26 votes

I need to talk about The Witcher!

I just watched the first episode and it's amazing how they got everything right! The fight choreographies capture the nuance of Geralt's dance, mixing magic with strength in a compelling and original way. They clearly took a lot of inspiration from the game, and in this case that is not a bad thing. The music is subtle and authentic, and the production is beautiful in all aspects: Netflix clearly spared no expenses. Henry Cavill is a superb Geralt. His voice is a lot like in the game: seasoned, dry and petulant. The story is extremely faithful to the book, and the small deviations only enhance the narrative. Unlike the first book, which is entirely episode, this show starts a lot more epic and serialized. A demand of the media. As a fan of the universe, I'm impressed. It is very rare to encounter an adaptation that respects the source material while having a life of its own.

34 comments

  1. [5]
    cwagner
    Link
    Wow. This thread has people with a very different experience than me. To start, I only played through TW1, finding TW2 too railroaded and by the time of TW3 I pretty much completely stopped...

    Wow. This thread has people with a very different experience than me. To start, I only played through TW1, finding TW2 too railroaded and by the time of TW3 I pretty much completely stopped playing action games. Also never read the books (though I might, eventually).

    But I found the show… boring. Fight scenes were great. Acting was great. Cavill did great, but he looks so young. But what killed me was the writing. So cringey. The EW review blurb resounded with me: "So yeah, this is some high-school level Dungeons & Dragons role play with a multi-million-dollar budget."

    I was sorely disappointed and my wife and I decided to stop watching after episode 2.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      0lpbm
      Link Parent
      Heh, don't read the books then. The show has it better in this respect. I think I sprained an muscle from too much eye rolling when reading the books. Sapkowski did a great job with the world...

      But what killed me was the writing. So cringey.

      Heh, don't read the books then. The show has it better in this respect. I think I sprained an muscle from too much eye rolling when reading the books.

      Sapkowski did a great job with the world building and the characters as archetypes, but sometimes the dialogue is just awfull. Maybe it's just the English translation, though I wouldn't put money on that...

      6 votes
      1. Grzmot
        Link Parent
        I've read the German translation and it was great. I've heard that the English books aren't that great, which sucks.

        I've read the German translation and it was great. I've heard that the English books aren't that great, which sucks.

        4 votes
    2. [2]
      bleem
      Link Parent
      the entertainment weekly person skipped half the episodes. he gave it a zero rating after skipping half the season. edit:...

      the entertainment weekly person skipped half the episodes. he gave it a zero rating after skipping half the season.

      edit: https://www.reddit.com/r/television/comments/ed9mo5/entertainment_weekly_watched_the_witcher_till/

      4 votes
      1. cwagner
        Link Parent
        I didn't read their review, just the blurb I quoted ;)

        I didn't read their review, just the blurb I quoted ;)

  2. [10]
    Grzmot
    (edited )
    Link
    Spoilers for the whole show below! This will be biased, cause I'm a real Witcher fan. The books are my favourite books, I really love the games, I was into this. Cavill as Geralt nailed it,...

    Spoilers for the whole show below!

    This will be biased, cause I'm a real Witcher fan. The books are my favourite books, I really love the games, I was into this. Cavill as Geralt nailed it, although it took a bit of time to get used to his deep voice. It's clear he really cares and gives a fuck about all this. Chalotra as Yennefer is also a highlight and plays her role really well. She nails the feeling the books gave me where she comes off as arrogant and inconsiderate but shows her qualities as the show progresses. Batey as Jaskier/Dandelion was an absolute gem and really livened up the show with some comedy. He was perfect. I think the only weaker (I say this with purpose, cause I don't think the link was weak) was Allan as Ciri. She looked very much the part and I think she's perfectly cast, but I think she could've shown more emotion, she was very timid in a lot of scenes. Now, I don't know if that is some larger plan for her character arc where she becomes the outspoken and headstrong woman we know her as from the books and games, but I think she could definitely be a little more outgoing. At the same time, she played a young girl who was heavily traumatised during the Massacre of Cintra and she carried that baggage for all 8 episodes. A timid performance is probably called for.

