I 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.