Coming from Andrzej Sapkowski’s highly successful novels (and a whole host of video games), The Witcher was developed for television by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. Having not read or played any of these my first experiences of The Witcher came as social media called upon me to “toss a coin to your witcher” – I wasn’t brave enough to check out what this meant on Urban Dictionary so instead I hit up Netflix and began my journey into the medieval world known as the Continent.
Opening with what would soon seem like a quiet day for Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), we learn that The Witcher is a monster hunter who travels around killing monsters for coin. We are also introduced to the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg (whose journey is portrayed in such an amazing manner by Anya Chalotra), and Princess Ciri (Freya Allan). These three characters are bound by destiny – just how bound we discover via various entwined stories that do not take place in a linear manner.
Jumping around the timeline does help keep some elements of the story mysterious although it does seem its main purpose is to withhold important plot points from the audience until necessary. This does succeed as a method of storytelling though but as the story develops further this technique may become mute.
There have been comparisons made with Game of Thrones, apart from the fantasy landscape I would say there is little comparison. The Witcher more than carves out its own identity with some uniqueness not seen in other fantasy shows.
Cavill’s delivery of Geralt is what the entire season is built upon and the former Man of Steel more than disappears into the role providing the audience with a multi-dimensional character who becomes our moral compass for the show. A special mention must go to Geralt’s relationship with Jaskier (Joey Batey) a travelling bard who accompanies Geralt on his path. Their interactions became a highlight of the show for me.
Verdict: 8/10. An excellent introduction to a whole new world of characters with several excellent performances along the way; Cavill has more than bounced back from “Marthagate” with this role. The biggest problem I have with the show is how Netflix dropped it all at once. Surely, they could have learned a lesson from The Mandalorian and released an episode a week? This would have maintained the buzz this show is generating and allowed the show’s mythology to build amongst its audience with discussion and online debate? Now we have a show that will be forgotten about in a month whilst waiting a year for the next season.
As a bonus, here is something to help you follow what happens in Season 1 *SPOILERS*: