The Witcher is a dark, slickly produced and oftentimes somewhat hard to follow fantasy production that Netflix and showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich has adapted from the books by Andrzej Sapkowski. Although The Witcher is based on various stories and novels, the show is not in the same order the books and stories were released. Other reviewers note that the show is undeniably entertaining to watch, but some reviewers are saying that this show is not capable of being the “next Game of Thrones“.
The Witcher follows the stories of Geralt of Rivia, a monster-hunting Witcher who lives much longer than a normal human. Yennefer (Anya Colatra), a sorceress of Arituza who comes from humble and somewhat horrible beginnings to find both beauty, power and long life. And lastly, Ciri (Freya Allan) the granddaughter of Queen Calanthe of Cintra (Jodhi May) and a princess of the realm.
There are other characters like the bard Jaskier (aka Dandelion, played by Joey Batey) and the wizard Mousesack (Adam Levy) and many, many others whose names are all difficult to catch and recall.
The one thing that viewers may dislike about The Witcher is that without a strong knowledge of the books, or at the very least a good grasp on fantasy fiction in general this story can be a little hard to understand. The show does not offer up a clear and definitive conflict right from the get-go. There is conflict, absolutely, but in many ways you won’t really understand what’s going on or why until much later on.
The point is, if you’re curious about this show and want to know if it’s for you then you should watch it, but you might need to do a little extra work to make sure you’re following the plot and all its characters.
We have Yennefer’s coming-of-age story as she goes off and learns how to practice magic, and then what comes after. Ciri’s story is tied closely to both her parents and grandparents, and especially to her grandmother the queen. Geralt of Rivia is a witcher—a monster hunter and a magically created mutant riding across The Continent on his horse Roach, looking for work.
It’s all amazingly woven together. The stories of these three characters, and the many other people. It’s a dark show and at times enormously violent, in the very first episode there’s a fight scene that earns Geralt a very famous nickname. It is not only one of the most violent fantasy fight scenes I’ve ever witnessed, it’s also some of the best choreographing seen in a while.
There is a bit of nudity with the main character being known to frequent brothels, and Yennefer not being ashamed to show some skin. So if you plan on watching this show, just know you’re going to see some nudity throughout the story.
Meanwhile, the casting is amazingly on-point especially with regards to the lead, Geralt of Rivia. If you’ve spent time playing the games, it might be hard to think of Geralt as anyone other than the version you’ve watched for so many hours. But Cavill’s Geralt feels even more natural: in his pale skin and white hair, wolfish yellow eyes and grim monotone. Cavill portrays Geralt as dry, at times funny, at times deadly serious, but always there’s a hint of danger and amusement behind his eyes.
Geralt is neither a hero nor an anti-hero, not all the monsters he hunts deserve to be slain and sometimes those who hire him are the true monsters. Geralt is a loner, often exasperated by those around him, but deep down he’s a man who wants to do the right thing. Who protects those weaker than him and places himself in grave danger not just to complete a job, but to make sure he’s completing it in a humane way.
If you’re looking for an original dark fantasy with some horror elements, some bare skin and plenty of blood and gore (and monsters) look no further. The Witcher, is destined to surprise and delight.