Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / The Witcher

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    Mixed media 
  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • Outside of native Poland, neighbouring Czech Republic and a few other central European countries, the popularity of the games overshadows the book series by such a crushing margin there is even a minor meme between fans, jokingly calling the saga "prequel books written to the games".
    • Aggravated even more in Latin America — The Witcher (2019) was, for many Spanish speakers, their first introduction to the franchise, causing surprise that there were books and video games based off of it.
    • To put into simple numbers: as of 2020, the books have sold 15 million copies. The game series has sold 50 million copies, which may or may not even be counting expansion packs. Now remember that a game copy is significantly more expensive than a novel.note 
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • "The Witcher is a true representation of Polish folklore", a commonly cited point by the below-mentioned Misaimed Fandom. While it's true that Witcher tends to utilises Slavic names and some of the monsters are named after or in reference to creatures from the local folklore, this is not the case for every monster in the series (or in fact, most of them), nor was this ever the intent of the author in the first place. Sapkowski named various monsters after Polish folklore largely due to the fact he himself is Polish and thus was aware of them (while much of Polish folklore is quite obscure elsewhere), but he also named monsters after folklore from Norse, Greek, Roman, English, Middle Eastern, African, and various other cultures, because he was taking inspiration from all folklore sources he knew aboutnote . In fact, the biggest inspiration for him was... Monstrous Manual from AD&D 2e, something that used to be a running joke within the Polish fandom. Never mind also that many of the creatures are In Name Only to their folklore origins, as Sapkowski was never intending the series to be a true or authentic showcasing of his local folklore. Then there is the content of the books, which are either short stories poking fun out of explicitly non-Slavic fairy tales by Andersen and Grimm brothersnote  or a heroic fantasy saga that with few names swapped could be easily taken for absolutely standard "Western" fantasy. As far as fandom and just about anyone who read the books is concerned, the whole "Witcher is quintessential Slavic/Polish fantasy" gig is done by people who either never had any contact whatsoever with the franchise (and most definitely not the books), or actively ignored how superfluous it is beyond few names being dropped.
    • Despite all of this, it wasn't uncommon to see people argue that the series using creatures named after Polish folklore meant that they couldn't cast any non-white actors in the Netflix series.
    • In general, there's a very common tendency for "fans" to declare something was Sapkowski's 'intention', without any merit and oftentimes in complete opposition to Sapkowski's actual stated intentions. One example is the "realism" in his fantasy world, with claims that Sapkowski intended for Witcher to be a realistic depiction of a fantasy world, similar to A Song of Ice and Fire; while elves and magic are present, everything else in the world is meant to be 100% realistic and true to its medieval Polish setting. To put it bluntly, Sapkowski has never claimed this was his intention and has actively argued against the idea that fantasy should be held back by realism; of note, this is a series where the concepts of genetics and mutation are understood enough for the average idiotic Ungrateful Bastard to be aware that Witchers are genetically mutated, and characters are described wearing modern-styled knickers and lingerie. Sapkowski has actively justified this (and his general disinterest at staying 'historically accurate') with the logic that a world full of elves and magic shouldn't be beholden by "realism". As with the above point, it's not uncommon for this to be brought up when trying to argue that the series should have zero people of colour because its' "unrealistic" for there to be racial diversity in a medieval setting, which isn't even true to real medieval times anyway, even to the point of arguing that Zerikanians (who are heavily coded as African/Arab) should be white because the two that Geralt meets are described as light-haired because its impossible for non-white people to have varying hair colors even though this is actually entirely possible in real life anyway.
  • Complete Monster: Has its own page here.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Nilfgaard Empire. Nazis By Other Name with a dash of Mongol Invasion. Oppressive totalitarian state where saying the wrong thing gets your head cut off. Slavery. Their armies sadistically slaughter civilians as the statutory war tactic and burn everything to the ground as the long-term economic strategy. They even manipulate the Scoia'tael into fighting with them, promising them freedom and equal rights, only to sell them out as scapegoats the second they cease being useful. All this under the pretense of bringing culture to the conquered lands. Surprisingly, part of the audience goes along with this in-universe propaganda, whitewashing Nilfgaard as the beacon of justice and Realpolitik in this Crapsack World.
    • Northern Kingdoms. A Crapsack World bent on extreme racism toward non-humans, bigotry, envy, and exploitation of serfs. Nobles abusing their privileges. Magicians controlling the market and living luxurious lives on the cost of everyone. Both nobles and magic users looking for their own petty profit and nothing else. Not that their nominal rulers are any better or smarter. Common people are a nasty combination of Medieval Morons and Torches and Pitchforks, usually led by some Church Militant priest. Unsurprisingly, because of Sympathetic P.O.V., many people consider Nordlings and their kingdoms as a nice place to stay and a home of freedom and liberty, where everyone (supposedly) is a master of his or her life.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Dandelion. He's the ultimate Spoony Bard. As the saga progresses, he becomes the only spot of light, wits, and humour in this grim-dark world. In the TV adaptation, he was the only character to be acclaimed by both fans of the saga and regular viewers. His popularity was actively invoked in the tabletop game and he's still there in the video games, gaining even more fans. A rare case when a Non-Action Guy (and more or less The Load) in an action-oriented genre becomes highly popular. Being just a regular guy in the World of Badass helps immensely.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With fans of The Elric Saga due to both them and Michael Moorcock, the author, believing that Geralt of Rivia is a rip-off of Elric. Geralt shares numerous similarities with Elric and was inspired by him (They are both pale, white-haired swordsmen-sorcerers who are known as "The White Wolf" and use a lot of potions), they are in the end different characters, chiefly in that Geralt remains a "witcher", a marginal and liminal figure who moves between classes and is not really a chosen one figure, while Elric is an Emperor who has fallen on hard times and destined to bring about an apocalyptic prophecy.
    • It is important to note this rivalry is extremely one-sided: the Elric saga is virtually unknown in Poland and Czech Republic, where the majority of Witcher books' fanbase comes from. When asked about the similarities between Geralt and Elric, expect a genuine reaction in tune of "Who?".
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Pronouncing Geralt's name as "Gerald" gets this reaction from the fandom. It's a hard G.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The main choice of the game becomes harder (or easier) if you've read The Lesser Evil from The Last Wish.
  • Magnificent Bastard: See here.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: Who do you want to root for? A bunch of back-stabbing racists? The evil empire conquering the known world? Mages and sorceresses playing their own game of world domination? Cruel elven supremacists? Or maybe an ignorant hunter, who kills everyone in his way? Oh, and you know from the start how meaningless everything is, since you are informed before the title page of the first book about the incoming ice age.

