Reel Rundown: The Witcher Season 1


Elise Flor, Student Columnist

At first glance, this fantasy drama is a confusing, twisting storyline about a mutant (Henry Cavill), a princess (Freya Allan)  and a mage (Anya Chalorta) whose storylines are independent until they’re not. The complicated names of characters and places can be easily confused and forgotten, adding yet another layer of confusion to the watching experience of this Netflix miniseries.

Despite all of this – as well as being someone who has not read the books or played the game that the show was adapted from- I found the show enjoyable and engaging. The nonlinear storytelling style has been becoming more and more popular ever since Quentin Tarantino burst onto the big screen with Reservoir Dogs and later Pulp Fiction and the screenwriters and director did a pretty good job using this technique in a new way.

The most important of the three main storylines is one that follows the mutant, the titular Witcher, Geralt of Rivia (see what I mean about the names of things). Geralt, being a Witcher, is a monster hunter for hire who seems unable to stay out of trouble and has a surprisingly solid moral compass. He is sometimes followed by a bard Jaskier (yeah-skee-er) who provides much needed comic relief to the scenes he is in.

Geralt’s whole purpose in the show it to fight monsters and get paid by the various nobles and rich men that hired him. He comes with so much baggage, that his time on screen is cliche and overdone starting from the first time he makes an appearance.

Without the addition of his sometimes companion (Joey Batey), most of Geralt’s scenes would be dry, uninteresting and overly broody which would fail to showcase Henry Cavill’s slightly over subpar acting. Jaskier, as a character is not much more than the joke – set up and punch line.

Elsewhere on the continent – the conglomeration of kingdoms where these stories take place – there is a young mage in training named Yennifer. 

Her story starts out much more interesting than Geralt’s has been. Yennifer was born with physical deformities to a peasant family who does not want her. She is sold to the mages college/school/order/brotherhood to begin training to be a court mage for a monarch somewhere on the continent.

Yennifer’s progress is obvious, and her once interesting, new story is shoved into the box of the token cold-hearted female character. After not being chosen for the job that she wanted, she paid another mage to take away her deformities and turn her into a beautiful woman, at the expense of her uterus.

If I could explain why she had to give up that specific part of herself, I would, but I can’t.

Time skips forward an undetermined amount, and Yennifer is dead set on having a child of her own. Which, for me, takes away another massive part of the character she was at the beginning. 

When Geralt and Yennifer’s story lines intersect, I was supremely grateful that Jaskier was there to be comic relief, because the cookie cutter sexual tension was lackluster and boring.

While all of this was happening, the story of the young princess of Cintra, the most powerful kingdom on the continent, must flee from the invading army. Princess Cirilla (sir-ih-luh) is the grand daughter of the queen and is supposed to have an amazing destiny and magic powers (?).

Most of her story revolves around her running from things, running from people, running from her past and honestly just running in general. With her grandmother’s dying breath, Cirilla is instructed to find Geralt because he is her destiny. 

I have no idea what that means, she is twelve at most, and he is a slow aging mutant who has been alive for like ever. 

All in all, this show provides massive amounts of escapism and actually boils down to a casually watchable show. However, just because it is a good show, does not mean it is quality cinema. Which it isn’t, at all.