Nearly eight months after fans were shocked with news of a new Superman, Henry Cavill strode confidently on red carpets and into interview \sessions, ready to solidify his claim to the world’s hottest geek title . The first episode of the Witcher’s second season was released to much acclaim, showing off Cavill’s ability to handle high fantasy as well as Sci-Fi. However, the series launch was not only a new direction for the British actor, but a revamping of series’ more problematic tropes.
The new episode follows Geralt of Riveria, an infamous mercenary and monster hunter belonging to a clan of magical superhumans known as the witchers. While known for his elite fighting ability and an encyclopedic knowledge of the many creatures that inhabit his world, Geralt is known to some as gruff, dry, obsessive, sarcastic, and of the belief that he needs to keep everyone at arms length. It is the latter reputation that has left the monster hunter devoid of any companions like fan favorites Yennifer and Jaskier, who found themselves pushed away by Geralt’s more toxic personality traits.
At least until a series of misfortunate events sees him looking after a young girl named Ciri, who is not only in possession of a hidden power that could tip the political landscape, nor is she just yet another female figure bound to Geralt by the near omnipotent destiny, but she is the first person in the series to bring about our protagonist’s lighter side. The two have quickly established a surrogate father-daughter relationship, with Geralt showing her more affection than many have thought him capable of.
While their relationship is faithfully lifted from the book series of the same name, this new episode establishes that the show exists in its own realm and will retell stories that are more sensitive to modern political and moral climates. For one, this episode adapts one of the many stories of the Last Wish anthology, one involving a nobleman named Nivellin cursed with occupying a beastly form and who also has a romantic relationship with a malevolent vampire that’s set her sights on Siri. In the book, he matches Geralt’s sarcasm and cynicism, but here he is much more bombastic, kindly, and even friendly despite is horrific visage. The show’s writers even attempt to display that Geralt is not the only one in toxic relationships, without Beauty and the Beast couple engaging in literal parasitism, as the vampire kills him regularly to satiate her blood thirst, while his curse simply brings him back to life immediately afterward. However, this is not the most radical change.
It is important to be informed on how Nivellin was cursed in the first place as it remains consistent between in the book and show. He was not cursed by a jealous witch or by eating a wrong apple, but because he was part of a band of brigands that decided to raid religious temples, with allusions to the infamous scenes of the Illiad, Nivellin himself corners one of the priests and sexually assaults her, leading her to justifiably curse him with his grotesque firm. The book casts no real judgement on the monster for his crimes, but simply treats it as just another occurrence for their medieval settings. The show, however, places real weight on the matter, with the revelation coming after the curse is lifted and Ciri and Geralt learn of his actions, Both now seeing that he’s still just as much as a monster even in human form.
What’s most notable is that Cavill himself may have been behind this sift in atmosphere and delivery, given that the actor is a super fan of the series, regularly consulting the showrunners on accuracy and even writing in certain elements to the story according to his co-stars. Giving our precious son of Krypton a much deserved promotion in career.