With the news that Henry Cavill will be leaving Netflix’s The Witcher after season 3, which is slated to hit the streaming platform next summer, some fans are looking to immerse themselves in the show’s source material.
For fans completely new to the books, figuring out where to start can be tough. Andrzej Sapkowski’s dark fantasy series following the monster-battling Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, is steeped in complex mythology and lore, and is actually best read out of release order. Crazy, right?
The idea of jumping into a fantasy series and not reading the earliest book probably feels borderline illegal, but trust us. As weird as it seems, it’s best to read Sapkowski’s Witcher series in chronological order rather than in release order.
The Witcher reading order
Here’s the best reading order for Sapkowski’s Witcher series, in chronological order rather than release order:
- The Last Wish (1993)
- Sword of Destiny (1992)
- Blood of Elves (1994)
- Time of Contempt (1995)
- Baptism of Fire (1996)
- The Tower of the Swallows (1997)
- The Lady of the Lake (1999)
- Season of Storms (2013)
NOTE: The above dates refer to the original Polish language publications.
It’s best to read The Last Wish first, then Sword of Destiny (even though Sword of Destiny came out first). These two books are a collection of short stories featuring events that take place earliest on the Witcher timeline.
The Last Wish introduces Geralt, the importance of his silver sword, and establishes the Continent as the backdrop for all the events to come. Sword of Destiny takes place right before the events of the main novels, builds on The Last Wish, and introduces Ciri. Essentially, these books are a more accessible entry point into the Witcher world.
These two are more anthological in their storytelling, while Blood of Elves, the first book in what fans refer to as the “main saga,” takes on a more linear narrative. From Blood of Elves to The Lady of the Lake, readers are ultimately following one overarching story featuring the relationship between Geralt and Ciri, and Geralt’s turbulent relationship with Yennefer.
Finally, Season of Storms is best saved for last. It’s more of a standalone adventure whose events don’t necessarily relate to the main saga. Season of Storms is more lore-heavy, therefore, more enjoyable after you’ve read the other books. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where it fits in the Witcher timeline, but the majority of fans agree that it takes place during or after the events of The Last Wish.
Want more Witcher content? Check out our coverage of Henry Cavill leaving the series (and the fan speculation about why he left). Don’t forget to keep an out for more updates on season 3 of The Witcher.