Geraldt (Henry Cavill) is back. The Witcher is back. It is nice to be back on The Continent. It is not worth diving into the entire plot of the story […]
Geraldt (Henry Cavill) is back. The Witcher is back. It is nice to be back on The Continent.
It is not worth diving into the entire plot of the story because there are episode summaries throughout the entire Internet. Here I just want to touch on some of the things that popped into my head while watching the premiere of season two. A stream of consciousness for my wandering brain picking up and noticing things I like and dislike while watching the show.
Season two of The Witcher begins with a story familiar to everyone: Beauty And The Best. While this episode is titled A Grain Of Truth, the only morsel you’ll need to chew on is that the show runners and script writers are playing the hits in episode one while also adhering to themes of Andrzej Sapkowski’s books.
In the literature, it is common for Sapkowski to twist classic nursery rhymes or fairy tales to his own thematic whims. In A Grain Of Truth, Geralt and Ciri (Freya Allen) have to deal with how messy a web true love and loneliness can become. The lack of logical thinking, practical empathy and unbiased reasoning is staggering to someone so easily jaded like Geraldt and innocent like Ciri.
Geralt introduces Ciri to an old friend of his Nivellen, who is played by Kristofer Hivju. Key difference is that Nivellen is no longer a man, but a beast with tusks who can not die. Nivellen committed some atrocities (he omitted his worst of them to Geralt in the beginning before fessing up to them) which resulted in him being cursed and essentially banished to live alone. The only part of the curse he remembered is something to do with Blood and Love.
Throughout the night commiserating and catching up, Geralt (and Ciri for that matter) begin to suspect not all is as it seems with Nivellen and his house in the mountains. There is something afoot, and it is not a cat.
The thing that is going bump in the night is Verenna (Agnes Born), a Bruxa. This vampiric beast is residing in the home of Nivellen and that is not the best idea if you ask Geralt. We (being the audience) have seen what the Bruxa can do to innocent souls at the start of the episode.
It is in the final moments of A Grain Of Truth that really puts this Witcher episode among the best. We get to see Geralt kick ass while also learning a motif that is going to be intrenched throughout the upcoming season. Love is a blinding thing and it can make people ignore the worst or worrisome facets of whatever they are in live with. We see that with Nivellen just ignoring the fact that Verenna can’t always control her hunger and must feast on desperate travelers and villagers. We also see how that love can feed on you to the point you die, but your affection can bring you back to them. Symbolically, it can bring you back to life.
What will this mean for the characters on the show? Will Geralt be blinded to obvious dangers by his love for Ciri as a father figure, or his love for Yennefer as a partner? Will Fringrilla’s (Mimi Ndiweni) devotion to Nilfgaardard prevent her from seeing her own pitfalls or possible traps in her political landmine? Will Yennefer’s love for power take away anything more than her ability to have children?
I also ask this question. What does Ciri love? Do we know what she cares most for? She is on an island with no home or family at the moment. She has no strings that could possibly puppeteer her. I have a feeling that will change, but for now this is something to watch as season two unfolds.
In terms of pure enjoyment, it was awesome to see Geralt use more magical abilities in his fight with the Bruxxa. That aspect of Geralt, and Witcher’s in general, was not explored heavily in season one. It appears like that realm of magic and chaos is going to be lit up more as the fantasy element continues to grow within the show.
The action is top-notch in the show. It’s as stylized as the first season and now the even bubble-stories (self contained stories maybe is better phrasing but I am going to keep typing) are growing on a theme that will hopefully be full exhumed as the season heats up.
I also love how this episode is based directly off of a short story in The Last Wish collection of Sapkowski’s books. Though there are differences, most largely in Nivellen’s reaction and Geralt’s lack of empathy at the end of the story, it is a true adaption of what the author wrote. In the book Ciri is not involved at all, but she is woven in nicely to this fabric.
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