I once forced myself to watch the Polish Witcher series. I still think on it when I consider the Witcher franchise as a whole. It was poorly shot, badly acted, and all together not very exciting. With today’s news of the live action Witcher drama coming to Netflix, I started to wonder what I actually would want to see from a live action drama about Geralt. I feel that since the games have come out and I’ve spent hours controlling the rude Witcher himself I can’t really see anyone else taking up that mantle and pulling it as well as the games have. I loved the Witcher games but I don’t actually think this is something I want.
The characterization of Geralt throughout the video game series has definitely felt some criticism because he’s portrayed as a bit stiff and kind of an asshole. However, the lore sort of calls for this as the Witcher transformations do have their unique effects on the emotions of said Witcher. So, Geralt’s emotions have been dulled which makes him come across as a bit of dick. The game does a pretty good job of balancing this with the rest of the larger story. Between his confusing and oftentimes far too realistic relationship with Yennefer and the adoptive father role he plays with Ciri the asshole facade is broken up with moments of true honesty.
Andrzej Sapkowski, the author of the novels the games are based on, has stated that he feels burned by his gaming deal and that it presumably overshadowed his work as a writer. I don’t agree with him on this notion, since as an American fantasy fan with no knowledge of the Polish ‘scene’ I would have never come across any of his works. Now, I own the first few translated into English, since I still can’t read Polish. I wonder if his animosity towards the games will influence this adaptation at all. It’s possible he takes everything the games did so well and forces the production company to ignore them.
With a game so steeped in rich new lore and ties to Polish fantasy tropes, it will be hard to introduce Western fans, who have become accustomed to the Game of Thrones, low fantasy side of the genre without a great deal of exposition. Having their Geralt be just an asshole without the nuisances of emotion present throughout the games will be quite painful to watch. My ideal version of the show is tough to suss out underneath the books and games. Just please release some sexy cards for me to collect for each of Geralt’s television honeys. Oh and you got to get that guy to sing Pam Pa Ram.