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The Witcher on Netflix 2: Man of steel and silver

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4 minutes ago, Seli said:

It seems to be a common trope though, powerful beings binding themselves by rules. I would expect it to make sense to many people. Especially with all the exposition about trying to be moral when you can't even know what is the lesser evil.

It's not clear because the showrunners ignored the fundamental rule of writing, which is just because the writer knows something or intends something and it's not in the text in one form or another -- that is a failure of writing.

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24 minutes ago, Ran said:

Saw this linked on Reddit and thought it was interesting: the Butchering of Blaviken scene in the Polish TV version of The Witcher (called The Hexer). Geralt's actor there actually dubs Cavill for the Polish audio of the TV show:

They actually had some neat armor and weapon design. Surprised by Geralt's sword being a saber, but very much fitting for Poland's history. Also, whoever directed this was very clearly a fan of Japanese chanbara films.

Heh. The showrunners didn't aim at "local/familiar", they aimed at "exotic": it's not a saber, it's a katana (with some aikido thrown in for good measure).

Fun piece of trivia: the producer of the show later would receive a 2-year prison sentence. Officially not for butchering the source material, but for something entirely else (being the main actor of Poland's arguably largest political scandal since the fall of communism)... but the fans of the books like to see it as some kind of cosmic justice.

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It was actually a katana? Hah. Even more obviously modelling things on the Japanese samurai movies. I actually kind of dug that. For a low-budget early 2000s TV show, it was a reasonably decent fight sequence.

 

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42 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Among the many baffling moments in the episodes are Geralt the fearsome warrior.  He's so good he kills monsters; he's been manufacture to do this.  He can kill anything and anybody, with body and hands, with weapons -- and does he have magical powers as well?

So why are all those ignorants out there throwing rotten vegetables and other disagreeable stuffs at him?  Why do they YELL at him to get the eff outta my town, how can they beat him up in a prison cell in one scene, while in another he takes out a whole gang of opponents all by himself? I mean a guy like that, I'd be very careful not to throw a rotten tomato at.  It comes to mind how, even in a company hostile to him, when people learn they are confronting Uhtred of Bebbanburg*, even when they hate him, they don't throw dung at him, or threaten to beat him up.  Unless they believe they are his equal as a fighter, and then there are generally rules, such as a fighting circle.  But here people just randomly start threatening and attacking.  Makes no sense.

None of this makes any sense in the show.  Again, if this is something 'everybody' knows, that everybody is far fewer in aggregate than the number of viewers the show is looking for.  Just like I'm supposed to KNOW that this is full body magic to make Yennefer have more attractive breasts?  There is no way for me to know this, thus ya, male gazey, just like the prose quoted to support this quite long discussion of Yennefer's breasts reads like what a man thinks about breasts, not what women think about breasts -- when they are thinking about them at all -- which is, all women have assured me, about .001% of the amount of time men think about breasts, specifically and just generally.

* The Last Kingdom is still by far the best medieval-style series ever on tv. And the most mature in manner, matter and treatement. It's not even fantasy.  By contrast, The Witcher is a lot more Merlin-like, and due to source material, created and aimed at a more YA type of sensibility -- particularly those extraordinarily silly and clumsy and simplistic orgy scenes, and that garden of paradise stocked with naked women who purely illusionary, ha! ha! even real! --  or so it seems so far -- I haven't finished it yet.  I rather expected better from a female showrunner.

 

 

Agreed on all points. In the books, I would get furious with Geralt sometimes, but it was within his character that he didn't do certain things. His meeting with King Foltest, for example, in the book was very much him bowing and being respectful and careful around the King. What he did in the show was beyond believable. In the books, he's a powerful warrior, but he can still die. The fight with the Striga, for example, nearly kills him, and he's sidelined for months, I believe. His character plays by normal rules. In the show, he does all kinds of things that don't make sense.

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Just finished the first episode. This was pretty lousy. I remember reading the short story on which it was based years ago and there I was struck much more by the dark Snow white vibe of Renfri. That was lost her, which is a shame. Always thought that was one of the things that made what little I have read of Sapkowski so unique. 

In general I was struck by just how silly everything is, from Cavill's batman voice to the fight choreography to the let us all merely commit suicide shtick.

I was hoping for this to be good, so hopefully it picks up after a few episodes. I'm echoing @Zorral that it is about time for The Last Kingdom to get some competition for best faux-middle age show.

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Yeah, The Witcher isn't remotely on a par with even the first season of The Last Kingdom, let alone the later ones.

That reminds me that Season 4 of The Last Kingdom should be on Netflix soon-ish.

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Hooooo-kay ... what is this White Flame I am suddenly hearing referenced?  Is it a religion? a form of sorcery? a person? wot the hell?  Again something we do not know, and never learn because, unlike good sf/f, in which an attention-paying reader or viewer will eventually learn what the initially unknown thing is from context, conversation, action, etc. But The Witcher is evidently just too above that sort of common behavior.