    Short stories and saga 
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Leo Bonhart has proven to be one of the most popular villains from the saga despite being a depraved Psycho for Hire who only has a substantial role in the last two books. A large part of his popularity stems from the fact that, in a world of witchers, sorcerers and monsters, Bonhart is just a normal human who nevertheless manages to be a genuinely terrifying Hero Killer (who also takes out the loathsome Rats). In the heydays of the saga, Bonhart was the biggest subject of fan fiction behind Geralt and Ciri, and a common debate in the fandom is if he could best Geralt in a duel.
  • Ho Yay: While both of them are strictly hetero, Geralt and Dandelion seem to be a little bit too close to each other for being just buddies. At one point, Geralt finds himself unable to kill a doppelganger who took his friend's form, because the sole thought of doing it fills him with disgust and grief. He wouldn't have any problems killing the monster when it took his own form, but Dandelion is in a whole different league. At one point in the short stories, they even have to share a bed at an inn.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Has quite a lot of far-right fans in Poland that keep talking how Sapkowski's works are "unique Slavic fantasy", "true Polishnote  books" and "supporting the traditional values", much to the author's annoyance. For those uninformed, his works are the direct opposite of those. It's especially ironic given how just about anything written within Witcherverse was created precisely to mock all the ideas that are associated with the Polish right and generally taking piss on a thinly veiled political situation of Poland in early 90s (and by Tower of the Swallow being a text, rather than just subtext). Not helping matters is Sapkowski's essay Piróg, or, There Is No Gold In The Grey Mountains published in the early 90s, which is a few pages of vicious assault on right-leaning and faux-Slavic fantasy literature, with all his literary output staying true to that essay. A running joke within the fandom is that the real reason Sapkowski is so angry about the video game adaptations is because they lead to a sharp increase of "fans" that never read his books, but still make wild claims about their content.
    • This side of the Polish fandom became highly visible to the wider internet community when the Netflix adaptation was announced, which naturally due to Ability over Appearance and Colorblind Casting being employed, had many side characters get a Race Lift, something that this side of the fandom were furious with. Within Polish Far-Right communities, many saw this as Americans, via Netflix, trying to 'take away' the Witcher universe from Poland and disrespecting the 'Pure-Polish' roots — again, despite the Author never intending The Witcher to be seen as 'Pure Polish'. Of particularly note, Yennifer's actress Anya Chalotra (who is half-Indian, but still white-passing) ended up quitting social media over harassment, while prior to official casting, a rumour that Ciri would be race-lifted caused a great deal of online fury. Many were insistent they needed to be "pure" Polish and/or Slavic, despite both Yennifer and Ciri having mixed ancestry (both having Elven ancestors), and of course the series employing Fantasy Counterpart Culture in-general meaning that any racial purity would be impossible as the actual races they belonged to didn't exist.
  • Money, Dear Boy: After years of constant claiming that he would never return to Witcher, that he considered it his worst creation and practically burning all the bridges, the author is publishing another book, calling the saga his biggest achievement and best idea ever. To his credit, he openly admits this trope.
    • His Hussite trilogy is highly regardednote . Since he doesn't publish all that often, that makes Sapkowski an author of a greatly popular fantasy cycle, a somewhat popular Historical Fantasy trilogy, and a passable war-with-fantasy-elements novel.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Leo Bonhart crosses his almost immediately after his first appearance in Tower of the Swallow, when after brutally killing all the Rats except Ciri, he makes her watch her lover Mistle slowly and painfully die, then forces her to watch as he saws their heads off... leaving Mistle for the last.
  • Narm: Andrzej Sapkowski's habit of using truncated sentences — often to get a dramatic point across — can be awkward. Likewise, his habit of having some characters use "You [insult], you [other insult]! You [different insult]!" when they're angry gets cringeworthy. This is however predominately an issue of shody translation — those same insults and style of writing are perfectly normal in original Polish (different grammar, different sentence structure), while the official English translation is universally loathed for its poor quality and an overly literal approach.
  • One-Scene Wonder: many, but special mention has to go to Evangelina Parr, a whore unlikely to end all whores despite her bountiful proportions, who literally appears in two sentences yet is surprisingly popular in fandom.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Back when they came out, the short stories were considered highly original and one of first modern works of fiction in Poland that dabbled in deconstructing classic fairy tales, plot cliches and general tropes. Today deconstructing Grimm fairy tales is probably the most overused and creatively bankrupt thing one could possibly write and thus works as a detriment toward the short stories, despite them being forerunner for this trend (at least in Poland) and early adopter in general.
  • Sequelitis: Depending who you ask, you can get few conflicting answers:
Advertisement:

