What ‘The Witcher’ Gets Right That ‘Game of Thrones’ Got So Terribly Wrong

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    Katalin Vermes/NetflixI probably couldn’t tell you what, exactly, happens in Season 1 of The Witcher, the Netflix fantasy series starring Henry Cavill in an array of frizzy wigs and distracting colored contact lenses. For those unfamiliar with the books or video games in the Witcher franchise, the TV series can be near-maddening to follow. It jumps back and forth through time over a period of about 70 years, often with only quick, throwaway lines to indicate that this scene takes place while the characters who suffered horrible deaths in the last scene were still alive. The narrative is ill-paced, confusingly staged, and dense with exposition that, miraculously, never seems to actually clarify what’s happening onscreen. It’s a mess.Yet I devoured all eight nonsensical episodes in two days, and immediately ordered the books they are based on for more. Based on recent reports, I’m far from the only one: the books are currently sold out on Amazon; The Witcher is suddenly the most in-demand TV show in the world, according to Parrot Analytics; the game The Witcher 3 is enjoying a stronger boost in sales than at any time since its launch. And I can tell you the exact moment I knew the show would sucker me in. It was when a woman drew a sword.Loosely adapted from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s bestselling Witcher saga, the Netflix series employs the novels’ same basic conceit: Geralt of Rivia, a magic-enhanced monster-hunter-for-hire, travels a medieval-ish landscape in search of his next payday, along the way colliding with the forces reshaping the world. His destiny, we are told again and again (and again), is to find and protect a small blond princess named Cirilla whom he accidentally adopted a few years back through something called the “Law of Surprise.” The premise only barely makes more sense in practice than it does on paper. Anyway, it’s only the dry meat of Geralt’s plot. The real appeal of Geralt is in the strangely offbeat persona inhabiting the outline of a conventional fantasy hero. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here

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