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SilverStormm

S01.E08: Much More

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So, I binged it. For better and for worse, it made me think of a 2020s R-rated version of Hercules, the legendary journeys.

The whole also felt like a pilot episode in the sense of showcasing potential, having pacing issues (too rushed on some aspects, plenty of POTW action yet the central plot not really progressing) and finding its footing throughout, tone-wise. The show seemed to hesitate about how seriously it would take itself, but no matter how execution turned out, the lighter touch was still welcome.

I did like the timeline trick, less some of the later time jumps. I liked the female characters whom I found  by far the most interesting -and it's a big plus for me. I wish a couple of them would have been more developed, yet it gives me something to look forward to. I'm not certain what to think of Henry Calvill's acting. Perfectly deadpan or too stilted? Nevertheless, he's the lead, I watched the whole season, so I guess he was convincing and made the character endearing enough.

Special effects were sadly lacking at times and production values could have been better,  compared to GoT or even Lost In Space for the former. Budget was probably not the same, though.

This season finale was the first time that I felt I was done watching actors easing up in their character's skin, characters easing up in their own skin, every piece was finally in place on the chessboard. Weirdly, neither the big battle nor the meeting gave me a feeling a closure, in spite of both being a narrative climax for the season. It was all beginning, for me. Which is good since, although I'm not head over heels in love with the show, I found it entertaining and I will watch S2 with good hope that it finds its cruising speed.

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My favorite character was Renfri and I have no idea where in the Witcher's timeline she fits in.

The scenery was wonderful, too bad they didn't use it more to establish the scope of the show.

The Witcher's mama had a pocket gold dragon?

The story line was rushed and a little too complex, all I really wanted was some excellent sword work, either against other humans or some monsters. They burned through a ton of characters I would have preferred was fleshed out more.

How cute is pocket Gwyneth Paltrow that everybody that sees her tries to adopt her. She stole the lady's horse and turned it into ground chuck. The lady didn't even bat an eye, just took her right back. Ciri never appreciated the extreme kindness that everybody she has met has shown her. She really had to be Destiny's Child.

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That was it? Where are the rest of the episodes?

I binged it. And I generally liked it. The women were far more interesting than Geralt. There were big gaps in my understanding of what was happening and what it meant. I expected another 8 episodes. What happened that it was so short? 

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It took me 7 episodes to finally figure out that each episode runs on 3 different timelines.   So Geralt was actually in the castle when Cintra fell to Nilfgaard?  Imma need a flowchart to map this out so it makes sense to me.  Hopefully this won't happen in the next season.

I would have liked to see the process to becoming a Witcher. It might have been similar to how Yennefer was taken to Mage School. 

Other than that, I came into the Witcher with no experience playing the game or reading the books. I thoroughly enjoyed binging the season and look forward to season 2.  

 

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1 hour ago, Stardancer Supreme said:

It took me 7 episodes to finally figure out that each episode runs on 3 different timelines.   So Geralt was actually in the castle when Cintra fell to Nilfgaard?  Imma need a flowchart to map this out so it makes sense to me. 

 

basically Ciri is in "the present" with Geralt's storyline occurring before hers and Yennifer's before his, until they start mesh up that is. 

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Oh man. No Jaskier for the final episode? Ok.

Battle of Sodden was as brutal as I imagined, though I wish they had more budget to make it  more spectacular. Also Vilgefortz losing to Cahir? Really, ok. I'm not sure how magic worked here. So fire magic is forbidden because it basically kills you right? Well I doubt Yen's dead after what she's done, so how they are going to explain it? Basically I hoped the battle will be more of a team effort, I especially counted on Tissaia and Vilgefortz doing some incredible magic, so I'm just tiny little bit disappointed that Yen's big hero here. Her dress was gorgeous though, costumes in this series are phenomenal. And Triss joking about Vilgefortz being their new daddy was fun. Tissaia was basically the mother figure to all girls who graduated Aretuza. Which makes Fringilla choices even more sad. C'mon girl shake off this weird indoctrination.

Destiny finally bringed Geralt and Ciri together, but it was not as strong as in the original. For now only destiny connects them not real feelings. Can't wait for the second season, to see this relationship play out. I think now that we have all characters in the same timeline it'll be easier to follow.

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Interesting that the season finale pretty much put Geralt a.k.a. the actual "Witcher" on the sidelines, while it was Yen and almost everyone else that took front and center.  Then again, I'm starting to think that Geralt is almost like Mad Max in Mad Max: Fury Road, where even though he's technically the main character, he's more or less along for the ride, while other characters drive the story forward.

Although, we did get to find out that Geralt's mom was a mage, and abandoned him for some reason.  Cool hearing Vesemir in the flashbacks.  Per the credits, he was apparently voiced by Theo James, but I don't know if he's actually going to play him going forward 

Spoiler

especially since he's suppose to look older than Geralt.

The big battle was pretty good, but I wished more characters got to have moments to really shine in it.

I hope we get more of the Yen/Triss pair, because they were surprisingly fun.  Also, it seems Triss' powers focus most on nature.  Does that make her the Poison Ivy of the Witcher World?!

Really thought Tissaia was going to die in order to motivate Yen going forward, so I'm glad she's still around.

Hope they beef up the villain roles, because neither Fringilla or Cahir wow me on that front.

Geralt and Ciri finally meet!

All in all, I enjoyed it, but it did almost feel like an eight episode pilot in a lot of ways, and now the actual "series" is going to happen going forward.  The time skipping could also be a bit much to get a handle on, and I do wonder how this will fare with non-book/video gamers, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where this goes.  Henry Cavill ended up making for a good Geralt, I thought, but the highlights for me where Joey Batey as Jaskier (boo to him not being in these last few episodes) and especially Anya Chalotra, who I thought almost stole the show from the arguably bigger star, and made Yennifer the most interesting character here. 

Spoiler

Ironically, I actually prefer Triss in the games, but I wonder if it will go differently here.

 

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Okay I've only watched the pre-credits sequence and I had to get up to come here and say . . . ZOMBIES?  Now we have fucking ZOMBIES?  I did not see that coming.

