Review: The Witcher

On December 20, 2019, Netflix released the first season of “The Witcher.” The show is roughly based around the novel series written by Andrzej Sapkowski, as well as the video game series by the same name. The show itself has gained instant success in just the short time it has been available for viewing. 

The show centers around the lives and timelines of three individuals: Princess Cirilla of Cintra, the mage Yennefer of Vengeberg, and the one the show is named after, the Witcher Geralt of Rivia.  As the series progresses, the characters slowly grow into the strong individuals everyone has fallen in love with.

The series begins with no background, dropping the audience into the magical world often referred to as “The Continent.” There, Geralt, played by Henry Cavill, is seen slaying a beast sure to give arachnophobes nightmares for weeks. True to his profession, trading slain monsters for coin, he ventures to the nearest town to sell his find. After a few interesting encounters, the audience gets a first glimpse of how Geralt challenges preconceived notions of what a Witcher is. 

Princess Cirilla, played by Freya Allen, is introduced early on, with very few details about her life or youth. Her introduction is quickly shrouded by outside forces and she begins a season-long search for her destiny. Cirilla also seems to have a secret that not even she knows about. Being the youngest of the trio, Cirilla has one of the more action-packed storylines, with a life full of heartbreak and loss.

Perhaps the most interesting character in the series, the mage Yennefer, played by Anya Chalotra, is not met until the second episode. She begins as a fragile, helpless girl from a poor family completely unwanted and hopeless. Quickly though, she begins to steal the hearts of viewers with her heartbreaking life. In the end, Yennefer is forced to sacrifice everything to gain the life she desires, a decision that haunts her for the rest of the season. 

Each character interacts with other minor individuals to help their stories progress with the most notable of these companions being Jaskier the Bard, Queen Calanthe of Cintra, and Aretuza’s Rectress Tissaia de Vries. These three characters moved the storylines and revealed important details about each individual throughout the season. 

For fans new to the franchise, this season’s plots can be hard to follow, bouncing between the characters sporadically with no clear indication of how the timelines work separately from each other. But eventually, the stories begin to merge together, heavily influenced by destiny.

As the show progressed, the main characters encountered many different forms of magic and monsters, rooted in ancient myths and lore. The series takes place in the 13th century and borrows traditional customs from medieval times. 

Throughout the series, the creators were able to showcase incredible fight and combat scenes as well as impeccable design features and costuming to match each character’s role in the series. Unlike many other series, this show requires the undivided attention of the audience since extremely important, but easily missed details are embedded within each episode. 

For fantasy fans, this new release from Netflix offers a great new series to watch. There are only eight episodes in the first season of the series and unfortunately, there is no set release for season two, but it is expected to be released sometime in 2021.

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