O, what news! I was practically shaken out of my sleep this morning by my younger brother, with his news that The Witcher was going to be adapted for a Netflix TV drama. I am a huge fan of the franchise, and I proudly hang a map of the Northern Realms above my bed, and I lovingly adorn my aging laptop with the game’s complimentary stickers of the School of the Wolf’s sigil. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is my favorite game of the current console generation and perhaps second only to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic in my all-time power rankings. I was blown away by the poignant character-driven plotlines and the game’s dark, sinister twists on Slavic folklore. It completely restored my faith in high fantasy games providing nuanced writing that examined the human condition, and not being merely pretentious, unambitious attempts at Tolkien in which all the character’s might have had heads filled with Styrofoam for all we knew. The world of Geralt seemed rich and so alive. To help feed my addiction, my brother bought me a copy of Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Last Wish for my 23rd birthday. I’m a fan. And how gratifying it is to live in an age where to be a geek is all of a sudden trendy. I swear, back in my school days if I had skipped down the hall with a copy of The Last Wish clutched to my breast, humming the epic tones of Marcin Przybyłowicz’s soundtrack, I would have quickly been gang-banged by no less than a dozen chain-smoking rough lads, taking it in turns to stamp on my trachea with studded boots until I stopped breathing.
But we’re getting off-topic, aren’t we? Let us return to the news of the day! The Witcher is indeed getting made into a TV drama. It should be pointed out that it is the books that are getting adapted, not the games of CD Projekt Red. Therefore the show will be much closer to Sapkowski’s original vision. We will be seeing the world of Geralt of Rivia much closer to how he conceptualized it. Sapkowski, who had no input on the popular game series, will in fact be serving as a creative consultant for the new show. It should also be noted that Tomek Baginski, who did such a wonderful job directing the intro cinematics for all three Witcher games, will be directing one episode per season.
It is good, I think, that The Witcher is being made into a TV drama and not a movie. Movies don’t have the time necessary to build the slow-burning character arcs that more finely approach those of books. I don’t trust a Witcher movie not to be a complete turkey, at least in the current climate of Hollywood blockbusters- the kind of movies more interested in making its audience masturbate over increasingly extraordinary levels of CGI than in engaging with the inner conflicts of its characters. I am encouraged by the successes of TV dramas such as Game of Thrones– perhaps the best indication of how a Witcher TV show might turn out- given that they are both dark fantasy narratives, based on novels written since the early 1990s. And that is a series that has enjoyed widespread popularity, from people of all ages and consumers of almost every genre. Netflix too, I would argue, is a good home for the series. Those folks have been absolutely ballin’ recently, giving us a range of exciting dramas- such as Daredevil and Stranger Things– all with the liberal creative license seldom afforded by the big TV networks.
Of course, it is early days, but why not get some discussion going amongst the community? Who would you like to see in the roles of Geralt and Yennefer? What would you like to see incorporated from the source material? Let me know!