From ‘The Witcher’ books to Netflix series: Ranking the universe
(Credit: Netflix)

Editor's Choice

From ‘The Witcher’ books to Netflix series: Ranking the universe

As of 2022, The Witcher universe is expanding constantly. Created by Lauren Schmidt-Hissrich, a certified Witcher fan, and adapted from the Polish author’s eponymous novel series, The Witcher universe is one of the most popular franchises on Netflix. 

Currently, besides the books and the acclaimed video game series, the universe has two seasons under The Witcher, a Netflix Original show, and an animated film which serves as an immediate prequel to the series. The third season is currently in production while another six-part prequel series The Witcher: Blood Origin is up for release sometime this year. This show will deal with the story of the origin of witchers. 

Hissrich is looking to expand the universe by creating titles that are also suitable for children. Currently, the universe seems to be growing exponentially. Baby Witcher fans might probably feel intimidated by the amount of catching up they have to do. While die-hard gaming fans would swear by the CD Projekt Red games, Netflix aficionados would prefer the Henry Cavill-led show instead. 

To alleviate this dilemma, we decided to rank the entire The Witcher universe in terms of likeability: 

From ‘The Witcher’ books to Netflix series: Ranking the universe

5. The Witcher season 2

The Witcher season two did not live up to all the anticipation and the wait. It felt rushed, underdeveloped and not as exciting as the previous season. The second season was, however, a major step-up in terms of costumes, visual aesthetics, fight sequences etc. The first episode, in particular, will always be heartwrenching as it subverts general notions about monstrosity and humanity. 

The monsters, in general, are not very impressive, unlike the first season. The second season sees the much-awaited reunion of Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer but most of the scenes are so dark that one would need to constantly adjust the brightness of their device, making it a less-than-pleasurable experience. 

4. The Witcher book series 

The Witcher is a series of six fantasy novels and 15 short stories authored by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski whose creative ingenious helped form the intriguing Witcherveese. The author began the saga with a titular short story in 1986 which he followed up with 14 more stories due to excessive demand before writing the famous novel series. 

While the book series gained acclaim globally only after the release of the Netflix series and was surprisingly overshadowed by the video game adaptation, The Witcher novel series enjoys a cult-like following in Poland. Sapkowski is currently planning for a new entry into the series but has not confirmed anything yet. 

3. The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf 

This 83-minute Netflix Original anime film was an absolute delight as it gives a certain dimension and context to the ever-expanding Witcherverse. The film explores the life of Vesemir, r, the “swashbuckling witcher for hire” who slays beasts, makes coins off them and lives a hedonistic lifestyle, drinking, sleeping, eating and flirting with bar maidens. Vesemir later turns out to be Geralt’s mentor and the animated film introduces their mentorship at the very end when a baby Geralt is taken in by the veteran Witcher. 

As Vesemir, Theo James does a stellar job which is later taken over by Kim Bodnia in The Witcher season two. The anime helps understand the brutal transformation of little boys into future witchers and shows the kind of gruelling and agonising tests they are meant to go through as they prepare to fight against supernatural evil. 

2. The Witcher season 1

Witch eight episodes, Lauren Schmidt-Hissrich launched The Witcher on Netflix as an audacious adaptation of the books and the video games. Starring Henry Cavill as the gloomy and brooding Geralt of Rivia, the show also starred Freya Allen as Princess Ciri and Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengeberg, besides other actors like Joey Batey, Eamon Farren, Mimi M. Khayisa, Anna Shaffer etc. The season was based on a collection of short stories preceding Sapkowski’s The Witcher saga, titled The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny

The first season introduced the characters within the universe, focusing on different timelines in the lives of the three leads that have served as defining moments. Geralt and Ciri are linked by their unyielding destiny and soon meet after which Geralt must protect Ciri from all malevolent threats, both human and monstrous while trying to process his feelings towards Yennefer who is presumed dead. 

1. The Witcher games

Based on Sapkowski’s novels, the acclaimed Polish game development studio CD Projekt Red released The Witcher video game series, with the first one launching in 2007. By 2020, the series became immensely popular among gaming aficionados who could not get enough of this action RPG that comprised three standalone games, three spin-offs and two expansion packs. 

While it is based on Sapkowski’s novels, many have opined that the games have far surpassed the original source where the player gets to control Geralt of Rivia and have an effect on the choices that he makes which involves travelling across lands, dabbling in intense battles and slaying deadly creatures. Although the animation was initially criticised for being a little subpar, the overall narrative is incredibly appealing and the later versions have also been called some of the greatest games of all time. The copious amounts of nudity have also seemingly appealed to horny gamers!