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SYFY WIRE The Witcher

The Witcher of dragons? Cavill tackles Game of Thrones comparisons on Kimmel

By Benjamin Bullard
The Witcher Geralt

All the buzz about whether The Witcher can fill the void in fantasy-starved Game of Thrones fans’ hearts is close to getting an answer as the series counts down the days to its Netflix debut. But at least Henry Cavill is taking all the fan comparisons between the two shows in stride, joking with Jimmy Kimmel recently about where to draw the line between Westeros and the Continent.

With an action-packed clip in tow that’ll only amplify all the social media chatter likening The Witcher to GoT, Cavill showed up on Kimmel this week to stare straight into a side-by-side photo comparison between Geralt of Rivia (his Witcher protagonist) and Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. No matter how much the two shows end up resembling each other, Cavill had to at least agree with Kimmel that Geralt and the Mother of Dragons kinda, sorta … have the same hair?!

Scroll to the 6:20 mark for a preview of Geralt wrecking a banquet hall in true high fantasy form, and then stick around to the end for tons more Witcher-GoT talk — including how Geralt and Daenerys might as well have been twins separated at birth:

“We do” look alike, Cavill joked, rolling with the photo gag. “I modeled myself after Khaleesi! I made people call me ‘Khaleesi’ or ‘Emilia’ on set … I wanna be ‘Emilia’ or ‘Khaleesi’ — or [call me] ‘Mother of Dragons’ — and I’m fine.”

Yes, Cavill’s clearly joking (we think), but he definitely approaches his role as Geralt with a serious mix of pro acting chops and a longtime fan’s enthusiasm. Based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher books (which exploded in popularity thanks to CD Projekt RED’s video game series), the show called for tons of stunt work — and Cavill said he tries to do as many of the stunts as he can himself.

“I do my best not” to rely on stunt men, said Cavill, making sure to point out that he performed all the swashbuckling sword action in the preview clip. “For me, it’s really important that the character exists within the action as well. Rather than just an acting scene, and then you have an action scene which is completely separate, and then you’re back to the acting again — it’s really important that the story, and the character, travel through all of those things.”

Kimmel couldn’t resist invoking the long DIY stunt acting shadow of Tom Cruise, Cavill’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout co-star: “Is that something Tom Cruise shamed you into?” jabbed Kimmel — and Cavill just shook his head with a wry smile. “Yeah,” he joked. “I’m suffering for it every day.”

At least we know his heart — as well as his skin — is totally in this whole Witcher game. “I played that [video] game to the death — and then I heard [the Netflix show] was coming out. I met the showrunner, and that’s when I learned they were books,” said Cavill. “[I] read the books, and that’s when I realized I was missing out on a whole world of this stuff — because I’ve been into the fantasy genre since I was a kid. Since before I could read, my dad was reading me fantasy books.”

Regardless of whether The Witcher goes on to satisfy Game of Thrones fans with similarly epic action and intrigue, or even carves its own fandom by bringing something completely fresh, we don’t have long to wait: The Witcher starts streaming at Netflix on Dec. 20.