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The Witcher: Evil is Evil


AncalagonTheBlack
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31 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Speculation solely, have no evidence per se, but perhaps what saved The Witcher from how WoT stuck its landing, is that Witcher doesn't quite take itself seriously, beyond doing the best job it can with what its got, by the actors?  Which somehow at least numero uno Cavill manages to thread the needle of most successfully?  By which I mean, he sells Geralt to us, he really does, particularly in this season.

There are myriad reasons why The Witcher has a much less difficult to job to do: much less original worldbuilding, a much smaller cast (even taking in tertiary characters from the books who've been bumped up into secondary ones in the show), a not-remotely-comparable magic system, a much smaller scale, much shorter (and half as many) books, only three protagonists and, in general, much smaller scaled threats, though I suspect the show might bulk up the "end of the world" plot that 

Spoiler

in the books turns out to be a massive red herring.

None of that excuses the areas where Wheel of Time was less successful (Game of Thrones had certainly a much more difficult to hill to climb than The Witcher and pulled it off, at least to start with), but The Witcher has a lot more room for creatively and flexibility in how it adapts the books.

The episodic nature of The Witcher books and the way they gently(ish) segue into a longer, serialised story also makes The Witcher arguably inherently better suited for adaptation than ASoIaF, which in turn is more suited to it than Wheel of Time. There aren't many more difficult series to adapt to TV or film than WoT, barring only Malazan really.

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WoT is a pretentious, juvenile crap that didn't age well. Glad I read only the first book and dropped the series back in 2003 for being a cheap LotR imitation. The Witcher's source material (that I didn't and won't read) is relatively better but still I find the book purism insufferable.

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Somewhere Else Somebody wrote, "What a fantastically written and filmed, but depressing, second season. Fringilla commits mass political assassination, Francesca commits mass infanticide, and Yennefer betrays the love of her life AND his daughter. (I realize they were all ensorcelled, but still.) In Game of Thrones, I struggled to find any sympathetic characters to root for. I liked this universe better, but ... I guess there's just no such thing as a cheerful worldbuilding fantasy."

News Bulletin for snowflakes who can't find an epic dimension that is built of only sweet, loyal, nice, polite, happily ever after --building and / or tearing down of epic empires is a bloody, corrupt, brutal, cruel, toxic, ugly, murderous, genocidal, treacherous, destructive entrepreneurial process.  Otherwise, no epic / empire -- not even any capitalism, O Noooooooooooooooes!

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20 hours ago, Zorral said:

Somewhere Else Somebody wrote, "What a fantastically written and filmed, but depressing, second season. Fringilla commits mass political assassination, Francesca commits mass infanticide, and Yennefer betrays the love of her life AND his daughter. (I realize they were all ensorcelled, but still.) In Game of Thrones, I struggled to find any sympathetic characters to root for. I liked this universe better, but ... I guess there's just no such thing as a cheerful worldbuilding fantasy."

News Bulletin for snowflakes who can't find an epic dimension that is built of only sweet, loyal, nice, polite, happily ever after --building and / or tearing down of epic empires is a bloody, corrupt, brutal, cruel, toxic, ugly, murderous, genocidal, treacherous, destructive entrepreneurial process.  Otherwise, no epic / empire -- not even any capitalism, O Noooooooooooooooes!

Very strange for that person to say they couldn't find a sympathetic GoT character to root for.

I hear My Little Pony is cheerful. :P

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Part way through the third episode and not feeling any great urgency to rush onward, I admit. It's weird to not be particularly interested in Geralt or Ciri's story. The witchers just being a bunch of loud ruffians was surprisingly unengaging, though I guess I like Vesemir and his reaction to the death of Eksel -- he clearly sees them all as his adopted sons.

Yennefer's story is so-so so far.

OTOH, the Empire storyline as filtered through Fringilla and especially the Elf storyline with Francesca and Filavandrel are intriguing to me.

That said, I did quite like the first episode with Geralt and Ciri, and Kristofer Hivju as the Beast Nivellen, and the Baba Yaga thing in the second was pretty cool.

 

 

Edited by Ran
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Something I did find interesting is that - medallion tree aside - the exterior and interior of Kaer Morhen seems to be much more closely inspired by the video game version than any other location to date. They've changed just enough so they presumably didn't need to pay CDPR any money, but it was the first time the TV show gave me a sense of deja vu from the video game (Kaer Morhen being a very major location in both The Witcher 1 and The Witcher 3).

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Something I did find interesting is that - medallion tree aside - the exterior and interior of Kaer Morhen seems to be much more closely inspired by the video game version than any other location to date. They've changed just enough so they presumably didn't need to pay CDPR any money, but it was the first time the TV show gave me a sense of deja vu from the video game (Kaer Morhen being a very major location in both The Witcher 1 and The Witcher 3).

One of the medallions on the tree is even the wolf medallion from the games. You can see it when Vesemir hangs Eskel's medallion next to the others.

