Netflix’s “The Witcher” has been out for just over a month now, and audiences are already eager for season two, and for good reason.
As someone who was unfamiliar with “The Witcher” games and books, I enjoyed the show a lot. The fight scenes were entertaining, as were the characters and plot.
The show follows three leads; the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), Ciri (Freya Allan), and Yennefer (Anya Chalotra).
At first, the audience is under the impression that all three storylines are occurring at the same time. As the series progresses though, we learn that all three follow different timelines and the story is building to the main characters meeting.
This is definitely a show that you have to be alert for, because if you’re not paying attention, you will definitely miss something that is important later on.
I’m a big fan of character building, and “The Witcher” does a really good job with this. The characters are all great, but what makes the main three stand out, aside from screen time, is their depth and relatability. They are all flawed, and who doesn’t love flawed heroes?
Ciri is a young princess, who has been sheltered by her grandmother and guardian, Queen Calanthe, her entire life. The series begins with her kingdom being invaded, and she must flee in search of the “White Wolf” for aid.
The show makes you want to root for her and her home, the kingdom of Cintra. However, we learn that the queen and her people were cruel to creatures that were different than them, elves in particular. It strongly reflects how Native Americans were treated when settlers came to America.
Though Ciri is not an unsympathetic character, we frequently witness her entitlement and desire for self-preservation, even when it can hurt her allies.
Yennefer’s story is not unlike Ciri’s in that you want to root for her, even against your better judgement at times.
Yennefer suffers from a twisted spine and is loathed by many because of this. One day she is being tormented by villagers when she finds herself transported. She discovers she has teleported herself to safety and meets a sorcerer named Istredd. Istredd tells her that a mage is going to sense her power and come for her and that Yen must leave immediately.
Shortly after Yennefer returns home, she is discovered by Tissaia, the mage she was running from. Her father sells Yen to Tissaia, who reveals that she is recruiting people with powers to train to become mages. Tissaia is cruel and harsh on Yen, but it is implied this is because she sees herself in Yen and favors her.
Yennefer eventually becomes resentful and power hungry. She is cured of her twisted spine, at a cost, and becomes a powerful mage, but this is not enough. One of her most powerful lines is, “I want everything,” and it reflects her character well. She feels that she is owed it for how she was treated in the past and it is her main goal throughout the series to get what she “is owed.”
Geralt on the other hand is a great hero to follow. His best friend is a horse named Roach, and he tries to keep his life uncomplicated. He prefers when things are black and white and he can just kill monsters and get paid. He generally doesn’t pick sides or involve himself in situations of conflict unless he truly believes in one side over the other.
All of the characters are amazing though. Jaskier is a lovable loser, who sings the extremely catchy, “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” song. He is a bard that forces his friendship on Geralt and their entire dynamic is truly great.
Eist, husband of Queen Calanthe, is fiercely loyal to Calanthe, but he also stands for what he believes in, even when it goes against her. He is really just a relatable character that has some humorous moments.
The characters are reason enough to watch the series, but it helps that the plot is just as on point.
While there are many mixed reviews on “The Witcher” it is certainly worth a watch. TV and film adaptations of books or games are always sure to be met with criticism, and understandably so in many cases. However, I do believe that as a show, it has a lot of promise and offers something for everyone. It is balanced well between suspense, action, fantasy, and comedy, even romance. Because of this, I think that anyone can enjoy it.