    EDIT: They did my girl Triss dirty and didn't make her a redhead. Nothing against Shaffer, her performance was on the par with everyone else, but like, TRISS SHOULD BE A REDHEAD REEEE (Do not take this criticism entirely seriously)

    The effects were top notch. The fight choreography was absolutely fucking excellent. I also like that they didn't delve into the main book series headfirst but covered the short stories first, the lesser evil, Foltests striga, the golden dragon, the djinn and the story of how Yennefer and Geralt first met. They've made some understandable changes, like having Cahir fill in for roles that other people in the Nilfgaardian army had, like the commander at the battle for Sodden Hill. The only change I disagree here with is that they changed Nilfgaard into some religious empire that wants to spread its faith across the continent. I don't know why they made this change, but Nilfgaard was only ever interested in expansion for expansions sake.

    I binged watched all 8 episodes in a row. I'm one happy boi lads. Ask me anything, I NEED TO TALK MORE ABOUT THIS SHIT.

    4 votes
    1. [6]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Since I've only read the first book, I only know Triss from the game. I don't give a rats ass about her hair color or ethnicity, but, with all due respect for the performer, I got the impression...

      Since I've only read the first book, I only know Triss from the game. I don't give a rats ass about her hair color or ethnicity, but, with all due respect for the performer, I got the impression that Godness-level-beauty was a defining and important quality of the character. And I don't think Anna Shaffer fits the bill.

      For magical reasons, that is true about all female wizards. Beauty serves the purpose of better manipulating Kings, there's a logic to that. And I don't think the show uses it to its benefit.

      I questioned Henry Cavill's casting for a similar reason, since it is my understanding that Geralt, while attractive, is by no means a Superman grade of beauty.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        0lpbm
        Link Parent
        I mentioned this to someone else, I think that Cavill is too well fed to be a proper Geralt. He is not a "do you even lift" kind of athlete that Cavill embodies.

        is by no means a Superman grade of beauty.

        I mentioned this to someone else, I think that Cavill is too well fed to be a proper Geralt. He is not a "do you even lift" kind of athlete that Cavill embodies.

        3 votes
        1. mrbig
          Link Parent
          Geralt's appearance is supposed to make people uncomfortable. It's hard to convey that when you look like Greek God. On another note, I may become gay by the end of the season hahaha

          Geralt's appearance is supposed to make people uncomfortable. It's hard to convey that when you look like Greek God.

          On another note, I may become gay by the end of the season hahaha

          4 votes
      2. [3]
        Grzmot
        Link Parent
        I think as long as the sorceresses' are beautiful (which they all are), they'll be fine, as a lot of the whole influencing men by getting them to stare at my tits scheme works purely on behaviour...

        I think as long as the sorceresses' are beautiful (which they all are), they'll be fine, as a lot of the whole influencing men by getting them to stare at my tits scheme works purely on behaviour and dress code after a certain level of beauty is reached. That being said, we can't really say how Triss does her job because we didn't really see her interact with Foltest at all.

        We didn't get much political drama yet because in the short stories, which season 1 adapts, there's quite little of that. I expect the amount of political games to increase as they begin to adapt the main books, especially once the second war begins.

        Actors are generally fairly hot people, especially successful ones. Cavill was obviously influenced by CDPRs version of him, since he is known to be an avid gamer. I don't really mind that.

        If people can enact the character well, which Cavill did, I don't mind that they don't exactly fit the bill. The same goes for Shaffer, although she had much less time to shine wit her like, what, 5 lines of dialogue? Considering she always was a side character we'll see if they give her any more side plots.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          mrbig
          Link Parent
          Well, despite physical differences from previous versions of the character, it is certainly possible for Shaffer to create a wonderful performance. Just as Cavill was able to make a great Geralt,...

          Well, despite physical differences from previous versions of the character, it is certainly possible for Shaffer to create a wonderful performance. Just as Cavill was able to make a great Geralt, despite his handsomeness and different build. But I think a higher degree of internal cohesion would benefit the representation of the fictional world.