Feh.  It's that failure of writing which is the number one cause of the mess of what this show is.  Nothing in it makes sense, either at the start or at the end.  Not to mention the inconsistancies.  The only constant is Ciri running running running.  Even when Destiny's People* -- Geralt and Ciri -- who are actively looking for each other --

Spoiler

she goes running.  Wot the eff for??????? does she go running?  And then runs into his arms. And then says, "Who is Yennefer." Cut to black.  The end.  Not just of the episode, but the season.

* Lordessa, every time I hear this "Destiny" and "Child" in the show I crack up because I immediately think, "Destiny's Child," the group with which the very much younger then Beyoncé sang:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destiny's_Child_discography

(And, there, anyone wanting to talk women's breasts, there is a lot of content for conversation. :P )

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2 hours ago, Zorral said:

 

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she goes running.  Wot the eff for??????? does she go running?  And then runs into his arms. And then says, "Who is Yennefer." Cut to black.  The end.  Not just of the episode, but the season.

 

 

Spoiler

If she doesn't run then they just meet in the yard and they can't meet in the yard. She's the Girl in the Woods for pete's sake. Maybe Geralt wouldn't recognize her if she's not surrounded by green leaves and softly dappled sunlight?

 

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5 hours ago, Ran said:

Saw this linked on Reddit and thought it was interesting: the Butchering of Blaviken scene in the Polish TV version of The Witcher (called The Hexer). Geralt's actor there actually dubs Cavill for the Polish audio of the TV show:

They actually had some neat armor and weapon design. Surprised by Geralt's sword being a saber, but very much fitting for Poland's history. Also, whoever directed this was very clearly a fan of Japanese chanbara films.


I wish more shows would use chainmail, plate and leather almost always end up looking goofy but slap some mail in there and I'm convinced. 

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What a weird show. I just finished it. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would, but I recognize its flaws, and there are many.

It had its solid moments. When the storylines were miles apart, each one had enjoyable stuff. Sometimes common themes linked the storylines, but that's it. I have no idea why they chose to have such a disjointed narrative, and the final episode was, in general, a let down. Even as the puzzle was starting to come together, the pieces were put in place in a rushed manner.

I'm also concerned about how much is Netflix is really willing to invest in this. Given the property's popularity, and with only 8 episodes, it should have looked better. Other Netflix shows, like Altered Carbon and Lost in Space look superb, while this one looks almost like SyFy could have made it. 

I did like most of the characters, other than the apparent villains, and that's mainly because of so little background was given to them. Henry Cavill was the best part of the whole show. I also liked the bard. He provided some much needed humor to all this.

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5 hours ago, Gertrude said:
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If she doesn't run then they just meet in the yard and they can't meet in the yard. She's the Girl in the Woods for pete's sake. Maybe Geralt wouldn't recognize her if she's not surrounded by green leaves and softly dappled sunlight?

 

Because of how much they skipped, they couldn't do this scene properly. But done properly (as in the books), it's a truly powerful moment. Books below if you're interested in it:

Spoiler

Geralt spends much of the second series of short stories finding Ciri the first time, a runaway from her royal family who goes into hiding in Brokilon forest. When he finds her, she's about to be eaten by some foul thing, and Geralt saves her, then takes her home. I can't remember the details, but the child surprise stuff is relevant, and Geralt's doing the Geralt thing of denying destiny. He gets back to Calanthe, I believe they have a nice conversation, and he leaves Ciri there. Though I do believe on their journey back to Cintra, Ciri pushes Geralt on her being his destiny and he denies it.

Cintra is sacked, Ciri's adventures are rough, and she does end up at the farm, and eventually, too, Geralt arrives, brought there by the grave scavanger and promising Geralt the right of surprise. For a guy who hates destiny, he sure takes up that right of surprise any time it is offered. Basically he arrives, and well...let me just paste the moment below, understanding Geralt and Ciri have a history now. Geralt sees her while riding in the back of the cart, and this is what happens:

"They came together in the centre of the farmyard. The mousy-haired girl in a grey dress. And the white haired Witcher with a sword on his back, all dressed in black leather, gleaming with silver. The Witcher bounding softly, the girl trotting, the Witcher on his knees, and the girl's thin hands around his neck, the mousy hair on his shoulders. Goldencheeks shrieked softly. Yurga hugged his rosy-cheeked wife when she cried out softly, pulling her towards him without a word, and gathered up and hugged both boys.

 "Geralt!" the little girl repeated, clinging to the Witcher's chest. "You found me! I knew you would! I always knew! I know you'd find me."

"Ciri," said the Witcher.

Yurga could not see his face hidden among the mousy hair. he saw hands in black gloves squeezing the girl's back and shoulders. 

