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The Witcher on Netflix.

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5 hours ago, NorthernXY said:

Medieval England was dominated by Anglo-Saxon culture so completely there are hardly any regularly used Celtic words in English.  [snip ravings]

You seem to be under the impression that you know something about medieval history, but unfortunately your post is so full of errors that I don't even have time to list them, let alone correct them. Even the bits you got right, you got wrong: viking is indeed an activity rather than a culture, but it is also one found only within a particular culture, so the distinction isn't relevant to your argument.

That medieval Europe was more diverse than commonly imagined is something that scholars regard as simply a fact. The people who argue against it, are doing so to serve a modern political agenda. 

In any case, the world of the Witcher can be as ethnically diverse as the series creators want it to be and you can howl about it if you want: all you'll be doing is exercising your lungs. 

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The UK was very much not a homogenous 'race'

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2015-03-19-who-do-you-think-you-really-are-genetic-map-british-isles#

That's a very in depth study showing how specific groups were in the late 19th century, particularly of interest Cornwall and Devon are genetically distinct from one another. There is no one 'Celtic' group and in fact they're some of the most different from each other.

Certainly invading groups intermarried with the indigenous populations: Anglo-Saxons in the South-East. The Norwegians also inter-married on Orkney, but the Danish didn't in Northumbria.

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I'm not familiar with the Witcher (though I'm definitely considering reading the books now.) So don't know much about the lore, but it seems perfectly reasonable to say there's a population of dark skinned characters who have maintained their identity, pretty much anywhere in the world.

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And why are we talking about this fantasy setting as if it is medieval Europe? It isn’t. It’s fantasy. Stop with the nonsense. 

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1 hour ago, The EnglishBear said:

The UK was very much not a homogenous 'race'

http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2015-03-19-who-do-you-think-you-really-are-genetic-map-british-isles#

That's a very in depth study showing how specific groups were in the late 19th century, particularly of interest Cornwall and Devon are genetically distinct from one another. There is no one 'Celtic' group and in fact they're some of the most different from each other.

Certainly invading groups intermarried with the indigenous populations: Anglo-Saxons in the South-East. The Norwegians also inter-married on Orkney, but the Danish didn't in Northumbria.

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I'm not familiar with the Witcher (though I'm definitely considering reading the books now.) So don't know much about the lore, but it seems perfectly reasonable to say there's a population of dark skinned characters who have maintained their identity, pretty much anywhere in the world.

Im doing my Masters Degree in Celtic Studies and thanks for mentioning Cornwall - I’m also Cornish and it’s interesting to delve into that - people often look down on Cornish people for claiming anything distinct. Anyway I find the Celtic nations interesting to study now but there never would have been a United celtic nation at the time - there is an incredible amount of diversity on the British isles let alone the rest of Europe and to claim otherwise is incredible ignorant. 

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You can invent new places or go to previously mentioned, but black Ciri would have no reason to be in the north, she'd be in the south.

 

Ciri's father is from the south. In fact, his homeland is somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 miles south of the kingdoms were most of the action takes place. If those lands are analogous to Poland, then Nilfgaard would be somewhere in the middle of North Africa.

As such, it was a flaw in Sapkowski's worldbuilding that led him to make the Nilfgaardians pretty much white (some of the Empire's southern provinces, I believe, are vaguely mentioned as having darker-skinned people, but not the core kingdom). Making Ciri African, Middle-Eastern or mixed race would therefore be fully justified by logic and worldbuilding, if not faithfulness to the text.

Whether it's justifiable to change the race of a major character in the story who has been - fairly iconically (she was the face of The Witcher 3, one of the biggest-selling video games of the last five years, as much as Geralt) - the face of that story, is another matter. It's also questionably progressive to cast an actress of a different skin colour instead of a Slavic actress, who are under-represented in Western media (one Polish commentator I saw said it'd be nice if they could get an actual Polish actor or actress to play one of the major roles, especially if they can play something other than "Generic Eastern European Criminal #3").

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15 hours ago, Derfel Cadarn said:

Its implied the humans in the witcher world are future Earthers who fled earth after screwing it up, so they likely would be racially diverse.

that’s a great point that I totally forgot about.

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1 hour ago, Filippa Eilhart said:

that’s a great point that I totally forgot about.

They're also pretty recent migrants to the area that the story centers around. IIRC the "Nordlings" only landed in the area where most of the story takes place 500 years earlier (although there were some mysterious older human societies that died out).

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21 hours ago, Werthead said:

Whether it's justifiable to change the race of a major character in the story who has been - fairly iconically (she was the face of The Witcher 3, one of the biggest-selling video games of the last five years, as much as Geralt) - the face of that story, is another matter. It's also questionably progressive to cast an actress of a different skin colour instead of a Slavic actress, who are under-represented in Western media (one Polish commentator I saw said it'd be nice if they could get an actual Polish actor or actress to play one of the major roles, especially if they can play something other than "Generic Eastern European Criminal #3").

