The Witcher TV Show – Introduction and Background
The Witcher TV Show Introduction
Full Season One The Witcher First Impression Review has been uploaded to Sci Fi SadGeezers HERE. Judging from what other fans thought, The Witcher TV series is a cracker! Checkout the initial The Witcher Consolidated Ratings for each Episode from Fandom here. There are also some interesting Witcher News items about the show around the world here
It seems like most of you are reading the Intro and Background rather than the First Impressions Review because of concern for spoilers. I get it, but there is an essential thing (not a spoiler), that you need to understand while you are watching each episode – there are three converging story-lines. One story-line is about Ciri. The Ciri story-line lasts for a few weeks during the entire series. Another story-line is the Yennefer one. This last for approximately 100 years!! Yeah I know right!
And the other story-line, the obvious one is that of Geralt. this timeline is of approximately 50 years (though it could be longer). It is a bit frustrating during the early episodes as things are already quite complicated. I godda say though, that this actually grows on you and makes it MUCH more entertaining as the season develops. Ciri is relatively normal in the first season, Geralt and Yennefer age very slowly in comparison to others since they have ‘powers’. The above should make it a little more helpful when watching the early episodes.
Full and detailed reviews have been posted (these have a scene by scene breakdown explanation of the story to help fill in any gaps: Episode 1 Detailed Review – The End’s Beginning, Episode 2 Detailed Review – Four Marks, Episode 3 Detailed Review – Betrayer Moon, Episode 4 Review, Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials and Episode 5 Detailed review – Bottled Appetites.
The new Netflix TV Show is aimed at filling the huge void left by Game of Thrones. It has lots of boobs and violence and both shows are based on best-selling books. This Witcher TV Show Background page aim to provide news and information on the TV series and show explain the links with the books and the popular video game. We will first provide a basic outline of the TV show, an explanation of the story, details of the main characters and some gossip about its production and the author. Hopefully this will give you everything you need to get the best out of the show when it airs on 20th December on Netflix. We will be regularly maintaining the Witcher News page and ensuring that the forums announce the latest Witcher news as we get it.
Just to be clear, we are fans of the Video Game and Books (in that order). Our hope is that the show follows as much of the Video Game as possible because it is so freaking awesome! We believe that the books are good but it is the video game that made the story come to life! That’s a little controversial and very upsetting apparently for the author – the Gossip section below has more details.
The Witcher TV Show – Basic Story Recap & Background
The saga is set in a ‘continent’ that, hundreds of years previously, was settled by dwarves and later elves. Humans arrived a couple of hundred years later and through bloody conflict gradually became the dominant species. All other races are considered lesser citizens. They usually live in small communities within human towns and villages. Some live in areas of wilderness with other races such as vampires, werewolves and other more exotic races such as dryads and shape-shifters. These other races appeared after a supernatural event called the “Conjunction of Spheres”.
Not a Witch
The focus of the TV saga is definitely the adventures of Geralt, he is a Witcher. Witchers by the way, have nothing to do with witches. He is a genetically ‘changed’ human who is capable of killing monsters (and any other race including humans) for money or more specifically for any reason he wants.
He needs to take potions and elixirs to enhance his fighting ability and protect him from the creatures he fights, in some cases, these act as an antidote for poisons inflicted by his opponents.
All the action in the story takes place on a continent called, imaginatively enough, The Continent. Since the books don’t actually have any detailed maps, we can’t do much more than guess where the action takes place. It may be that the land is modelled on the land mapped out in the video game which was a magnificent design. I suspect that the original author won’t want the setting to closely resemble the game since he tries wherever possible to distance himself from it. For fairly obvious reasons explained in the gossip section below.
Geralt and his Women
Geralt is married. His wife and soul partner is Yennefer (although the two sometimes seem to have a stormy on-and-off relationship. Ciri is their adopted daughter. There is also a beautiful sorceress called Triss who seems to be Geralt’s part time mistress. The main is actually about Ciri. She is a princess of a country that was recently overrun and conquered. Various factions within and outside the country are attempting to take it over and become the dominant force. There are lots of dastardly deeds and it is a bloody and violent region to be alive in.