          2 votes
          1. Grzmot
            Link Parent
            Oh definitely. The budget was there, the acting was there, just sometimes the writing wasn't entirely good. I hope this improves as time goes on.

            Oh definitely. The budget was there, the acting was there, just sometimes the writing wasn't entirely good. I hope this improves as time goes on.

            2 votes
    2. [3]
      wundumguy
      Link Parent
      I'm on episode six and why doesn't Geralt wear two swords

      I'm on episode six and why doesn't Geralt wear two swords

      1. [2]
        Grzmot
        Link Parent
        Because that's a game thing and not a book thing. In the books he always had his Silver sword somewhere safe, usually hidden on his horse. He only wore one sword on his back.

        Because that's a game thing and not a book thing. In the books he always had his Silver sword somewhere safe, usually hidden on his horse. He only wore one sword on his back.

        2 votes
        1. wundumguy
          Link Parent
          Ooooh ok. Yet in the show they have him schlepping bags holding his extra sword lol

          Ooooh ok. Yet in the show they have him schlepping bags holding his extra sword lol

  3. [5]
    bleem
    Link
    My god. Should probably add a spoiler tag to this thread. I was a little annoyed by henry's geralt voice at first but he seemed to tone it down later on. I'm a huge fan of the witcher games but...

    My god. Should probably add a spoiler tag to this thread. I was a little annoyed by henry's geralt voice at first but he seemed to tone it down later on. I'm a huge fan of the witcher games but never read the books. Getting the back story on the butcher of blavakin was satisfying.

    On to episode 2

    3 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      This is the first story in the first book. The main difference is that in the book there are no subplots, the entire chapter is dedicated to Geralt, the wizard and the girl. I like both versions,...

      This is the first story in the first book. The main difference is that in the book there are no subplots, the entire chapter is dedicated to Geralt, the wizard and the girl. I like both versions, but the book is richer in details. Definitely worth a read.

      3 votes
    2. [3]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      I did not include any event of the story in the post, those are just general impressions. Is the spoiler tag really necessary?

      I did not include any event of the story in the post, those are just general impressions. Is the spoiler tag really necessary?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        bleem
        Link Parent
        This discussion will obviously bring up spoilers

        This discussion will obviously bring up spoilers

        2 votes
        1. mrbig
          Link Parent
          That is fair.

          That is fair.

          1 vote
  4. [3]
    vegai
    (edited )
    Link
    I've never played the games* but I've read all the books. I was afraid that this would take too much bad influence from the games, but by a quick look at the first episode, it seemed fine. The...

    I've never played the games* but I've read all the books. I was afraid that this would take too much bad influence from the games, but by a quick look at the first episode, it seemed fine. The cinematography was even beautiful in a couple of shots, and I think Cavill nailed the character so far. The actors acted, which was nice.

    edit *well, actually, I did play Witcher 2 for a while, but didn't get swept into it and quit pretty soon

    3 votes
    1. mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Cavill’s performance took a lot from the games, but the games are good so this is not a bad thing.

      Cavill’s performance took a lot from the games, but the games are good so this is not a bad thing.

      2 votes
    2. Grzmot
      Link Parent
      The show has way more to do with the books than the games I think, and I'm on E4 right now, having read the books twice and played Witcher 3.

      The show has way more to do with the books than the games I think, and I'm on E4 right now, having read the books twice and played Witcher 3.

      1 vote
  5. [2]
    CALICO
    (edited )
    Link
    Context: My experience with The Witcher is that I know it exists, and my partner enjoys the games. That's about it. I just finished the first episode, and I can't watch more than one a day without...

    Context: My experience with The Witcher is that I know it exists, and my partner enjoys the games. That's about it.

    I just finished the first episode, and I can't watch more than one a day without sacrificing sleep—something I am unwilling to do. I am tempted, however.

