The Witcher Season 2 Showrunner Explains Controversial Death

The Witcher Season 2 is out on Netflix. Over on Rotten Tomatoes, Netflix's second stab at The Witcher has a critic score of 93, but only a 63 audience score, suggesting some disconnect between critics and the average TV consumer. What's interesting about this is it's the opposite of the first season, which had a 68 critic score but a 91 audience score. So, why does the average Witcher fan not like the second season as much as the first? Well, we don't know, but it likely has to do with further deviation from the source material and a couple of controversial plot points, like Eskel's storyline in the second season (spoilers ahead).

In Season 2, Eskel dies in the second episode. Of course, there's plenty of death in both seasons, so this isn't completely surprising, but Eskel is a beloved character who ends up getting minimal screen time before his plug is pulled. And this hasn't sat well with many fans. 

Speaking to this reaction, showrunner Lauren Hissrich explained that she and her writing team felt that somehow had to die during the episode. Originally, the plan was for a brand new and original witcher to be killed, but Hissrich and co. thought this would lack weight. Adding to this, Hissrich says Eskel's death is also important to propelling Geralt forward in the story.

"We knew we had to kill someone in that episode," said Hissrich. "We knew that we wanted a monster to enter Kaer Morhen and have something to do with Ciri, and both Geralt and Vesemir and the brothers realize that bringing this girl into their witcher keep is going to fundamentally change things. And, in all honesty, the very first version of the script that we wrote was a brand new witcher that we'd never met before, we'd never heard of, and all of a sudden we were like... Oh, our audience is going to meet Coen and Lambert and Eskel and, you know, John. And who's going to die? John is going to die. So we thought about it really hard and I know that there are fans who love Eskel and who feel like, why would we do that? But, honestly, his death is what changes everything for Geralt and I think it propels Geralt's need to figure out what's going on with Ciri and to do it fast, because he knows that he's going to risk losing her and his brothers if he doesn't. And we really just wanted to motivate that character journey for him."

Whether this explanation will satiate fans upset about Eskel's quick death, remains to be seen. As always, feel free to leave a comment or two letting us know what you think or, alternatively, hit me up on Twitter @Tyler_Fischer_ to talk all things gaming. What do you think of Eskel's early Season 2 death and Hissrich's explanation?

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H/T, Redanian Intelligence.