Netflix subscribers have had a love-hate relationship with the streamer over the past few weeks. With the divisive reception and prompt cancellation of the live-action Cowboy Bebop series, and heavy doubt looming over the upcoming One Piece live-action series, the one ray of light Geeked fans have is the second season of The Witcher, releasing this Friday, December 17. Netflix allowed us to take an early look at the second season, showing off six of the eight episodes.
Things have changed on the Continent for season two, and not just what happens in the show, but also how it happens. First off, and something that’s likely very important for some season one viewers, everything that happens in season two is shown in chronological order. Netflix has heard your complaints! There’s no more randomly moving forward or backward in time for those who had difficulty following the story in the first season.
Geralt (Henry Cavill) is now keeping a watchful eye over Ciri (Freya Allan), while the aftermath of the Battle of Sodden Hill still lingers, and the plight of the elves takes center stage. Most of the season is focused on Geralt and Ciri, which presents the first major change for season two. Thanks to direct input from Henry Cavill, Geralt is now much more talkative, regularly showing emotion as he serves as a father figure to Ciri. While this may seem like a stark contrast to the first season and may rub book enthusiasts the wrong way, it fits well within the context of the second season.
As it is now winter, Geralt ventures to Kaer Morhen, where many other Witchers are introduced. Having spent an entire season with Geralt, these new Witchers were a little underwhelming. Many of the scenes in Kaer Morhen felt more like an episode of Vikings, rather than a gathering of powerful monster hunters. This is a small complaint, especially if you’re not heavily attached to the books or games, and the scenes with Geralt and Ciri more than make up for anything the other Witchers may lack.
Another change from the first season is how monsters are hunted. Season one felt more like the games, with Geralt going on “side quests” and being paid for any slain monsters. In season two, all of the monsters Geralt slays are for his own protection. Through the first six episodes, not a single coin has been tossed to the Witcher. The monsters remain varied, and the fights are still well-choreographed, but Jaskier’s (Joey Batey) season one banger falls on deaf ears.
Speaking of Jaskier, while he was the main comedic relief in the first season, he has a far more dramatic role in season two. Combine this with a more emotional and less grunty Geralt, and much of the humor is gone from The Witcher season two. Jaskier still cracks a joke or two, but as a whole, this season features much more of drama, and far less comedy compared to the first season. On the bright side, this allows the characters to have deeper conversations and grow more throughout the season.
Many of the relationships created during the first season are either strained or pushed to the side throughout the first six episodes of season two. This allows new, and in some cases surprising, relationships to be formed. Many of the new characters make their mark on season two, even if book and game fans may not like how their origins and character traits have changed. We won’t spoil anything, but Vesemir (Kim Bodnia), Geralt’s main father figure, and Rience (Chris Fulton), an evil mage, make the biggest impact of the new characters, alongside some of the elves.
The first season of The Witcher took some liberties with the book and game material but still felt like The Witcher. The second season takes some additional liberties and strays a bit further from the source material, but this still feels like The Witcher. It’s different from season one in that you lose a lot of the humor and Geralt becomes a complete character with emotions and all, but it fits in well with what the series established in season one. Almost everything that happens to these characters in season two feels like a natural progression, whether it matches the source material or not.
While we still have the final two episodes of season two left to watch, we’re already eagerly anticipating the arrival of season three (which Netflix already confirmed is on the way). If you’re a diehard book or game fan, this isn’t a carbon copy of the source material. If you can view the Netflix series as its own take on The Witcher lore, there’s a lot to enjoy here.
About The Witcher Season Two
Synopsis: Convinced Yennefer’s life was lost at the Battle of Sodden, Geralt of Rivia brings Princess Cirilla to the safest place he knows, his childhood home of Kaer Morhen. While the Continent’s kings, elves, humans and demons strive for supremacy outside its walls, he must protect the girl from something far more dangerous: the mysterious power she possesses inside.
Directors: Edward Bazalgette, Louise Hooper, Sarah O’Gorman, Stephen Surjik
Writers: Lauren Schmidt, Clare Higgins
Stars: Henry Cavill, Anna Shaffer, Freya Allan, Anya Chalotra, Kim Bodnia
Runtime: About One Hour Per Episode
Releases: December 17th, 2021 (Netflix)
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.