Okay I'm back.  Well THAT was satisfying.  I was REALLY worried at the end that Geralt and Ciri would not meet.  I am, however, wondering how she knew who he was.  He was introduced to a fake Ciri when he went to the castle to escort her out of harms way.  I guess we have to assume that she saw him while she was playing knucklebones in the yard in her boy disguise.  He *IS* pretty damned memorable with that long grey hair and that face (and that body.)

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I'm not sure how magic worked here. So fire magic is forbidden because it basically kills you right? Well I doubt Yen's dead after what she's done, so how they are going to explain it?

That's a good point about Yen but what I'm really wondering is how they forced those Mages to basically sacrifice themselves to hurl one fire bomb each.  It looked like they knew what would happen . . . there was a row of empty cloaks marking where the previous Mages fell.  I guess we're supposed to believe that even the Mages on that side were religious/nationalisitic zealots who were willing to sacrifice themselves "for the greater good" like Kamakzi pilots.  

Edited by WatchrTina
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19 hours ago, WatchrTina said:

Okay I'm back.  Well THAT was satisfying.  I was REALLY worried at the end that Geralt and Ciri would not meet.  I am, however, wondering how she knew who he was.  He was introduced to a fake Ciri when he went to the castle to escort her out of harms way.  I guess we have to assume that she saw him while she was playing knucklebones in the yard in her boy disguise.  He *IS* pretty damned memorable with that long grey hair and that face (and that body.)

She was having a dream about him yelling Yennefer's name. But why she then ran into the woods or why Geralt knew she was there when her surrogate mother hadn't noticed that she had gone I don't know - magic? I did however love the look on Geralt's face when she reacted to his deep observation about the forces of destiny with 'Who's Yennefer?'

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I started watching the cut scenes of the Witcher 3 video game, on the Tube, and now I wished I did this before watching the series. The very opening of the video game establishes the world quite effectively and had I seen this first, it would have made the series seem less muddled. The show should have had a prologue, al' la Lord of the Rings style, to help those uninitiated with the lore understand the setting better.

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So I finally finished.

I am torn.  I am pre-disposed to like stuff like this because I read fantasy and sword and sorcery epics are my jam.   Since my background is more books/lit than gaming I watch for plotting, world building, character development and story arcs.  I have to say that while this was watchable and entertaining throughout, I can't necessarily say it was good, per se.

It is weird they decide to give us Geralt's background in this last episode.  And pretty much keep him out of the main action.  And the show seems like it could just not resist one more 'monster of the week' for Geralt.  When honestly what did that even serve except as vehicle to hallucinate his mother?

The big battle should have been an important set piece that felt like an important culmination where our heroes and villains meet.  Again, interesting and well shot and entertaining to watch on its own.  But really all it did for story purposes was put a lot of people we know nothing about and honestly don't care about on a battlefield.  There are no personal stakes outside of Yennefer  because  who else have we really spent time with and want to root for (or against)?  Who the hell is Atlan? Coral? 

Vilgefortz The Hot asks Cahir The Smirk   'What do you want?' which is a good question which we should already know if the show had even bothered to give us any time with at all Nilfgaard.  Then Cahir answers 'The center of it all.'  Which is a stupid ass answer because what does that even mean? 

It is nice for Ciri and Geralt to finally meet.  I really can't say that anything with Ciri connected to me at all.  By all rights I should have been upset for her losing her family and being on her own, wandering the woods etc.  But she just came off as a snowflake princess  character trope.  Down to every person who meets her instantly wanting to take her in and save her.  I guess that could be explained away by 'Destiny' but the actress was just a blank cipher.  I feel that not only was her story bits were the weakest, she was weak link as well.

Overall, even though I am a fantasy fan and seeks stuff like this out, I came away from thinking that I was not really the audience for this.  It felt like a love letter to the gamers without attempting to become really accessible to the people who don't have the background with the games. And it could have easily been both.

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I enjoyed Geralt and his monster of the week stories along with Jaskier (bummed he disappeared) and thought both actors did a really good job.  I'm interested to see where Ciri's story goes, though her story dragged at times. Queen Calanthe was a character I enjoyed, didn't enjoy all her actions but she commanded the screen for me. I enjoyed the music, costumes and the sets, but had some difficulty following the different timelines. 

Yennifer, I really don't like. She came across as a whiner and bratty a lot of times. I'm kinda bummed she is tied to Geralt. The actress had ton more chemistry with the actor that played Istredd.

I think if I didn't have off from work and couldn't binge over vacation, I probably would have gave up on this show. It did however make me want to read the books.

Edited by Grumpymonkey
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On 12/26/2019 at 5:18 PM, MissLucas said:

She was having a dream about him yelling Yennefer's name. But why she then ran into the woods or why Geralt knew she was there when her surrogate mother hadn't noticed that she had gone I don't know - magic? I did however love the look on Geralt's face when she reacted to his deep observation about the forces of destiny with 'Who's Yennefer?'

You see, Ciri, when a Witcher releases a Djinn and falls for a mage things get complicated...

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On 12/27/2019 at 5:13 PM, DearEvette said:

I have to say that while this was watchable and entertaining throughout, I can't necessarily say it was good, per se.

This is basically my reaction. It had various issues and was mostly OK, but I really enjoyed watching it. Multiple timelines and the amount of time that passed were most confusing. I thought they should have borrowed from 12 Monkeys and flashed the dates on the screen - in whatever format they chose - as they switched around. Still, it was satisfying when everything started coming together. Hopefully everyone's in the same zone now.

I liked Geralt, but he did sometimes seem like more of a supporting player than the lead. Hoping that the hint, finally, of his background means there will be more to come. I really liked that despite his lack of emotion, he cared for Renfri and Yen - and that he's not mindlessly destructive, even of monsters. And I liked the confrontation with his mother, especially about what was done to his eyes. Definitely want more background.

Side note: while I enjoyed the shirtlessness at the various times, hearing Henry Cavill explain what it takes on Graham Norton (about 8 minutes into the video) - basically dehydrating for a few days, which sounds terribly dangerous - made me feel a little guilty. I had no idea.

I liked Yen despite her issues and the other characters well enough. Loved the golden dragon in both forms and his guards. Not as enchanted with Jaskier as some are but no particular problems with him. Could do with a little less graphic gore and repeated bashing of skulls. And, here we are again with unequal nudity. Way too many naked women, including too much of Yen. But - I'll be looking forward to more of the show.

