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The Witcher

Discussion in 'Television' started by The dinh, Dec 17, 2021.

  1. The dinh

    The dinh Rebel General

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    Any Witcher fans out there?

    The first time I watched the show it was confusing as I had no background on the games or the books. The time jumps made it hard for me at least, to understand the what was going.

    I have now finished Season 1 again, and I am hooked on this show pretty hard. Watching it and understanding what is actually happening made it that much more epic, IMO.

    I hope the bard Jaskier is in Season 2, he is awesome.
     
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  2. Angelman

    Angelman Servant of the Whills -- Slave to the Muses
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    At the time of speaking, I'm watching some yt vids to introduce myself to the world. I have played a few hours of... one (or two?) of the games, but they did not hook me the least bit. I did like season 1 of the TV show, though (although there were a fair bit of weirdness to it that I'm sure makes more sense to fans of the books and games), so I thought I'd clock in some pre-work to understand the setting better. So far it's been all right; the world seems to be very standard, retreading old ground, but with a harder (grimdark) edge. Also, Sapkowski has obviously put in a whole lot of work, so that is always impressive. But yeah, I like it and my gf and I are gonna rewatch season 1 before doing season 2, starting tonight.

    Questions: Should one watch the Nightmare of the Wolf animated thing before doing the live-action show?
     
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  3. The dinh

    The dinh Rebel General

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    I would suggest it. The timeline comes before the show. Reminded me of the Castlevania show. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    Just another note as I understand it, this show will spawn like 7 seasons, and they just made a "prequal" show dealing with right before the Conjunction, starring Michelle Yeoh(mmmmmmmm Michelle Yeoh).
     
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  4. MandoChip

    MandoChip Hate me later. Work now.
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    Huge Witcher fan, the games and books that is.
    Netflix' Witcher is okay-ish but by far the worst entry in the series lMHO.

    @Angelman If you're a fan of dark fantasy and stuff like slavic mythology then I can't recommend the books strongly enough, they're essential reading/listening if you want to understand most stuff in the Netflix show, (s2 is more loosely based on the books) honestly I can't stress this enough. Nightmare of the Wolf is badly written and rushed, fun action and great voice acting though. Pretty much Castlevania with a Witcher skin.
     
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  5. The dinh

    The dinh Rebel General

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    @MandoChip Do the books cover the fall of Kaer Morhen? And someone mentioned to me that there are other Witcher enclaves out there?

    And is your avatar a witcher? Older Ciri?
     
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  6. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Dungeon Master

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    From what I remember from the books, this isn't covered (unless it's simply referenced in dialogue).

    They really don't spend much time at Kaer Morhen in the books at all (at least, there aren't many pages dedicated to that time).

    And Chip's avatar is

    a grown-up Cirri from the games
     
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  7. The dinh

    The dinh Rebel General

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    Muchas gracias!
     
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  8. MandoChip

    MandoChip Hate me later. Work now.
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    @cawatrooper is right, but I can elaborate further:

    The history and sacking of Kear Morhen are mentioned/referenced at times in the books, but the games (especially 3) give a bit more backstory and exploration.

    There are other Witcher schools, only 3 are mentioned in the books IIRC and more in the games, the games do a good job of providing some backstory for some of them. I won't name them if you haven't experienced the books and/or games.

    For what it's worth the games aren't considered canon to the books by Sapkowski himself, even though they are largely very faithful to the source material and do an incredible job of fleshing out that world. The games are what gave the franchise the huge following and global recognition it has today, regardless of what Sapkowski thinks. Just a FYI, make of it what you will! I'll shut up now :)
     
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  9. Angelman

    Angelman Servant of the Whills -- Slave to the Muses
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    Just watched it and now I'm intrigued; badly written? How?
     
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  10. Trevor

    Trevor Rebellion Arms Supplier
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    I'm watching it. We fell into it at about the third episode of the first season, and were hooked.
     
