The Witcher: Differences Between Show, Games & Books

The Witcher: Differences Between Show, Games & Books

The Witcher is one of the most popular shows you can stream today because of how it blends a lot of different elements of fantasy in one unique setting. That said, like many other fantasy series, The Witcher is based on a source. In that sense, The Witcher show is a live-action adaptation that brings elements from both the book and the games to life.

But while The Witcher may have different elements that are based on the books and the games, one of the things that book readers and gamers will notice is that there are stark differences between the different versions of The Witcher. As such, we are here to talk more about the differences that the show has with the games and the books.

Is The Witcher Series Based On The Books Or Games?

For those who are new to the entire Witcher franchise, what you need to know is that The Witcher actually has three different forms of literature or media. This is something that those who have only heard about The Witcher through the Netflix series would not know. But, as a matter of fact, The Witcher has three adaptations, which are the books, the games, and the live-action series.

The Witcher books were written by Andrzej Sapkowski and were released from 1986 to 2013. Meanwhile, The Witcher game series is divided into three separate games that were released from 2007 to 2015. That means that The Witcher Netflix series is the latest installment in the entire Witcher franchise. But is The Witcher series based on the books or the games?

So, the truth is that The Witcher is actually based on the books written by Andrzej Sapkowski. In fact, despite how there are similarities between the series and the games, the Netflix show is totally unrelated to any of the three games released by CD Projekt Red, the developer of the Witcher games. However, because they follow the same story and same source material, it is unavoidable that the Netflix series and the games have some similarities.


The Witcher Books in Order: Chronological Reading Guide

Another proof that The Witcher series is based almost entirely on the books and has nothing to do with games is the fact that Sapkowski is involved with the series as a creative consultant. On the other hand, he said that the game series is a free adaptation because he had nothing to do with the games, except for the fact that he received royalties from CD Projekt Red’s profits. Sapkowski also rejected the offer to become a consultant or writer for the games because he didn’t know anything about video games.

That said, those who have only played the games will see plenty of differences regarding the Netflix series and the games themselves. Of course, because they are both based on the same source materials, which are the books, it is unavoidable that there are more similarities than differences between the series and the games.

Is The Witcher Show Different From The Games?

As mentioned, the Netflix live-action adaptation of The Witcher is not related to the games in any way. The reason is that The Witcher is based almost entirely on the books. This means that The Witcher show is different from the games in the sense that the showrunner and writers didn’t take any inspiration from the game adaptations of The Witcher.

But while the show may not be related to the games and was not based on them in any way, the show and the games are not too different from one another. Despite the fact that Andrzej Sapkowski did not have a role to play in the video games but was a creative consultant in the show, it cannot be avoided that show and the games have similarities. And the reason for that is the fact that they are both based on books, which are the primary source materials for the series and the games.


Are The Witcher Games Canon?

So, despite the fact that they are not related to one another, the show version and the games of The Witcher are not different from one another because they follow the same story, albeit with some differences that are apparent to those who have watched the series and have played the games.

Differences Between The Witcher Show And Games

As mentioned, while the show versions and the game versions of The Witcher are not related to one another, they are not entirely different from each other. Still, there are some differences between them. And that is what we are here to look at.

1. Jaskier/Dandelion


One of the first differences that gamers will notice regarding The Witcher show and the game is the bard companion that Geralt hangs out with without his express consent. We all love the fact that Jaskier is the show’s comedy relief in a story that is quite too serious and dark with its approach.

However, what you should know is that Jaskier isn’t Jaskier in the games. Those who have played the games will know that Jaskier is called Dandelion in those games, and the name fits his personality. The bard is dandy and very flamboyant, and that fits the Dandelion name that he carries.

But the truth is that Jaskier has always been Jaskier because that is the name he carries in the books. He only became Dandelion in the games because the English translation of Jaskier is Buttercup. However, the games wanted a better name that suited his character, and that is when he became Dandelion.

2. Diversity

Those who played the games will see that there are hardly any people of color in them. The ones who don’t know the real story behind the choice of choosing white or Caucasian character designs might think that the game versions of The Witcher are racist or hates diversity. However, the truth is that the games are merely following the source material, which is Polish. In Poland, almost everyone is white, and it becomes understandable why Sapkowski wrote the characters to be white.

However, in the Netflix series, you will notice that the characters’ races are more diverse. For example, Yennefer is played by an actress of Indian heritage. Meanwhile, other characters such as Fringilla, Artorius, and Istredd are black. This is in line with how most shows are now more diverse in their choices of actors and actresses.

3. Geralt’s swords


In the games, you will notice that Geralt carries two swords. The first is a silver one that is designed for fighting monsters, as they are weak to silver. Meanwhile, the second sword is a regular steel one that is designed for fighting people.

However, in the Netflix series, Geralt only carries one sword that he uses for fighting monsters and for clashing steel with people. The reason why the Netflix adaptation did away with the silver sword is that it was not practical and realistic for Geralt to be carrying an extra sword in the show. In fact, all of the weapons and costumes that are in the show are more grounded on practicality rather than extravagance because what works in video games does not always work on live-action adaptations.

