Is ‘The Witcher’ Worth Watching?


Sophie Livingstone

‘The Baptism of Fire’ is the third novel in the Witcher series written by Andrzej Sapkowski. The cover art depicts the main character, Geralt, slaying one of the numerous monsters found throughout the series.

Without the well-acclaimed medieval gore-feast that was ‘Game of Thrones,’ people are beginning to miss the fantasy genre of television. Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ has come at just the right time for those missing their fix. If the name rings a bell, you may have heard of the Witcher in the series of books written by polish author Andrzej Sapkowski in the 1990s, the critically-acclaimed video game adaptation by CD Projekt or the mobile card game, ‘Gwent,’ based off the Witcher series. “The Witcher games are story rich, and the core gameplay is very fun,” said Jacob Ko ’22. However, players of the popular game series will find no connections to Netflix’s ‘The Witcher.’ The first official Witcher game starts two years after the book’s end while Netflix retells the story of the books.

Netflix has never released an original like ‘The Witcher’ before. Much of their original content are dramas and mysteries set on Earth with slight modifications. ‘The Witcher’ takes place in a fantasy world with many different elements that Netflix has yet to explore. Netflix’s original series normally are teen-dramas, yet both teens and adults seem to be enjoying ‘The Witcher’ so far.

“It was actually really good! I don’t watch a lot of shows like that so it was interesting,” said Geena Yeo ’22. 

Netflix used hype from the Witcher games and the ending of ‘Game of Thrones’ to gather a fanbase before release, the majority of which are followers who enjoy heavy-action coordinated fight-scenes. In the first episode of the series the main character, Geralt of Rivia, has a very well coordinated fight with a revenge-seeking princess named Renfri. ‘The Witcher’ uses many different camera angles that follow the characters as they twirl their swords for each swing. This thrilling fight quickly became a fan-favorite among the many gruesome fight scenes from ‘The Witcher.’

The show follows three main characters: Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer of Vengerberg, and Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon (Ciri). Geralt is a witcher, a mercenary who fights monsters. Yennefer is a sorceress who becomes a court mage in the capital of Vengerberg. Ciri’s story is much more complicated: she is a princess whose father had a debt to Geralt that came in the form of the father’s first born child. Since the episode timeline is not in order, each character’s arc is scrambled throughout the show. 

A small flaw of Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ is the somewhat uneven story throughout the episodes. The general timeline is quite stable with important events happening in the order of the episodes, but the small details that drag you deeper into the world of these characters always seem a bit misplaced. For example, Yennefer’s storyline begins in episodes two and three even though those events chronologically occur before Geralt’s actions in episode one. 

Many praise ‘The Witcher’ for its likable cast. Henry Cavill, who plays Geralt, is a standout lead that both newcomers and seasoned viewers to the Witcher franchise are enthralled with. In the show, Cavill is completely immersed in his character and his place in the world, making ‘The Witcher’ world feel more real. Another standout member of the supporting cast is Joey Batey playing Jaskier, also known as Dandelion for any fans of the games. Jaskier is a bard and close friend of Geralt; his upbeat attitude and comedy are a perfect foil to Geralt’s brooding nature and adds a dash of comic relief.

The actual content and plot are very compelling for many viewers. The political conflicts and the blurred line of good and evil gives many characters a sense of depth and morality. “My favorite part was when the two conflicting sides began to fight in the first episode, the whole conflict of the lesser of two evils intrigued me,” said Yeo. The show’s adversary, ‘Game of Thrones,’ focuses on many different storylines of many different sides of a single story, while ‘The Witcher’ focuses on three characters who fight on the same side. On the other hand, the Witcher games take another route for the genre by making the game an open-world for the player to explore yet maintaining a central focus on the characters. “The games are dense and deep with a massive open-world environment, which makes the player feel immersed and rewarded,” said Alexander Kilroy ’22. In general, those looking for a single story and a giant world may feel much more rewarded by the three games rather than the Netflix adaptation.

To watch ‘The Witcher’ on Netflix, click HERE.

“It was actually really good! I don’t watch a lot of shows like that so it was interesting,” said Geena Yeo ’22.