The Witcher 3 is one of the greatest games of all time.
Despite the fact that it released back in 2015, there’s still so many reasons to return to the wonderful world created by CD Projekt Red. It makes complete sense, then, that the Witcher franchise would be adapted for TV, with the Netflix series is set to release later this year.
However, The Witcher Netflix series will share more similarities with the original novels, written by Andrej Sapkowski, than the games.
In fact, Sapkowski is a creative consultant for the series, meaning it will be much more in the image of the author’s vision rather than CD Projekt Red’s interpretation of it. Therefore, we can expect some key differences between the beloved games and the upcoming Netflix show.
Recently, Netflix tweeted out a teaser for the series, and it prompted a lot of discussion and debate from the gaming community. Many only know Geralt and the gang from the games, so some parts of the TV series, taken from the books, might not be what they’re expecting.
In this list we’ll outline 10 key differences to expect between the Witcher Netflix series and the games.
Geralt is far from positive
The Witcher games depict Geralt as a confident protagonist who is more than happy to wise-crack with his friends. Game-Geralt is also passionate about his career as a Witcher. But in the novels he’s rather different – and that difference can be expected in the Netflix series too.
In Sapkowski’s novels, Geralt can be quite sulky. Not in a completely off-putting way, but enough to show he’s not fully content with his life. Coming across work is tough, and Geralt sometimes resents that he is a Witcher. We can expect Henry Cavill to present Geralt this way within the Netflix adaptation.
Within the Witcher games there’s a whole multitude of romance options for Geralt. Yennefer is game-Geralt’s main love interest, but he also has the option to be far from loyal to her, and the Witcher never truly shows much remorse for this.
In the novels, however, Geralt’s bond with Yennefer is much more deep and meaningful. Sapkowski brilliantly portrays a passionate and unique relationship between the two (even in the large sections when they’re not together), and we can assume this will relate to the Netflix adaptation too. Don’t expect TV-Geralt to cheat on Yennefer within the show, and certainly not without a sense of regret (looking at you, Triss).
Yennefer’s bond with Ciri
It’s not until half way through The Witcher 3 that the player gets to see the rapport between Ciri and Yennefer. In the games, it pretty much comes out of no where. It’s implied that they have a poignant history, but we never see it. At times, the games rely on previous knowledge from Sapkowski’s novels, especially if the player really wants to understand their relationship.
In the books, Yennefer acts as a mother figure for Ciri. In fact, Ciri suffers from horrible nightmares until Yennefer helps Ciri. At first, Yennefer is very blunt towards Ciri, but this bond slowly grows into something special. Seeing as Ciri is younger in the Netflix adaptation than the game, it can be expected that this relationship will be shown in more detail.
Geralt sometimes being hopeless with Ciri
The beginning of The Witcher 3 follows a quick flashback where Geralt helps to train a young Ciri. In this sequence the two get along very well, and there’s not much difficulty between the two. However, in the novels, this is quite different.
Ciri is the only girl in Kaer Morhen, and this creates many problems. The men at the training camp struggle to understand Ciri’s emotions, and treat her just like another male student. In what was one of the more powerful moments in Sapkowski’s series, Triss Merigold scolds Geralt for not knowing Ciri was on her period. It’s a much more complex upbringing, and it can be expected that the Netflix series will flashback to these moments to highlight Ciri’s upbringing.
In The Witcher 3, Ciri’s backstory is at times glossed over, and only told through short snippets. But in Blood of Elves (the first novel of the series, set after the two books full of short stories), Ciri’s story is revealed from the very beginning and then built on throughout the series.
Seeing as Ciri is such a pivotal character in the franchise, it can be expected that the Netflix series will open in a similar style, or at the very least show a more clear backstory to Ciri. Freya Allan will have a lot of expectation placed on her for the way she depicts Ciri, and seeing as it’s a younger Ciri we can also expect more character development from her.
In the Witcher games, Dandelion is sadly relegated to a slightly meaningless side character. The bard has some great lines and side quests, but he’s not too important to the overall story. In the novels however, Dandelion is a dear friend to Geralt, and one of the few characters the Witcher trusts.
It can be expected that Dandelion will have a similar role within the Netflix series. Although Dandelion isn’t too much help in a fight, he’s a key character. Geralt has some of his most important and insightful talks with Dandelion, and those moments will be key for creating a well rounded protagonist.
The inclusion of Condwiramurs Tilly
Condwiramurs is introduced within The Lady of the Lake and is a oneiromancer (a Mage who can interpret dreams). She is a narrator for much of the novel, and even plays a key role as she meets Ciri during her travels through time.
What really stands out about Condwiramurs’ story is that it’s set long after the events in Sapkowski’s series, and the story of Geralt and Ciri has almost been forgotten. The inclusion of this character highlights how significant the events within the novels were, and, for this reason, we can expect a similar plot device within The Witcher Netflix adaptation too.
The Lodge of Sorceresses
The Lodge of Sorceresses is a group of female mages who aim to have more influence in the politics of the lands. They are briefly highlighted within the games, but their significance in the books is much more profound.
Within the novels it is shown how the Mages can disagree, and how individual goals can get in the way of the Lodge’s success. Within the novels, the existence of the Lodge is secret, but the sorceresses seem to be fairly well known in the games. With many mages already being confirmed for the Netflix series, we can expect the Lodge to be very significant in the show.
Much has been made about the appearance of the cast in relation to both the novels and games. Ciri’s hair colour, for one, is not the mousey blonde that can be seen in the games, and Triss’ scarring doesn’t seem to be present in the Netflix show.
But, one of the most discussed differences from the released photos is the fact that Geralt only had one sword. He isn’t carrying his silver sword, like how Geralt is portrayed in the games. But in the books, Geralt always leaves his silver sword with Roach until he actually needs it. The silver sword is not used for all monsters, but only particular types, meaning it’s not a necessity to always carry it.
Less magic in combat
One of the keys to combat in the Witcher games is the variety of signs. However, in the novels these signs are much less powerful, and are used much less by Geralt. In fact, the power that Geralt wields with the signs would be hard to match by even a very powerful Mage.
Expect to see just as much combat within the Netflix series, but there will be less use of magic from the Witcher. There will certainly be less use of the Axii sign in order to manipulate other humans and monsters, and that should make for quite a different portrayal of Geralt.