REVIEW: The Witcher S3

Henry Cavill’s time as Geralt of Rivia comes to a close in a 2-part third season of The Witcher. Loosely adapting Andrzej Sapkowski’s popular fantasy books, The Witcher S3 finds a cast comfortable in their roles as Geralt, Yenifer, and Ciri band together in an attempt to stop what seems to be pretty much everyone in the Continent from capturing the magical princess. This is Ciri’s season, make no mistake, as she uses her lessons from Kaer Morhen to take care of herself in the monster-filled world.

There’s a slow start to the season overall. The fight scenes are still choreographed better than most shows and Cavill has an understanding of the character that his successor Liam Hemsworth will have to work bloody hard to recreate. However, the CGI is a bit off in places (something that can be seen in many TV series and films lately) and this definitely impacts the viewing of what should be some of the best fights in the series to date. Still, there are lots of positives to The Witcher S3. Fans of the wildly successful The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt game will notice characters and costumes becoming more like what they expected and the scenes with Geralt, Ciri, Yennefer and Jaskier are signs of these characters have grown throughout the series to become a family, each doing their best to protect one another at the cost of all else. Yennefer in particular has had a satisfying arc and the way in which she calls Ciri her daughter is impactful when her whole journey is taken into consideration.

The Witcher S3 has one of my favourite episodes of the series so far. Episode 5: The Art of Illusion takes place at the Conclave of Mages with Geralt on Yennefer’s arm dressed out in his finest clothing and Cavill giving his best surly performance of the show yet. Whilst Ciri is being cared for by Jaskier, Geralt and Yen work the room in an attempt to identify the person responsible for targeting Ciri. The non-linear structure of the episode mixed with clever plays on time and direction (multiple angles showing the same conversations) bring a bit of clever innovation to a series that has sometimes fallen short when attempting something different. The episode shows the potential of The Witcher with the acting, writing, and direction all magnificently on point to deliver suspense, intrigue, and just a load of fun to a series that sometimes felt a bit lost. The episode ends with some solid action to satisfy the bloodthirsty viewers but at the end of the series, I was left with a bittersweet feeling of lost potential within a world that could be so much more. Whilst better than most of Amazon’s The Rings of Power, The Witcher S3 never quite hits the heights of Game of Thrones or House of the Dragon and we will have to see if season 4 can do better with Liam Hemsworth in the lead role.

A series with incredible highlights but a lack of consistency means that Cavill’s final season is bittersweet. There’s more magic, fighting, and The Witcher S3 leans closer to the aspects of the game that made Netflix fork out the big bucks for such a property. But whilst this show is entertaining for many fantasy fans, it never quite reaches its full potential aside from a few moments of brilliance. The Witcher S3 is a series starting to find its feet and it will be interesting to see what happens next – I’m just not sure all the fans will come along for the ride.

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Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones

Aaron S. Jones is the author of Memories of Blood and Shadow, and The Broken Gods trilogy. He is Head of School at a school in Kent, UK and when he is not tearing his hair out at students struggling with their, they're and there, he is tearing his hair out as he dies for the thousandth time on Elden Ring. You can find him on Twitter @HereticASjones where he is most likely procrastinating for hours at a time instead of focusing on his Orc murder mystery.

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