Irrespective of whether one loved or hated the ending of Game of Thrones, there's no denying that the show's end left a sizable hole in the hearts of fantasy-drama lovers. A hole, that Netflix's The Witcher, seems to fill perfectly.
Based on the Andrzej Sapkowski novel series of the same name, The Witcher stars Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, and Freya Allan in the lead roles. And it boasts of truly fascinating action sequences, a gripping storyline, and some good old-fashioned drama.
Set in a volatile Continent (name of the region), the series follows the story of Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) - a monster hunter whose superhuman abilities have granted him the title of The Witcher. Anya Chalotra stars as Yennefer, a talented and powerful witch. Freya plays the role of Cirilla, a young princess tied to Geralt through 'destiny'.
Geralt and Cirilla's stories run parallel in the series, and it does take a little time to understand that different timelines are at play. However, once you take that into account, the series takes you to a world in the midst of an uprising, with characters constantly shocking and amusing you with their actions.
Geralt plays the proverbial 'conflicted hero' - burdened under his profession but willing to do the right thing rather than the easy thing. What makes his character stand out is Henry Cavill's measured performance, and of course, that gruff voice!
Yennefer quickly transitions from being a victim to being a hero, and while the transition feels a little unsettling--especially because of the fluctuating timelines--her badass attitude soon makes her an audience favourite.
Princess Ciri, who is tied to Geralt through the Law of Surprise, (an ancient law that allows a savior of life to claim an unknown gift) is battling life on the run. And Freya instills just the right mixture of naivety, fear, and pride (she is a gifted princess, after all) in her performance.
The series boasts of one of the finest action sequences, where the violence is poetic rather than gory. And it is none other than the Night King (from Got), stunt co-ordinator Vladimir Furdik, who choreographed the fight sequences for the series.
The explosive chemistry between Geralt and Yennefer, and the catchy tunes by Jaskier, the lovable bard, are also the show's winning point. But do keep a lookout for the symbols that appear with each show title, and the unexpected humorous exchanges between the characters.
The first season was dedicated to establishing the characters and the universe the show is set in - but it also proved to be a great example of what we can expect from the series, going forward. While we're still waiting for villains as vile and crafty as the ones GoT served us up with, the side characters actually contribute towards building the perfect fantasy world!
Much like GoT, The Witcher also boasts of strong female characters, a kingdom uprising against the established order (though good and evil here are opposite to GoT) and a fantasy world that is not entirely removed from our reality. Additionally, certain minor elements, such as incestual relationships, dragons, etc. also remind of you the GoT universe.
So yes, it is yet another fantasy drama that boasts of ancient magic and binding prophecies. But, the show's true win is that even if you haven't read the books, you get hooked to the dark and gritty story. Because it has powerful performances, and just the right amount of intrigue to draw your attention.