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  11. MandoChip

    MandoChip Hate me later. Work now.
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    I can't be bothered going into details but basically it's so lore-breaking and disrespectful to the Witcher. Biggest problem is Vesemir being reduced to a generic cheerful good guy action hero, he's so out of character for a Witcher and nothing like Vesemir. I think casual fans and newcomers might like it more.

    I enjoyed it despite it not being great, like the live-action series. Just my thoughts though.
     
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  12. Angelman

    Angelman Servant of the Whills -- Slave to the Muses
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    Ah, I see. Not "badly written", then, ('cause it most definitely is not that), but "wrongly written". Fair enough. I can't argue with that.
     
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  13. MandoChip

    MandoChip Hate me later. Work now.
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    Yeah, the story itself is good enough albeit nowt special. I actually think it would've been better as a live-action miniseries.
     
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  14. The dinh

    The dinh Rebel General

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    Last question for @MandoChip before I start the books: I gather from your comments and the comments from the characters of the TV show that Witchers are supposed to be emotionless killing machines not unlike a Terminator or something along those lines in the books, but the portrayal in the show so far shows they do have emotions just like everyone else. Is this the correct assessment?
     
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  15. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Dungeon Master

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    I see Nightmare of the Wolf like the Prequel Trilogy in Star Wars. It's fun and action packed, but the story just doesn't quite feel like it exists in the same universe as the rest of The Witcher. The book/show/game content just feels so much weightier.

    I'm curious what Mando says, but regarding @The dinh's question, I think it's a bit complicated. Witchers certainly do go through physiological and psychological changes during the Trial of Grasses, and this definitely makes both their biologies and typical personalities different than a typical human's. But I think the people of The Continent have exaggerated these differences in their own minds, too. Gerault can definitely have emotions, humor, sadness, etc.
     
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  16. MandoChip

    MandoChip Hate me later. Work now.
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    To paraphrase Geralt from TW3; Witchers have very suppressed emotional responses and expressions and generally come across as the hardened, mutated monster slayers that they are. Witchers are however very able to feel emotion and have their own personalities despite their largely monotone or deadpan demeanour, and they're often badly misunderstood.

    Witchers definitely have a Terminator quality about them.
     
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  17. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Dungeon Master

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    Hmm, Season 2 was interesting. Not bad, not necessarily good, but interesting...

    Blood of Elves is by far my least favorite book in the series (I haven't read the midquel Season of Storms). Part of the problem is just... nothing happens in it. There's a lot of walking, a few small fight scenes... look, I'm sure some Witcher fans won't like this take, but Blood of Elves just feels like the first half of a book to me, even considering that it's the first entry in a series.

    So, adapting a book where so little happens to a live action series obviously has its challenges. What do you do? My expectation was that Blood of Elves and Time of Contempt would be combined into a single season, as the Mage summit on Thanedd serving as the finale.

    Instead, we get a different, though certainly inspired idea. In the book The Sword of Destiny, Gerault and Cirri meet at the end- in the next book (Blood of Elves) they've been at the Witcher keep of Kaer Mohren for a while, and are preparing to leave. That's all well and fine for the books, but the keep itself is deeply beloved by fans of the game- so do you just feature it as a cameo at the beginning of Season 2 of the show?

    Instead, this season focuses on much of what could've happened between the books, and adds in a ton of extra detail during that timeline, too. Some is good (like seeing how the elves decided, pretty sympathetically, to turn against the north), others take some time to appreciate (like Eskel's turning and death, which seems like a bad move at first until it pays off thematically by the end of the season).

    There are a few things that I think really don't work, though. The Deathless Mother thing is just kinda awful. First, it's confusing. I didn't really know that she was the big bad until long after her introduction- and maybe it's just my TV, the but the sound mixing in some of the exposition of her was so bad that I could barely make out what was even being said. Also, she lacked an iconic form to even associate with her- which maybe sounds cool on paper, but it wasn't really utilized in an interesting way, and makes for a pretty forgettable monster. And finally... while the fight at the end could've been much worse, it did feel a bit cheesey at times.