    The first video game 

YMMV tropes for Assassins of Kings go here and YMMV tropes for Wild Hunt go here.

  • Complete Monster: Azar Javed is an Evil Sorcerer and Mad Scientist all in one and the front man of the Salamandra crime syndicate. Murdering his teachers for objecting to his use of forbidden magic, Azar Javed recruited many humans to Salamandra. Javed used his followers as Cannon Fodder to attack the Witcher home castle Kaer Morhen and steal their secrets on mutation. With this newfound knowledge, he conducted cruel experiments on many unfortunate humans, including children, turning them into mindless mutants to create an army for his employer. Azar Javed would also murder a man by infesting him with the eggs of exotic flies, led the Salamandra on vicious anti-human crusades, and murdered a detective who got too close to his trail before taking his identity and trying to manipulate Geralt into doing his bidding.
  • Ending Fatigue: Act V and the Epilogue of the first game are, for the most part, linear sequences of fights. Whilst the plot is advanced decently, the gameplay doesn't exactly have a hub like the previous acts, meaning that for the most part you'll just be running around killing dudes. This quickly gets tedious, boring, and if you haven't levelled up enough or aren't good at combat, frustrating.
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own page.
  • Goddamn Bats: Drowners. They're encountered everywhere during the game, but they were only a threat in the Outskirts in the first chapter. They're basically the main reason to use the group sword style.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Jacques de Aldersberg, Grand Master of the Order of the Flaming Rose, is the mastermind behind all major events in the game. Having made power plays with people in high places as well as in the criminal underworld, he sets a plan in motion to destabilize the kingdom of Temeria, leading his knights on a crusade against non-humans and thus provoking the militant Scoia'tael, which ultimately ends in a bloody civil war. This puts King Foltest into a delicate situation, where he either has to give Jacques full authority to end the revolt or do nothing, making him look like a weak ruler. His knights are secretly funded by the drug money his ally, the criminal organization Salamandra, makes for him, which allows Jacques to present the order as humble heroes of the people who fulfill their needs for free. His ultimate plan is turning mankind into highly advanced mutants with the help of the stolen Witcher Secrets, and leading them southwards to survive the incoming White Frost. Throughout his conversations with Geralt, who later turns out was his former adoptive father, he tries to convince him of the righteousness of his cause, having sacrificed everything to save humanity in an almost flawlessly executed scheme.
  • Memetic Mutation: The "Glorious PC Gaming Master Race" meme was spawned by Yahtzee's review of this game.
  • Narm
    • The game's use of Only Six Faces for several prominent supporting characters can make things look outright ridiculous. An incredibly wealthy and influential merchant ends up with the exact same model as every other merchant in the game, just with a white outfit. And a feared crimelord winds up sharing the same model and color scheme as his two bodyguards.
    • Of all the character designs, Geralt's is particularly unfortunate. He looks like a slow-witted, greasy-haired sex offender.
    • Even with the Enhanced Edition's improved script, the voice acting can still ping pongs between wooden and hammy with little middleground.
  • Never Live It Down: The sex cards have cast a shadow on the entire series it has yet to shake off, even though the sequels omitted them entirely, reduced the number of Optional Sexual Encounters dramatically, and dialed back on the All Women Are Lustful trope. On the bright side, though, through Leaning on the Fourth Wall, CDPR themselves have shown they're willing to joke about it themselves by way of Self-Deprecation.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Despite being based on a fantasy series virtually unknown outside of Poland, made by unproven developers, and initially having a shoestring-budget localization job, the first game turned out to be a Sleeper Hit thanks to positive reviews and good word-of-mouth from gamers, paving the way for the rest of the game series.
