Geralt of Rivia has finally made its appearance on the "small screen" finally. Netflix, has released the first season and has already renewed the product for a second season which will see the light in 2021. I'm a bit sad about it since we will have to wait a year to see the evolution of the series.
A short introduction
Geralt of Rivia, as you may have guessed, he is the protagonist of a series of novels that, before arriving on the small screen, was a hero in a series of video games and it was through this media that he was known by his current fans. This caused, at least initially, a series of controversies, leaks of more or less false news and much more that, in addition to increasing interest in the series, have increased its media tam tam. You can find it in this article some rumors claiming that Ciri would not be Slavic and in this article the first reactions to the choice of the protagonist.
In addition to these "false" news there is always the age-old question of Sapkowski. When his books invaded the market, the aforementioned author expressly requested that they be translated from Polish to the specific language, avoiding the passage from English. Surely the nuances that a text can have in the original language could get lost during various translations or they could appear bestiality such as to suggest the use of Google Translate, or, who knows, you could have run into a unicorn instead of a deer.
But now let's talk briefly about the author
The author in short
Andrzej Sapkowski was born in Łódź, Poland, on June 21, 1948.
Publish his first short story Wiedźmin for the Polish science fiction and fantasy magazine «fantastyka»In 1986, receiving positive opinions from both readers and critics.
Following this great success, Sapkowski creates a cycle of short stories based on the world of Geralt of Rivia, made up of three collections of short stories and five novels; this saga leads him to become the most famous Polish fantasy writer. The Guardian of the Innocents it is his first novel which has Geralt as its protagonist and you can also find it in version Audible.
In 2009 with the English translation of the novel The Blood of the Elves, Blood elves in the original language, Sapkowski wins the award "David Gemmell Legend Award".
You don't have to think though that the novels on Geralt are his only literary works; Sapkowski has published other short stories and a series of three novels called narrentum, made up of the namesake narrentum, Warriors of God (Boży bojownicy) is Lux Perpetual. In addition to this cycle, he also published Viper (Viper), novel set during the Afghan war from the point of view of the Soviet Union.
The poor tolerance for the video game
Before moving on to talk in depth about the world of Geralt, I want to spend a few more words on our author and on his intolerance, never too hidden, towards the videogame transpositions of his most famous saga. Here is an excerpt from an interview in which he expresses his thoughts on video games in general, to make you understand the basis for his opinion on The Witcher developed and produced by the Polish CD Projekt RED.
«I don't play computer games because these are far beyond my sphere of interest. I have never played computer games, be they fantasy or other genres. Sometimes I read dedicated game magazines or watch TV shows. It is true that thanks to technology, sometimes, I am admired for what I wrote. I can't say anything about the storylines, however. In addition to the fact that some types of games seem to lack any story. Those seem to be completely hack and slash. "
It can be said, in short, not really a fan of this kind of media. In this other excerpt from the interview, his thinking specifically in regards to is clearer The Witcher:
“The game is not an alternate version nor a sequel. This game is a free adaptation and contains elements of my work, created by several authors. This type of adaptation can never aspire to the role of a follow-up. This kind of work is neither prequels, nor epilogues or sequels. There is no chance that The Witcher games will affect the outcome of the books. It would be amazed and not at all fun to write based on the suggestions given by the game since a story can only be contained in a book».
Video games are not very faithful to the original source, especially as regards Geralt himself, but nevertheless they remain among the best products of their kind ever.
Whether it is for a generational question, or for a real intellectual perplexity, what is clear is Sapkowski's lack of consideration for video games based on his works.
Let's go explore the world a little bit now!
The fantastic geography of Geralt's world
The name of the world in which Geralt's adventures take place is unknown to us, but the specific region where the story takes shape is called Northern Realms, composed of various kingdoms perpetually at war with each other and, in order not to miss anything, often threatened by an empire in the south, a force with a marked militaristic imprint that constantly threatens them with an aggressive "foreign policy" and with continuous skirmishes on the borders.
