Fans of The Witcher anxiously await the debut of the television series on Netflix. The series will return to the source material, and adapt the stories from the original books by Andrzej Sapkowski. This will give fans of the game who didn’t want to read through the novels a way to catch up on the backstory.
Fans who read The Witcher books can’t wait to see the classic stories brought to life. The books cover a lot of territory, and while the creators have said the first season will only scratch the surface, hopefully the show will do well enough that it has the time to dig into the meat of the source material.
Here are eight things that should make it into the show. WARNING: This post contains minor spoilers for The Witcher books.
8 Direct Adaptations of the Geralt Short Stores
Before Sapkowski wrote the series of novels that makes up the bulk of the story of Geralt and his friends, he released two books of short stories that served as the setup for the world. These short stories do a great job at getting to the center of Geralt as a character and setting up the world for the coming saga.
The short stories feel a lot like the excellent side quests in The Witcher 3, and in fact some of them correlate directly. Some of the tales feature backstory and historical context, but many of them just provide a glimpse into the day-to-day work life of a traveling Witcher. Many read like small fables.
The writers for the upcoming show have already said that they will cover a lot of the history leading up to the main books. They will base some of it on the short stories and some on the conversations about characters’ pasts that come out over the course of the books. But hopefully we will also get least get one or two straightforward adaptations of Geralt's one-off tales.
7 Appearances from The Lodge
Yennefer, a sorceress who plays a key role in the narrative of The Witcher 3, features prominently in the books. She sits on a council of sorceresses which also features Triss Marigold. They serve as the governing entity for protecting the interests of magic in a war-torn nation. Like other governing bodies, they seek to influence the the outcome of the war and put someone of magical ability on a royal throne.
The eleven sorceresses who make up the lodge each have a distinct personality and an incredible power and influence on the goings-on in the world of The Witcher. In a world ruled by men, they operate in the background, using magic, wit, and sexuality to bend the odds in their favor. Some might say they truly hold all of the power. The trailer for the series showed a few of them, but hopefully their presence amounts to mare than a couple of cameos.
6 Falka and The Rats
Once Ciri sets out on her own in the books, she runs into a notorious band of young misfits and thieves called the Rats. She joins their ranks and takes on the name Falka. She spends a lot of time with them, using the fighting skills she learned from Geralt to earn the respect of the group and help them steal their way to infamy.
This part of Ciri’s story includes a lot of key coming-of-age moments for the character. The writers should certainly avoid the Game of Thrones mistake and leave some of the more questionable and outdated aspects of the plot line on the cutting room floor. But hopefully not all of it. This represents a kind of rebellious teenage phase for Ciri. She makes a lot of questionable moral decisions during these sections of the book that might seem off-putting to folks who know her only from the games, but these moments do a lot to inform her character growth going forward.
5 Milva the Archer
In the books, Geralt becomes gravely injured and must recover in a forest haven called Brokilon, the home of the Dryads. There, Geralt meets a human called Milva who lives among them. Milva ends up becoming a guide to Geralt and joining his traveling party for a while.
Milva is awesome. She can out-archer just about anyone she meets. She is a wisecracking, sardonic character with an underlying compassion that shines through even when she acts difficult (frequently). She holds her own in a large party of human and dwarven men, and when a caravan of refugee women and children join their ranks, she serves as their main protector.
Fans of the games who haven’t read the books won’t know Milva. Her presence is relegated to a Gwent card. That’s not the game’s fault. It takes place after the books, and due to unfortunate circumstances Milva isn’t around. She would have made a incredible addition to the game series and it would be great to see her in live action.
The show would have a difficult time skipping over a character as central as Milva, but she shows up a bit later in the series, and hopefully the Netflix show lasts long enough to bring her to life.
4 Nods to the Game Series
The Witcher books in Poland have the same national acclaim and notoriety as series like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. Most fans outside of Poland, however, only know The Witcher through the popular game franchise. That won’t stop many of the game fans from tuning in, and hopefully the show will acknowledge that audience.
The Witcher star Henry Cavill has spoken at length about his love for the games and how they brought him to the series. Hopefully, even though the Netflix show won’t follow the games, it will include some visual references or in-jokes that only the game fans would understand.
3 The Greater Political Intrigue Beyond Geralt’s Circle
The Witcher takes place in a nation torn apart by war. The games mostly show the aftermath, but in the books, the war rages, and the story spends a lot of time in rooms with political powers and spies who use strategy and wit to try to push their agenda.
The books have this deep political narrative in common with Game of Thrones. The Witcher books don’t always center around Geralt, but instead offer more of an ensemble cast of characters all vying for political legitimacy. If the show does this aspect well, then it has the potential to match Game of Thrones' twisty and intriguing plot.
2 A Less Tolienesque Take on Dwarves and Elves
The Witcher series, like many post-Tolkien fantasy work, does contain Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings. However, The Witcher has heavy influences in Polish folklore and in Grimm’s Fairy Tales as well. In the games and the books, the Dwarves and Elves specifically feel heavily influenced by Tolkien. While the inspiration certainly has a direct lineage, it has become something of a trope do see Dwarves and Elves presented in the Lord of the Rings style over and over again.
This show has the opportunity to change that and set itself apart, even if it means differing itself from the source material. It could dig deeper into Polish lore or Fairy Tale lore. A new, creative spin on these races would feel refreshing. In the books, the Scoia’tael, a violent group of mostly elvish guerrillas who fight in the war, already differ quite a bit from the Tolkien-style of elves. The show should lean into that.
1 The Stuffed Unicorn
The stuffed unicorn has gained infamy. Book and game fans alike can appreciate its relevance as a metaphor for Yennifer’s and Geralt’s relationship. It appears in the books during a one of Geralt’s memories of Yennifer and it got picked up by the games as an inside joke for her and Geralt. Hopefully, the unicorn has a presence in the show. As for it’s relevance, this excerpt from the book can help with that:
She also possessed a very expertly stuffed unicorn, on whose back she liked to make love. Geralt was of the opinion that if there existed a place less suitable for having sex it was probably only the back of a live unicorn. Unlike him, who considered his bed a luxury and valued all the possible uses of that marvellous piece of furniture, Yennefer was capable of being extremely extravagant.