Toss A Coin To Your Witcher

Thought I’d throw up a thread to talk about Netflix’s The Witcher show. I finished watching over the weekend and was pretty pleased with the adaptation and production overall. The CGI for some of the monsters isn’t amazing but it is serviceable and I like the mixing with old-school horror practical effects. I felt the pacing was pretty good and that there was great editing and cinematography. Henry Cavil really does a great job of going somewhere between the books and the games and his own interpretation of the character. His physicality in the role is great and all the other core cast were pretty good as well. The adaptation itself does a great job filling in things only hinted at in the books and condensing supporting roles in the short stories to need less screen time but still have the same impact.

My only reservation is that the story is structured in a way to introduce you to characters and ideas in a specific order that isn’t strictly chronological but instead tells the arcs of the main characters in their progression simultaneously (Think Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk where you have the narrative of 3 widely different time-spans split up and given equal time). I think this works really well from a character building perspective, but could definitely confuse new comers. The show moves fast and assumes you can keep up or at least work it out for yourself over time (there are no “location : time” style titles).

I really enjoyed the soundtrack and character leitmotifs and also Jaskier/Dandelion’s ballads.

I’m only 6/8 through the season and I’m enjoying it. The effects remind me of an upscale SciFi (SyFy? Is it still like that?) Channel.

The timelines threw me off until the 4th episode when it became really clear what was going on and where each timeline was in relation to each other.

It’s good for what it is and I’m interested in seeing where it goes.

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Yeah, its well done TV level effects. I think your scaled up Sci-fi channel read is just right. I just mentioned it to warn people to not go in expecting the level of detail and clarity you would get from a multi-hundred-million dollar film budget for them.

Oh wow, just foudn this article, the Showrunner, Lauren Hissrich specifically was inspired to do the 3 separate timeline scales based on Nolan talking about how he structured Dunkirk in interviews.

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Witchers fight monsters,
From open plains to a basement,

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I caved and checked out the first two episodes. Having never played the games nor read the books, and me just not being a fan of the fantasy genre is being generous; so it’s a fresh entry for me. My take is it seems like GoT plus Harry Potter got turned into an open world video game and then reenacted in live action. The first episode in a castle a lot of the dialogue from what would be NPCs just sounded like the sort of chatter you get from NPCs.

The story structure is interesting and I’ve been wondering why they didn’t decide to say “10 years earlier” on some of the scenes. The real strength of the series is taking an event like the fall of Cintas and showing you it over and over again over the course of other events showing other angles that make the situation less and less black and white as time goes on.

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Having barely played Witcher 2 and some of 3. I was able to get the gist of the world pretty easily and what was going on. The time jumps with the three characters Geralt, Yennefer and Cirilla made me question if it really was necessary but the last episode I watched tied everything back together so that was cool and I get why they did that now. Also I know the bard is supposed to be sidekick comic relief. But he is pretty annoying.

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Finished the season tonight while working instead of doing any sort of Christmas stuff (Im so shit at holidays)

I enjoyed it will enough. I had moments of doubt about certain elements being a bit lame or contrived or not fitting, but usually they either paid off or developed into at least making sense in context. And what didn’t was likely forgotten.

Except the whole last episode was kindof shit, in terms of people doing smart and cool stuff. It was a lot of the opposite. The stuff I think most people cared about was the simple bits, and the whole big deal sequence was definitely a head scratcher and while it has a lot of impact little of it was actually impact the viewer gives two shits about.

Thaaaaaaaat all said, definitely plan to watch more when it comes.

Jaskier is supposed to be a bit insufferable as a character, especially since you are seeing him play off Geralt.

It’s a really really stupid choice to have a deliberately annoying character though because, shock of shocks, it annoys the audience. There are other ways to accomplish that without being so goddamn irritating.

In other news, the bard is the worst character and, IMO, a detriment to the show.

Otherwise, the show is…alright. I’m not familiar with the source material and haven’t played the games, so I came into it with fresh eyes. Like others, it took me a bit to get the time-jumping plot threads, and to be completely honest, that’s a storytelling device that can be done well - in this case, it’s being executed fairly poorly. I’m pretty sure I get where it’s going, but I’m only halfway through the season so we’ll see if I’m right.

I do dig the use of Baltic/Slavic folklore - it’s a nice change of pace from more typical northern European fare.

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Finished it. Episodes 7 and 8 were almost good, and it finally did enough to make me want to watch Season 2 at some point.

Mostly though, I’m interested in exploring the lore from other material. Any recommendations? I’ve never played the games or read the books, so I’m starting at zero, effectively.

I knew the end stuff would get you over the line haha.

I’ve only played the games.

Witcher 1 (2007) is a good game for it’s time, but is a bit on the nose with some of it’s stuff (cards for love scenes???) I’d have to revisit to judge whether it’s still worth playing.
Witcher 2, took a while for me to get through, it’s better and more political than the first game. Characters are fuller (I got hung up on the combat system which is very hard in the beginning). Once I got past that I flew through it.
Witcher 3, One of the best games of the 2010’s a large and populated open world, a compelling story. Interesting characters, I was actually emotionally invested in the story (which doesn’t happen that much in video games).

My enjoyment of the show increased dramatically when Jaskier left. And also when they stopped fucking around and just got to the point already.

It’s still got all sorts of writing problems and characterization problems. The dialogue is uuuuuuuugh. I am mad that they have what appears to be interesting source material and are making something astoundingly mediocre with it.

Entry point should be the first book, The Last Wish. Witcher 3 is one of the best games of the decade, a real high point in RPG storytelling but it will also spoil a ton of stuff in the books. Witcher 1 and 2 will spoil less of the books but you’ll still get some backstory for Geralt that will be spoiler territory.

Its a short story collection that some of the episodes you watched were directly lifted from that introduces Geralt primarily.

https://www.amazon.com/Last-Wish-Introducing-Witcher-ebook/dp/B0010SIPT4/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1578333623&sr=8-1

The Kindle Book is 8 bucks. If you prefer physical get the new hardcover as its only cents more than the paperback. I can also HIGHLY recommend the audiobooks on audible narrated by Peter Kenny if thats more your jam.

Here’s the read order if you decide to keep going

Short Stories

The Last Wish.
Sword of Destiny.

Novels

Blood of Elves.
The Time of Contempt.
Baptism of Fire.
The Tower of the Swallow.
The Lady of the Lake.
Season of Storms.

Games-wise:

Witcher 1 is worth playing if you are willing to deal with old C-RPGs, but it does have some objectionable content in the form of pin-up collect-em-all cards for romance scenes (just feel juvenile). You can also totally screw yourself over in the first chapter on higher difficulties if you just invest your skill points incorrectly. If you do play it I recommend just glancing through a build guide or playing at a lower difficulty your first time.

Witcher 2 is a huge leap forward in pretty much every area. The core combat system is like a beta for Witcher 3 (it is more complex and more punishing and does a way worse job of communicating how to use it). The story has two largely different branching paths with many different ethical choices along both.

Witcher 3 is the newest, biggest, best. For my money its the most enjoyment I’ve ever gotten out of an open world game. There are icons all over a map, you don’t need to do them, but they manage to have little story bits, cool monsters, or environmental storytelling for a lot of them. The writing, characters, and quest design is top notch all around.