Edit: For those feeling like this was all setup or an 8-episode pilot:

Spoiler

 

The show’s world-building first season was based on various short stories from Sword of Destiny (1992) and The Last Wish (1993). Those collections serve as prequels to the official Witcher saga, so it stands to reason that at least part of Season 2 will borrow from Blood of Elves (1994), the first full Witcher novel.

Source: https://tvline.com/2019/12/27/the-witcher-finale-recap-season-2-preview/

 

 

 

Edited by SilverStormm · Reason: Tagged spoilery stuff.
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My husband, who is a serious D&D geek but has never gotten around to reading the Witcher books, informs me the nasty beasties that bit Geralt early in the episode were mohrgs, basically undead things that hang around where bodies are with distinctive poisonous tongues that will usually paralyze and kill mortals.  I don't know how much it matters or if I even really needed to know that, but there you are.

I liked this one, just as I've generally liked the show and found it entertaining enough.  But I'm also not one who's been taking it super seriously either.  It's basically been a big bag o' fantasy tropes with a generous helping of the old Xena/Hercules shows thrown in.  I came away from the ending here very much feeling like okay, now the main story starts from here, right?, so it's nice to see my sense of that was correct.

So a whole boatload of mages head out to man a castle and none of them think to dress for it?  I get that they're the most special of special magical unicorns and have to look the part, but the amount of cleavage and flowing gowns on the battlefield was making me laugh when that clearly wasn't what the show was going for.  There was plenty about the battle that was entertaining, like the Nilfgaardians creating portals to fire arrows through or the spell that basically had the soldiers tripping balls marching over a field of magically growing mushrooms, but some of it felt fairly muddled too.  So are we to think most of the mages live on to fight another day or are most of them dead, because it wasn't looking good for them by the end.  

It's an interesting choice to sideline the "star" of the show for the big battle finale.  Since even now I'm not terribly clear on what exactly Geralt's powers are, it's hard to know whether he would have been out of place swinging his sword around in a battle where there was precious little of that happening on the side he would have been on.  I've been wanting more of his backstory since the show started trying to force parallels between him and Yennefer's "I wasn't given a choice" but what we got was still pretty sketchy and incomplete.  So his mother was apparently a nonsterile sorceress (which probably does color his telling Yennefer that there would be no place in her life for a child even if she could have one), who abandoned him to witcher training that sounds dangerous and brutal enough that most don't survive it.  And?  The gold dragon popping up to remind him that none of his dream was real after showing his mom laying out a fairly excessive feast for what looked like a peasant cottage seemed to be suggesting that maybe she was struggling when she decided to rehome him?  I'm just guessing. 

Geralt just not having it when the merchant tried to offer him the Law of Surprise after saving him made me laugh.  Yeah, that's what got us here, thanks.

Good that Geralt and the washed out princess of no discernible eyebrows finally meet, I guess, because DESTINY.  I hope season 2 finally bothers to tell us just why she's worth so much fuss because this first season didn't.

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On 12/29/2019 at 1:47 AM, justmehere said:

Side note: while I enjoyed the shirtlessness at the various times, hearing Henry Cavill explain what it takes on Graham Norton (about 8 minutes into the video) - basically dehydrating for a few days, which sounds terribly dangerous - made me feel a little guilty. I had no idea.

No wonder Geralt is so grumpy all the time.

12 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

So a whole boatload of mages head out to man a castle and none of them think to dress for it?  I get that they're the most special of special magical unicorns and have to look the part, but the amount of cleavage and flowing gowns on the battlefield was making me laugh when that clearly wasn't what the show was going for.  There was plenty about the battle that was entertaining, like the Nilfgaardians creating portals to fire arrows through or the spell that basically had the soldiers tripping balls marching over a field of magically growing mushrooms, but some of it felt fairly muddled too.  So are we to think most of the mages live on to fight another day or are most of them dead, because it wasn't looking good for them by the end.  

I liked how this was all set up, because it does a good job of frequently reminding us that that the mages are outsiders here. Vilgefortz is the only dressed appropriately for battle because he's the only one with military experience (and I really hope he had an earworm and isn't actually evil). The mages are clearly all talented badasses in their own way, but applying those skills in the middle of a large-scale fight is tricky. Trying to apply spells they probably knew before like exploding potions and poisonous mushrooms to massive amounts of people was interesting, as well as the challenge of conserving your energy vs. being effective immediately (like Coral (I think?) snapping all those necks at once).

Fringilla on the other hand seems to be much more successful at war-like use of magic, like using fellow mages as collateral to create those giant fireballs and using portals to shoot arrows. Much more straightfoward. I'm curious if she has a talent for battle or if she's benefiting from Nilfgaard's military advisors.

 

Overall I agree with others that the show is okay; it's much better if I treat season 1 as just the prologue to the rest of the story that we'll presumably get now that everyone is in the same timeline and in close proximity.

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I mostly liked the battle for all the reasons you state.  The costuming just struck me as funny because every shot of Yennefer being deadly serious and trying to direct the battle made sure to include a generous shot of her cleavage.  I was a little surprised to learn that the head showrunner and a number of higher ups in the production team are women given the amount of random female nudity and standard male gazey stuff like that we've gotten, but maybe they know who their target audience is.  I don't know.

The costuming for Fringilla, in contrast, has been tragic even as I've found myself interested in the alternative view of magic she's been presenting.  This battle definitely could give one the impression that her view is the more successful one if you're going to take that magic into combat.  I'm with everyone else in wishing that we'd gotten to see what's actually going on in Nilfgaard to foster that.  Since the show is determined to push Yennefer's thwarted ambition as a character motivation, I do like how Fringilla has tied back into that, in the previous episode telling her pointedly that she was reaping the rewards of Yennefer taking a pass on the Nilfgaard placement and in this episode getting into her head trying to coax her over to the other team with promises that it could make her great too.

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2 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

I mostly liked the battle for all the reasons you state.  The costuming just struck me as funny because every shot of Yennefer being deadly serious and trying to direct the battle made sure to include a generous shot of her cleavage.  I was a little surprised to learn that the head showrunner and a number of higher ups in the production team are women given the amount of random female nudity and standard male gazey stuff like that we've gotten, but maybe they know who their target audience is.  I don't know.

