Book vs. TV Show: The Witcher (Season 2)

Hello, guys!
I binge-read all the Witcher books right after season 1 came out. You can imagine how sad I was that season 2 was delayed. Well, it’s finally here, so time to compare it to the novels!

The Plot for Blood of Elves (as found on Goodreads):

For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf.

Geralt of Rivia, the cunning assassin known as The Witcher, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child. This child has the power to change the world – for good, or for evil.

As the threat of war hangs over the land and the child is hunted for her extraordinary powers, it will become Geralt’s responsibility to protect them all – and the Witcher never accepts defeat.

Book vs. TV Show:

Guys. Guys. GUYS. I hope you were just as excited as I was when the second Witcher season finally dropped. I know the first season wasn’t without its flaws but I had a great time watching it, so – of course – I binged the second one the day it came out.

What I can say right off the bat, I know many people had *a lot* of issues with this season, but I enjoyed it. Sure, I bitched about a bunch of stuff while watching it, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. We started off with an adaptation of one of the short stories. Since in the book Ciri wasn’t in that, they had to rewrite it a bit but overall this was amazing. The acting was great, the CGI on point. Two thumbs for that. We certainly were off to a great start. Not just in terms of the show but just in terms of book-to-screen adaptations in general, this was really well done!

Then we turn to what would be the show’s take on the first actual novel. But with this, we of course need to address the elephant in the room that is Yennefer. Her story arc diverges substantially from the novel and I saw many people on Twitter being upset over that. In the original story, Yennefer never loses her magic, the entire arc of her struggling with the loss of power was invented for the show. Personally, I thought that was a super interesting angle and enjoyed that Yennefer actually got to have more of a story! Were people got mad is what she did because of that. Essentially, Yennefer is down to sacrifice Ciri (at least at first, she does change her mind later on) for her own gain. In the book, she actually turns into instant mum and kind of adopts Ciri. Again, I wasn’t too mad about that. What I found more irritating was that whole thing with the Deathless mother. While the concept is intriguing, I felt like you could tell it was conjured up out of thin air for the show. There wasn’t that much substance or enough logic to fully sell me on that.

If Yennefer’s story was the elephant in the room that people were upset about, Eskel’s part was a veritable mammoth people threw a hissy fit over. Hint, he didn’t die in the original story. In fact, he plays a more substantial role in the video games than in the novels and people loved the character there, which explain the uproar. I didn’t so much mind them killing Eskel off for the show, but I was rather irritated with how those scenes went down. That seemed very half-baked especially in the logic department. First, we learn that we don’t tell anybody where the Kaer Morhen is, because reasons and then five minutes later we bring in a bunch of hookers to party. Like???? Do better next time.

One part I really prefer in the show is Ciri. She is such an annoying brat in the novels. I mean, she is still a little bratty in the series but nowhere near to what she is in the books. I swear 150% of all her problems in the novel could be solved if she’d shut her mouth and do as she is told once instead of constantly acting up.

I think I actually prefer the second season of the show over the book. Despite the show not being perfect (by a long shot), try as I might, I couldn’t love the book. This is the first actual novel, after two short stories collections that the previous season was working with. However, the chapters in this one still felt a bit disjointed, we jump around between characters, with nobody knows how much time passing in between and it always took me a moment to situate myself in where in the story we are actually supposed to be. The time thing was a problem in season 1, but since mostly we are in the same timeframe for season 2, I have no complaints on that front.

In general, the book felt like an overlong prologue that could have been cut down substantially. The show has a better flow, more drive. Stuff is going on, things are moving. I have mentioned before that Geralt is a bit different in the novels (a lot funnier and more sarcastic), but show-Geralt is growing on me and how Henry Cavill plays him works well in the context of the show. Triss is also a lot better in the series, I hated how she was written in this novel. And finally, my favorite part about the show in general, Jaskier. Joey Batey is an absolute treasure we do not deserve. Just like in the last season, he plays Jaskier to perfect. He nailed the looked, he nailed the humor, every song he sings is a banger. I can’t wait to hear more about which parts he (again) just spontaneously came up with. I already know that, for example, a decent amount of the dialogue in the scene with the mice came from Joey!

This season definitely had its flaws. There were bits that made me roll my eyes and defied logic. But I think I still enjoyed it more than the novel. I wanted to love the book but I just couldn’t really get into it. If all else fails, at least we got some new amazing Jaskier songs. 😅

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

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One thought on “Book vs. TV Show: The Witcher (Season 2)

  1. Pingback: Wrapping it up for May! | The Punk Theory

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