.

The show actually takes an episode or two to really get its footing, so don’t give up on it in the first twenty minutes, as I almost did.  It has a lot of surprises and zingers.  If fantasy, particularly dark gritty fantasy works for you, then this is well worth checking out.

I hadn’t heard of the book series before.  Although these days I’m more into science fiction than fantasy, waiting a whole year to see what happens next may spur me to check out the books.

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14 Responses to The Witcher

  1. Wyrd Smythe says:

    As with your review of Ad Astra, you’ve added another data point to my “this definitely isn’t my cup of tea” sense of the series. It sounds like all the most boring parts of fantasy combined with all the worst parts of humanity. I get enough of that from politics. No thank you!

    (At least The Expanse has spaceships! 😀 )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve Ruis says:

    So far I have found the books better than the series (although bad fantasy/sf is better than no fantasy/sf at all). For one the character of the bard is much more interesting in the books than in the series. The character in the series has no depth, he is just a supercilious cipher.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the whole damn thing. Yeah, little intellectual satisfaction but a lot of some sort if satisfaction nonetheless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When it comes to fiction, that’s really all it’s about. All fiction has to incite a satisfying emotional response from us. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter how intellectual it might be. If it does. the intellectual stuff is a nice add-on, but not mandatory. Not that everyone gets emotional satisfaction from the same stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I shall push on then. I’ve watched the first episode, and it was ok, but as you say, very much the kind of thing seen before. I wanted him to have some humour. I haven’t read the books or played the game either.

    – Esme letting a confetti canon off and waving from upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I binged the whole thing. What I liked is that the characters actually had good depth, and the acting seemed fairly good as well, especially the Witcher (too lazy to look up his name) who could have been another Fabio.

    *
    [spoiler alert]

    [I thought the genre is a little too close to D&D. As soon as they started talking about colors of dragons, I totally guessed what was going on.]

    Liked by 1 person

    • The actor is Henry Cavill. If he looked familiar, it was because he played Superman in the recent DC movies. (He looked familiar enough to me to make me look him up.)

      [I’ve played D&D, but didn’t catch the surprise on that until it was sprung. But the story world is definitely a little to generic fantasy. (It might not have been when the books started.)]

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