product product
PRE-ORDER
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
PRE-ORDER
product product
PRE-ORDER
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
PRE-ORDER
product product
PRE-ORDER
product product
PRE-ORDER
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
-20%
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
-50%
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
-15%
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
product product
AVAILABLE
product
AVAILABLE

The Witcher, the Sorcerer

Sorcerers live in a medieval fantasy world inhabited by elves, gnomes, dragons, werewolves, vampires... and humans. From the first short stories by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski to the Netflix adaptation 'The Witcher', the saga has been a great success all over the world, following the adventures of Geralt of Riv, Yennefer of Vengerberg and Ciri, the princess.

Slavic and international mythologies

For the record, Andrzej Sapkowski began his career in the mid-1980s by submitting a short story, "Wiedzmin", to a Polish competition, at his son's insistence. He only won third prize, because "fantasy" wasn't really taken seriously at the time... at least not by the judges. The Polish public fell in love with his work, and after fifteen or so short stories, Sapkowski really built up the Witcher universe into a saga of six novels.

To fuel his imagination, Sapkowski draws on Slavic mythology in particular, but mixes it with all kinds of mythologies and adds his own inventions. So we see a world of "humans, elves, dragons" as in The Lord of the Rings, and they interact with vampires and werewolves as in Twilight or Vampire Diaries.

The Netflix series starring Henri Cavill (better known as Superman) began production in 2019 and was filmed in Hungary and Romania, in honour of its Slavic roots. For the fourth season, Henri Cavill will be replaced by Liam Hemsworth in the role of Geralt.

What is a wizard?

A Witcher starts life as a human but undergoes painful genetic mutations and ruthless training to become a monster hunter. In reality, it's more a question of experimental torture than mutations: using magic potions, herbs and viruses, would-be witches have to survive. The strongest will benefit from the advantages thus acquired:

  • Nyctalopia: they are able to see in the dark, like most of the monsters they hunt down
  • Greater strength, speed and agility than humans
  • Enhanced senses
  • Accelerated regeneration capacity, longevity
  • Immunity to poisons and diseases

The main character, Geralt de Riv, resisted the mutations so well that he had the 'pleasure' of undergoing even more dangerous experiments. As a result, he turned pale and his hair turned white, earning him the nickname 'White Wolf'.

The wizards are said to be devoid of human emotions, concentrating solely on their job, which is to hunt monsters and earn a living by offering their services to the highest bidder in this monster-infested world.

But, of course, the story gets interesting when we realise that wizards do feel emotions. This is how Geralt finds himself looking after Ciri, the little princess who was destined for him as a child. Wizards are sterile and Geralt had asked to adopt a child, the future son of Princess Pavetta, in exchange for his services. When the child turned out to be a girl, Ciri, Geralt refused to adopt her... but crossed her path again and again, until finally accepting her fate.

Destiny and discrimination

Or why is The Witcher such a success?

The adventures of Geralt, his lover Yennefer the powerful witch, and Ciri the princess with great power, could be just another iteration of a LOTR-style universe. Nevertheless, they are hugely successful, continuing through video games and a big-budget Netflix adaptation.

The main reason for this is that The Witcher explores complex, mature themes that speak to teenagers and adults alike:

  • Fate, or the quest for meaning: the world of the Witcher is cruel, ruthless, cold... so the characters are searching for themselves and trying to find meaning in their existence. Does fate really exist, or is it just a name given to chance?
  • Discrimination: the world of the sorcerer is marked by many wars between races and between humans. But cross-breeding does occur, as in the case of the heroine Yennefer de Vengerberg. She is half-human and half-elven, and this led to her being mistreated by her human stepfather.
  • The family: how do you build a family and what ties bind them together in a cruel and deceitful world?

Even the first computer game adaptation, released in 2007, was a critical success thanks to its storyline. Players, who can take on the role of Geralt de Riv, are encouraged to resolve dilemmas, with their decisions having a major influence on the rest of the game. Sequels have been released for Xbox 360, Playstation 4 and Playstation 5, as well as a portable version for Nintendo Switch.

In the Netflix series, Henri Cavill plays Geralt, while Yennefer is played by Anya Chalotra and Ciri by Freya Allan.