Tag: Andrzej Sapkowski

5 Reasons You Should Read the ‘Witcher’ Books Before the Show Drops

This highly anticipated Netflix series has been a hot topic in recent months. Whether that anticipation comes from the series being lauded as “The next Game of Thrones by critics, or because it is being met with frustration due to the apparent differences between the television series and the video games, both the Netflix adaptation and the games are the result of Andrzej Sapkowski’s highly acclaimed eight-book series.

The series follows the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a man who was subjected to various mutations as a child and, because of this, he can fight creatures that normal humans wouldn’t stand a chance against. Through the Law of Surprise, Geralt adopts his ward Ciri, a young princess with prolific powers. While Geralt is content to remain neutral in the face of great political upheaval, he must become a part of that conflict to see that order is restored to the world.

In the past, the books were adapted into a 90s Polish film and television series that were not met with favorable reviews, so this most recent series not only has the video game fans to contend with, but it also has the previous series’ shortcomings added on for increased pressure.

So why not sit down to watch this series with an idea of what to expect?

 

 

1. The netflix series is an adaptation of the book series

What some game fans don’t realize is that the games take place after the book series. While some of the events, like the Battle of Sodden, are mentioned in the games, you don’t really get a feel for what happened if you haven’t read the books. Triss’s account of what took place at that one battle in Blood of Elves is positively gut-wrenching. The books also help you have a deeper understanding of the turmoil that exists between and in countries like Temeria, Novigrad, and Cintra.

Though there will likely be homages sprinkled throughout the series for the video game fans (I personally hope so), the Netflix series is, at its core, an adaptation of the books. If you’re anything like me, you probably like to read the stories before sitting down to watch the movie or show. Not to say that I’m that one friend who sits there and says “Well, they changed that from the books,” but I most definitely am.

The fact that the Netflix series is a book adaptation does seem to be throwing a few fans for a loop, as Yennefer’s appearance is never remarked upon in the game series, so it has become the cause of some confusion. The books, on the other hand, does explain why Yennefer looks this way.

 

Image via Glamour Fame

 

Regardless, if a person watches the series having already read the books, they’ll probably have a better idea of why certain decisions were made by the team that created this series.

 

2. This series does resemble ‘a game of thrones’ in style and tone

 

Going off of what critics have said, yes, the Witcher does possess certain qualities that were prized in George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire. There are multiple points of view to follow, so when you need a breather from following Geralt around in the narrative, you can read Ciri’s point of view. The same grittiness and violence that you observed in Martin’s work is also present in Sapkowski’s books. The looming threat of war is also present in the Witcher books as well, and you get to witness how it all begins and how it all falls apart (I would suggest starting with Blood of Elves if the movers and shakers facilitating a war behind the scenes interests you).

 

 

3. the political situation in the world is a lot easier to follow

image via pinterest

 

Although the television series hasn’t dropped, one of the faults in the game series was that the political stage of the Witcher universe was very hard to follow and often unclear. Which makes sense, because the political situation was dense and complicated and, if not given the space and breadth to be explained, it definitely felt like walking into an exam unprepared. However, a game has the ability to explore a world in a much more in-depth way than a television series can, so this is a concern that does hold water.

An example of this would be the Scoia’tael, a group of predominantly elvish rebels who regularly commit acts of violence against humans. While the game briefly touches upon their motives and what they ultimately wish to accomplish, it only provides a glimpse at the problem. The books, however, go into great detail about the political and social climate that the non-human races endure, and so the motives of these characters become a lot more transparent.

As mentioned previously, the turmoil between and in countries like Novigrad, Temeria, and Cintra is also expanded upon in the books. If anything, the books go to great lengths to ensure that the readers understands exactly why the royalty and the sorcerer’s lodge commit the acts that they do. So if there is any possibility that the television series will struggle along the same vein as the video games, the books will do an excellent job filling in the blanks.

 

4. We still don’t know how faithful the adaptation will be

For all we know, the Netflix series may remain extremely faithful to Sapkowski’s literary vision, but the fact remains that this is still an adaptation. One of the big reasons that I go into most movie premiers having already read the book is because I want to judge the adaptation by the creative decisions that were made. I want to know what the book was like, and then I want to see what changes were made. Were those changes justified? Why? Do I (gasp) like the movie more than I like the story it was based off of? Or do I feel like adding in something else from the book might have helped? Ultimately, did the adaptation bring something new and interesting to the table?

I intend to watch this series with my hopes high, because I think that Sapkowski’s original books already presented a creative vision with an impressive breadth and magnitude to it, and I think that this adaptation has the potential to do the same. Hopefully this adaptation will provide enough steam for more fantasy books to be made into movies and television series.

 

 

5. The books are really interesting

At the end of the day, you should read a book because it intrigues you—and the Witcher books do exactly that. The references to Slavic folklore, the sword fights, and Geralt and Yennefer acting as parents to Ciri are elements that pulled me into the story and kept me reading. These books have multiple layers of political intrigue, interpersonal relationships, mythology, and did I mention sword fighting? The books, like a lot of fantasy literature, are also able to provide a social commentary through the interactions displayed between the inhabitants of the world.

If you would like to dip your toes into the Witcher universe and give it a shot, I would suggest starting with The Last Wisha short story collection that reveals how Geralt got the nickname ‘The Butcher of Blaviken,’ and how he and Yennefer first met.

 

Featured image via Cnn

 

 


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Adaptations Round-Up! 10 Adaptations Coming out This Year!

Adaptations galore is coming this fall season! What are the ones that you should look forward to most? Well, stay tuned!

 

 

It Chapter 2

 

It: Chapter 2

Image Via Vanity Fair

 

A sequel to the horrifying film It, the ‘Loser’s Club’ is back twenty-seven years later (or two years later). The group returns to Derry, Maine, where the Losers must finish what they started: destroy Pennywise.

