Netflix’s The Witcher, based on the book and gaming series, is a surprise hit. When I first heard about the series I was excited, Games of Thrones had ended and I was looking for something to take its place. I will confess, I’ve never read the books or played the games.
Henry Cavill stars as Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher. Cavill got ripped for his role as Superman, but he got swole for his role as The Witcher. I’ll be honest with you, he didn’t impress me as Superman, but he was made to play Geralt. A combination of badass, stoic, and heroic, you can’t help but cheer for the monster hunter whose goal, in the beginning, is to make a living slaying beasts for cash. As the story progresses, Geralt’s sense of honor begins to strengthen, even though he tries his best to fight it. In the end, he is a man on a mission to save a young girl, Princess Ciri (Freya Allen) after claiming “The Law of Surprise” when he saved her father’s life. The thing is, Ciri is no regular princess, she has a mysterious dark power that continues to gain strength over the series.
“The Law of Surprise”, which plays a huge part in the series, states that a man saved by another is expected to offer to his savior a boon whose nature is unknown to one or both parties. In most cases, that takes the form of the saved man’s firstborn, born without the father’s knowledge. In The Witcher’s case, that’s Princess Ciri. She is never far from his mind and frequently becomes the topic of conversation.
During his travels, Geralt meets Yennefer, a sorceress who is a dark, chaotic character with a hunger for power. She begins her life as a deformed girl taken in by school of magic but becomes a beautiful woman thanks to a spell that comes at a great cost. Yennefer and Geralt are drawn to each and frequently find themselves in situations together by a twist of fate. Yennefer’s character is too middle of the road in my opinion. She wants to be callous and evil yet she doesn’t quite make it there. It feels like the writers have something instore for the character but they don’t yet know what. The character has a lot of potential, but at the moment, she’s lacking a firm personality. Until the final two episodes, she mainly serves as a sex symbol, but in the finale we see her begin to lean towards a new direction.
During Geralt’s journey to find Ciri he becomes more than just a monster killer. He evolves to feel for people, to aid them, to care. Watching him become a better man is a fantastic process.
The series looks amazing, with cinematography that is incredible and features a backdrop of pristine mountains, impressive castles, and haunting forests. It is visually stunning. The series’ effects are top-notch, featuring an array of magical beasts, gore, fights, and more. The expansive world of The Witcher holds so many possibilities about where the story can go and the type of characters that could be encountered.
My main issue with the series is that that it bounces between times without warning, so from time to time, there is confusion about what era we are seeing. I would have liked to see time changes more well defined, for example with a change in color or tone.
I’ve heard people compare it over and over to “The Game of Thrones”. I’ll say this, The Witcher has everything Game of Thrones has, except for the copious amounts of incest. Badassery, check. Fighting, check. Dragons, check. Sex, check. Magic, check. A hot cast, check.
After completing season one, I was left impressed and wanting more. Luckily, Netflix has already renewed the series for season two. The Witcher is the show we didn’t know we needed but now has us hooked. While it has its issues (most first seasons do), it’s a must-watch. It gets four stars from me.