The Witcher: any good?
Full disclosure, here: I gave up on Game of Thrones after the Red Wedding, not because I particularly supported the Starks, but because around about then there was the first resurrection, and that - for me - ruins the story, because if death is not permanent, it loses its power. That's the whole point of the resurrection story in Christianity (that, as the hymn has it, death has lost its sting) because if dying isn't the end, and indeed for the faithful (or the righteous) is actually the start of something much better than life, it should hold no fear. I fear death. I fear not being around for those who need me, failing to tie up loose ends of whatever kind (my invented stories, and of course my own story!), not being around to experience the next thing. I fear that I may face a judgement, although I do not expect it, and do not adjust my life every moment to anticipate that judgement.
So what of the Witcher? No one who has so far died seems to have been resurrected. I did wonder about one scene - you'll know which, and you'll know why, when you see it - where I thought we were about to be treated to a magical resurrection of a dead person, but as far as I can tell, dead means dead. The program has a frankly irritating habit of telling the story in chunks from different time periods (now, twenty years ago, forty years ago, who knows?) which requires the kind of concentration that I am not always willing to give to TV. But, so far and four episodes in, I will be watching the next one. What's good about it is the total abandonment of any kind of constraint on the fantasy, the slick fighting, the world-building. What's not so good about it is that it is hard, at times, to tell what in blue blazes is actually happening. Henry Cavill is suitably brooding as the Witcher, and his ridiculous bard is, at times, a helpful pointer as to what is going on, although there is that ever-so-slightly too knowing trope of 'and now, time for a bit of exposition'. What's weird about it, a bit like some recent series of Doctor Who, in fact, is that despite having all this time to expansively tell a story (the episodes are an hour each, and stand as individual stories as well as linking the long thread) it feels a bit rushed and under-developed. Game of Thrones - for the first two series, at least - did not have that issue, although its over-crowded cast needed a lot of time just to manoeuvre itself into position to get the real stories going. It'd be interesting for me to go back to the books (of the Witcher - CBA with Game of Thrones) to see if the storytelling has that same pinging-back-and-forth quality to it. In those time slip novels (Labyrinth and Sepulchre are the ones I tolerated-ish) there were just two threads, one old and one modern, which let my poor addled brain switch back and forth as it needed to. But I feel that keeping notes to understand the plot of a fantasy TV drama might just be a bit much. Best have another massive fight sequence, eh?
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