I am sure it is for the target audience and the games do contain major nudity. Surprisingly there is only one female main character doing all of the heavy lifting. The rest of the nudity is from background characters. As a male, I would prefer each major female character to appear nude at least once. It wouldn't surprise me if they filmed one orgy scene and re-used it throughout the rest of the series. Funny how the orgy is the go to diversion for bored Magicians whether male or female, although the Magicians seem like they don't have any desire to participate themselves. The Magicians probably just like making people do things against their will.

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27 minutes ago, AnimeMania said:

I am sure it is for the target audience and the games do contain major nudity.

I am sure the gamers were their target audience throughout this whole thing.  Which, imo, is small thinking.  They are no longer on a gaming platform, they are are Netflix where the show has the potential to reach an audience that goes beyond that.  People insist on trying to make comparisons to Games of Thrones, but that is because GOT was such a cultural zeitgeist they don't know what else to compare it to.  But in reality this show has very, very little in common with GOT.  One of those things is that GOT at least knew they were reaching beyond the book fans and really leaned into the fact that they were on HBO.  They took advantage of that platform and reach and it paid off. I am not sure the makers of this really got that.   If it really had reached beyond its target I would have expected more discussion and saturation in other media areas.  I am not sure I am seeing that.

 

4 hours ago, coppersin said:

liked how this was all set up, because it does a good job of frequently reminding us that that the mages are outsiders here. Vilgefortz is the only dressed appropriately for battle because he's the only one with military experience

 

Yeah, that is another head scratcher.  They knew they were fighting Nilfgaard on a magic front, not on the might of a military engagement a la the Cintra v. Nilfgaard battle shown in the first ep.  But Nilfgaard was still sending in droves armed men, so they were fighting on both the military and magic front.  Using Vilgefortz as a lone sword out there on the field was kinda senseless.  Meanwhile they have Yennefer, who has no military experience at all, as their tactics general up in the tower calling the shots.  She may be a powerful mage, but that doesn't mean she's able read a battlefield and make tactical decisions.  Even in a magic battle. 

And yeah, there is something rather incongruous and ridiculous about these women in cleavage-baring court dresses fluttering about the battlefield.  It wasn't verboten for women to wear pants, Celanthe had some pretty kickass battle gear.  And Fringilla's silver mumu tent dress wasn't much better.  The thing was such a big cover up, I half expected her to throw it off and reveal armor made of magic battle snakes or something.  LOL.

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5 hours ago, DearEvette said:
5 hours ago, AnimeMania said:

I am sure it is for the target audience and the games do contain major nudity.

I am sure the gamers were their target audience throughout this whole thing.  Which, imo, is small thinking.  They are no longer on a gaming platform, they are are Netflix where the show has the potential to reach an audience that goes beyond that.  People insist on trying to make comparisons to Games of Thrones, but that is because GOT was such a cultural zeitgeist they don't know what else to compare it to.  But in reality this show has very, very little in common with GOT.  One of those things is that GOT at least knew they were reaching beyond the book fans and really leaned into the fact that they were on HBO.  They took advantage of that platform and reach and it paid off. I am not sure the makers of this really got that.   If it really had reached beyond its target I would have expected more discussion and saturation in other media areas.  I am not sure I am seeing that.

There are 95 thousand Witcher 3 players and they couldn't wait to comment about this TV series. If you don't please them, the word of mouth will be bad. The people who haven't played the game but know it is based on a game will mimic the sentiments of the people who have played the game since they have also been burned by crappy game adaptations. The only way for Netflix to counter the bad gamer reviews would be through a massive  advertisement campaign and that won't work because all the early show reviews would be negative. So it is best to please the gamers and let them be your advertisement. I thought they added too much plot to the show myself, having never played the games or read the books. My favorite part was the Renfri/Geralt fight and then any fight that Geralt had with a monster. I would have preferred if they defined what a Witcher was, why they are necessary, then showed us just how badass they are. The show needed more fighting and less world building. I would have preferred they gave us about half of the story line so they could have doubled the fight scenes. The constant name and country dropping only made my head spin. A good place to end the season would have been Geralt arriving at Cintra  just shortly before the Nilfgaardian Army is coming to attack. A great place for a cliffhanger ending, that they spoiled in the first episode. Ciri's plot was so boring they could have saved it for the second season. 

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I finished the season the other night and I just felt blah about the whole episode and that's not how one should feel when the main male character Geralt finally meets up with the princess that's been running for her life, or when the "good" guys and main female character Yennefer are fighting the "bad" guys, or when the main female has a profound change on her outlook and stops being all whine whine poor me and actually does something.

But that's how I felt, and that's on the writers IMO they never spent any time investing in the characters or so I'm not invested.  When Tissaia and Geralt were screaming Yennefer's name after her last magical stand; I was all "is Yennefer dead? That would be awesome and totally unpredictable. Come on show please let Yennefer be dead!" but of course she won't be dead she is Geralt's destiny/soul mate/love/ whatever.. But I don't think the writers where hoping for my reaction. I'm sure they were going for the "OMG Yennefer can't be dead!!!!!" reaction. 

Edited by Fireball · Reason: spelling
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On 12/30/2019 at 11:30 PM, AnimeMania said:

There are 95 thousand Witcher 3 players and they couldn't wait to comment about this TV series. If you don't please them, the word of mouth will be bad. The people who haven't played the game but know it is based on a game

It's not based on a game. The games are based on a book series, same as the show.

It wasn't that bad of a season finale but just once I want to see a big battle on the big or small screen that is not based on the rule of cool and/or limited by obvious budget constraints. Fringilla was too overpowered, the northern armies conveniently absent and the dresses just too distractedly our of place.

Spoiler

Even in the game Witcher 3, which is full of fanservice, Yennefer's default outfit is far more practical than the gown she was wearing here.

And I honestly have no idea why she was so willing to fight when she had never shown any particular liking for the Northern Realms or fellow mages. Almost 40 other mages ran away, most of the other mages didn't come to fight in the first place but Yen is super determined and super fond of Tissaia? Good for her but it didn't really feel earned by the scriptwriters.

Also, the aerial shots showed a bridge next to the castle, yet the battle was nowhere near any bridge?

Geralt fighting those monsters was pretty cool, I wish there was more of that than Nilfgardian stormtroopers and Fringilla's super overpowered "forbidden" magic.

