Books vs. TV Show: The Witcher (Season 1)

Hello, my darling readers!
After playing all three video games, watching the show twice and finally finishing the first two books, I am here to dump my opinion on you. How does the Netflix show fare in comparison with the books The Witcher is based on?

The Plot:

Geralt is a Witcher – a mutant created to hunt monster. His life gets upturned by several remarkable women (and a sassy bard) and he finds himself tangled in conflicts he doesn’t want to be a part of. But one can’t run from destiny, right?

Books vs. TV Show:

First of all, a bit of information: there are eight books by Sapkowski telling the tales of Geralt of Rivia. However, for the first season of the Netflix adaptation, only the first two of them served as inspiration. Furthermore, the books are actually collections of short stories (at least so far) rather than novels.
So, let me tell you a bit about The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny!

I like that we get short stories here instead of lengthy novels. Although I do enjoy that from time to time, it can be very time consuming (I’m looking at you George R. R. Martin). You can easily read one or two of the stories and see whether you vibe with Sapkowski’s writing or not. You can tell whether it’s your thing or not without having to soldier through 700+ pages!

That being said, I definitely enjoyed the ride so far. I liked some stories better than other, but overall the books get a thumbs up from me. Most of the stuff we see in the show is adapted rather faithfully with only little alterations.

By now I watched the show twice and highly suggest doing so. I naturally binged it when it first came up and found myself extremely confused most of the time (and thus also a bit annoyed). You see, there are three major characters with their own stories but none of those stories take place at the same time. Which you won’t realize for a long, long time.

So, when I watched the second time, I didn’t spend my time being confused and could actually focus on the characters and their journeys much more. As it turns out, I ended up liking the show much more after the second run through!

I don’t want to go into too much detail on the show right now, there’ll be a separate post for that. So instead let’s focus on what differences stand in comparison with the books.

The most striking difference to me was Geralt. Let’s be real, Henry Cavill embodies the witcher to perfection and you can tell how excited he was to take on the role. That being said, he doesn’t say much in the show apart from Hmm and Fuck. In the books, on the other hand, he is pretty vocal. Not only that, he is a sassy little bitch! Can you believe that Geralt made me laugh out loud several times while reading?

Jaskier also has a bit of different vibe, but so far, I prefer Joey Batey’s iteration of teh bard. He deserves his own show and that precious little cinnamon roll needs to be protected at all costs (looking at you Geralt!)

Yennefer is super bad-ass but I prefer the Netflix version of the book version. In the first two books we haven’t learned pretty much anything about her past and we only meet her when Geralt is pining after her. To be honest, I don’t care for their relationship at all (neither in the books nor in the show) and didn’t like book-Yennefer that much because she’s been complaining at lot so far. In the show she gets more shit done and I can’t wait to see more of her.

Another thing I really liked about the show is getting to see the fight sequences. If you look at the first epside along, the fight with Renfri was absolute perfection. Reading about that kind of stuff just isn’t the same thing. All the turns and strikes and whatever can be a bit confusing to play out in your head, so seing it on screen is preferable for me.

The major reason for reading the books is the funnier tone. Although The show had it’s funny moments as well, the books constantly made me laugh. I’d also recommend them for some background information and reducing confusion while watching the show. Otherwise, I think the show is an amazing adaptation that I actually liked better than the books.

Did you prefer the book or the series? Let me know in the comments!

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10 thoughts on “Books vs. TV Show: The Witcher (Season 1)

  1. The books made me laugh more than I expected as well! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t get Geralt and Yennefer’s relationship, Yen comes across as really cold hearted in the books whereas in the show she’s the opposite. And I completely agree about the fights, I can never picture that in my mind, I have to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was so interesting to read, Ii can only compare the Netflix show with the games, I haven’t read any of the books yet. Video game Geralt is also chatty and a sarcastic bastard – I hope we get to see more of that side to him in Season 2.

    Liked by 1 person

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