- 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 crushing margin there is even a minor meme between fandom, 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
- Complete Monster: Has its own page here.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: 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.
- 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:
- Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, the White Flame Dancing on the Barrows of his enemies, is a cunning Evil Overlord once overthrown in Nilfgaard as a prince. Surviving a curse and being hunted, he learned of the ancient prophecy of the Elder Blood, and married Princess Pavetta of Cintra to sire series heroine Cirilla. Eventually faking his death as the knight Duny, he returned to Nilfgaard, seizing the throne and committed to a brutal, expansionist war. Always learning from his errors, Emhyr eventually realized he loved his daughter Ciri too much to complete the prophecy by fathering a child with her and released her to Geralt, trusting him to protect her. Once again returning to conquer the Northern Kingdoms, Emhyr uses Letho the Kingslayer to sow discord and leave the land open to his armies while asking Geralt to find Ciri again. In most endings, Emhyr ends up victorious, eliminating all would-be threats to his rule and can even abdicate in favor of Ciri, content at achieving all he wanted.
- Siegsmund Djikstra is the former spymaster of Redania. A brilliant man in contrast to his thuggish appearance who manipulates entire nations in his game, Djikstra heads up a resistance to King Radovid, helping nonhumans and magic users escape Radovid's brutal purges, all while manipulating his allies to help set him up on the Redanian throne. Organizing Radovid's downfall, Djikstra reveals his trap upon his Temerian allies: to eliminate them and rule Redania from the shadows. If this succeeds, Djikstra removes most freedoms from Redania but is so successful, he will even result in the defeat of the unstoppable Nilfgaardian armies.
- Jacques counts, see his game's section below for details.
- Letho counts, see his game's page for details.
- Gaunter O'Dimm and Syanna count, see their game's page for details.
- 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. 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 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. No wonder if it was the only one successful and is hyped again by video games. To his credit, he openly admits this trope.
- Hardly the only one successful, 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.
- Sequelitis: Depending who you ask, you can get few conflicting answers:
- Some consider the saga as sequelitis toward the short stories. To makes things more complicated, the short stories managed to break from the fantasy ghetto in Poland, while the saga is the prime example of the ghetto in action.
- The base of the saga is also broken. Supporters of early installments denounce the existence of last two books of the saga, especially the abandonment of the Deconstructor Fleet approach. This is considered Serious Business between fans.
- The fandom still didn't decide if the new book, Season of Storms, is under Sequelitis or not. Being a Prequel written 13 years after the last book of the saga was published isn't helping either. And since the fandom is now divided into two generations of readers, it's either a Franchise Zombie or So Okay, It's Average.
- Anticlimax Boss: Both the Final Boss (Jacques de Aldersberg) and the True Final Boss (the King of the Wild Hunt) are ridiculously easy to kill, especially in comparison to some of the monsters you had to kill throughout the last two chapters of the game.
- Awesome Music:
- 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 first game. Having made power plays with both 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 (whether it wants it or not) in an almost flawlessly executed scheme.
- Memetic Mutation: The "Glorious PC Gaming Master Race" meme was spawned by Yahtzee's review of this game.
- 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 Vendor Trash 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.
- "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:
- The Beast, while it can, if you're lucky, be knocked to the ground with Aard and executed in one blow, it can stun you for quite a long time while it eat through your lifebar alongside the barghests it summons, not to mention the fire effects can and will slow your computer to a crawl (though the last one isn't really an issue anymore).
- Azar Javed is easily the hardest fight in the game. Not only he hits hard, he constantly spams his stuns and Knockbacks where there is no discernible pattern to predict them. There are potions that counter knockback, but God help you if you don't have any potions prior to the fight. And the worst part? You are instantly teleported to his arena after killing his two Elite Mooks (which are relatively easy to deal with), where there is an unusable fireplace in the room where you fight them. Berengar will aid you during the fight if you spare him, but he does little damage and will go down after taking a few hits. Good luck.
- 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.
- 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.
- Uncanny Valley: A lot of the character models haven't aged well, with often strange facial proportions that clash with the gritty art style. Made worse are the idle animations while talking, which often include the characters' arms and shoulders inexplicably spasming for no good reason when they are not oddly still. And then there's Zoltan, who's bug-eyed staring is more than a little unnerving.
- 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:
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: 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.
- When Jaskier, Magister and Baranina became Dandelion, Professor and Ramsmeat rather than Buttercup, Schoolteacher and Mutton in the English translation, exactly no-one complained.