Did you finish watching and re-watching The Witcher yet? You must know that the Netflix original series is based on a book series of the same name. Out of the eight books of The Witcher book series, season 1 of the show follows the events of the short story collections The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny. While most of the plotline of the Netflix series remains true to the two books, the show creators have taken the liberty to make some significant changes in terms of characters, stories, and names.
Here are six instances where The Witcher books and series differ:
Blaviken and Renfri
In the series, we see Geralt make his way to Blaviken after having killed a kikimora, where he meets Renfri and her men, followed by Stregabor after an errand girl escorts him. In The Witcher book, however, Geralt goes to Stregabor to see if he can get some reward for the monster he killed. Marilka, who in the series escorts Geralt to Stregabor, is the daughter of Geralt’s acquaintance in the city in the book.
Another thing that is different in the series from the books is the witcher’s accommodation and time spent with Renfri. In the series, the duo has an eventful night in the woods, whereas, in the book, she sneaks into his room at Marilka and her family’s house. Moreover, her haunting dialogue in the episode– “the girl in the woods will always be yours”– is non-existent in the book.
Dandelion and Jaskier
Dandelion in the translated books becomes Jaskier (the bard’s name in the original version) in the Netflix original series. The series even embellishes their first encounter and relationship. In the book, the two are not frequent travel companions. On the contrary, they frequently part ways, only to run into each at the most unexpected times, places, and situations. However, in the TV series, they seem to be together all the time and not chance encounters with the bard deciding to sing about the Witcher in episode 2 of the series.
Yet another freedom the show creators have taken is the way they have ended things between Jaskier and Geralt after the dragon hunt in episode 6. In The Witcher books, however, Geralt alone accompanies Jack Threejaws and the bard accompanies other hunters for inspiration for a ballad. The bard even appears in the last story in the Sword of Destiny— Something More– in Geralt’s recollections. Were there changes to the storyline? yes. But, hey, we are not complaining; not with all the wonderful songs, Jaskier has given us.
Pavetta’s betrothal feast and banquet was an event of grandeur and dramatics in both the book and series. However, a few details here, and there are different. The first difference is Geralt was invited by Queen Calanthe in the book to attend the event undercover to ensure Duny did not survive. The fact that Mousesack was already a mage at the Cintran court during the banquet and not after is the second difference between the book and series.
Pavetta, herself, was portrayed differently in The Witcher book and the series. Where she was timid and silent in the former, she was outspoken about her displeasure in the latter. Moreover, Calanthe in the book did not try to attack Duny with a dagger, unlike the series, neither did she proposition Geralt to take Pavetta’s hand. However, the biggest and vital difference is Geralt invoking the Law of Surprise. In the book, though he didn’t believe in destiny, he did ask Duny “for something he has and does not know yet” willingly and with calculation. He wanted the unborn child to be trained as a witcher. In the series, however, we see Geralt making an impulsive decision, from which he runs away soon after.
Geralt and Yennefer
Geralt and Yennefer’s meeting remain the same in The Witcher book and series. However, the show creators have taken the liberty to change a few details like the tub scene, the orgy, Yennefer trying to capture the Djinn. In the book, Yennefer and Geralt have a long-drawn battle, as she tries to capture the Djinn, and he tries to stop her.
Geralt’s last wish, which led to a breakup in the series, led to the start of their relationship in the book. On the contrary, their tiff over Geralt leaving her alone out of the blue is retained in a form in the series. Additionally, the book also has given a better insight into the dynamic of their relationship. Honestly, if I were to start talking about these two, I would end up with another post.
Brokilon Forest is yet another that differs in The Witcher book and series. In the book, Geralt comes to the forest on a mission to meet the Queen Eithne, an acquaintance of his, to pass a message from the king of a neighboring human kingdom. Ciri, too, happens to be in the forest, escaping from an arranged marriage.
Eithne, in the series, that Ciri and Dara meet is a compassionate woman who seemed to genuinely care about Ciri. However, in the book, Ciri is treated as a replacement for her deceased daughter, and the queen seemed to want to force Ciri to stay in the forest.
Geralt and Ciri
After the build-up and anticipation, Geralt and Ciri only meet at the end of episode 8, “Much More.” In The Witcher book, however, the two first meet in the Brokilon forest, and it doesn’t take her too long to realize that Geralt is her destiny. Ciri in the book seemed to know about the Law of Surprise through her nanny and wanted to be with Geralt, even attempting to stop him when he left her behind. She says, “You can’t run away! I’m your destiny, do you hear?” When they do meet again at the merchant’s abode, she is extremely delighted and relieved and says, “I always knew. I knew you’d find me!’
In the series, however, the dialogue is expressed non-verbally. Everything seems so much more magical in the Netflix original series because she wakes up with a vision of him. Perhaps, we will see a scene with the dialogues from the book as a flashback in the next season.
When the next season of the Netflix original series comes out, we will know what more the show creators have changed from the books. Until then, let us all relive The Witcher universe through their books.
Let me know what you think of these changes in the comments below!