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I thought this season was good, not great. I was lost on some of Cintra/Nilfgaard storylines that carried over into this season. Completely forgot that the first season aired two years ago, and I was often lost with that whole season. 

Eight episodes for what this show is trying to accomplish is like me trying to clean the house and run errands on the weekend, and then trying to find time for myself. The day is over and I still have a hundred things to do. I think a couple more episodes would give more time for the secondary characters to grow. 

I think Cavill is great as Geralt, and I warmed up to Allen playing Ciri. She's so tiny, and I just had Ciri from the games in my head where she looks closer to 30 and more of a warrior than a princess. I like the Yen actress a lot, but her storylines makes my head spin. Overall, those three do a nice job. It's the side characters that I wanted more from. I was really getting into Cahir and Fringella's storyline and just when it was heating up, season is over. Catch ya next year. Cahir with a little Jaime Lannister to him. Thought Rience's story had promise, but not enough time to develop. Same with Francesca and Filavandrel. Great job casting Graham McTavish as Dijkstra, bad job putting him in any kind of important scene. Feel like all he did was groom himself and talk to an owl. 

I think The Witcher, at this point, is a fun fantasy show that has occasional great moments but lags a lot in between. I do think it could be great, but it needs the secondary characters to matter more. GoT was so great because it made everyone feel important, regardless of the screentime. I feel better about the future of the show after this season than the first, where I felt pretty clueless about what I just watched for 8 hours. 

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I felt somewhat aghast at having a season be about finding a life for elves and being all excited about this first kid in a long time for the elves only to be killed in the next episode. I know we’ve had a talk about fridging in some other thread but as a parent of two young kids this end to the season was appalling for me and felt way worse. I wish series wouldn’t have to drive plot by introducing a character just to kill them to push motivation.

However as others have said Cavill and Allen really carried the season and they’re great. Also the show really stepped up production values and those two things can carry a haphazard plot. It feels like a living breathing world which goes a long way. Great show and step up from first season and looking forward to the next. Not sure about this prequel though. 

Edited by Arakasi
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In S2, it seems that no more witchers can be created because the mutagen necessary to make them can no longer be recreated.  Then, I watched Nightmare of the Wolf, which just confused me regarding that issue.  In the movie, it seems that only one mage knew the witcher making process and he was killed in the big battle at Kaer Morhen.  Did I misunderstand something? 

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On 12/23/2021 at 4:36 PM, john said:

The elves arrived thousands of years earlier by portal and then came to the continent from somewhere else on the planet. The other race of elves went to yet another world but they retained their world hopping powers and sometimes send the wild hunt through to capture slaves and persecute folks with elder blood.

What I don't understand in all of this  is if elves are more magically inclined than humans, how come that none of them except Francesca are actually using magic to defend/avenge themselves? Who were the Elders if they weren't just elves? I mean, they had their own language, that is used for spells, and everything, so they couldn't have been just the descendents of some mutant warrior. If the only physical difference between elves and humans are the ears and longevity, you'd think that a lot of elves would just crop their ears and avoid persecution by moving around every couple of decades. What's the deal with Yennifer's and Co. weirdly coloured eyes, though? I thought that it was a hint of their elven heritage? :dunno: How is it that although they have teleportation, the other (elven?) continent seems to be completely cut off?

 

18 hours ago, Ran said:

The witchers just being a bunch of loud ruffians was surprisingly unengaging, though I guess I like Vesemir and his reaction to the death of Eksel -- he clearly sees them all as his adopted sons.

Having seen "The Nightmare of the Wolf", I can't really sympathise with Vesemir's wish to re-start the Witchers or buy his stance as their adopted parent. Well, maybe he was a gentler, kinder mentor than was traditional, but then it seems like most of terrible stuff involved in making children into Witchers was already done to Gerald and Co. when he took over.  Some of which seemed to be just wanton, unneccessary cruelty. Spoilers from Nightmare - 

 

Spoiler

Throwing unarmed and untrained kids into a monster-teeming swamp just seemed like a completely arbitrary Russian roulette.  Who survived and who didn't was pretty much pure luck IMHO. But then, what with the Witcher mages actually creating monsters so that the Witchers could justify their existence, maybe feeding the monsters was part of the point? Also, it sure looked like the sorcerers could have dealt with the monsters on their own at this time and the Witchers weren't even actually needed  anymore. The whole revelation of monsters as biological weapons against the elves was intriguing and dark, but with elves being more magically inclined, shouldn't they have been able to figure it out and have an edge in the fight against them?

BTW, what's the deal with the wolves eating Witcher corpses? Shouldn't that mutate them in turn?

I also can't help but wonder at Nenneke's and the Temple's complicity in turning these traumatised kids into killing machines. Speaking of which - is Nenneke also long-lived? And if you don't need to be a Witcher to use Signs, why don't more people learn to use them? Elves in particular should all have enough magic to be able to, no?

