(Credit: Netflix)

Editor's Choice

Why ‘The Witcher’ season 2 needed to develop Ciri-Eskel dynamic

Created by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, Netflix’s The Witcher season two stars veteran actors Henry Cavill, Freya Allen and Anya Chalotra in their old roles as Geralt of Rivia, Princess Ciri and Yennefer. The second season sees the evolution of Geralt and Ciri’s relationship as the Witcher takes the latter to his hometown in Kaer Morhen to teach her the tricks to get ready to fight the adversaries who threaten her security as various vicious enemies battle it out against each other outside the walls of the place. 

What surprised fans is how far the series has strayed away from Andrzej Sapowski’s novels or the CD Projekt Red video games despite Cavill promising a lot of similarities between the books and the new series. Many of them called the series’ fanfiction’ while others fumed over the lack of loyalty to the original text. However, what caused a massive uproar amidst the fanbase was the abrupt killing off Eskel Witcher, played by Basil Eidenbenz. 

Eskel is killed off quickly with a Leshy infection in the eight-episode series, shortly after Geralt returns to the Witchers’ base in Kaer Morhen. Eskel, who is one of Geralt’s closest compatriots, undergoes a grotesque and monstrous transformation into a behemoth forest monster, unleashing havoc upon the castle before Geralt has to unceremoniously slash the sword into his dear friend, killing him.  

Since this scene was not a part of the novel series or the video games, fans were pretty upset about the decision. However, Hissrich defended her creative decision, talking about how Eskel’s early death was important to provide an impetus for Geralt to begin Ciri’s training more effectively as it would hint at the inevitable dangers surrounding the allegedly impenetrable walls of Kaer Morhen. 

However, Ciri and Eskel have a deep-rooted relationship in the book. While Eskel is seen merely scoffing at Princess Ciri upon their encounter and regarding her with guarded eyes and certain distrust, the books explored their relationship quite well. The creator’s decision to shelve the idea of developing their relationship robbed fans of many interesting sequences, thus incurring disappointment and displeasure, 

In the books, after Geralt brings Ciri to Kaer Morhen, having been bestowed the responsibility of taking care of her, Eskel provides monumental support during her training while other witchers take over Eskel’s role in the series and aid Geralt, it is not the same. Fans have also not accepted the cold, rude and disgruntled demeanour of their favourite character in the show.

Thus, the show needed to have built a proper dynamic between the characters, especially Eskel and Ciri, by sustaining the former for longer. The entire season felt rushed, incoherent and mindless due to the huge gaps in the timeline. While The Witcher season one was indeed an enjoyable watch, despite the brilliant imagery and costumes as well as a morally thought-provoking first episode, the second season was a letdown for fans and critics alike. 

Stream the first and second seasons of The Witcher on Netflix now.