    I thoroughly enjoyed myself for this first hour. I don't know the world, but I think I've had a good intro to it. I think the acting is good, as is the cinematography, sound design, and most of the VFX. The writing seemed good, but I can't personally compare with the source material. My virgin eyes are eager to watch the rest of it as I can at least, and that's more than I expected. If the rest is on a similar level, I anticipate that I'll continue to enjoy it quite a lot.


    Unrelated tangent: the actress for Renfri was extremely cute; I'm an absolute sucker for eyes like hers. Is there a word/term for that? Round, big, slightly not so withdrawn into the skull as average? I always notice those with eyes like that, but I never know how to properly describe it.


    Merry Christmas edit: I am a dirty liar. I got far more sucked in to this story than I anticipated, and lost several hours sleep watching 2–3 episodes each night before bed.
    Holy shit.
    It took me until the fourth episode to fully realize that this story was being told in a non-linear, asynchronous way—though I suspected there was something going on during episode three when young Foltrest was shown. Until Yennefer mentioned having done shit for three-decades I didn't know that magicy folk lived for hundreds of years in this world.

    I really feel at a disadvantage trying to review an adapted piece of media, so I largely won't. I really loved it, and I teared up to fuck during Yennefer unleashing her chaos in the finale, and again with Geralt and Ciri finally uniting. A week ago I didn't know these characters names, after eight hours of content my heart is benig swung by their actions. That's good shit right there.
    10/10, I had fun and I don't want to wait a year+ for another season.

    3 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      Yes. Renfri is so beautiful it hurts.

      Yes. Renfri is so beautiful it hurts.

      1 vote
  6. Loire
    (edited )
    Link
    Coming from the perspective of having neither read the books nor played the games (although obviously having exposure through general nerd culture) I think the series shows a lot of promise....

    Coming from the perspective of having neither read the books nor played the games (although obviously having exposure through general nerd culture) I think the series shows a lot of promise.

    Obviously the effects are a little yanky and you can tell they are working through a number of short stories as the first half was a bit all over the place narratively, especially Yennefer's Beauxbatons stint. I think my only real issue is the casting for the sorceresses. You have these characters magically molded m to be distractingly beautiful and yet none of the actresses are particularly exceptional (edit: Except for Triss. Anna Shafer is absolutely gorgeous). The contrast to Cavill, who is quite possibly the peak of male aesthetic, playing a not particularly good look character is a little jarring.

    3 votes
  7. est
    Link
    the timeline of the story telling is very confusing for ESL viewers like me. I had trouble keep track of all the places and names happening everywhere.

    the timeline of the story telling is very confusing for ESL viewers like me. I had trouble keep track of all the places and names happening everywhere.

    3 votes
  8. [3]
    mrbig
    Link
    Forgot to say: the bard is an awesome character and his songs are really catchy!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqbS7O9qIXE

    Forgot to say: the bard is an awesome character and his songs are really catchy!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqbS7O9qIXE

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      bleem
      Link Parent
      I've only seen the two episodes but is he supposed to be Dandelion?

      I've only seen the two episodes but is he supposed to be Dandelion?

      2 votes
  9. [2]
    Amarok
    Link
    I enjoyed it, finished the first season yesterday. I will admit I'm starting to develop a distaste for non-linear storytelling, though. The show jumps time periods like crazy and with so many...

    I enjoyed it, finished the first season yesterday. I will admit I'm starting to develop a distaste for non-linear storytelling, though. The show jumps time periods like crazy and with so many characters buzzing around the main characters I can see why some folks get lost.

    The soundtrack was pretty cool too. I don't know what I was expecting - more boorish classical that sounds like every other generic, forgettable film soundtrack out there lately I suppose. Thankfully they didn't fall into that trap.

    2 votes
    1. knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      This was the issue my brother warned me about. I was able to track it just fine knowing this going in, but he's watching it again to understand the timelines. I'm lucky, i guess.

      The show jumps time periods like crazy and with so many characters buzzing around the main characters I can see why some folks get lost.

      This was the issue my brother warned me about. I was able to track it just fine knowing this going in, but he's watching it again to understand the timelines. I'm lucky, i guess.

