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First view of The Witcher – an epic fantasy

Netflix’s The Witcher pays close attention to detail to appease fans of the books and game series. BRYAN TURNER reviews the Netflix Original fantasy series.

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Netflix may just have the right TV show for those who are missing Game of Thrones. The fantasy series The Witcher features a dark fantasy world with a gripping storyline, which pays close attention to the visual style of the games and the narrative of the book series.

The show is based on the six-book series by the same name, written by Andrzej Sapkowski. The books were translated into three wildly successful games of the same name, which brought the story to life with a striking visual style. The TV show takes a bit from each medium, keeping to the rich visual style while keeping its storyline within the scope of the book series.

It features Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, a medieval monster hunter – and a witcher – who one quickly identifies from the first few minutes in a fight scene with a kikimora. It is a defining point of the story, and viewers will know if the show is for them from this initial battle.  The story tells the tale of intertwined destinies between three individuals in the vast world of The Continent, where humans, elves, witchers, gnomes, and monsters battle to survive and thrive, and where good and evil is not easily identified.

Because Geralt of Rivia is a witcher, he is often seen in a bad light by other people in The Continent. He remains unbothered though, as he has bigger problems: he tries to avoid his fate of “picking between the lesser of two evils” by not making a choice at all. As the time gets closer, Geralt is pressured to making a choice, all the while running from making it at all.

One of the best aspects of the show is the careful camera work and fight choreography combination, which is unique from the game’s visual style and how one would imagine the fight sequences in the books. The swordplay is nothing short of breathtaking and is completely different from the fight sequences one would expect from a show like Game of Thrones. In fact, the fight sequences are so beautifully done, I rewatched the first episode to really take in the beauty of how it was represented on screen.

Overall, fans of fantasy – especially dark fantasy – will find The Witcher very entertaining for its brilliant storyline, good acting, and excellent use of colour to represent different parts of The Continent.

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