Edited by SilverStormm · Reason: Tagged game talk.
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Ugh, why does this season have to be over so quickly?  I'm ready for the next episode.  I guess that's the sign of a good show, it leaves you wanting more.  Watching Yennefer go nuclear was fun.  I'm glad the season ended with Geralt and Ciri finally meeting. Disappointed there was no Jaskier the last couple of episodes though.  I was glad to see Yennefer and Tissala have a moment.  Their relationship has always been strained.  I agree with comments about the pacing.  It felt like they were rushing through the timelines to bring all the major characters together in the present, and you really don't know much about what happened along the way for Geralt and Yennefer all those years, only the highlights pertinent to the major plot points.  Can't wait for season 2.  Can Netflix please order ten episodes this time?

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19 hours ago, Jack Shaftoe said:

And I honestly have no idea why she was so willing to fight when she had never shown any particular liking for the Northern Realms or fellow mages. Almost 40 other mages ran away, most of the other mages didn't come to fight in the first place but Yen is super determined and super fond of Tissaia? Good for her but it didn't really feel earned by the scriptwriters.

I agree with this so much. She has been portrayed as a cynic and outsider (mostly by choice) to all the other mages. She had no problem pushing her eel friends into the water and walking away, and in the later episodes she refused to do what Tissaia asked. Even at the Mage meeting, she seemed like she couldn't care less which side won. Now she is weepy and battling like crazy for her "friends"? It seemed like a complete 180 for the character and coming out of left field considering so far she has only been shown as selfish and doing things only when it benefits herself directly. I did like her blasting the whole field with fire. Are we supposed to think she can do that because she is more powerful than the others because those other mages burnt to a crisp just summoning a fireball.....

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7 hours ago, Ilovepie said:

Are we supposed to think she can do that because she is more powerful than the others because those other mages burnt to a crisp just summoning a fireball.....

They created a fireball, remember back in 103 magic comes with a price, you have to take from the flower to lift the stone otherwise it takes from the caster. Yen absorbed the existing fire from Sodden and then channeled it towards the Nilfgard. Yennifer is very powerful, as Tissaia said back in 103, she's all chaos, which is (I guess the heart of magic) but, not all powerful. The other mages sacrificed themselves or were forced to in order to create the fireball from nothing.

As for Yen doing a 180 I don't see it. Yen has a very complicated love/hate relationship with Tissaia. She returned to The Mage's Homebase because she thought Tissaia called for her. She's like a daughter constantly trying to get a very strict mother's love/attention while at the same time screaming how much she hates/doesn't need Tissaia. I also don't think it's out of character, she changed her goal with the Dragon in 106 when she saw it was a mother protecting her egg and ended up fighting to stop the Reavers.

Yen isn't a hero, she's an anti-hero she protects who she loves (Tissaia, Triss, Geralt and most probably Ciri once they meet) but, doesn't act noble or does good things simply because it's the right thing to do. Although, I think we can say that about most people in the show, even Geralt to and extent.

As for me, I loved this episode and this season. I'm in for next season, even if I have to wait until 2021 and, I will probably read the books to tide me over until S2. I might even play the games once I get a new console.

I was surprised that Geralt was on the sidelines for 108 but, I loved that he finally found Ciri and that they're all (now) in the same timeline.  I'm guessing S2 will deal with Geralt/Ciri looking for Yen after Sodden. 

I've been watching YouTube clips of Witcher 3 and I recall one clip where they talked about Sodden.  I was excited to see what happened in the show.

Fringilla is a decent enough villain mostly because she's so fanatical and, I think she'll be a good foil for Yen. I don't find Cahir to be that interesting of a villain so hopefully we meet a bigger bad villain in S2. Especially if it's going to be Cahir vs Geralt, it would be like snapping a toothpick.

I know why they cast a 17 year old actress as Ciri but, it doesn't help with the character since she's supposed to be 12. I actually wonder if she's even younger in the books? The way people reacted to her it makes sense if she's supposed to be a "girl" vs Young Adult or even Tween.

ETA: Was just watching a a YouTube video about the finale and they made a great point. The Witcher is about 3 people trying to find a family. Geralt was abandoned by his mother, Yen was sold by her Stepfather and Ciri's family were killed. This was basically a S1 story arc about these 3 finding each other. Ciri/Geralt are bound by Destiny because of the Law of Surprise. Gerald/Yen are bound by The Last Wish. When Geralt/Yen are finally reunited Yen will be bound to Ciri (I think) by Love. Ciri will become the child that Yen has been trying to create.  Aww, a happy little Witcher family 😍

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Biggest issue I had with this season was the timelines and keeping all of that straight. 

Like, the thing with the Djinn was apparently years after the Cintra betrothal, yet both Geralt and Jaskier looked exactly the same. 

Jaskier was my favorite character by far, so I really missed him in these last few episodes. I hope he and Geralt reunite in season two. 

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Doesn't Geralt age slowly because of Witcher magic? 

Jaskier is a problem, though. They probably should have done some aging makeup on him. I don't mind the betrothal vs. the djinn lack of aging because I think Jaskier was at the age where some people really don't show the passage of time. But then later Yennefer comments on his crow's feet, and he's clearly supposed to be older.

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I thought Last Wish took place right after the Child Surprise? That's why Geralt had insomnia for 3 weeks and was looking for the Djinn. 

Rare Species does take place years after Last Wish, noted by Yen's snarky comment over Jaskier's crows feet. Plus we had the rather short montage (does 2 clips count as a montage?) of Gerald/Yen getting busy and then leaving each other. Plus Geralt's later comment about hating how her scent fades from the sheets after she's gone (which implies multiple encounters over years). 

That's probably the only issue I had with the show. I thought they did a poor job of showing the length of the Yen/Geralt relationship between Last Wish and Rare Species.

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6 hours ago, Morrigan2575 said:

I thought Last Wish took place right after the Child Surprise? That's why Geralt had insomnia for 3 weeks and was looking for the Djinn. 

Rare Species does take place years after Last Wish, noted by Yen's snarky comment over Jaskier's crows feet. Plus we had the rather short montage (does 2 clips count as a montage?) of Gerald/Yen getting busy and then leaving each other. Plus Geralt's later comment about hating how her scent fades from the sheets after she's gone (which implies multiple encounters over years). 

