patron saint of neglected female characters (rose_griffes) wrote,
patron saint of neglected female characters

The Witcher, season one: hearteyes

me: I mean, The Witcher does have its flaws.
co-worker who is also watching: *nods*
me: Like, they should have spent more time on Yennefer's backstory, when she was learning at evil Hogwarts.
co-worker: Yeah. But also...
me: ?
co-worker: I was promised shirtless Henry Cavill! His shirt hasn't been off nearly enough!
me: ...fair.

So, I’ve already mentioned this, but the strong and silent type really does work for me in fiction, huh. Geralt of Rivia very much qualifies for that description. The lone gunslinger monster slayer who roams the land, helping the people...

To be clear: I do like that archetype in large part because, if written well, he's matched with a variety of female characters (romantically or not) who have their own arcs and motivations. Which The Witcher does very well. It's not a perfect show; too many boobs, for one thing. (I wonder if this is a specifically American complaint? Do continental European audience members just take it for granted that boobs are a thing on adult television?)

I think the writers could have done more with the political landscape, although that's something that may get addressed in later seasons. Also, Yennefer's time at scary Hogwarts Aretuza didn't feature enough of her successes. We saw her failures early on, and then we're apparently supposed to figure out that hey, she's doing better! And suddenly it's time for her to leave, complete with bloody transformation.

That transformation is another problem, yeah. But... given that Yennefer is a well-known character to generations, whose origin story is well-established, it would be hard to work around her backstory.

Anyway, speaking of Yennefer: Yes, Geralt is the titular character. He’s also more static than Yennefer and even Ciri. Yennefer’s arc, even with its deficiencies and problems, is compelling. Also, I rather love how Yenn embodies certain “evil” archetypes - the wicked witch, the femme fatale - but that’s not who she is. She gets to be loved and feared, powerful and desperate. Her desires are for things that won’t fix her problems, but given her background, that’s not surprising.

Also: while I wish that her physical transformation was, well, not a thing; but I like the balance in her pre-transformation phase. Istredd truly cares for her, and she for him, but they’re not a romantic endgame for lots of reasons. Her being a hunchback doesn’t make her unloveable; neither is it the sole root cause for all of her twisted motivations.

Another archetype with a twist: Queen Calanthe embodies a lot of the proud male king template, where her hubris is her downfall. It's pretty nifty; how often do we get to see a woman in that kind of role?

Princess Cirilla (Ciri) is Calanthe's granddaughter; currently she's mostly a blank space. That is, there's going to be more there later but so far she's mostly running - away from war, toward her destiny. A cool thing about Ciri: SHE GETS TO WEAR PANTS. Instead of a long skirt, she has a long, full pair of pants that might look like a skirt from a distance. But it's not, and the way that they chose a design that works for a character on the run is just neat.

So now we've brought Geralt together with his daughter-figure. Coming up next: Communism is evil! Nilfgaard on the rampage! More of Yennefer? I assume? Ciri gets to explore her magic.

My favorite non-spoilery promo for the show: first of all, to watch the witcher you need to replace your expectation of “good” with “totally unhinged.”
the show is about henry cavill in extremely tight clothing, carrying around a broadsword, facing moral dilemmas, fighting monsters, and having sex. he takes a potion before every fight (which isn’t explained) and no one in the story ages (which also isn’t explained) so people’s parents and grandparents look the same age as their progeny.
(It goes on in that vein. I think it's more negative than I would be, even if I were being starkly realistic about the show's flaws. But... we do tend to color our favorite media with the positive glow of our appreciation, so you can read that as an antidote to my current love-fest.)


Posted at Dreamwidth: Comment where you wish.
Tags: netflix with no chill, the witcher (tv)

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