Who from our lovely ‘Loser’s Club’ will be lost in the ensuing bloodbath? How will these losers defeat Pennywise? Well, it’s based on a Stephen King novel that was released back in 1986, so the answers are out there and, um, it’s pretty wild. Remember to sing your praises to Maturin this September 6th!

 

 

Joker

 

Joker

Image Via Variety

 

An original standalone origin story for a character who infamously doesn’t have a definitive origin, this movie starring Joaquin Phoenix has clearly taken cues from Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke by making Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill man disregarded by society, into an up-and-coming comedian. In the iconic comic book, the unnamed man’s career in comedy ends in a chemical bath, but Arthur Fleck’s story might end on a different note entirely.

Is that scene, where Arthur Fleck, in full-fledged Joker makeup, goes on stage with Robert Di Niro a callback to The Dark Knight Returns scene when the Joker poisons the audience and the talk show host alike in a scene of ‘hilarious’ death?

 

 

We’ll find out this October 4th.

 

 

Nancy Drew

 

Having been around since 1930, Nancy Drew has been around longer than your parents (not judging) and she’s spent her time well: solving mysteries even when people told her she couldn’t.

This series has been around forever and if you haven’t read it, you’ve definitely heard of it. Well, we’re getting an adaptation of this series that’s set to debut on October 9, 2019 on the CW.

 

 

 

Looking for Alaska

 

The Fault in Our Stars broke our hearts, and now John Green is at it again. Or has he already broken our hearts beyond repair? The Fault in Our Stars was Green’s sixth novel and Looking for Alaska was his first novel, but for all of you who haven’t read the book, you’re in for something special.

Miles Halter is our man and through his eyes we are introduced to Alaska Young. A new student meets a timid young girl? Sounds like a love story made in heaven, until Miles soon learns that her life isn’t as perfect as he originally thought.

We’ll get a chance for our spirits to rise and our hearts to grow and break and grow again this October 14th.

 

 

HBO’s Watchmen

 

Another (sort of) Alan Moore adaptation, this version of Watchmen will be, in the words of showrunner Damon Lindelof, “a remix.”

For those of you who need to be brought up to speed, an alien invasion took place which ended the Cold War, but it was all a fake-out. Rorschach, before his untimely demise, sent his journal to the press where he laid a bread crumb trail to the truth.

What is known about this HBO series is that it takes place thirty-four years after the original comic left off. Taking place in an alternative reality in 2019 where this is no internet or smartphones, we are introduced to a United States where Robert Redford is now the longest-serving president, having been elected in 1992, a feat accomplished thanks to President Nixon abolishing the two-term limit back before the original comic book. Things are in disarray. A white supremacist group calling itself “The Seventh Cavalry,” with members who all wear homemade Rorschach masks, commits simultaneous attacks on the houses of police officers. Because of this, the police start wearing masks themselves.

What is this leading up to? Where are the original characters? Tune in to HBO October 20th find out.

 

 

Doctor Sleep

 

Another Stephen King adaptation, this one is an adaptation of Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining. While the movie won’t be based on the Stanley Kubrick version, since the movie departs too much from the source material, this standalone is clearly drawing on the imagery set forth by Kubrick. Will it be any good? What’s going to happen?

The film arrives in theaters this November 8th.

 

 

 

The Good Liar

 

Catherine McKenzie brought us The Good Liar, and Warner Bros is bringing us the film adaptation. Ian McKellen is going to grace the screens as seasoned conman Roy Courtnay.

After he meets Betty McLeish online, he decides to steal a glorious amount of cash from her. But Betty McLeish, played by Helen Mirren, is too much for the conman and he finds herself falling for him. How will this sinister love affair turn out? See it in threaten this November 15th.

 

 

Cats

 

First, T.S. Eliot brought us Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats in 1939. From there we got a play, and now we’re getting a movie. The plot is hard to describe, but it basically follows a tribe of cats known as the ‘Jellicles’ who gather together to make the ‘Jellicle choice.’ Those who get the ‘Jellicle choice’ mean they can now be killed so they can go to heaven and come back because, you know, cats have nine lives.

Don’t get it? Doesn’t matter! There’s singing and there’s dancing and there’s this purr-fect trailer! It comes out December 20th.

 

 

His Dark Materials

 

Image via Amazon

 

This series has never been adapted before (we don’t talk about that other thing) and so THIS will be the first adaptation of Phil Pullman’s epic book series, His Dark Materials, in our books. The first season will draw upon the first book in the trilogy, following the life of a young Lyra (Dafne Keen) who is an orphan living with the tutors at Jordan College, Oxford. It’s not the Oxford you and I know, however, it’s an Oxford in an alternative world where all humans have animal companions called dæmons, which are the manifestations of their souls.

Lyra’s search for her missing friend will lead to uncovering a massive conspiracy linked to a mysterious substance called Dust and secrets from these two mysterious people, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) and Marisa Coulter (Ruth Wilson).

If the first season is good (please let it be good), then we’ll be getting at least two more seasons! BBC One and HBO are teaming up, so hopefully they won’t disappoint us… In the meantime, however, I just want them to give a release date that’s more specific than “autumn.”

 

The Witcher

 

The Witcher is known as a great video game series, but did you know it started out a book series? In fact the saga is based on a series written by Andrzej Sapkowski that started in 1992 with Sword of Destiny. The last book in the series, Season of Storms came out in 2013.

The stories follow Geralt of Rivia, played by Henry Cavil, a solitary monster hunter who struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. What will become of Geralt?

Check out the series on Netflix this sometime “late 2019”.

 

 

 

 

Featured Image Via HITC