 

8 hours ago, Arakasi said:

I felt somewhat aghast at having a season be about finding a life for elves and being all excited about this first kid in a long time for the elves only to be killed in the next episode.

I can't get my mind around how dumb Filavendrel and Francesca were to try to renege on their agreement with Nilfgaardians once the kid was born, while still being wholly in Nilfgaardian power. What did they think would happen when  their kid was clearly the reason for their betrayal? Even if they did intend to split eventually, allowing their people to stop military training was like the opposite of what they should have done! I also read somewhere that older elves are sterile, so how was Filavendrel a father?

On the whole, I was entertained by what I saw, though it didn't always make sense, but "everybody wants a piece of this very special girl who is great at everything she tries" isn't really a compelling hook for the next season for me.

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16 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

One of the medallions on the tree is even the wolf medallion from the games. You can see it when Vesemir hangs Eskel's medallion next to the others.

It's weird to me--the showrunner has been so insistent this will have nothing to do with the games. I've gotten the sense that she doesn't care for the gaming audience--who no doubt have run her ragged through social media. Yet, so much of this show feels inspired (visually) by the game. Part of that is due to Cavill, no doubt, but still, we see lots of choices like the one mentioned here and above.

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1 hour ago, kairparavel said:

I have a question about the final episode of Season 1 - didn't we see Vilgefortz straight up murder an ally? So he's a traitor? But it's never really touched upon again in Season 2.

I was disappointed that we didn't get more about him, too. For all the mage politics, they forgot about that, or didn't have time for it. I know a little bit about it from a video about the lore I watched.

Spoiler

Apparently he helped Dunny take the Nilfgaardian throne. 

My guess is he's playing the long game. The victory at Sodden increased his popularity and allowed him to gain a leading position in the Brotherhood. 

I have a question, too, about the White Flame. Fringila, Cahir, and others keep speaking about having faith, about being ready for salvation etc. but I see no evidence of an actual religion. And when Emhyr shows up at the end, there are no religious rituals accompanying him, just a regular ceremony for an arriving head of state. So why all this dialogue about faith and spirituality?

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3 hours ago, kairparavel said:

I have a question about the final episode of Season 1 - didn't we see Vilgefortz straight up murder an ally? So he's a traitor? But it's never really touched upon again in Season 2.

For some reason they decided to reveal the biggest twist of the series, that Emhyr var Emreis aka White Flame is in fact Duny, that he haven't learnt till the last book, in the second season finale.

And yet

Spoiler

at the same time they apparently decided to keep the fact Vilgefortz is the second worst villain of the series hidden from the viewers for a little longer. Until the coup of Thanned probably, which will take place in season 3.

 

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On 12/29/2021 at 9:27 AM, Werthead said:

Something I did find interesting is that - medallion tree aside - the exterior and interior of Kaer Morhen seems to be much more closely inspired by the video game version than any other location to date. They've changed just enough so they presumably didn't need to pay CDPR any money, but it was the first time the TV show gave me a sense of deja vu from the video game (Kaer Morhen being a very major location in both The Witcher 1 and The Witcher 3).

Agreed on the similarity and I thought the same thing, there is a section in the credits which states that the show is using elements from the game in agreement with CDPR though so I took it as officially doing so.

19 hours ago, Teng Ai Hui said:

In S2, it seems that no more witchers can be created because the mutagen necessary to make them can no longer be recreated.  Then, I watched Nightmare of the Wolf, which just confused me regarding that issue.  In the movie, it seems that only one mage knew the witcher making process and he was killed in the big battle at Kaer Morhen.  Did I misunderstand something? 

I've only watched the show, that movie and played TW3 once so not really coming from great knowledge here, but a headcanon that works for me is: the original recipe for Witcher mutagens required elder blood, but the mage killed in the movie had invented a recipe that worked without the elder blood as it was no longer available. With elder blood available again, the original recipe is well documented and Triss could make it.

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4 hours ago, karaddin said:

I've only watched the show, that movie and played TW3 once so not really coming from great knowledge here, but a headcanon that works for me is: the original recipe for Witcher mutagens required elder blood, but the mage killed in the movie had invented a recipe that worked without the elder blood as it was no longer available. With elder blood available again, the original recipe is well documented and Triss could make it.

Very logical.  I like it.  Thank you.

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Finished the season. I felt it actually got worse as the season went on. Especially the whole elf plot which makes little sense from the elves pov and was I felt in poor taste in general. However Geralt and Ciri carried the show. As did the excellent production values, CGI, fight choreography and acting. Plot I feel it’s a mess but no one really cares much about the books in this case so not a big deal.
 

My only problem with the acting is Yennefer. I like the actress and think she would be good in other roles but she’s not Yen. She really isn’t regal or commanding or enigmatic enough to pull it off. So a step up from season one but not imo because of plot. It’s just nice to watch good monster killing and such in a fantastical world.

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