That's probably the only issue I had with the show. I thought they did a poor job of showing the length of the Yen/Geralt relationship between Last Wish and Rare Species.

I thought in the beginning of the Djinn episode that Jaskier said he hadn't seen Geralt for "X" years.

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On 1/3/2020 at 6:51 PM, Morrigan2575 said:

They created a fireball, remember back in 103 magic comes with a price, you have to take from the flower to lift the stone otherwise it takes from the caster. Yen absorbed the existing fire from Sodden and then channeled it towards the Nilfgard. Yennifer is very powerful, as Tissaia said back in 103, she's all chaos, which is (I guess the heart of magic) but, not all powerful. The other mages sacrificed themselves or were forced to in order to create the fireball from nothing.

As for Yen doing a 180 I don't see it. Yen has a very complicated love/hate relationship with Tissaia. She returned to The Mage's Homebase because she thought Tissaia called for her. She's like a daughter constantly trying to get a very strict mother's love/attention while at the same time screaming how much she hates/doesn't need Tissaia. I also don't think it's out of character, she changed her goal with the Dragon in 106 when she saw it was a mother protecting her egg and ended up fighting to stop the Reavers.

Aha! Thank you for the explanation of the shriveling mages! 

I concede that you are probably correct about Yen but it’s still a little hard to buy when she was saying “burn them all” or something like that at the Mage council right before they left for the battle. She wasn’t exactly invested.

As much as I’ve enjoyed this show, I don’t think it’s done a great job showing the character motivations, nor the differing timelines. I don’t want to have to come here for explanations of what’s happening in the damn show for it to make sense. The subtle hints were not helpful in making clear the timeline differences until halfway through the season, nor how much time had passed between some of the episodes. If I want to watch a show where I have no idea when stuff is happening I will rewatch Westworld. This show shouldn’t be that difficult. Hopefully this won’t be an issue next season now that they’re all in the same timeline.

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8 hours ago, Ilovepie said:

I concede that you are probably correct about Yen but it’s still a little hard to buy when she was saying “burn them all” or something like that at the Mage council right before they left for the battle. She wasn’t exactly invested.

She wasn't talking about Cintra or the people she was talking about the Brotherhood, the Mage School which she obviously has issues with. However, she is very close to Tissaia (as seen by her jumping to return as soon as she thought Tissaia wanted her back). She also seemed close to Triss even though we don't know their story and she was close to Sabrina back in the school (103).

Yen is bitter and angry but, when push cames to shove she stands by what she cares about (Geralt, Tissaia, Triss, Sabrina) we saw that in 106, 107 and 108.

I saw a couple of interesting comments online about Yen. Someone pointed out that her eyes are bleeding as she let's the fire loose, I checked and her eyes are bleeding as she absorbs the fire from Sodden so it's possible that this act did a take toll on her body we haven't seen yet.

Another poster commented that Yen has Elvin blood (1/4, which we learned earlier) and, maybe that's why she was able to absorb and, redirect the fire without consequences (assuming there aren't any).

17 hours ago, AnimeMania said:

I thought in the beginning of the Djinn episode that Jaskier said he hadn't seen Geralt for "X" years.

I went back and looked, Jaskier says what's it been Months? Years? What is time anyway?  

I'm not sure what the true timeline is, a few months or even a year would make sense for the Child Surprise to weigh on Geralt until he can't sleep. However, it might have been more, it's hard to tell

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2 hours ago, Morrigan2575 said:

However, she is very close to Tissaia (as seen by her jumping to return as soon as she thought Tissaia wanted her back).

I would argue that she became close to Tissaia when the plot needed her to be, prior to that she kept complaining about how the Brotherhood ruined her life and hadn't shown any interest in contacting any of its members except for Istredd in the decades that passed between episode 3 and episode 7. And yes, she returned but it seemed that her goal was to once again complain about her fate (the hilariously terrible magic pot smoking scene comes to mind) and then suddenly we see her caring not just about Tissaia but about all named mages who remained and fought. She is also one of the few mages who seemed to have any clue about what Nilfgaard was like. You would think that people who meddle in politics so much would be far more familiar with such a formidable entity.

And of course, Nifgaard is such an over the top evil empire that the reluctance of kings and mages to unite against it is rather baffling. I mean, eating human body parts, sacrificing people for one measly fireball, wearing those black armors which are a crime against fashion...

There was also the bizarre scene where Tissaia went for a chat with Fringilla in the middle of the battle. Fringilla neutralized her then went all evil overlord and didn't bother killing or capturing her.

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On 1/2/2020 at 7:39 PM, Jack Shaftoe said:

Also, the aerial shots showed a bridge next to the castle, yet the battle was nowhere near any bridge?

I had the same thought. My guess is that the castle protects the bridge, which is the only was to get to "The North." That's why Nilfgaard was able to attack from below on the same side of the bridge. It seems that Nilfaard will have to wait until the castle stops smoking before they can actually go through and cross the rather narrow bridge. Given how many people were in the army before the battle, it probably would have taken several decades to get everyone across. The mages did Nilgaard a favor by killing so many soldiers. 

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1 hour ago, Loandbehold said:

I had the same thought. My guess is that the castle protects the bridge, which is the only was to get to "The North." That's why Nilfgaard was able to attack from below on the same side of the bridge. It seems that Nilfaard will have to wait until the castle stops smoking before they can actually go through and cross the rather narrow bridge. Given how many people were in the army before the battle, it probably would have taken several decades to get everyone across. The mages did Nilgaard a favor by killing so many soldiers. 

My thought was why they didn’t just destroy the bridge. 
 

Even with Fringella and her Cannon Fodder mages, it would have delayed Nilfgaard enough for Cersei’s distant cousin to arrive. 

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Damn, the learning curb when it comes to learning magic is steep. Dont do well enough, and you die or turn into an eel! 

That was a suitably epic end to the season, and I am glad that the timelines and characters have all finally converged, and I enjoyed this season a lot. I wish that they had explained a bit more about this universe at the top, and I feel like the three timelines happening at different times, while not a bad idea, was a bit too confusing and unnecessary, and that a lot of this season was basically a prologue to the rest of the series, but I still had a blast watching this show, and I am really excited to see what happens next! 

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Finally, all three storylines have converged. Kind of.

