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Netflix's The Witcher ? 10 Biggest Book Differences From Season 1

One of the biggest sources of controversy for fans of "The Witcher" books and video games is how the series depicted the character of Eskel (Basil Eidenbenz), a witcher who lives at Kaer Morhen. In the Season 2 episode "Kaer Morhen," Geralt brings Ciri to the home of the witchers, where she meets their leader, Vesemir (Kim Bodnia), and the rest of the few surviving monster slayers.

Netflix's The Witcher – 10 Biggest Book Differences From Season 1

The majority of the first season is inspired by events detailed in the two short story collections, The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny. And while showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich sticks fairly closely to the main narratives laid out in Sapkowski's books, there are a ton of differences sprinkled throughout this first season. We're not going to go through every. single. one. here, because who ultimately cares that Jaskier (Joey Batey) wasn't at Pavetta's betrothal feast in the books but was in the show? (Although he was a fun addition to those events.) What we're really interested in are the differences between the show and the books that created notable ripple effects, either adding to or tweaking the already-established mythology -- and there are more than enough of those to keep us plenty busy.

9. We get insights into Geralt's childhood. After Geralt is suffering from a bite from a venomous monster, he drifts in and out of consciousness and we become privy to some of the past events he dreams of -- including his childhood with his mother, the sorceress Visenna. When Geralt wakes up in present day, he discovers his wound is being treated by Visenna and he confronts his mother over abandoning him to become a witcher. A similar encounter happens in the books (although we never get an actual glimpse of Geralt as a child) but an interesting wrinkle the show added is that Visenna seems to know details about Geralt's destiny and there are even hints that she may have chosen for him to become a witcher because of her trust in destiny and some knowledge of the role he will play moving forward.

An overarching plot of the whole second season of The Witcher was the Voleth Meir, or the Deathless Mother. Fringilla, Francesca, and Yennefer all have dreams of her and discover her together. She offers to grant whatever each of the three women want most, and they have no idea that she is actually a demon who feeds on pain and had been locked up there by some of the first witchers. Francesca wants a safe haven for her people and her new baby, Fringilla wants power, and Yennefer wants her powers back. Even after Fringilla and Francesca do accept her offer, though everything they quickly received was also just as quickly taken away from them. Voleth Meir used their pain to free herself and then possess Ciri, causing the final battle and killing several of the other new witchers.

While each episode is a thrill in its own right, some moments stood above others. Whether it's Geralt's battling monsters or Yennefer furthering her powers as a mage, The Witcher has tons of content worthy of praise, with book-loads more (literally) waiting for next season. With that, here are 10 of the most unforgettable moments from the first season of The Witcher.

We don't meet Ciri until the short story collection Sword of Destiny, much of which is cut from the show. After Sword of Destiny, the books are full length and pan out chronologically, with Geralt and Ciri's story as the central focus. The Witcher's showrunner Lauren Hissrich has spoken about the changes made for the show, posting on Twitter (opens in new tab): "To adapt the short stories that were important to world-building, and then to sequentially adapt Geralt and Ciri's multiple meetings in [Sword of Destiny] meant that we wouldn't introduce Ciri until (at the earliest) season two."

CGI has made it so fantasy series can create magic that was once limited to the page or animation. But even so, sticking faithfully to the novel isn't easy. Case in point: Netflix's new Shadow and Bone adaptation, which starts changing things up from the first scene. In fact, the differences between Netflix's Shadow and Bone and the book series (written by author Leigh Bardugo) are so vast, fans who haven't read the novels will be stunned.

The latest season of The Witcher is not flawless. But at the same time, it manages to retain the atmosphere. In a few places, the creators decided to clearly depart from the book original. Did it benefit the show?

As soon as Lauren Schmidt Hissrich began her adventure with Sapkowski's universe, she was ready to compromise between staying faithful to the book's original and implementing her own ideas. However, even she had to admit that she had made far too many changes to the chronological order of events during the first season. Even so, she managed to catch the viewers' attention and turned The Witcher into Netflix's biggest hit at the time.

Nivellen, on the other hand, turned out great. His story was presented so that his intentions aren't too obvious to viewers unfamiliar with Sapkowski's books. As it turns out, the creators decided to surprise even the fans with the ending. Nivellen's despicable deeds are only revealed at the end, whereas in the story he admitted his most vile sins to Geralt very quickly and the Witcher's indifferent reaction showed how bitter the white-haired man had become. On the other hand, Bruxa, the only person who truly loved Nivellen, as in the books, used this relationship to feed on the blood of the people from the area. Ciri's plotline spices up the episode and makes you question who was the biggest monster in the end - Nivellen, Vereena, or maybe... Geralt?

