The anticipation is finally over, and the Butcher of Blaviken is here. Henry Cavill promised and delivered.
The Witcher is the latest adaptation of the series of novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski. Before the series came to life, the novel enjoyed a tremendous success after it was made into a video game that won the 2015 Game Of The Year award, making it a stepping stone in the wheel of fame for Geralt of Rivia.
However, as a hardcore fan of both the novel and the game, the Netflix adaptation somewhat failed to reach my expectations,
and for others it failed to crystallize the book in a cinematic transparency, because it is not easy to bring a novel to life using only GFX and dynamic lighting. Thus it hindered the acting a bit, but luckily Henry Cavill was there to pick up the occasional slack every once in a while.
In essence, The Witcher is an emotionless monster slayer, a witcher is someone who considers his silver sword an extension of his own body, making the role theatrically challenging.
However, Henry Cavill’s supreme talent and fluidity to adapt to the role has paled the other cast in comparison, setting him apart from the rest of the cast on the expense of the dramatic takes between Cavill’s co-star Anya Chalotra, who plays Yennefer, and himself.
The emotional scenes were one sided and Henry Cavill ends up carrying most of the show, but every time he is on screen the series magically elevates. Perhaps the most notable trait of the role is how Geralt sounds like and how he reacts to the world. The problem was created because of the game, because a video game sets an unrealistic expectation for both the actors and the CGI team. What the series tries to do is to eliminate the ambience of some of the scenes to make it look like an actual world rather than a renaissance painting.
The series has few deus ex machinas here and there that could make you sigh from time to time, but nothing out of the ordinary for a TV show that is embroidered with imaginary monsters and super human sword skills. Because let’s face it, how else are you going to see monsters that have 12 legs and eyes that turn to black?
After all, this is a novel about a guy who makes his living by killing things that would make most of us faint on sight.
However, credit should be given when appropriate and there are some excellent features about The Witcher, which the show is being praised for.
For instance, the choreography of the sword fights is way ahead of its time, the amount of shots and takes being used, and the amount of hard work the cast and the GFX team is doing to give a serious image of what it feels like to be a Witcher is just poetic in a cinematic way. Netflix did not hold back when it comes to budget, making this show one of, if not the largest productions for Netflix till this point.
That The Witcher is built upon the first two books and not on the video game contradicting the recent misconception.
The two books are The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, ironically, by watching the show you will know exactly why they are called that. The novel traces the life of the Butcher of Blaviken, the Witcher, throughout his adventure for the sake of a crown, their currency, and for the sake of killing a new monster, while being tormented by thoughts of the gap he possesses in his soul which money can no longer fill. His story is intertwined with all of us in some way.
What makes his journey unique is the fact that he wants to defy his fate, and there is a personification of the word fate to the extent that you get to see the word itself takes on a few forms.
You will question yourself a lot while watching the show because it bounces on the gray when it comes to evil, for there is no case of black and white in any episode. A lot of time it will challenge your morality, and you will ask yourself would you have done differently. All in all, if you are looking for a good TV show then look no more, The Witcher has everything you are asking for in a TV show: drama, blood, swords and monsters.
Written by Ayman Almomani