Below is my script for The Witcher Season 2 Review I posted last Sunday on YouTube. Check it out if you want to or read the review below. If you want to, please liek the video or subscribe to my YouTube channel. In the past I written quite a number of review for The Witcher Franchise. For the two short story compendiums check out this link. For the Saga novels, this link. Top top it off for The Witcher 3 game this link, Season 1 this link and finally the standalone novel this link. Enjoy all of The Witcher content.
After an absence of nearly two years The Witcher is back with season. Based on the books by Andrzej Sapkowski the series was noted two years ago as a being a surprisingly faithful and effective adaptation of a literary universe. I have been a fan of the franchise since the release of the game The Witcher 3 in 2015 but it was with the start of the TV series that I started reading the books. So far, I have read the two short story compendiums, the five novels that together make The Witcher saga and the standalone novel.
However, I still think season 1 of The Witcher is the best Witcher experience on hand. Despite the problems with the jumps in the timeline. I think Henry Cavill is brilliant as Geralt of Rivia. In fact, the actor becomes almost invisible and what remains is the sultry brooding character I know from the novels. The interplay with Yennefer (played by Anya Chalotra) and Jaskier (played by Joey Batey) were the highlights of the season. And the fact that it made for a decent alternative to Game of Thrones.
Background To The Witcher Season 2
Season 2 moves away from the short stories that acted as a prologue and instead covers the events set during the first novel Blood of Elves. After finally finding Ciri, his child of surprise – his destiny, he decides to take her to Kaer Morhen for safety. Along the way they meet with Tissaia, headmistress of Aretuza, whom believes Yennefer is dead. At Kaer Morhen we also meet with Vesemir, played by Kim Bodnia, who runs the Witcher school. What follows is a season of intrigue as we delve fully into the first novel of the Witcher Saga.
That means we also see less of Geralt, and nearly nothing of Jaskier. Instead, a lot of the story takes place at Thanedd Island and the magical school of Aretuza. The book covers a lot of politics, which at times combined with the sudden jumps in the timeline can make things difficult to understand. Basically, the battle at the end of season 1 was just a setback for Emperor Emrys of Nilfgaard, the truce since then is brittle with many factions attempting to start a war on their terms. Season 2 manages to keep things interesting but you will have to have seen the first season to make sense of it.
Myths and Lore
I already mentioned that Ciri, or Princess Cirilla of Cintra, is Geralt’s Destiny. Meaning after he saved her parents and asked for the Law of Surprise, he is bound to her through magical means. Ciri meanwhile has inherited a lot of magical powers through her elven heritage, a matter that will come to a head. This is the primary motive for Geralt to train Ciri, in the hopes she will not be burdened by those powers. However, in a world which is increasingly anti-elven and anti-mage both Ciri and Geralt become a pawn in the game of others. While reading and watching The Witcher Series it becomes clear the author’s Polish heritage permeates. Without a doubt the Second World War still creates a shadow, as if evidenced by the persecution and mass killings of Elves. Basically, they are a stand-in for Jews and other persecuted groups.
As I mentioned this season expands the story and characters a lot. We see a lot more of the Northern Kings and people such as the spymaster Dijkstra. Inevitably there are Witcher things going on. Geralt and Ciri are beset by monsters that appear specially designed to kill them. Meanwhile Yennefer has to deal with temporarily losing her magical powers which makes her a little bit more modest than in season 1, but still as headstrong. As a stand-in for her powers we instead get Triss Merigold who helps train Ciri but also actively courts Geralt. The Witcher Saga contains a significant mystery regarding Ciri’s parentage, most readers do guess what it is, but I was surprised the TV series is more open about it.
Despite Geralt and Ciri kicking ass there are a number of negatives to season 2 of The Witcher. For one the story is a lot more serious. With this season we are well a truly into the first of the five books covering The Witcher Saga which can be a dark affair. No longer do we get the fun, one-episode adventures involving Geralt, Jaskier and Yennefer. Instead, we are on a quest that will last for another six seasons (according to sources). Having read the books, it is a long quest, involving lots of war, politics and the death of many friends. Tonally the saga is a major shift from the short stories and that is reflected in season 2.
Final Opinion on The Witcher Season 2
While I liked Season 2 I do believe I had less fun with it. Nonetheless I am eagerly anticipating season 3. I am not sure how much of the books it will cover. Two favorite characters of the Saga are the vampire Regis and the dwarf Zoltan Chivay. But they do not make an appearance until book 3 – Baptism of Fire. I remain skeptical about a proper pacing for the TV series. Season 2 both added new material and omitted some from the books, books that certainly have problems with consistency, pacing and timeline. At times it felt that the author Andrzej Sapkowski was looking for a story rather than having found one. The Saga doesn’t come into its own until Book 3.
That said, lets just see where this goes. I am already happy The Witcher is back. If you liked my brief review of The Witcher Season 2 then please click on the like button, that will help my channel out a lot. You can also hit the subscribe button if you want to see more content like it. I think there will be more Witcher content in the future as I am planning short biographies on some of the principal characters.