These kingdoms are surrounded to the east by a mountain range called Blue Mountains, which "flow" southwards into the mountain range of the Fair Mountains and Korath desert. Beyond this desert, an exotic and unknown land called extends Zerrikania where tattooed female warriors fight wielding sharp scimitars.
To the west the kingdoms are lapped by the North Sea, embellished by an archipelago called Skellige islands and, south of them, start, guess what, the Southern Sea (kill that fantasy!).
A map of the Northern Realms
Fauna, flora and apocalypses imminent?
We could compare this world to our Middle Ages and in particular to the area of the ancient Slavic kingdoms, from which Sapkowski wisely took full hands also with regard to religion, but above all the myths, of which his work is full. It is undeniably a fantastic Middle Ages where there are the classic gnomes, fairies, dryads, elves, dragons, but also all sorts of monsters from Slavic culture such as bruxe, strigi, ghoul, ghast and many other equally nice little monsters.
Even the flora, although often indispensable for the Witcher when it comes to brewing potions, has the bad habit of showing little sympathy for the living. Between archespores, plants that spit paralyzing quills on their victims before devouring them calmly, or plants so poisonous, such as Coccacidium, to knock out even a robust constitution like Geralt, there is only the embarrassment of choice.
There is one more thing interesting in the world of Geralt. It is a little particular thing that transpires in a passage of one of the books. It seems that the sun that warms the world of the Northern Realms is aging and we could say, certainly wrong, that its coloring is turning from yellow to orange, with a consequent increase in radiation and cooling of the climate.
Is it precisely these radiations that allow mutations and proliferate of monstrous creatures? Possible.
Time and Aging
One thing that is not very clear to those who have not read the books is the concept of time in the world of The Witcher. And let's face it, to a careless eye, even the series may seem a bit complex as regards the game of flashbacks, which are not flashbacks, but many united stories that finally unravel in the season finale.
Returning to the aging of the character, Geralt, thanks to Try the Herbs. The mutagens that every Witcher assumes cause his organism to change more or less profoundly and one of these changes is the deeply slowed aging. Similar to Witchers, wizards who undergo training will also see their life significantly lengthened.
It is therefore not wrong to say that the time frame that deals with the first season of The Witcher can be around 60-80 years.
Racism towards the non-human, including Geralt
One of the themes that transpires strongly in the TV series, in novels and even in video games is the component of racism towards the non-human. Unfortunately, this situation immediately led the European right to ride this sentiment present in the media and to do so without in any way trying to understand the author's motivations.
From the first episode we understand that the different is the enemy. Be it Geralt, an elf, a dwarf or any other non-human being.
In the past of Continent where the stories take place several were conducted pogrom against dwarves and elves. Expelled from their ancestral homes, these exiles find themselves having to live on the margins of society, in caves and often famines, plagues or even wars and revolts, they see these unfortunate inhabitants as the triggering cause.
However, racism in this world is not an end in itself and not only affects non-humans, but also Geralt's character firsthand. No longer human as a result of the potions used on him, he is often frowned upon by the population. Geralt is indeed seen more as a badly needed who as a true savior of the human race, despite the efforts of a bard.
In the hope that what is written will be useful to you to enjoy the best of the TV series, I would like to advise you to read the books.
The saga, in fact, is also appreciable for those who no longer digest classic fantasy, overwhelmed with clichés and anchored in Northern European traditions and myths; I am almost sure that you will be positively surprised.
Give it a chance and give it to the series too!
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I find it sensible that the author wants to write his own stories without being influenced by derivative works, but his prejudice about a video game's inability to convey a story is, from my point of view, laughable.
However, it is his business 😛
It is certainly his business! For the sake of completeness, it seemed sensible to report his statements on the subject
I do not like the author, it seems to me the classic old billiards hate the news and envious that videogames are more successful than books