Is Forcing ‘The Witcher’ To Emulate ‘Game Of Thrones’ A Mistake By Netflix?

Explore the controversy surrounding Netflix’s attempt to mold ‘The Witcher’ into the mold of ‘Game of Thrones’.

By Amitabh Mukherji
August 11,2023

In the wake of the monumental success of Game of Thrones, Netflix embarked on a quest to replicate the glory of HBO’s fantasy epic with its own adaptations. This led to the emergence of series like House of the Dragon, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Wheel of Time, Shadow and Bone, and The Witcher. However, while there are undeniable similarities between The Witcher and Game of Thrones, the former should not be coerced into emulating the latter’s intricate political narratives. Instead, The Witcher deserves the space to shine in its own unique storytelling style and approach to the fantasy genre.

The Witcher’s Daring Character Choice

The Witcher Season 3

The Witcher and Game of Thrones share certain commonalities, such as their origins in novel series and their depiction of brutal worlds. Nonetheless, their storytelling approaches and thematic focuses set them apart. Unlike Game of Thrones, The Witcher centers on the bond within a single family and the quest to safeguard Geralt’s adopted daughter, Ciri. This diverges from the intricate political scheming for the Iron Throne that characterizes the latter series. Consequently, The Witcher should be allowed to carve its own identity without being compelled to mimic the labyrinthine and convoluted political narratives of Game of Thrones.

A Unique Storytelling Endeavor

 The Witcher Season 3

During its eight-season run, Game of Thrones became a hallmark of genre-defining success. Few series attained comparable levels of acclaim and popularity. Following its conclusion, the void it left prompted the creation of various fantasy-themed shows. Yet, it is imperative to acknowledge that no show can fully replicate the essence of Game of Thrones. Amid these efforts, Netflix’s approach to The Witcher has been marked by an overt aspiration to replicate HBO’s triumph. While there are certain parallels between the two shows, it’s essential to recognize that their distinct narratives distinguish them. The Witcher boasts its own fantastical universe and an abundance of visceral moments, but it differentiates itself by prioritizing character relationships over complex political intrigue.

Narrative And Structural Dissimilarities

Henry Cavill in The Witcher
Henry Cavill in The Witcher

Comparisons between The Witcher and Game of Thrones underscore their shared foundations in literary source material. The former draws inspiration from Andrzej Sapkowski’s eponymous series, while the latter is based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Both shows boast intricately crafted realms and histories, though the most striking resemblance lies in the harsh and brutal worlds they portray. While both feature violence, explicit content, and ruthless villains, The Witcher distinctively leans into its magical elements. Conversely, Game of Thrones tends to prioritize realistic conflicts, although it’s not devoid of fantastical elements like prophecies and dragons.

Narrative Structure And Political Intrigue

The Witcher

The progression of new fantasy shows underscores the unmatched allure of Game of Thrones‘ intricate political narratives. The series introduced a multitude of characters, each vying for power and influence. Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Cersei Lannister, and others navigate the tumultuous world of Westeros. While all are significant characters, the series orchestrates their rivalry for the throne in an artful manner. In contrast, The Witcher eschews this politics-centric structure. Geralt’s primary goal is not world domination but rather monster hunting and safeguarding Ciri. His steadfast neutrality keeps him from embroilment in the political machinations of the Continent’s kingdoms.

A Clash Of Political Narratives

The Witcher

Game of Thrones masterfully weaves new characters, alliances, and betrayals into its political framework. From the shocking Red Wedding to the Tyrells’ strategic maneuvers, the series thrives on shifting loyalties. Importantly, the audience receives insight into each major player, enabling them to comprehend the unfolding events. On the other hand, The Witcher‘s occasional forays into political plots lack the same clarity due to their limited focus and absence of core characters. While the Brotherhood and rulers of Nilfgaard and Redania engage in complex schemes, the lack of direct involvement from leading characters prevents these narratives from fully flourishing.

A Call For Unique Storytelling

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In its pursuit of crafting a fantasy series to rival Game of Thrones, Netflix must refrain from imposing undue expectations on The Witcher. The latter possesses its own strengths, with a narrative centered around family dynamics rather than political intrigue. The protagonist Geralt’s unwavering neutrality and dedication to protecting Ciri serve as the narrative’s backbone, distinct from the power struggles that define Game of Thrones. For The Witcher to thrive, it must be permitted to chart its own course within the fantasy genre, liberated from the confines of imitation.


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The Witcher should stand as a testament to the richness and variety inherent to the fantasy genre. While it shares similarities with the monumental Game of Thrones, it should not be coerced into mirroring its predecessor’s complex political narratives. Instead, Netflix should allow The Witcher to carve its own niche, focusing on the intricate relationships and familial bonds that shape its universe. By doing so, The Witcher can emerge as a distinctive and powerful entity within the realm of fantasy storytelling, separate from the shadow of Game of Thrones.