Seeing the mages preparing to stand against Nilfgaard was pretty cool, and seeing them actually in action was very cool. But I'll be honest, I kind of stopped paying attention and don't really know what the whole thing was about. The Nilfgaardians are invading another country? Why? Or are they just looking for Ciri (probably don't need an entire army for that)?

And I don't know why Fringilla was apparently so much stronger and smarter than the rest of the mages. They all just seemed badly prepared and not particularly capable or smart. I don't really like people being written this stupidly, just because it's narratively convenient. Maybe if I liked or cared about Yennefer, I might have been more affected by the storyline.

Another thing I don't care for - sometimes a tiny fireball can wither a whole person, and sometimes lifting a rock withers your arm, but at other times people can do loads of magic and just get a bit of a nosebleed or look like they have a stomach ache. Either give us consistency, or explain why it's not consistent.

To be honest, I got more bored of this show, as the season progressed. It seemed to lose track of where it wanted to go, and the different storylines began to detract from one another instead of complimenting. I would have flipped my shit if Ciri had actually wandered off and Geralt had missed her.

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18 hours ago, Last Time Lord said:

My thought was why they didn’t just destroy the bridge.

Damn you and your logic. Now I can't stop thinking about it.

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sometimes a tiny fireball can wither a whole person, and sometimes lifting a rock withers your arm, but at other times people can do loads of magic and just get a bit of a nosebleed or look like they have a stomach ache. Either give us consistency, or explain why it's not consistent.

They did explain this, but not very well, IMHO. In that initial flower/rock scene, Tissaia explains that they need to take the energy from somewhere in order to have the magic. That's her whole "sometimes the best thing a flower can do for us is die" speech. The energy can come from within the mage, but then there's a cost to the mage. Fringilla had no idea what she was doing back when she floated the rock, so it's possible her hand withered because she was inefficient with her chaos rather than because it really takes that much energy from a mage to float a rock.

During battle, we see Triss take energy from the ground before she casts her spells, but I didn't understand that's what she was doing until I read someone else's explanation. I thought she was just touching the ground because she was using earth-based magic. However, that's the only time I remember seeing a mage clearly taking energy from somewhere else to cast magic.

More observant people than I have said that Yennefer took the already existing fire from Sodden in order to unleash it on the Nilfgaard. There was still some unknown cost to her, but she was doing something different than the captive mages who used their own life energy to create the fireballs for Fringilla.

Yennefer's portals may be an exception to the general rule because it was implied her quarter-Elven blood gives her an advantage to the specific magic of portals, but not what that really means. Do elves not need to take energy from somewhere to use magic? Or is it just that Yennefer has an affinity for portals? 

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2 hours ago, Zuleikha said:

Yennefer's portals may be an exception to the general rule because it was implied her quarter-Elven blood gives her an advantage to the specific magic of portals, but not what that really means. Do elves not need to take energy from somewhere to use magic? Or is it just that Yennefer has an affinity for portals?

Are elves magical creatures in the Witcherverse? If so, they may have a store of magic they can use and it's only if they use a lot more that it has a negative impact on them or they have to grab more from elsewhere.

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1 hour ago, Loandbehold said:

Are elves magical creatures in the Witcherverse? If so, they may have a store of magic they can use and it's only if they use a lot more that it has a negative impact on them or they have to grab more from elsewhere.

Yes, it was explained in one of the earlier episodes that Elves were the original magic users on The Continent and, they taught magic to humans. In turn Humans decided to hunt/kill them all off in order to keep the magic for themselves, or at the very least eliminate a group with more magic/powers that could be a threat to Human dominance.

Edited by Morrigan2575
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Was I the only one who hoped it would turn out that Jaskier might also like the men and not just the women? Well, maybe we'll still get to that. He did make 1-2 remarks that could be interpreted in that direction. Might be a prolem if the author of the books has too much say, though.

Btw. what's funny, his nickname seems to be a different flower in every language. In polish it's Jaskier (Buttercup), in english it's Dandelion and in german it's Rittersporn (larkspur). Seems like the translators of the books and games had fun there...

(the german name also directly translates to "knight's spurs", which might have een a consideration for chosing it)

My thoughts on the season: I really liked it, even though it was a bit uneven at parts.

On 12/21/2019 at 2:37 PM, Happy Harpy said:

too rushed on some aspects

Yeah that was my main issue.

Hey I'm Yennifer, I'm a mistreated young girl. Uh now I'm in mage training. But I'm really bad at it. Now I'm suddenly the best at it. Now my training is done and I'm a mage. Now I'm apparently over a hundret years old and you saw nothing of it! Now I met this guy Gerald. Now we apperently met each other a bunch of times but never really got together. Now we broke up for good.

Man was her plot way too rushed.

On 12/23/2019 at 5:14 AM, Stardancer Supreme said:

It took me 7 episodes to finally figure out that each episode runs on 3 different timelines.

That there are different timelines became obvious in episode three when the sister stupping king was shown as a little boy at Yennifers big sorcerer entrance party thing. And then blatently obbvious when Gerald was prancing around Cintra before Ciri was even born,

Were there any hints before episode three that one could have picked up on though?

On 12/24/2019 at 6:33 AM, thuganomics85 said:

Although, we did get to find out that Geralt's mom was a mage, and abandoned him for some reason. 

The interesting question is: Is she his biological mother? Because that isn't supposed to be possible for mages. There might be hope for Yen yet...

On 12/30/2019 at 1:01 AM, nodorothyparker said:

Geralt just not having it when the merchant tried to offer him the Law of Surprise after saving him made me laugh.  Yeah, that's what got us here, thanks.

Though I guess since his wife just adopted Ciri it would have just been her again. XD

Destiny really wants those two together.

On 1/3/2020 at 1:39 AM, Jack Shaftoe said:

Also, the aerial shots showed a bridge next to the castle, yet the battle was nowhere near any bridge?

The bridge was on the other side of the castle. Still don't quite get why they didn't jjust destroy the bridge. It would have given them time to wait for the reinforcements. ut I guess it would have given Nilfgard a defensible position, which wouldn't have been good.

On 1/3/2020 at 9:12 PM, Ilovepie said:

She had no problem pushing her eel friends into the water and walking away

I think that was a problem with her story being rushed and with the actress not being able to emote much in the prosthetic. From what we saw this episode it seemed like those girls actually were her friends and that the eelefication actually did hit her hard, but that she saw no other way but to play along.

