TV REVIEW: The Witcher – Season 1

Witcher, Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) travels The Continent as a monster hunter for hire, reviled by the very people he works for. On finding himself in the court of Queen Calanthe of Cintra he is unexpectedly granted the “law of surprise” meaning that he will become responsible for a child not yet born.

Meanwhile, misshapen half elf, Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) is thrust into a brutal mage training programme when her father sells her to Tissaia de Vries (MyAnna Buring), the rectress of Aretuza. Here she will have to learn to harness her natural abilities and attempt to realise her dream of being physically beautiful.

Years later the Kingdom of Nilfgaard is on a land grab that leads them to the door of Cintra. Calanthe’s granddaughter, Cirilla (Freya Allan) barely escapes with her life and an instruction to “find the Witcher”.

As Geralt and Yennefer’s paths cross multiple times in their quest to find their destinies, war rages across The Continent and Ciri discovers she might have some unexpected abilities of her own.

It’s quite hard to describe the story line of The Witcher without giving too much away as has multiple timelines on the go at once and jumps backwards and forwards within episodes. In most episodes the three main characters’ aren’t even in the same timeline at once so I am leaving it purposefully vague. This is a device that is confusing as fuck to start with but ultimately works quite well. It’s especially tricky because many of the characters don’t age like normal people because they are magical… but I digress.

What I like about The Witcher is how tongue in cheek it is. While it is action packed, dramatic and has great character development, it is also silly, irreverent and magnificently sweary. It’s like Game of Thrones without all the po-facedness.

Henry Cavill clearly loves playing Geralt and has melted into the character. He’s fully embraced both Geralt’s brutality and his reluctant kindness and empathy. Although Cavill is not one of my favourites, he’s made for the role and conveys so much through Geralt’s perfectly placed “hmms”. I particularly loved his interactions with Jaskier (Joey Batey), a bard who follows Geralt around telling his story but also mostly getting in his way.

Yennefer is a complex and compelling character. She is a super-powerful badass that takes no shit from anyone but she is also vulnerable, sensual and kind. I loved watching her growth and development and Chalotra is also great in the role.

while those two characters are great, Ciri seems much less developed and her story line is not as interesting as the other two. She seems to spend most of her time wandering around looking confused.

The series ends on a major cliffhanger that left both Mr O and I desperate for the next episode. I have not read the books or played the games that this is based on so I can’t attest to how close it is to the source material but I loved it and would highly recommend it to any fantasy fans.

4/5

7 Comments

  1. When I saw this show advertised, as soon as I read ‘Elf’ and ‘Monsters’, I knew this one wouldn’t be for me. Glad you enjoyed it, Abbi. šŸ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. If you don’t enjoy high fantasy this definitely isn’t for you!

  2. The show is not perfect but I’m in love with it. Once I was done watching, I started playing the video games (I’m almost done with all three of them) and reading the books (I’m halfway through the second one now).
    And I spent way to much time on tumblr because Geralt x Jaskier is my new favorite ship.

    1. That would be one hell of a ship. I think it’s one of those shows where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts… and I don’t care if its controversial, I think Henry Cavill is a much better Geralt than he is Superman!

      1. As Superman he was really a bit bla. (I am not even sure if that’s entirely his fault or if I just felt that way because the DCEU movies as a whole were rather disappointing)
        He really excels as Geralt, though. I love watching interviews with him on The Witcher because you can tell how much he loves that whole universe, being an avid gamer and having read the books.

  3. I was wondering what you thought of this. I guess I’m not really into dark fantasy. It got a little perverted and dark for me. I was okay when all those naked women were in the garden. I started to question it when Yennifer had a crowd of people watching her have sex, but still kept going with the series. They finally lost me when they brutally murdered babies, had inter-species sex and then orgies. Too much for a prude like me. šŸ¤·ā€ā™€ļø

    1. I don’t think it’s prudish to know what you do and don’t enjoy. If it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing.

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