The Witcher is one of Netflix’s most popular series at the moment. Adapted from the novel series of the same name by writer Andrzej Sapkowski, plus the previous success from the series produced by CD Projekt RED, this series has quickly built a strong fan community after only 2 years. broadcast season.
Not only conquering the audience, The Witcher also received relatively positive responses from the world’s largest review sites. On IMDb, Netflix’s “pet chicken” is rated to 8.2/10 points, and also reaches “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes, as a strong and convincing proof of the attraction of this series.
However, recently, Netflix made the audience extremely surprised and somewhat frustrated with the news that the male lead Henry Cavill would withdraw from The Witcher project after season 3 ended. The cause of this unfortunate separation is attributed to the unresolvable conflicts between Henry and Netflix’s scripting team. The actor wanted the screenplay to be as close to the original as possible instead of introducing creative elements that were too far removed from the original novel.
Longtime fans of The Witcher can somewhat understand Henry Cavill’s heart at this time. Viewed objectively, Netflix’s series, although widely accepted, still lacks a lot of basic and core values of the original.
The nature of fate in the relationship between Geralt and Ciri is exploited too superficially
One of the biggest themes running throughout The Witcher’s storyline is the power of fate and the desire to be freed from the disposition of fate. This element has been included in the Netflix series, but has not been exploited too deeply, especially in the relationship between Geralt and Ciri, which is considered the heart of The Witcher.
In the original, Geralt and Ciri are bound by fate through The Law of Surprise. However, before sticking together, the two met many times by chance without knowing the identity of the other. At one point, Geralt even actively turned his back on fate, rejecting Ciri. But after all, fate pushed these two people together, creating a deep and complete emotional journey.
Netflix’s TV version builds on a similar scenario, with key elements like the Law of Surprise or fate. However, Geralt and Ciri only met face-to-face once, and that’s when they both decided to stick together in a similar relationship as father and son. That makes the element of “fate” not emphasized and does not bring about a big explosive effect like in the original.
The philosophy of “lesser evil” has not yet satisfied fans
The Witcher series opens with an episode adapted from the short story The Lesser Evil in The Last Wish series. The context and content of this episode are quite similar to the original: Geralt comes to the town of Blaviken to earn money to live through the day, suddenly caught in a conflict between the magician Stregobor and the band of thieves led by Renfri. Both want Geralt to be on their side and admit that it is the choice of “smaller evil” to avoid “greater evil” from happening.
In both the novel and the television version, Geralt is more sympathetic to Renfri. However, he does not agree with her plan to massacre the whole town of Blaviken to force Stregobor to come out, only to end up having to personally stop and kill Renfri.
The problem lies in how to approach and exploit the problem in this story. The novel series explains quite thoroughly about the conflict in the past between Renfri and Stregobor, about the difficulties, the most terrible things that Renfri has ever had to go through. This made Renfri’s reason for revenge more convincing, making it more difficult for Geralt to make a choice.
Renfri’s image of the TV version is well built and makes a positive impression on fans. However, many details regarding her dark past have been omitted. Meanwhile, Stregobor appeared with a rather unpleasant attitude, difficult to sympathize with the audience, especially those who were new to The Witcher. That made them wonder why Geralt didn’t choose to side with Renfri in the first place.
The Witcher series lacks a fairy tale
The first season, and the opening episode of the second season, are adapted from the short story collections in The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny of The Witcher novels. This can be considered as a collection of Geralt’s adventures before he was bound by fate to Ciri. And if we pay close attention, we can see that most of the stories in it are darker versions of famous fairy tales.
For example, The Lesser Evil was inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; A Grain of Truth is a more ruthless version of Beauty and the Beast; or A Little Sacrifice has bold colors of Little Mermaid. Writer Andrzej Sapkowski painted the dark color of the famous pink fairy tales that anyone has ever read. This makes the world of The Witcher closer, more familiar and also more fierce.
However, when brought to the small screen, the fairy element of The Witcher was almost completely eliminated, or not shown too clearly. Few people realize the detail that Renfri, originally a princess, went on an adventure with 7 other thieves, which is a mirror for the famous Snow White story. And no one realizes that the love between Nivellen, who is cursed and has to take the form of a beast, and the vampire Bruxa, is a distorted, deformed version of Beauty and the Beast. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Netflix lost part of the core value of the original when adapting The Witcher.
