Toss a coin to your WitcherThe song still stuck in my head
Oh, Valley of Plenty
Oh, Valley of Plenty, oh
Toss a coin to your Witcher
A friend of humanity
On December 17th, we will get to see season 2 of The Witcher, a series that instantly became so popular, they started working on season 2, approved a season 3, and even made us an animated film to hold us over in the meantime.
But what about this show works so well? In the Venn Diagram of fantasy television and video game adaptations, this show was expected to fail, but turned out to be amazing. I think that I can point to a few reasons, but honestly, it’s one of those shows that just shouldn’t work as well as it does, so you’ll have to forgive me if I leave out your favorite part.
High Fantasy shows, up to this point, were either semi-successful Young Adult fiction like The Shannara Chronicles, or it was Game of Thrones. An article in The Atlantic pointed out the biggest frustration I had watching Game of Thrones that I don’t have watching The Witcher. “An episode of Game of Thrones often looked like everyone involved was thinking: I went to drama school so I could make profound meditations on the human condition, yet here I am in the snow, with my leg cut off, while some naked priestess spouts gibberish.” The actors in The Witcher understand fantasy, and appreciate the show that they’re in.
The show is about cool monster fight scenes, and the ridiculous tropes of the genre. Gold dragons, monsters made from damned infants, magic schools, the whole nine-yards. Not only this, but the show refuses to explain anything, besides maybe the Law of Surprise. What is Aretuza? Where is Nilfgaard? I thought Calanthe was dead? What is Kaer Morhen? Who are the other Witchers? What are those potions? Does Geralt also know magic? You don’t get to know any of it, so the whole time you are glued to every drop of dialogue, waiting for them to either explain themselves, or say something else cool that you’ll have to figure out.
Even though you don’t know any of these answers, you can tell as you watch it that the answers do exist. Everything seems to fit together in such a way that it makes logical “If A, then B” sense, and you want to just find the answers.
Because the actors understand where they’re at, charisma jumps off the screen at every moment. Whether it’s Geralts silent intrigue, Yennefers seductive confidence, or Jaskiers honest companionship, you want to spend every moment with every character, watching how they bounce off each other.
What is is cool about the characters, is that they are each in their own show, which would be fully worthy of your time on it’s own. Geralt, in his working man journey where he tries to find a job, so he can get paid, so he can spend that money, and has to find a job again, is so much fun to watch, as it’s the core of the whole story. Yennefer in her evil-Hogwarts turned magical-congress story, where she does whatever she can to amass more power, and never feel powerless again. And Ciri, with a similar story to Arya Stark, which was the coolest character in Game of Thrones anyway, as she loses her royal family, and must learn to survive, and eventually fight back against the darkness that is this world.
Not only are the stories individually engaging, but so are the ways in which it’s told. It takes a few episodes for you to understand that the show is not in chronological order. There are comments like Queen Calanthe mentioning that when she was Pavetta’s age, she had won the Battle at Hochebuz, but then later Renfri mentions how Calanthe just won that battle. If you need some help, here’s a timeline breakdown.
The way they switch back and forth is also great, as you are usually left on some cliffhanger, and can’t wait to get back.
Even if none of the above really grabs you, the fight scenes surely will, because you can feel them.
Overall, I love this show, can’t wait for the next two seasons, and will be rewatching them any time I can find an excuse to.