    Second- let me put it this way. In the later seasons of Game of Thrones, my friends and I used to joke about "jetpacks". That being, the fact that previous seasons used to establish that a journey across Westeros could be an entire season's arc, while in later seasons someone could go from King's Landing to Winterfell and back all within a single episode. Obviously the pacing in a show can change, and that's fine, but it does seem weird when an entire season's worth of character development could take place on the road in one season, and literally nothing happens during that time in another. And good lord is that an issue in this season- some is a little more forgivable, such as when portals are used. But Cintra and Kaer Mohren are about as far away as two places can be while still being in the Northern Kingdoms, and there is at least one time that Gerault rides back and forth there while on horse. It takes him like three books to just go there one direction, but it happens in a single episode this season. And Cintra wasn't even really necessary, as far as I could tell- they could've just gone to a monolith much loser to Kaer Mohren. I know that the books were slow, but we're exceeding The WIld Hunt's fast travel system at this point.

    Really though, those are my main complaints. I think the season did still do a lot of good. Bringing back Jaskier was when the season really took off for me, and I loved his breakup song about Gerault. De-powering Yen for a season was frustrating, but probably a good idea for now. Reince's introduction was done well, and I appreciate the increased role for some of the actors like Istred.

    I really liked the non-chronological format of Season 1, but I don't think that would've worked for this season anymore (though I appreciate the meta-joke about it at the docks). Same goes for the monster of the week format- I liked that we got more of a focuses season with a few monster of the weeks still thrown in- even if ultimately, I didn't really like the Deathless Mother.

    Ultimately though... they managed to make The Blood of Elves compelling, if not perfect, and that's a win in my book. I'm excited for next season- the conclave at Thanedd, the ramping of war with Nilfgaard, Ciri's disappearance, Reince and Vilgefortz will make for better villains than the Deathless Mother... there's a lot to look forward to, and I think better source material will make for a better season.
     
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  18. MandoChip

    MandoChip Hate me later. Work now.
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    I love Blood of Elves (I love all the books tbh) but I get what you mean, there's a lot of smaller elements from BoE that the show could skip without impacting the story too much. Alas, the people at Netflix clearly don't care much about being faithful to the source material, to the point where its not an adaptation but a fan fiction/rewrite.
     
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  19. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Dungeon Master

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    Yeah, it's definitely a big departure. That's part of the reason I'm so torn on it.

    On the one hand, I can kind of see how the plot of S2 is almost an embellishment of BoE, filling in some of the blank spots and embellishing some of the boring bits. Though, if that's the case, it's done with a bit too liberal of a hand.

    And even then, I think perhaps the bigger issue is how it affects character motivation, sometimes outright changing them entirely. For instance, I really enjoyed the Yen flashbacks in S1, but this season her motivations changed entirely, almost tainting her character in some ways. It's... hard to get past.

    I guess I feel much the same way about S2 that I do about Nightmare of the Wolf- it's fun, but it's not quite The Witcher.
     
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  20. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Dungeon Master

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    One more thought I had recently about season 2:

    When I read Blood of Elves about a year ago, I was really excited to see how the show handled the ramping up of Round 2 between Nilfgaard and the northern kingdoms. It really seemed like a perfect fit for the show- an almost GOT-esque political intrigue sprawled across the Continent.

    We... didn't really get much of that. At all.

    Again, I really appreciated how the persecution of the elves justified their siding against the kingdoms in this season, and I think that was handled really well. It gave a lot of depth to what we see in the books, expanding on Gerault's perspective. But the war itself seems stalled compared to the end of BoE. Maybe it'll get more coverage in S3, but it almost seems like we're to assume that the war never actually stopped at all, and Nilfgaard and the kingdoms will just be back at it in full swing in the next season.
     

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