As a fellow Eastern European, that would indeed have been nice. But I get it - I think that other than the squatting caricatures, slavs dont have enough obviously distinguishable features for the show to seem progressive. It may have been just as progressive as a "bame" Ciri, but it simply wouldn't seem so. And appearance matters a lot - you get the diversity praise from the shallower critics too. It's just good business. I don't think the infuriated fans will make up much of the viewer base - they're loud but not many.

Also seems very odd to me that people are using medieval Europe as a basis to what a fictional (fantasy!) universe's racial mix should be.

I do not see Cavill as Geralt tho. Not at all. I hope he'll be good. But I just don't see it. I'd rather have Steve Buscemi with bleached hair as Geralt.

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13 minutes ago, akh said:

As a fellow Eastern European, that would indeed have been nice. But I get it - I think that other than the squatting caricatures, slavs dont have enough obviously distinguishable features for the show to seem progressive. It may have been just as progressive as a "bame" Ciri, but it simply wouldn't seem so. And appearance matters a lot - you get the diversity praise from the shallower critics too. It's just good business. I don't think the infuriated fans will make up much of the viewer base - they're loud but not many.

Also seems very odd to me that people are using medieval Europe as a basis to what a fictional (fantasy!) universe's racial mix should be.

I do not see Cavill as Geralt tho. Not at all. I hope he'll be good. But I just don't see it. I'd rather have Steve Buscemi with bleached hair as Geralt.

umm... that's a new one. Are you saying Geralt in your mind sounds like Steve Buscemi?

Also, if the books and games base the story on medieval societies, you can't expect any less from the show.

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LOL no, Geralt is nothing like Steve Buscemi - it was supposed to be an extreme example to illustrate how little faith I have in Cavill as Geralt.

And on the second point: sure I can expect less from the show. Movies and TV shows switch around races all the time in the recent years - whether it's white washing or progressive casting. I would even say that diversity is something people should be used to expect from movies and shows nowadays. Whether they like it or not, or for good or bad, it's just here and it's not going to go away unless it really becomes bad for business. If something's a trend, then expecting it to happen is only rational.

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On 9/12/2018 at 6:45 PM, NorthernXY said:

How would that give it subtext?  Also, black elves is an example of culturally appropriation of greater Germanic/Norse culture.

Why would a black or brown girl be in the story?  The Witcher books take place in a land where everybody is called "Nordling", basically the north of the world.  You can invent new places or go to previously mentioned, but black Ciri would have no reason to be in the north, she'd be in the south.

Because, the Witcher isn't a historic text, it's a fantasy series, and this is 2018--film and TV isn't just for white faces anymore. I'd say get over it.

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On 9/13/2018 at 7:40 AM, Theda Baratheon said:

And why are we talking about this fantasy setting as if it is medieval Europe? It isn’t. It’s fantasy. Stop with the nonsense. 

That's what I thought. Can't we get back to hating Cavill? (I think it's just you and me on that one...)

 

Also, I'm listening to the Last Wish (just finished), and Sword of Destiny on audio, and the voice actor's rendition of Geralt (as well as the game's) makes me wonder how Cavill can do a cool voice.

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So was that the idea from the start?  BAME does include Slavic.  The broad casting call seems kind of a weird move if that’s the case though.  Have to have some black faces in there somewhere, surely.  Next up for a potential savaging of her “Slavic” culture is Yennefer.

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Are they supposed to even be Slavic looking though? I haven’t read the books so I don’t know how any of the characters are actually described - I just know what they look like in the games. But this isn’t based on the games at all so. 

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What is "slavic looking" anyway? I am from a supposedly Slavic country and I have no idea what's that supposed to mean. 

And the books take place in a secondary fantasy world which isn't medieval Poland or even mostly based on Polish mythology or history anyway. 

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Yeah, I'm Polish and I have no idea what "slavic looking" looks like. :) Blond hair, blue eyes? Plenty of Poles look like that. Black or brown hair, brown eyes? Sure, myself included. Red hair, green eyes? Be my guest. Dark blonde, grey eyes? Plenty. And so on.

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1 hour ago, 3CityApache said:

Yeah, I'm Polish and I have no idea what "slavic looking" looks like. :) Blond hair, blue eyes? Plenty of Poles look like that. Black or brown hair, brown eyes? Sure, myself included. Red hair, green eyes? Be my guest. Dark blonde, grey eyes? Plenty. And so on.

Good to hear from people with some authority on the matter! I think "slavish-looking" is either being used by people with limited understanding of Slavic people or is just being used as short hand for the narrow view of "not African/Asian etc"

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