MANILA, Philippines – After a hit first season, The Witcher is returning to the small screen, with familiar characters forging new paths in an increasingly violent world.
The new season offers a more intimate look at the titular Witcher (monster hunter) Geralt, taking us into his childhood home Kaer Morhen, and illuminating new sides of him through his interactions with men, monsters, and his ward, the young and determined Princess Cirilla.
In season two, we also hear more of Geralt’s voice. It’s a departure from the first season, where the character became known for being “a man of few words, and a man of many grunts” – and it’s a welcome change. Hearing Geralt wax philosophical or banter with old friends makes him even more real – more of a person, less of a killing machine.
This change was something actor Henry Cavill campaigned for coming into season two. Henry himself is a huge fan of The Witcher franchise, diving into the books and the games to craft his own version of the beloved character.
Henry said that his “driving force” for the second season was to get as much of book Geralt into the show while still being within showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich’s vision.
“In season one, there wasn’t really much of an opportunity for expansive dialogue, which Geralt is known for. In the books, he’s often known to monologue…so it was something which was important to me because I wanted Geralt to be represented as true to the books as possible, and that involves more talking,” he told Rappler in an interview.
“It’s more of an intellectual lean, he has a philosophical lean as well, so we get to see a touch more of his philosophical side,” he said.
He added that Geralt’s relationships – particularly with Cirilla and his mentor Vesemir – show a new side to everyone’s favorite Witcher.
“His relationship with Cirilla, his relationship with Vesemir, shows that he’s more than just this grumpy, stoic character who’s good at killing stuff, and that for me is something I campaign very, very hard for. It’s important to me that the men in this story are three-dimensional as well,” Henry said.
The dynamic between Geralt and Ciri takes much of the spotlight in season two – another welcome change that anchors the show in some sort of warmth, even as the world of the show, “the Continent,” becomes increasingly more volatile.
In many ways, the danger we see in the Continent is a timely reflection of the very real dangers of a pandemic-ridden world. It may be high fantasy, but it isn’t escapism, and for Henry, the show’s medieval setting makes it even more real.
“I often find with fantasy that there are parallels we can draw with real life and the real world. They’re emotional stories. One of the things about the Witcher world is that it has a medieval setting…we can draw even closer parallels and more real world sense to it than some of the other higher fantasies,” he said.
“I think [Andrzej] Sapkowski (creator of The Witcher) did a beautiful job with that, and it’s very impressive to read, and I’m very glad to hear that it comes out more in season two,” Henry said.
The Witcher season two premieres on Netflix on December 17. – Rappler.com