[Excerpted from Letter to Shareholders]ContentOur programming strategy is to provide members with a wide variety of high quality content that's lovedand watched in large numbers. Season five of La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist) and season three ofSex Education were two of our biggest returning shows in the quarter with 69m and 55m memberhouseholds, respectively, choosing to watch these fan favorites in the first four weeks. On the heels ofThe Queen's Gambit, we've had another limited series hit with Maid which launched just afterquarter-end on October 1. We expect this story about living on the poverty line by award-winningplaywright and screenwriter Molly Smith Metzler to reach 67m households during its first four weeks.La Casa de Papel was our first non-English language title to show that - with subtitling and dubbing -great stories truly can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere. We are now producing local TVand film in approximately 45 countries and have built deep relationships with creative communitiesaround the world. While the goal of our local content executives is always to create locally authenticstories that will resonate in their country (like The Chestnut Man which we expect to be watched by approximately two thirds of our Danish members during its first four weeks), Netflix is a global,direct-to-consumer service which enables creators to reach broader audiences - and gives our membersan even greater choice of stories to enjoy.There is no better example of this than Squid Game, a unique Korean story that first captured thezeitgeist in Korea and then globally. Released on September 17, it has become our biggest TV show ever.A mind-boggling 142m member households globally have chosen to watch the title in its first four weeks.The breadth of Squid Game's popularity is truly amazing; this show has been ranked as our #1 program in94 countries (including the US). Like some of our other big hits, Squid Game has also pierced the culturalzeitgeist, spawning a Saturday Night Live skit and memes/clips on TikTok with more than 42 billion views.Demand for consumer products to celebrate the fandom for Squid Game is high and those items are ontheir way to retail now.Our film slate also continues to build with a variety of successful Q3 titles such as action film Sweet Girlstarring Jason Momoa (68m member households chose to watch in the first four weeks), Kissing Booth 3(59m), the last installment in the rom com trilogy, the animated family film Vivo (46m) and Blood RedSky, a German-language action horror movie (53m).Later in the year, we will shift to reporting on hours viewed for our titles rather than the number ofaccounts that choose to watch them. There is some difference in rankings, as you see below, but wethink engagement as measured by hours viewed is a slightly better indicator of the overall success of ourtitles and member satisfaction. It also matches how outside services measure TV viewing and givesproper credit to rewatching. In addition, we will start to release title metrics more regularly outside ofour earnings report so our members and the industry can better measure success in the streamingworld.Future Reporting: Hours Viewed*Top 10 Series - Hours Viewed1. Bridgerton: Season 1 - 625M2. Money Heist: Part 4 - 619M3. Stranger Things 3 - 582M4. The Witcher: Season 1 - 541M5. 13 Reasons Why: Season 2 - 496M6. 13 Reasons Why: Season 1 - 476M7. You: Season 2 - 457M8. Stranger Things 2 - 427M9. Money Heist: Part 3 - 426M10. Ginny & Georgia: Season 1 - 381MTop 10 Films - Hours Viewed1. Bird Box - 282M2. Extraction - 231M3. The Irishman - 215M4. The Kissing Booth 2 - 209M5. 6 Underground - 205M6. Spenser Confidential - 197M7. Enola Holmes - 190M8. Army of the Dead - 187M9. The Old Guard - 186M10. Murder Mystery - 170M* Total hours viewed per title in its first 28 days on Netflix. 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This includedour first best Drama series win (The Crown), while The Queen's Gambit won 11 out of 18 nominations,including the coveted best limited series. Both titles are among our most popular ever, demonstratingcritical and commercial success.During Q3, we announced our agreement to acquire the Roald Dahl Story Company, pending regulatoryapproval. This was an opportunity to purchase a beloved and enduring portfolio of intellectual propertyincluding Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr.Fox and The Twits, to name just a few. Roald Dahl's books have been translated into 63 languages andhave sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. Once we close, we'll be looking to develop evenmore of these stories into new formats across the live action television and films, animation andpre-school categories.We've begun testing our games offering in select countries. It remains very early days for this initiativeand, like other content categories we've expanded into, we plan to try different types of games, learnfrom our members and improve our game library. During Q3, we acquired Night School Studio, themaker of critically acclaimed games like OXENFREE, to help build out our game development capabilities.As a reminder, games on Netflix will be included in members' subscriptions and will not haveadvertisements or in-app purchases so game play is purely focused on enjoyment versus monetization.We're eagerly anticipating the rest of our Q4 slate, which includes a great mix of popular returningEnglish language series like The Witcher, You, Tiger King and Cobra Kai, big returning non-English serieslike Sintonia and the final chapter of La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist), as well as exciting new moviessuch as the action film Red Notice (starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds), Don't LookUp with an all star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Rob Morgan, Jonah Hill,Timothée Chalamet, Tyler Perry and Meryl Streep, as well as The Harder They Fall featuring JonathanMajors, Zazie Beetz, LaKeith Stanfield, Regina King and Idris Elba, Army of Thieves (the prequel to our hitmovie, Army of the Dead) and The Unforgivable starring Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis and Jon Bernthal.The latest films from acclaimed directors Jane Campion (The Power Of The Dog) and Paolo Sorrentino(The Hand of God) are also coming to Netflix in Q4.Assuming no new Covid waves or unforeseen events that result in large scale production shutdowns, wecurrently anticipate a more normalized content slate in 2022, with a greater number of originals in 2022vs. 2021 and a release schedule that is more balanced over the course of the year, as compared to 2021.


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