The nature of the relationship between Geralt and Yennefer has not been clearly depicted
The love between Geralt and Yennefer is one of the central elements of The Witcher, be it the novel or the television version. Tied together by fate, or more precisely, by Geralt’s last wish, the pair constantly experience moments of reunion and then parting. It’s like an endless loop running through the main plot, and is also a metaphor for the love of two people: Sometimes it’s sweet and warm, sometimes it’s harsh and unrequited.
However, this strange love is explored in greater depth and detail in Andrzej Sapkowski’s series. There were times when Geralt and Yennefer decided to leave everything behind to enjoy a peaceful life together. There were also times when the two were separated for various reasons, and were even forced to confront each other. The discord in Geralt and Yennefer’s love is also a way to show the nature of fate in The Witcher.
Meanwhile, the TV version simplified the relationship between the two, removing many other valuable details because of time constraints. In addition, there are many viewers who think that the “chemical reaction” between Henry Cavill and Anya Chalotra – Geralt and Yennefer of The Witcher series, is not big enough, not honest enough, not convincing enough to bring a couple. this on the small screen.
Netflix invests too little time in explaining the world of The Witcher more thoroughly
In the original novel series, the first two books are a collection of short stories and have little influence on the overall plot of The Witcher. These stories play the role of introducing characters and the world to readers, and at the same time creating a solid foundation for major events later. Until entering the main storyline, readers are somewhat familiar with The Continent, with the places and events taking place here.
The Witcher series approaches the problem in a different direction, especially in the second season. New locations and characters keep appearing in the plot, and sometimes make the audience feel suffocated. when you have to take in too many things at once. Even the return of some familiar names like Yarpen Zigrin makes a lot of sensePeople are surprised, because this character simply hasn’t been explored too deeply in the previous season.
The time limit is probably the most likely explanation for this situation. That’s probably also why, besides profits, Netflix decided to produce so many series based on The Witcher. Those projects will be an opportunity for them to help the audience understand better and more deeply about the land of the Continent.
Yennefer betraying Ciri is unacceptable to longtime fans of The Witcher
Geralt and Yennefer are the two most important people in Ciri’s life, portrayed as her father and mother. What all 3 experienced together, especially in the final battle of the novel series, brought the image of a real family and left many emotions in the hearts of readers. In a chaotic world where everyone wants to have Ciri for political purposes and power, Geralt and Yennefer are two of the few people she can trust completely.
However, The Witcher season 2 has transformed the plot in a completely different direction with the appearance of the evil Voleth Meir. After losing all of his magic, Yennefer attempted to kidnap and pay Ciri to the monster to regain all of his powers. Although after all, Yennefer realized his mistake and publicly stood up to protect Ciri, but this detail made many die-hard fans of The Witcher disappointed. It’s also one of the most controversial changes that season 2 brings.
Netflix distorts Geralt and Jaskier’s friendship
Jaskier is one of Geralt’s rare close friends, and even knew him before Yennefer or Ciri. In the original, Geralt especially treasures this friendship. He himself has also experienced many interesting adventures with Jaskier. Although not very interested in poetry, but Geralt never objected or expressed discomfort with Jaskier creating art based on their journey.
In the TV version, the friendship between Jaskier and Geralt is built in a more humorous, witty direction, true to the style of “opposite will attract each other”. However, during the first season, many longtime readers of The Witcher were really surprised when Geralt was always annoyed, even harsh towards Jaskier. The number of meaningful conversations between two people is also almost gone. This was only really fixed in the second season, when Geralt was more comfortable with Jaskier accompanying him.
Geralt’s image has been changed a lot
Geralt is a veteran monster hunter. Therefore, it is not surprising that he possesses impressive combat ability and diverse and rich experience. And Netflix has portrayed that very well thanks to a team of professional choreographers and action scenes.
What they failed to do, however, was tap into Geralt’s intellectual depth. In the original, the monster hunter not only knows how to dance with swords, but also has a deep inner self and likes to “speak up” with others. He often argues with Jaskier and makes sarcastic comments when necessary. He didn’t even hesitate to use words to confront powerful kings and magicians.
In the first season, Netflix decided to build Geralt in the image of a cold, taciturn, quiet, less humorous image. It was Henry Cavill who had to propose to his character more dialogue, more intellectual expression, deeper introspection in the second season to stick to the original.