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SYFY WIRE The Witcher

Netflix's Witcher series will focus on the ‘disjointed family’ of Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri

By Brian Silliman
Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher)

Netflix is surely hoping that they've got the next Game of Thrones on the horizon. They've certainly chosen a fantasy mythology that is full of potential — they are adapting The Witcher, a series of books by Andrzej Sapkowski. Those books spawned three incredible video games, including the masterful The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. It is a seriously huge mythology to draw from, which begs the question: What, where, and when in the mythos is the series going to focus? 

There was little doubt that the titular character, a Witcher named Geralt of Rivia, would be a big central point. Set to be played by Henry Cavill, Geralt is the gruff main character in almost every Witcher story ever told. He's a monster hunter for hire: a potion-brewing, oil-making, all-around bada** who traverses a land known as "The Continent" to ply his trade. 

He meets and deals with an army of different characters throughout the course of his travels — the books and the games both provide him with multiple love interests, antagonists, and allies. The cast lists have given us an idea of what characters will appear in the series, but it's not until now that we know for sure what the real focus will be. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly ahead of the show's arrival at San Diego Comic-Con, showrunner Lauren Hissrich gives up the goods. The televised tale of Geralt of Rivia will definitely tell the tale of the beginnings of what Hissrich calls a "disjointed family" unit, which compromises the sorceress Yennefer of Venderberg (Anya Chalotra) and Ciri (Freya Allan). Geralt/Yennefer shippers rejoice!

Hissrich had been somewhat familiar with the property previously, but she revisited some of the books when she was approached by Netflix to be a part of the show. As she says, "These three characters — Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri — really rose to the surface. If you take all the other fantasy elements away, you take the magic and story and violence and sex away, you still have three characters who are this broken disjointed family who really need each other even though they don’t want to admit it. And that was one of the most appealing things to me." 

She also notes that because the books (and the games) are so Geralt-centric, they skip around a lot, and sometimes a character like Yennefer will only get backstory through flashbacks. This won't be the case with the new series. "The books explore events over a long period of time but there’s also story they skip through — Yennefer. for instance," she says, adding, "Some of the more defining moments of her life, we hear about them in flashback. We got to explore them in real time." 

She also makes it clear that they are staying away from the games completely — this will be an adaptation of the books themselves. Though she says that they are "holding close to our chest what we’re doing in the first season," it is fairly clear that if the series is going to go through the foundations of this particular trio, the book The Last Wish will almost certainly come into play. Both Yennefer and Ciri get their start in the book, and Hissrich directly mentions that title. Further evidence can be found in the fact that Lars Mikkelssen is set to play Stregobor in the show — that character only appears in one story, and that story is contained within The Last Wish

In terms of her superheroic leading man, Hissrish says that she was aware of Cavill being a huge fan of the property, especially when he went so far as to tell her that he wanted to play Geralt. Hissrich was not convinced, but as she tells EW, "Then I met 207 other possible Geralts. And I came back to Henry at the end. He was my very first meeting and four months later I called him and asked if he was still interested and he was."  She adds that once she began the writing process, she could not get Cavill's voice out of her head. "Looking at the final product, it’s really exciting. He embodies Geralt in a way that I don’t think anybody else could." 

We don't yet know when The Witcher will be unleashed, or even when we'll receive a trailer. While we wait, The Last Wish is a pretty good read. If you've already read it, care for a round of Gwent?