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Posts Tagged ‘Andrzej Sapkowski’

At the tail-end of second term during my MA I re-watched the much-maligned Polish television series Wiedzmin (2002) i.e. The Witcher to see if it still held up. I saw the first few episodes on a trip to Poland when I was 14, which would have been a year after the theatrical release of the film, the same film that cut a two hour running time out of thirteen one-hour episodes, resulting in what I would charitably call an incomprehensible mess. The movie wasn’t well-received in Poland, especially not by fans of the books it was based on. The show, unsurprisingly, didn’t attract a very large audience as a result.

The Witcher is adapted from The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny, two short story collections by Andrzej Sapkowski. They centre on the albino mutant monster-hunter (AKA “witcher”) Geralt of Rivia and his encounters with various twisted fairy tales. The subsequent novels got a lot more serious in tone, but the chief draw of the stories, for me, is the humour–the situations you get into by dropping a grim and overpowered character straight out of a 60s sword and sorcery novel into a world ruled by Hans Christian Anderson. At least, that’s the chief draw until the last two stories in The Sword of Destiny, which pack a huge emotional punch that I can’t say I was prepared for.

The show isn’t much like that.

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One advantage to knowing another language is having access to literature outside the Anglosphere. You might remember my adventures in Polish fantastyka[1], which has given me a rather different take on fantasy and science fiction against what’s current in academic criticism of the genre. I wish I were better with languages than I am, since there’s vast, untapped seas of story that I can’t access because stories just don’t often jump across the language divide. Or else, they do, but only in one direction.

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