On 1/5/2020 at 3:49 PM, Morrigan2575 said:

I went back and looked, Jaskier says what's it been Months? Years? What is time anyway?  

I'm not sure what the true timeline is, a few months or even a year would make sense for the Child Surprise to weigh on Geralt until he can't sleep. However, it might have been more, it's hard to tell

I think he was being sarcastic and it was a few days.

On 1/6/2020 at 7:22 PM, Zuleikha said:

They did explain this, but not very well, IMHO. In that initial flower/rock scene, Tissaia explains that they need to take the energy from somewhere in order to have the magic. That's her whole "sometimes the best thing a flower can do for us is die" speech. The energy can come from within the mage, but then there's a cost to the mage. Fringilla had no idea what she was doing back when she floated the rock, so it's possible her hand withered because she was inefficient with her chaos rather than because it really takes that much energy from a mage to float a rock.

Mages also seem to take a lot of their energy from the eels. Hence Yen's comment that the place is "Aretuza's windmill. Enough bridled chaos to keep the curtains hung and the torches lit"

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On 12/27/2019 at 12:13 PM, DearEvette said:

So I finally finished.

I am torn.  I am pre-disposed to like stuff like this because I read fantasy and sword and sorcery epics are my jam.   Since my background is more books/lit than gaming I watch for plotting, world building, character development and story arcs.  I have to say that while this was watchable and entertaining throughout, I can't necessarily say it was good, per se.

It is weird they decide to give us Geralt's background in this last episode.  And pretty much keep him out of the main action.  And the show seems like it could just not resist one more 'monster of the week' for Geralt.  When honestly what did that even serve except as vehicle to hallucinate his mother?

The big battle should have been an important set piece that felt like an important culmination where our heroes and villains meet.  Again, interesting and well shot and entertaining to watch on its own.  But really all it did for story purposes was put a lot of people we know nothing about and honestly don't care about on a battlefield.  There are no personal stakes outside of Yennefer  because  who else have we really spent time with and want to root for (or against)?  Who the hell is Atlan? Coral? 

Vilgefortz The Hot asks Cahir The Smirk   'What do you want?' which is a good question which we should already know if the show had even bothered to give us any time with at all Nilfgaard.  Then Cahir answers 'The center of it all.'  Which is a stupid ass answer because what does that even mean? 

It is nice for Ciri and Geralt to finally meet.  I really can't say that angything with Ciri connected to me at all.  By all rights I should have been upset for her losing her family and being on her own, wandering the woods etc.  But she just came off as a snowflake princess  character trope.  Down to every person who meets her instantly wanting to take her in and save her.  I guess that could be explained away by 'Destiny' but the actress was just a blank cipher.  I feel that not only was her story bits were the weakest, she was weak link as well.

Overall, even though I am a fantasy fan and seeks stuff like this out, I came away from thinking that I was not really the audience for this.  It felt like a love letter to the gamers without attempting to become really accessible to the people who don't have the background with the games. And it could have easily been both.

I agree with so much you’ve said here, but especially the bolded. People kept saying Ciri had been through a lot, but sorry I wasn’t seeing or feeling it. As stated, she was taken in by almost everyone she met and really did pretty well for herself considering she was a princess whose kingdom has fell, leaving her to wonder the woods virtually alone. 

And are we to believe that Ciri and Geralt are romantic soulmates because of the deal he made with her father when she was yet in the wound? I hope that’s not the case. If so, eew on so many levels. Mainly because the actress playing Ciri doesn’t even look legal. HC looks old enough to be her father.  Hopefully I’m misreading this and their relationship will be strictly platonic. 

Like others, I thought most of the women we encountered, specifically the witches and Ciri’s mother, to be the most compelling. The Witcher was engaging enough, but I will say it took me a few episodes to get used to HC’s voice. I laughed the first few times I heard it because it sounded so unreal.

Strangely, though I didn’t give a flying fig  about most of the characters, I did find this entertaining. So I’d watch a season 2.

 

Edited by Enero
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1 hour ago, Enero said:

And are we to believe that Ciri and Geralt are romantic soulmates because of the deal he made with her father when she was yet in the wound?

I don't see that at all. They never said soulmates or romance and considering Geralt tied his fate to Yennifer they're more likely to be romantic soulmates. You even have Ciri asking "Who's Yennifer", it's the first/only thing she said to Geralt.

Seems clear that Geralt/Ciri will be father daughter. Geralt/Yennifer have been set up as romantic soulmates and, given Yen's desire for a child, she will (hopefully) get a mother/daughter relationship with Ciri.

 

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Were there any hints before episode three that one could have picked up on though?

Yes, but you have to be hella good with names to catch them. In Ep 1, Renfri mentioned Queen Calanthe having just won her first battle at Hochebuz. Meanwhile, over in the Ciri timeline, Calanthe mentions winning her first battle at Hochebuz when she was Ciri's age.

In Ep 2, we see Stregobor with Istredd at the end. At the time, I picked up on that as a sign that Yen's timeline was earlier than Geralt's because I thought Stregobor was kicked out of the mage's council after the events of the Black Sun. While I was ultimately correct that Yen's timeline was before Geralt's, it seems like I misunderstood Stregobor's fate because he was back in the Council post-Renfri. So I'm not sure if there are other clues in that episode that solidly place Yen as pre-Geralt or if those don't come until the later episodes.

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In Episode 3 you see a painting of the young prince (who is now the king) and princess (the one that gives birth to the Stregobor). You can see the same young prince and princess at the party that Yennefer so rudely interrupts.

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16 minutes ago, AnimeMania said:

In Episode 3 you see a painting of the young prince (who is now the king) and princess (the one that gives birth to the Stregobor). You can see the same young prince and princess at the party that Yennefer so rudely interrupts.

I'd have to go back and watch but, I think they also mention Cintra having a King and an heiress in Episode 3 (indicating Calanthe was still a Princess at that point). I can't remember if there were any hints in episode 2 about the 3 timelines

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Someone on Twitter posted a picto-timeline. My problems were how the specific dates were chosen and also that the post-coital convo b/w Geralt and Yenn made it seem as if they'd seen each other b/w their first time and the dragon quest.

Witcher Timelines

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