Getting Witchy with it!
I’m going to talk about the Witcher. If you haven’t seen the Netflix series and want to avoid spoilitos, I’d duck out now.
I never got into the Witcher games. I tried to play the third game after hearing such good things about it, but I never made it more than a few hours. I honestly found the Wild Hunt to be pretty intimidating. It’s a massive world full of story and having not played the previous games, I always felt a little lost. When the Wild Hunt was released for the Switch I decided to give it another try. I knew that the Netflix series was on the way and I was in the mood for an RPG anyway. It turns out the pick up and play nature of the Switch port was just what I needed to finally sink my teeth into the Witcher. I was hauling my Switch around with me everywhere I went and before I knew it I had dumped twenty hours into the game and I wasn’t even pushing any of the big storylines along. I was just exploring and clearing question marks off the map. I was still missing huge chunks of the story but I’d fallen in love with the world and the game.
When the Netflix series dropped I convinced Kara to give it a try with me. She had zero Witcher knowledge but she likes fantasy and is willing to watch anything with a shirtless Henry Cavill. The show is a bit confusing at first but in the third episode I realized that we were actually jumping around in time and because it has not been called out, it is a jaw dropping moment. All of a sudden and without being explicitly told, you realize how old Yennifer is and the true scale of the story. I can understand how for some people this might be frustrating but for me this is exactly the sort of mystery I like. From then on it became a game to try and puzzle out when each character’s story was taking place in the overall timeline. I have to say that the way the merging of the various stories was handled is one of the most clever bits of storytelling I’ve ever seen. It must have been such a risk to not make the time periods explicit but instead allow the audience to discover it on their own. They had to know full well that there would be people unwilling or unable to stick with the confusion until it all comes together in the end. To do it anyway shows such a belief in their story that I cannot help but be impressed. Kara and I started our second watching of the series last night and it’s even better. I’m picking up on all the little hints about the timelines that I missed the first time around. The first episode is completely different when watched with the knowledge you gain later on. If you’ve seen it once and liked it, watch it again. You will not be disappointed.
When the series ended I wasn’t ready to be done with Geralt and Ciri. I immediately did some research and picked up the book Blood of Elves. If you liked the TV show you will not believe how well this book picks up where the series left off. You don't have to wait a year for season 2, you can know what happens next right now. I also kept playing the Switch game but now I didn’t just dig the setting and mechanics. I loved these characters too and so now I was pushing through the story quests. I actually understood what it meant to be on the trail of a missing Ciri. I really wanted to help Dandelion get out of trouble in Novigrad. What’s funny is that the Wild Hunt represents yet another timeline separate from the one I’m reading now in the books. Just like watching the show, I’m getting the beginning and the end at the same time and I love it.