  • Replacement Scrappy: For people familiar with the books, Alvin is this for Ciri.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Blizzard Potion has a very useful effect in the form of a boost to your dodge and parry abilities, making you nearly untouchable. Unfortunately, it also causes a completely unnecessary Bullet Time effect that also affects Geralt's attack animations and movement speed, causing the entire game to slow to a crawl until the effect wears off.
    • The maps are relatively large, sometimes with a Space-Filling Path that makes travel from Point A to Point B a hassle, with fast travel coming in a very, very limited form, and only available in Chapters 2 and 3.
    • The sheer amount of Shop Fodder compared to your limited inventory space can make looting a recent battle a pain as you try to pick valuables out from between generic food.
    • In order to read books on different vegetation you can loot for alchemical ingredients, you have to use a Bronze Talent on Herbalism. The problem is, this is required to advance the story well after you're given your first set of Bronze Talents, and it's entirely likely you'll have put all of them into more attractive combat abilities, forcing you to scrounge for experience points until you can learn it.
    • Picking up an item from a pile of other items is nothing but a frustrating experience. No matter what angle or camera mode you use, you'll likely pick up an another item than the one you want.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: It's rather dated compared to its sequels. That said, it was considered good enough to fund said sequels and is still good for what it was supposed to be.
  • That One Boss:
  • That One Sidequest:
    • The entire Dice Poker questline. In the initial release, it was simple enough. Patched, it's irritating at best and rage-inducing at worst. Not only is the entire questline one long Luck-Based Mission, but because the computer goes after you roll, there's always a good chance it will roll exactly what it needs to beat you, especially on the Professional and Sharper entries. Even if you keep yourself from going broke by betting low or just Save Scumming your way to victory, you can expect to be playing for a while.
    • The Beauty and the Beast sidequest isn't difficult, but it requires you to go back and forth between various areas and play a glorified messenger boy.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: There is a lot of foreshadowing that Alvin, the young Source who Geralt encounters frequently and then disappears completely from the story, travels through time and space to grow up and become the genocidal Big Bad of the game, Jacques de Aldersberg. This theory is eventually confirmed by a side quest in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. However, all the drama that could've been milked from this plot twist is wasted due to the fact that neither Geralt nor anyone else who ever interacted with Alvin ever find out his fate in the first game. Much more emotional weight could've been given to the climax if this information had been revealed to Geralt before he has to kill Jacques instead of two games later.
  • Woolseyism: The re-released Enhanced Edition of the game. The original version of the dialogue scripts was cut down by 20% through Executive Meddling just to save money on voice acting for a rather risky project due to how niche it was deemed to be. The end result, while workable, sounded pretty awkward. The Enhanced Edition, which came later as both a retail re-release and a free-to-download patch, features a mostly re-recorded script with no cuts applied to the source material to make it sound more natural and make the English version of the game just as complete dialogue-wise as the Polish original was. Here's example of the changes made:
    • Original:
    Geralt: Why do locals persecute nonhumans?
    Dwarf: Humans have always hated dwarves and elves.
    Geralt: I don't understand.
    Dwarf: Then go see that bastard Brogg. I won't discuss it with strangers.
    Geralt: Understandable.
    • Enhanced:
    Geralt: Why do the locals persecute nonhumans?
    Dwarf: Why do pricks go in cunts? It's the natural order of things. Humans have always hated dwarves and elves. Not for me to know why.
    Geralt: I'm not sure I understand.
    Dwarf: Then ponder it on your own. Or discuss it with that maggot Brogg. I don't talk to strangers about these things.
    Geralt: Fine.
    • When Jaskier, Magister, and Baranina became Dandelion, Professor, and Ramsmeat rather than Buttercup, Schoolteacher, and Mutton in the English translation, exactly no-one complained.

Video Games:

Live-Action Series:


Top