“10 Witcher Short Stories That Won’t Make It Into Season 2”
The first season of The Witcher has been widely accepted as a solid adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s original novels. However, one thing that’s confused many of the uninitiated is the bizarre non-linear timeline. By nature of The Witcher beginning with short stories and graduating to novels, key elements introduced in the shorter works had to be stripped and rearranged.
Now that The Witcher’s showrunner has promised a more linear second season, we likely won’t see any more of the two books worth of short stories adapted. So, consider tracking down and reading the following short stories to kill some time until the second season of The Witcher or the animated tie-in is released.
10 The Voice of Reason
Included in Sapkowski’s first short story collection, The Last Wish tale sees Geralt awaken in the religious temple of Melitele, following his battle with a striga, something seen adapted in the episode Betrayer Moon. Geralt spends time there musing his past career and seeing visions of the future, protecting the temple from a couple of disrespectful knights, and is even visited by Jaskier.
The story was likely to cut as it mostly acts as a framing device for the other stories in the collection, being split up and spread in most publications to interweave the other tales and provide context. It would have been an interesting device to see used in the show, however, and most likely would have sorted out the timeline issue.
9 A Grain of Truth
The vast majority of Sapkowski’s short stories focus on the trails and tribulations of Geralt himself, A Grain of Truth is no different. A fairly self-contained story, Geralt investigates a neglected manor house after finding several corpses nearby. He finds a cursed man named Nivellen and the two spend the night musing on how to break the bear-headed man’s curse.
Clearly, the show was more focused on setting up the wider cast and didn’t have time for this solo adventure, and the similarities with the monster-headed visitor in Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials might have felt repetitive. It just might crop up as a bottle episode, we’ll have to wait and see.
8 A Question Of Price
Speaking of Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials, it takes many elements from the short story A Question of Price but ultimately serves as a showcase of the changes made in adapting the source material. The story’s plot remains the same, Queen Calanthe throws a ball to marry off her daughter, of which Geralt is in attendance. A mystery knight arrives demanding Princess Pavetta’s hand in marriage due to the Law of Surprise.
In the show, Geralt attends following an invite from Jaskier, however originally Jaskier wasn’t even in attendance, and Geralt was hired by Queen Calanthe without being told exactly what for. It might be worth checking out the original to experience the differences for yourself.
7 The Edge of The World
Another short story that saw its most long term setups integral to the continuing plot transplanted into the episode Four Marks. The original text begins with Geralt and Jaskier, known as Dandelion in the English translations, already traveling together. They take on a job that is most likely just the superstition of townsfolks and go from being pelted by iron balls by a sylvan, to being the captives of a group of elves.
The story does a great job conveying the diminishing work available for a Witcher, and while it sees major scenes transition, the adaptation doesn’t include the elven Queen of the Fields arriving to save Jaskier and Geralt, even giving Jaskier a new lute that may or may not be magic.
6 The Bounds of Reason
While on the subject of short stories that found major alterations when making the jump from source material to show, it’s worth mentioning the story that became the basis for the episode Rare Species. Both the plot and the characters involved in hunting the Golden Dragon of the episode remain the same, however, the intention of the short story and the episode couldn’t be more different.
Due to the short stories having a more self-contained format, the show had to create continuous inter-character conflict to keep a feeling of progression throughout the series. Due to this, they have very different endings, while one sees Geralt lonely on a mountainside ready for a season finale, the other sees he and Yennefer reunited. As well as this, the adaptation was limited by budget, so less dragon.
5 A Shard of Ice
This story begins with Geralt fighting off a giant tentacle monster living in the sewers of a city, then returning to Yennefer with whom he is currently cohabitating. Geralt bumps heads with the local mage when the man declares his own love for Yennefer and inevitably the town turns against Geralt once his job is done. They need a mage and not a Witcher.
The story is an interesting one that develops the dynamic between Geralt and Yennefer, as well as the disdain that most folks have towards the Witcher’s race. It’s clear why it wasn’t included, having many similar elements to The Last Wish, the story that became Bottled Appetites.
4 Eternal Flame
This story sees Geralt meeting up with Jaskier in Novigrad, a location likely recognized by fans of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt as one of many major locations in the game. Funnily enough, it also sees the introduction of a major game character that has yet to appear in the Netflix show, the doppler Tellico Lunngrevink Letorte (Dudu).
It’s one of the more humorous short stories, as Jaskier and Geralt become embroiled in an identity theft conspiracy. Racing all over the city to catch the doppler before it is wrongfully murdered. It’s a great read, and will possibly see elements adapted is the show creators choose to include Dudu in later seasons.
3 A Little Sacrifice
Yet another stand-alone Geralt adventure (noticing a pattern here?) it begins with Geralt having been hired by a rich young man to accompany him out to sea and act as a translator between the young man and his beloved, a mermaid. Ultimately the young man’s attempts to convince her to trade her fins for legs fail, so he instead employs Geralt to investigate the mysterious deaths of divers from his fishing village home.
The story only gets better from there as Geralt bumps into Jaskier and together they aim to solve the mystery and write a ballad about it. That is until Jaskier’s bard rival shows up and starts to fall for Geralt. It’s a great buddy tale between Jaskier and Geralt, so any fans of that budding bromance should definitely check it out.
2 The Sword of Destiny
The first meeting of Geralt and Ciri is very different in this original short story. While Geralt travels between two kingdoms he comes across an ambush site, following the trail he finds Freixenet, Baron of Hamm injured. He implores the witcher to find and save Ciri from a group of Dryads, she herself having run away to avoid an arranged marriage.
Turns out the whole Dryad attack was a misunderstanding and Geralt teams up with one of them to save Ciri from a giant centipede. The two bond as they travel to safety and much to Ciri’s dismay Geralt leaves her in the safe hands of the Dryads. This is definitely one that won’t see a Netflix episode.
1 Something More
When Geralt is mortally wounded protecting a merchant and his chart from an attacking monster. He falls unconscious and begins to dream of his past and his relationship with the law of surprise. What follows is fairly well depicted in the episode Much More, with some details left ambiguous, and the inclusion of Jaskier with an abandoned chicken chart removed entirely.
The story ends with the merchant paying Geralt with the Law of Surprise, an orphan girl his wife had cared for in his absence, Ciri. The two embrace and Geralt finally realizes he cannot escape destiny. It’s another short story that was trimmed for time, and should definitely be checked out for more detailed lore of the Witcher Saga.
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