  10. knocklessmonster
    Link
    I'm late, and had to dig up this thread. I'm on episode 7 right now, and I hate how disorganized the flashbacks are. I could track it, with appropriate warning, but I could imagine it would be...

    I'm late, and had to dig up this thread.

    I'm on episode 7 right now, and I hate how disorganized the flashbacks are. I could track it, with appropriate warning, but I could imagine it would be weird if you didn't know what you were walking in to.

    This aside, the story's pretty good, but I'm unfamiliar with the source material (I gave up on the first game, and picked it up again last week). Speaking as somebody unfamiliar with the whole story, they're doing a good job of building a world, given the weird way they've gone about it so far. If Season 2 is much more linear, or obvious with its flashbacks, the show will probably be one of the best Netflix has, I think.

    Playing the game, Cavill's performance borrows from that characterization, but he does a good job of it. His voice gets weird a couple times in earlier episodes, but his performance overall is great.

    2 votes
  11. ibis
    Link
    (Spoilers from the TV show) I'm late to the party, but I just binged the show and skimmed the books and I have a lot of thoughts. I'm probably more of a mainstream viewer in that I had barely...

    (Spoilers from the TV show)

    I'm late to the party, but I just binged the show and skimmed the books and I have a lot of thoughts.

    I'm probably more of a mainstream viewer in that I had barely heard of it before it came out on Netflix. When I first saw the trailer I dismissed it as kind of lame looking, but I wound up giving it a shot after seeing people compare it to Game of Thrones.

    I'm a bit suspicious of the fantasy genre, because these days I have no patience for non-existent or poorly written female characters. I've read enough fantasy already to be bored of the usual tropes and considering the books came out in the early 90s, I wasn't expecting anything revolutionary.

    The TV series didn't immediately grab my attention, and if I weren't on holidays I probably would have dropped it. At one point (I think around episode 3) I almost gave up on the story, because I thought that Yennefer was being set up to be a villain. A magic woman who is beautiful on the outside, but actually old/deformed? She wears lots of black and thirsts for power? She's sexually active and wears make-up? She is basically a disney witch - and I am so bored of that trope. I cheated and looked up the spoilers, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that she's actually a hero/love interest. I love it when tropes (especially sexist ones) are subverted, so I binged the rest of the show and enjoyed it.

    (Book spoilers from here on - nothing specific about the plot, but it is about the character relationships, and the roles certain characters play in the plot)

    I read most of the first two books, and skimmed/wikipediaed the plot of the rest. I obviously didn't 100% buy in to the series, I found Ciri to be mostly boring and Geralt, while very entertaining and charismatic on screen, was kind of bland in print. Maybe if Sapkowski's prose had dwelled on his muscles as much as it did woman's breasts, I would have found him more appealing.

    The interesting thing about the books, for me, was Yennefer and her relationship with Geralt. She is described as Geralt's "True Love", and when they first meet, she is literally naked in a bed recently vacated by another man. Considering that the series otherwise reads like a hyper-masculine power fantasy, I found it pretty refreshing to see female non-monogamous sexuality was being idealised as well as male. All throughout the books Yennefer is openly and unashamedly sexually active - and with a lot of men who aren't Geralt.

    I also found it interesting the way a polygamous relationship was written as 'true love'. At one point Yennefer sneaks out of bed with Geralt to go and sleep with another man. At a different point, Geralt has a romantic relationship with one of Yennefer's best friends. They always fight, leave each other, and refuse to see each other for years on end. Yet throughout the whole series their love is painted as the most pure and devoted romance in existence.

    Unfortunately, Yennefer fell into the same trap most 'strong women' do in stories that happen to contain a male protagonist. Despite a lot of talk given to how strong and capable and sassy she is, she is fundamentally useless. She has to be incompetent so that Geralt can sweep in and save the day, and in the end she is nothing more than a gritty damsel in distress.

    The books contained a lot of good and interesting ideas - but overall they were not great. I am looking forward to the next season of the TV show though. I am hoping that they take the good ideas from the books (characters and world building), and tell a better story than the books did.