Sunday, 21 Jul 2024

A Closer Look at Netflix’s New Witcher Series

The Witcher, created by Andrzej Sapkowski, has captivated audiences through books, comics, and video games, earning it the reputation as the “Polish Tolkien.” Now, Netflix has embarked on its own adaptation, starring Henry Cavill. With the first season set to launch this week, we had the opportunity to chat with showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich to get a glimpse of what to expect.

Geralt’s Introduction To The Small Screen

The first season of the series draws inspiration from the short story collections “The Last Wish” and “Sword of Destiny,” which lays the foundation for the rich world of The Witcher. Hissrich explains, “They set up the politics, geography, varying social groups, and the basic tone of The Continent is incredibly well laid out.” The opening episode, based on the short story “The Lesser Evil,” sets the stage for Geralt’s journey, as a difficult decision he makes haunts him throughout the season. Hissrich adds, “I want him to start questioning why he’s doing it, and if there’s something else out there for him in the world.”

Delving into the Stories of Ciri and Yennefer

While the series won’t directly follow the storyline of the games, there will be nods to them. Hissrich shares, “I think that when video game fans watch, they will see some [familiar] things that they love.” The series also explores the core themes from the games, such as moral shades of gray and the complex family dynamic between Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. Hissrich adds, “We’re dealing with the story of a broken family, what they’re after, and how they change each other.”

To ensure viewers deeply connect with Ciri and Yennefer, Hissrich expanded their backstories. She explains, “In the case of Ciri, what she’s running from and what she’s running toward. And in the case of Yennefer, what emptiness she’s looking to fill inside when she’s such an incredibly powerful sorceress.” This expansion also includes glimpses into Yennefer’s past, showcasing her struggles and journey to become who she is in the books.

Staying True to the Spirit of the Novels

Hissrich assures fans that the series remains faithful to the spirit of the novels while exploring certain aspects that were not given much space. Although the show introduces new characters, it is all done in service of the story. As Hissrich explains, “It’s not very interesting to see a character who’s not talking to anyone. So we needed to give her someone to measure her journey against, where we created a new character for her to travel with and learn from.”

Meet Your Geralt: Henry Cavill

Henry Cavill’s casting as Geralt raised some eyebrows, but Hissrich reveals that Cavill’s passion for the character and his understanding of Geralt left her impressed. She says, “Henry brought a certain violence and stoicism together. That is really important and really sort of intrinsic to the character now. Henry also has amazing comedic timing, and this was really important. Anyone who knows Geralt knows that he’s actually quite witty. Dry, but witty. That’s something that Henry knocked out of the park.”

Embracing the Gritty World of The Witcher

The Netflix series doesn’t hold back on the mature themes present in The Witcher. Viewers can expect blood, sex, and exploration of topics such as “not belonging in the world” and “what happens when you’re marginalized.” Hissrich emphasizes that the show aims to present complex characters and difficult decisions. She says, “There is no decision that’s definitely good or a decision that’s definitely bad. The same goes for characters. As long as an audience member can understand the motivation behind a character’s actions, then I feel like we’ve won.”

With the first season already renewed for a second, the future looks promising for Netflix’s The Witcher. Get ready to enter this captivating world when the first season releases on December 20.


Q: Will the series follow the storyline of the games?
A: While the series won’t directly follow the games, there will be nods to them that fans will recognize and appreciate.

Q: How faithful is the series to the novels?
A: The series stays true to the spirit of the novels while also exploring certain aspects that were not given much space.

Q: What can we expect in terms of mature themes in the series?
A: The series embraces the mature themes present in The Witcher, including blood, sex, and in-depth exploration of complex topics.


Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher promises to bring the rich world of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels to life. With attention to detail and a focus on character development, the series aims to satisfy both fans of the books and the games. Get ready to embark on an exciting journey when the first season premieres on December 20.

This article was originally published in the January 2020 issue of Game Informer.