The Witcher on Netflix runs the risk of making the same error as Game of Thrones did with Daenerys in regards to her character development. Andrzej Sapkowski, a Polish aspiring author, submitted a collection of short stories to the fantasy magazine Fantastyika in 1985. When “The Witcher” was out a year later, it was well-received by readers and he continued to expand on that universe despite the fact that it didn’t win the competition. The exploits of Geralt of Rivia and Ciri, a young woman with the power to shatter the universe, were chronicled in numerous novels and short stories that he penned over the years. These stories frequently drew on popular mythology and were filled with biting social commentary.
Attempts to make The Witcher a TV phenomenon failed in the beginning, but in 2007 the franchise moved to a different medium, namely games. As a result, these novellas continued Sapkowski’s storyline while also changing up the cast of characters somewhat Witcher 1 hasn’t aged well, but the sequel was a huge success and is rightfully considered a fantasy gaming classic. Developed by CD Projekt Red, an immersive open-world setting with engaging stories and amazing world-building has never been done like this before. It’s a love letter to Sapkowski’s original stories despite the major modifications in the lore.
The Witcher TV series, starring Henry Cavill as Geralt and Frey Allan as Ciri, premiered on Netflix in the most magnificent adaptation yet. A smash, The Witcher has been turned into a full universe, with multiple spin-offs in various media, by the streaming behemoth. However, new footage from The Witcher season 2 has surfaced, and it appears to point to a problem that could plague the show as its narrative progresses, and which feels strikingly similar to a mistake made by Game of Thrones in the past.
Sapkowski’s works are unquestionably fantasy classics in Poland and throughout Central and Eastern Europe, where they have a devoted fan following. As of December 2019, they’d been translated into 47 languages and had sold over 15 million copies globally. Books about The Witcher are viewed as esoteric in the US even though Netflix’s blockbuster TV series has helped to boost sales.
According to The NPD Group, US book sales for the series jumped by an astounding 562% in the two weeks after season one of The Witcher was released. The reality remains that even now, people have been exposed to games much more than Sapkowski’s stories; even Cavill remarked on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he didn’t aware there were books until he met the showrunners. After the first season of The Witcher was released on Netflix, The NPD Group saw a spike in interest in the games.
Because Sapkowski’s books and short stories differ significantly from the games, this provides a small challenge for The Witcher. In the games, Ciri is a rowdy troublemaker who is also quick-witted and confident, often exchanging banter with her opponents as she defeats them.
This is a totally different take on Ciri, with the author Sapkowski writing about her in such a manner that she comes off as a reclusive lady who sees a hidden power building within her, one that has the potential to transform the world or to destroy it, and who is frankly terrified of it. It’s only fitting that in the Witcher universe’s teaser, a passage of dialogue from the books, on which Netflix’s The Witcher is based, shows Ciri saying that she sometimes feels as though she could destroy the world. This is accurate, but for those who only know Ciri from the games, it’s jarring.
It’s possible that The Witcher will fall into the same trap as other big fantasy TV shows like Game of Thrones. Because most people only know Ciri from the games, they’re going into the Netflix show anticipating certain arcs and traits that won’t be fulfilled because the show isn’t based on the beloved games, but on Sapkowski’s stories.
If you read this book, you will know that Ciri has the capability of wiping out whole nations and that she will come dangerously close to letting her power be used for harmful purposes. For those who are only familiar with the Ciri from the games, the character’s growth and development may feel increasingly alien, and they may respond with shock and fear as a confident woman is transformed into a destructive force.
It’s not difficult to draw comparisons to Daenerys Targaryen from the HBO series “Game of Thrones.” As the daughter of the “Mad King,” Daenerys was portrayed as a would-be conqueror with questionable morals, but she also had the capacity to bring peace to Westeros. In the end, Game of Thrones season 8 reversed this assumption by having Daenerys do what her father had been unable to do, which was to burn down King’s Landing, indicating that she was just as insane as her father. At one point, the show’s dialogue tried to imply that this was something she’d done before coming to Westeros, but it was abrupt and disappointing.
Despite this, Emilia Clarke, who has played Daenerys Targaryen on-screen since 2013, was horrified by the plot twist, revealing that she struggled with it because of the association she had with the character in the public eye. What’s really upsetting about this situation is that it has nothing to do with The Witcher. Viewers have preconceived notions about the Netflix TV show because it isn’t based on video games. It appears that fans are still confused by Ciri’s season 2 conversation, and if they aren’t, then the Ciri plot in The Witcher might easily become as contentious and emotionally baffling as Game of Thrones’ Daenerys surprise.