When the adolescent Ciri meets Geralt, he takes her under his ‘wing’ and trains her to become a Witcher. His influence is that of a father and although Ciri loves him, she also becomes slightly resentful of his and Yennefer’s protection believing that she is becoming increasingly capable of protecting herself and more importantly, determining her own destiny.
The bulk of the action takes place in the north and south of the continent between a relatively free-living group of regions collectively called the Northern Kingdoms and a region in the South that can best be described as a despotic monarchy called The Nilfgaard Empire – both regions have been at war (periodically) for a very, very long time.
In terms of the timeline or setting. The Witcher is set in a type of medieval parallel universe. It has castles, knights, peasants in rags, sword, sorcery, blood, guts and mud. It’s pretty much a setting like Game of Thrones but without dragons….. erm… actually, technically, there are dragons too.
What is a Witcher?
Witchers are more like warriors than sorcerers. They are moulded from a young age in a rigorous training process that includes mental and physical trials. Witchers develop magical powers, and genetic modifications that makes them resistant to magic, poisons, and disease. They use these powers to fight the various villains (or non villains) after being hired by someone or group that need some heavy muscle to resolve either a conflict or take revenge. Witchers can also be considered very mercenary and they suffer a bad reputation as a result. This is compounded by their appearance after taking some of the more potent elixirs and potions. They look drawn, haggard and positively wraith-like – AND their eyes take on a cat like quality.
They have a very high resilience to attack and in turn are very quick and agile and strong. One of the most useful traits of a Witcher is their enhanced vision that can help them uncover clues and also see in the night. Witchers can also perform spells known as “signs” that increased their health and healing ability. Because of their training and genetic modification, Witchers also age more slowly. Witchers are tough adversaries and enjoy considerable respect from the people in the Continent. Unfortunately, this is not usually a positive respect. they are consider freaks by most people and occupants of the Continent. It is normal for a Witcher to walk past a group in say a village or town and be jeered at or openly called names. It seems they are only popular when they are needed to resolve a conflict or issue.
In the Witcher TV show as with the other versions of the saga, Geralt’s main weapon is a sword – In the video game it’s actually two swords. In the game, there is a steel sword for normal battles and fights and a silver sword is used for monsters, werewolves, vampires etc. Witchers will also prepare elixirs and potions before a battle – they use all means possible to ensure victory – preparation to a Witcher is just as important as their skill in battle.
The Law of Surprise – Oh My GOD!
A very cool and disquieting aspect of the Witcher brotherhood is The Law of Surprise. It is a custom where a Witcher carries an IOU of the beneficiary.
So, just to be clear. As payment for saving your life, the Witcher may insist that he takes your next new born child as payment! He does this by enacting the Law of Surprise. Whether at that moment or at a later date, the Witcher has the right to take your child on as a Witcher-in-training (Witchers are all sterile; new Witchers are made by training normal humans). The new-born would serve as a ward, a student, or companion to the Witcher.
Sorcerers are much more powerful with magic than Witchers but they are also considerably more squishy. If you can get past a sorceress attack, they are pretty much defenceless against blunt force or a knife. They do however, have two particularly cool traits: They can age much more slowly than normal people and they can teleport to other places within the continent! It’s really useful to have one as a friend, which I’m sure Geralt appreciates.
The biggest difference with sorcerers and sorceresses in the Witcher saga is the logical assumption that someone that powerful would have a political agenda. It’s a bit of a no-brainer if you think about it.
The group known as The Brotherhood of Sorcerers is an official organisation that governs magic in the continent and presumably makes sure that no one sourcerer becomes too powerful. They influence the monarchy, government and the general population. A useful job for a sorcerer would be an adviser to the King or other high ranking political figure.
The Witcher TV Show – Main Characters
Henry Cavill is the lead actor playing the titular killing machine throughout the saga. You may be concerned however, that the other characters seem less ‘robust’ in comparison to the game and the books. The lady actresses playing the other lead roles (Freya Allen as Ciri and Anya Chalotra as Yennefer) seem a bit flimsy and frail.
Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill)
By the way, Rivia is region in the Northern Kingdoms and not the ‘school’ where Geralt undertook his trials and became a Witcher.
This casting is one of the best things about the show, and there are lots of cool things to be impressed about – the lead character is played by Henry Cavill. He is a huge fan of the books and the video game. He literally hounded the producers to play the role and he really looks the part!
Geralt Of Rivia is a ‘sci fantasy’ bloke that can best be described as the ‘coolest of cool dudes!’. He has powers – not only because all women (even female monsters) seem to want to bonk his brains out, but he’s also a great swordsman, excellent investigator, an agile and resilient warrior (especially after taking one or two Witcher potions). His intelligence seems to make him able to take world shattering decisions in his stride.
Geralt, known as the “White Wolf” because of his trademark long, white hair, makes money (like most other Witchers) by killing monsters and bad people. He is normally engaged by disgruntled townspeople and squires with enough money to pay him. His conscience however, and doesn’t always take jobs for the money. Many times, he will undertake the work to help someone out. Sometimes, this conflicts with the monarchy or titled individuals in the kingdom and it gets him into trouble.
Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra)
Yennefer is quite a ruthless sorceress and is the primary romance interest for Geralt. Their love can best be characterised as tumultuous in the books and video games and this is likely to continue in the series. She was born a deformed and disfigured hunchback and was unloved by her parents who eventually sold her to a sorceress.
As Yennefer learns her new vocation, she is gradually turned into a beautiful woman….. erm.. beautiful sorceress. By the way, this is in the books – the TV show is slightly different. This isn’t something that happens naturally, but through trouble and effort and is purely for vanity. In fact, in other versions of this saga, the more powerful the sorceress the more attractive they would be.
Ciri (Freya Allan)
Her full name is Cirilla and she is the princess of the Northern Kingdom state of Cintra. She’s the granddaughter of Queen Calanthe, who raised her as her daughter after Ciri’s mother died, making Ciri the heir to Cintra’s throne. She is forced to flee when war breaks out in Cintra and other regions and factions war to take control.
Jaskier (Joey Batey)
Jaskier is also known as Dandelion in the English version of the video game. He is the best friend of Geralt his is also a bard and sometime travel companion. He enjoys writing sonnets and poems of Geralt’s adventures and is definitely one of the more entertaining characters in the saga.
Triss Merigold (Anna Shaffer)
Triss is a powerful sorceress who plays the mistress and long time friend of Geralt. She is one of the more politically active of the sorceresses and, despite her good intentions, regularly finds herself on the opposite side of our heroes. Strangely, she is allergic to magical potions and elixirs.
The Witcher TV Show – Gossip and Controversy
The relationship between the author of the books and the manufacturers of the video game (CD Projekt RED) seems a little strained. Andrzej Sapkowski recently said, “How much substance can there be in the lines of text when the hero walks through the woods and talks to a squirrel? Where’s the literature in that? Where’s the room for depth or sophisticated language with which games could elevate culture? There’s none.”
Personally, I think that Sapkowski is a little annoyed because most people know the story of the Witcher from the video game and not his books. Sapkowski sold the rights to the Witcher allegedly for the lowly sum of $9500 and no royalty fees! – Apparently, he didn’t want a percentage of the profits, just the money up front. Boy did that backfire! I suspect that this might have caused some resentment.
Reconciliation – On The Cards
I recently heard that the video game manufacturer CD Projekt RED have paid out some extra money. This is presumably to stop him bitching. However, I personally believe that the game is considerably more famous than the books. The books are really good, don’t get me wrong, but the author seems unappreciative of the elevated reputation received because of the game, and that’s a shame.
When talking about the TV Series: “I’m thrilled that Netflix will be doing an adaptation of my stories, staying true to the source material and the themes that I have spent over thirty years writing,” said Sapkowski. “I’m excited about our efforts together, as well as the team assembled to shepherd these characters to life.”
Controversy or not, I sincerely hope that the TV version is half as good as the video game. If it is, it will certainly give Game of Thrones a run for it’s money! The witcher will be on air on Netflix on 20th December 2019.
This article is copyright Tony Fawl and not for reproduction without permission.