As with any adaptation of an existing property, certain liberties were taken with the plot of the books by author Andrzej Sapkowski in Netflix's The Witcher. These changes range in significance, but arguably the most significant is the new ways in which the stories of Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer, and Ciri combine. Much of what's seen in the show comes from the books, but some parts -- and especially the order of them -- were significantly changed, and showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich recently took the opportunity of being asked about one specific change to address the common criticism.
Major and minor spoilers for Netflix's The Witcher follow.
Without spoiling overly much here, the basic change involves combining certain elements of The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny books in order to make the introduction of Ciri to Geralt a little faster. According to Hissrich, if they'd simply adapted everything as written, it would have meant pushing back Ciri's role in the show to the second season if not later, and given how important she is to the overall narrative of the series in general, it would have been an abrupt and odd shift to leave out for so long.
You can check out Hissrich's full explanation below:
I hear you. And we debated this intensely. Here's our rationale: to adapt the short stories that were important to world-building, and then to sequentially adapt Geralt and Ciri's multiple meetings in SoD meant that we wouldn't introduce Ciri until (at the earliest) season two. https://t.co/wpDi96hupV— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) December 29, 2019
-- it's potentially confusing to say: forget monster-hunting. Take the last two-three years of what you've been watching, and tuck it away. Because that little girl you've only just met? SHE is the key to this whole universe, and will be the center of almost every story to come.— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) December 29, 2019
As writers, we understand that -- even when given rationale -- fans may not agree with the changes we made. And that's fine! We had to make hard choices, and we didn't get them right every time. But it's important to me that fans know those choices weren't made lightly. Ever. ❤️— Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) December 29, 2019
What do you think of Netflix's The Witcher? How did you feel about the changes in the adaptation's timeline? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter @rollinbishop to talk all things gaming!
Here's how Netflix describes the series:
"Based on the best-selling fantasy series, The Witcher is an epic tale of fate and family. Geralt of Rivia, a solitary monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts. But when destiny hurtles him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a dangerous secret, the three must learn to navigate the increasingly volatile Continent together."
The first eight-episode season of Netflix's The Witcher is available to stream on the platform now. It has already been renewed for a second season. Lauren S. Hissrich serves as showrunner. It stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer, and Freya Allan as Ciri. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the latest and greatest adaptation right here.