"You found me! Oh, Geralt! I was waiting all the time! For so very long...We'll be together now, won't we? Now we'll be together, won't we? Say it, Geralt! Forever! Say it!"

"Forever Ciri."

"It's like they said! Geralt! It's like they said! Am I your destiny? Say it! Am I your destiny?"

Yurga saw the Witcher's eyes. And was very astonished. He heard his wife's soft weeping, felt the trembling of her shoulders. He looked at the Witchr and waited, tensed, for his answer. He knew he would not understand it, but he waited for it. And heard it.

"You're more than that, Ciri. Much more."

It'd be like if Arya's story in Clash of Kings/Storm of Swords ended with Jon coming to her at that worst moment of the Red Wedding. Or something.

I guess my overall review for the season (finished it tonight) is that it's fine. I will watch it and always see what they didn't do and then be equally mystified by what they created in place of excellent details. This was my big problem with the Game of Thrones tv series, and why I hated that. Something about the Witcher, however, holds me enough that I do not hate it. I see enough good in it and hope for the future. I'm sad about all the stories skipped and we presumably will not get, but when they are combining scenes from the first three books in the series (Ciri's escape from Cintra is the prologue of the third book), things will be cut.

I suppose they didn't believe audiences would follow an aimless monster of the week story with no BIG story the first season. I disagree. A hint of a bigger story could be there (the looming war and the sides trying to pull Geralt to their side), but the Mandalorian has shown adventures of the week still can work.

Edit: And about that ending you spoiler tagged:

Spoiler

He could only find her in the woods because Renfri said so? I mean, the showrunners went to extra trouble to make this convoluted. The only reason Geralt and Ciri couldn't meet in the yard is because of something the showrunners added in the first episode that was beyond confusing in the moment.

 

Edited by Simon Steele

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4 hours ago, Corvinus said:

What a weird show. I just finished it. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would, but I recognize its flaws, and there are many.

It had its solid moments. When the storylines were miles apart, each one had enjoyable stuff. Sometimes common themes linked the storylines, but that's it. I have no idea why they chose to have such a disjointed narrative, and the final episode was, in general, a let down. Even as the puzzle was starting to come together, the pieces were put in place in a rushed manner.

I'm also concerned about how much is Netflix is really willing to invest in this. Given the property's popularity, and with only 8 episodes, it should have looked better. Other Netflix shows, like Altered Carbon and Lost in Space look superb, while this one looks almost like SyFy could have made it. 

I did like most of the characters, other than the apparent villains, and that's mainly because of so little background was given to them. Henry Cavill was the best part of the whole show. I also liked the bard. He provided some much needed humor to all this.

The Bard. I'll never understand why they reverted his name to Jaskier (as it was pre-English translation) and not keep the silly English name of Dandelion, which was pronounced by the reader of the audiobook as Dan-dillyon. Alas.

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10 hours ago, Werthead said:

 

That reminds me that Season 4 of The Last Kingdom should be on Netflix soon-ish.

Which books is s4 covering? 

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1 hour ago, Simon Steele said:

The Bard. I'll never understand why they reverted his name to Jaskier (as it was pre-English translation) and not keep the silly English name of Dandelion, which was pronounced by the reader of the audiobook as Dan-dillyon. Alas.

Even more fun, at least in some cases the Dutch subtitles use the Polish names while the dialogue uses the English version, the one I most notice it with is Roach subtitled as Płotka.

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2 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

Which books is s4 covering? 

The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne.

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3 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

Edit: And about that ending you spoiler tagged:

  Hide contents

He could only find her in the woods because Renfri said so? I mean, the showrunners went to extra trouble to make this convoluted. The only reason Geralt and Ciri couldn't meet in the yard is because of something the showrunners added in the first episode that was beyond confusing in the moment.

 

My response was firmly tongue in cheek and I recognize that it's contrived.

 

As for the Bard - I don't care what his name is, he's super annoying and not in a particularly endearing way at this point.

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4 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

The Bard. I'll never understand why they reverted his name to Jaskier (as it was pre-English translation) and not keep the silly English name of Dandelion, which was pronounced by the reader of the audiobook as Dan-dillyon. Alas.

Oh, so that was Dandelion. I had heard the name, and kept waiting for the character to appear. :P

Edited by Corvinus

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4 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

Which books is s4 covering? 

This is what I love about TLK; It is so good that whenever it is brought up in the thread of inferior series like Vikings or The Witcher someone has to ask for an update about it :D Shows that it is quality. 

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I liked the Last Kingdom for a while, but I can't remember why I lost interest. It was toooo ... something. *shrug*

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1 hour ago, Gertrude said:

I liked the Last Kingdom for a while, but I can't remember why I lost interest. It was toooo ... something. *shrug*

Awesome? :P 

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