By Dylan Haslam
Since its initial release on December 20th, 2019, Netflix’s “The Witcher” has proven itself to be the masterpiece that no one expected. With the recent arrival of Disney Plus and the release of the new Star Wars film in theaters, the release of the “The Witcher” was overshadowed by far more popular titles. I will admit that when I had heard that Netflix was making a live-action version of The Witcher books and video games, I was genuinely concerned. I was worried that Netflix would abandon the original roots of what made the books and games amazing. I was also concerned that people who have no prior Witcher franchise experience would struggle to make connections with the storyline and content. As I progressed through the eight available episodes, I was delightfully surprised with just how well executed the series was.
The Netflix series follows three classic characters already known within the Witcher universe. These characters are Geralt of Rivia(Henry Cavill), Yennefer of Vengerberg(Anya Chaltora), and Ciri Princess of Cintra(Freya Allan). Given that there are only eight episodes available, it is safe to assume more characters will be introduced in the future. However, that will have to wait until 2021 when season two is set to premiere. The Netflix series spends quite a bit of time establishing the world around these characters. The series provides the perfect balance between interconnecting stories and solo adventures that contribute to character development. While it is tricky for the first little bit to grasp the exact placement of the timeline, the series has an excellent way of tying it all together. I Would highly recommend embarking on this binge-worthy journey.
Unlike books and games, the Netflix series doesn’t particularly establish a reason why there exist monsters and elves and dwarves in the human world. Fans who have experience in the franchise are aware of events that took place to male this cosmic change happen. Still, I believe it will be a pleasant surprise for people who are just getting into the series. Cavill brings forth his best performance yet in conveying the White Wolf himself. Because Geralt has a dark and mysterious demeanor, it requires a particular type of actor to pull off such a role. I wasn’t sure if that actor was him, but I am willing to admit when I’m wrong. He nailed it. With the simple line of “hmmm,” he had me hooked. Cavill, being a Witcher fan himself, really put the time and effort into getting inside the headspace of the Monster Slayer.
With a soundtrack that gets you hooked to a display of stunning visuals, you are sure to enjoy the experience. Anyone who loved the games knows that the choices Geralt males will drastically affect people down the road. While Cavill’s Witcher seems to take a neutral standpoint and neither play the hero nor the villain, it is a fresh take on the Witcher, unlike one we have previously seen. Chaltora’s Yennefer uses the right amount of charm and personality to make the character come alive. Unlike the games, this Yennefer is not mainly concerned with the intertwining with her and Geralt’s fate but instead takes a unique approach with her being an independent character allying with no one. Allan’s Ciri was the character that surprised me the most. Her development as a strong lead character is ongoing. Every aspect has its version of Hell, and this girl lived it. Their collective and individual performances were nothing short of a masterpiece that all Nerds can be proud of.
Through good acting, soundtrack, and visuals, season one of Netflix’s “The Witcher” was a beautiful way to spend a few days over Christmas break. I can say with the utmost confidence that after hearing a certain Bard’s take on “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher,” you will be singing that tune for the next few days. Because if we learned anything from Fantasy series, it’s that a kick-ass soundtrack can make all the difference. I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.