4. The love triangle

In the game, Triss was set up as Geralt’s first love interest, especially if you have played the first two games. While Geralt was still in an on and off relationship with Yennefer in the games, Triss was his main girl in the first two games. It was only in the third game when Yennefer finally won the right to become Geralt’s main girl, but not without a love triangle drama.

However, in the series, there was no love triangle involving Geralt, Yennefer, and Triss. While Triss did show interest in Geralt at one point, the Witcher was quick to dismiss her advances because he was loyal to his feelings for Yennefer. As such, the show focuses more on Yennefer as Geralt’s true love.


What Do the Symbols in the Opening Credits of The Witcher Mean?

Do You Need To Play Games Before Watching The Show?

Given the fact that the games are not related to the Witcher show, there is no need for you to play the games before watching the Netflix adaptation. In fact, playing the games first might confuse you because of the differences between the two versions of the same story. However, if you are truly a fan of The Witcher, it should still be a delight to play the games.

Is The Witcher Show Different From The Books?

While The Witcher show is not based on the games but still isn’t too different from them, what you should know is that the Netflix adaptation is closer to the books than it is to the games. That is because, again, The Witcher show is based entirely on the books, as it is unrelated to the games.

As such, it is easier for you to spot similarities between the show and the books due to how the show was crafted almost entirely on the contents that the books had to offer. On top of that, the author himself is a creative consultant on the Netflix version of the show.

Differences Between The Witcher Show And Books

But while The Witcher show may not be different from the books, there are still some differences that you may be able to catch if you had read the books before you started watching the Netflix adaptation of the story.

1. Yennefer’s past


In the books, Yennefer’s past wasn’t talked about too much. Her past was only hinted at, but the books never explored her past as much as the show did. In the books, Yennefer was already a beautiful and powerful sorceress when we first met her.

On the other hand, the show explores Yennefer’s past in great detail to the point that an entire episode was dedicated to it. This allows us to get to know her better, as we already know her side of the story and where she came from before she became a powerful mage.

2. Geralt and Yennefer

The books talk about the Geralt and Yennefer relationship in such a way that they have already met some time before in the past and have always been in an on and off relationship that is quite toxic because of the nature of their breakups.

However, in the show, Geralt and Yennefer are complete strangers when they first meet. Still, they continue the tradition of the on and off relationship that they also have in the books, as that setup is what defines their feelings for one another.

3. Geralt’s parenting

Why do Geralt and Ciri Have White Hair?

In the books, Geralt’s parenting of Ciri is a bit bumbling and careless in a way that truly shows that he is yet to understand what being a father is. He mostly tries to find a way for a woman to become Ciri’s mentor, such as when he had to call Triss to teach her magic or when he needed to take her to Mother Nenneke.

While he still does those things in the show, Geralt seems to be more in control as a father than he is in the books. The reason why he asks different women mentors to teach Ciri is so that she can protect herself when the time comes that Geralt will no longer be around to protect her. In that sense, Geralt is more of a forward thinker in the show than a bumbling father in the books.

4. Yennefer’s first meeting with Ciri

In the books, the way Yennefer first met Ciri is far different. When both Triss and Geralt find out that they cannot mentor Ciri, they call in Yennefer, who has a different approach as a mentor. Learning under Yennefer allowed Ciri to grow more as a person while also learning how to control her powers. In that sense, the reason why Yennefer and Ciri met in the books was purely innocent and harmless.

However, in the show, Yennefer first meets Ciri because she is hunting the princess down for her own selfish goals. She has to take Ciri to Voleth Meir, the Deathless Mother, so that she can once again regain the powers she lost.

5. Yennefer losing her powers and the Deathless Mother

Speaking of Yennefer losing her powers and her short partnership with the Deathless Mother, neither of those are present in the books. There was never a point in the books when Yennefer lost her powers. Meanwhile, even though the Deathless Mother resembles certain characters in the books, there was never someone named Voleth Meir in them.


How Did Yennefer Lose Her Magic? Where Have Her Powers Gone?

However, in the series, Yennefer loses her powers when she uses fire magic in the Battle of Sodden Hill. On top of that, she became a pawn of Voleth Meir so that she could regain her powers. The show also uses Voleth Meir as a placeholder villain before introducing the Emperor of Nilfgaard and the Wild Hunt.

Do You Need To Read The Books Before Watching The Show?

So, even though the books are the main source materials for the live-action version of The Witcher, there is no need for you to read them before watching the show. Both the show and the books tell the same story, but with minor differences. As such, simply watching the show will allow you to understand the entire flow of the story of The Witcher.

However, if you want more details regarding the different events in the story or if you want to know the minor differences between the show and the books, it should be a good idea to read the books as well. Reading the source materials will allow you to have a better appreciation of the story.

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