After what felt like an agonisingly long time, we finally got the trailer for The Witcher series on Netflix. Before we jump into this, it’s pretty essential that you do in fact watch the trailer so here you go:
There has been a lot of nattering from fans of the game series about some of the choices that the series has made and the comment sections of the trailers are just filled to the brim with sceptics. I completely understand why this happened because the series of games from CD Projekt RED has an extremely special place in a lot of people’s hearts including my own.
The journey of Geralt of Rivia, in our minds, has always been about the gravelly-voiced witcher and his exploits across the realm of monsters, men and monstrous men. It’s tough to imagine a different Geralt than what we’ve grown used to over the potentially hundreds of hours we spent on the games, but here’s where an important distinction has to be made. The games are very different than the world we find in Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels.
I’ve read more than half of all the Witcher novels after I officially decreed that The Witcher 3 was my favourite game of all time. What I found was something much different than what I experienced in the game and I’d wager to say that the Netflix trailer captured a lot more of the novels than it does the game. There are still some niggling issues, but the overall scope of what was shown in the trailer is much more akin to the tone you find in Sapkowski’s tomes.
The novels feel much more oppressive, politically driven and dark than the games which may sound insane since the games already have that in abundance, but it’s the truth. Geralt is undoubtedly the main character in the books, but his role is much more subdued which was obviously not possible in the games since you were playing as the man. The story of the witcher is one of war, realms and corruption and it extends well past the story of just Geralt. Often in the novels, Geralt just wasn’t present at all in what was happening.
The Netflix series has the objective to adapt the novels and in that goal, I’d say they succeeded pretty well. It captures the tone and feel that I experienced as I was reading the novels and there’s a much bigger grand fantasy feel. If you noticed, Geralt didn’t get that many appearances in the trailer. He is a pivotal character, but he’s not the overall focus. That’s the big difference between the game and the novels and now the television series.
Because of that, I walked away from the trailer much more hopeful than I was before it. The world of the witcher is much more than just our main man and the series looks to be capturing that. It’s a whole different perspective and interpretation of this massively intricate universe instead of a retelling of something we have experienced before.
That does not mean that I don’t still have my doubts. This can all easily go pear-shaped if the writing isn’t up to par with what we find in the novels and I still have a fear that it will be diluted too much to appeal to a general audience. But from what I’ve seen in other Netflix originals, they’re not afraid to push the bar sometimes.
Until this show finally releases this year, I simply cannot tell you if it will be good or not. What I do know is that they’re trying something very different than what we experienced in the CD Projekt RED interpretation and that is quite exciting for me who lives and breathes this franchise.
Cautiously optimistic is where I am right now, but I may be a fool. What do you think?