The Witcher is an epic fantasy adventure that delivers in the end.
First of all The Witcher is not the new Game of Thrones, and that is a good thing. It’s its own beast as a real fantasy epic story with monster-of-the-week episodes, sword and sorcery, magic, monsters, huge battles and personal battles. It mixes adventure, horror, thrilling scenes, romance, campy fun that at times can be a little cheesy, but it works within this universe.
What this series makes a little bit confusing is the structure of the storytelling. It is non-chronological and with no clues when in time scenes play out, it can be confusing. What makes it even more difficult is that characters don’t really age, sometimes the viewer is at a loss when some scenes take place in time.
Don’t worry, because in the end, it all works out very well, as everything will be unfolded. All will be revealed in time and a real epic tale about three bold characters is told. This first season is an introduction to the story and its main characters, and it all comes together, but you’ll have to be patient and pay attention.
This season consists of 8 episodes with each a duration of one hour. It is a big storyline that is told, through monster-of-the-week episodes and characterization of the protagonists and introduces the viewer to the fantasy world of The Witcher.
Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, a mutant who battles monsters for a living. His destiny becomes intertwined with young princes Ciri who has to run from her home and castle when it is attacked by the army of Nilfgaard. Another young woman Yennefer Vengerberg, plagued by her disfiguration is bought by a mage Tissaia and transforms herself in a beautiful and powerful mage.
Their destinies are bound together to save the Continent and the kingdoms of the North from Nilfgaard of the South, who wants to conquer kingdoms with dark and forbidden magic. Ciri has her own important yet unknown role to play, with Geralt as her protector.
Why you should watch it
This series is full of monsters, kingdoms, princesses, mages, magic, battles, power struggles, destiny, quests, adventure, choices, romance and some nudity and magical creatures. The dialogue and humor can be at times a little bit cheesy, but it perfectly fits the show, which takes itself not too seriously. This series is made for pure entertainment.
But there is a big but. The structure can be very confusing, so some explanation is required. First of all Yennefer’s storyline is the farthest back in time. While her story unfolds she catches up with the adventures of Geralt and they form a delightful team. In the mean time Geralt’s storyline is mostly about slaying monsters, about good and evil, lesser and bigger evils, which are evenly bad, but his encounter with Jaskier the bard (the Gabrielle to Geralt’s Xena) gives his life a turn for the better or worse (according to Geralt). His path leads eventually to the how and why his destiny is connected with Ciri and in the final two episodes all three characters come together in an epic battle after an epic journey.
The monsters are frightful and dangerous, but most of the time, the real evil comes from humans. A conscientious Witcher, a troubled mage and a young frightened princess make a good combination for epic fantasy. Geralt is cheesy on purpose, while Yennefer is the most complex and fleshed out and therefore the most interesting character.
The world building gets a lot of attention and its art decoration and design makes the world come to life.
Now, with this information, this show is easier to watch, and just follow the hints and different perspectives of the same situations, and it all makes sense in the end. This first season is an epic adventurous introduction to the world of Geralt and gives a hint of what to expect next.
My favorite part
There are a lot of fun episodes full of horror, or fun or adventure, but the sixth episode with the dragons was a wonderful magical journey about good and evil, right and wrong. It has a surprising twist, heartbreaking moments and humor and romance. But most of all it defines Geralt and Yennefer both and it strengthens their bond. Although the structure can be straining at times, in hindsight the series is very well done and this unusual structure makes it even more interesting to watch. Patience can be rewarding and The Witcher delivers in the end.
Epic factor: ★★★★★
Entertainment factor: ★★★★★
Cast and crew
The Witcher is based on the eight books by Andrzej Sapkowski from the nineties and the video games developed by CD Project Red. It is created by Lauren Schmidt. And it stars Henry Cavill (Geralt), Anya Chalotra (Yennefer), Freya Allan (Ciri), MyAnna Buring (Tissaia) and Joey Batey (Jaskier).
Music: Sonya Belousiva, Giona Ostinelli. Cinematography: Gavin Struthers, Jean-Philipe Gossart. Production companies: Netflix, Pioneer Stilking Films, Platige Image, Sean Daniel Company. Original network: Netflix.