The new sword & sorcery fantasy series called The Witcher has come out on Netflix this week. Originally the main character, The Witcher was introduced in a book by Andrzej Sapkowski called The Last Wish. It grew even more attention when it was adapted for a video game series under the same name in 2007.
In a dramatic opening, The Witcher bursts out of the water entwined with a massive, mythic spider-like creature called the Kikimora. Thus, you see the heart of the show. Geralt is a hated and yet sought after warrior who hunts and destroys monsters for coin. His “kind” is said to be mutated humans, but the show has not elaborated as of yet what’s truly different. He does use elixirs and other sources of magic to boost his natural abilities. I found the first episode a bit heavy-handed with exposition, but you definitely see a good story brewing. A young princess has been tasked to find Geralt and “her destiny” in order to save the world.
Then the second episode, titled Four Marks, came on and brought a much better and intriguing storytelling element. The episode introduces a new character, Yennefer, a hunchback girl (played by Anya Chaolotra) who accidentally discovers she has untapped magical abilities. Her father is so disgusted by her, he actually sells her into servitude for four marks (coins) during the same trade exchange he sells a pig for ten marks. Her plight and struggle pull you in immediately.
The third episode of the show is centered around a creature, a Striga (an unborn fetus cursed to become a monster inside the womb which later tears itself free) who has been hunting and slaughtering residents from a small town and its workforce of miners. By the way, I will say not only has the story improved and its character development, but the show’s special effects are pretty spot on.
I cannot give you my opinion if it follows the story canon from the books and/or the video games, but I will say it is worthy of a viewing if you like either Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. It is in its infancy as a show so it does wobble now and then, but Game of Thrones had eight seasons to really define itself and make noteworthy characters so watch with a little patience.
The first season of the show has been completely released on the streaming service. I am already hoping for a second season!
By Derek Barton — Author of the Dark Fantasy novels: Consequences Within Chaos and The Bleeding Crown. Also the author of In Four Days: a Horror-Suspense Novella, the series Elude: Part One, Part Two & Part Three (horror/crime thrillers) and The Hidden (Classic Horror)!!