In an interview to Clarin journal, the author of famous series of books The Witcher, Andrzej Sapkowski, told about your inspiration and expectations about the upcoming netflix production.
His work, which will now be an 8-episode series of Netflix, is in production without a definite debut date, and has Henry Cavill as the wizard Geralt of Rivia.
Sapkowski points out that Geralt is a character who comes out of stereotypes, “complete without clichés and far from monotonous. He is forced to make decisions all the time, some good, some bad, some dubious”
The author between others revelations,told that is already working in a new The Witcher’s book but is a confidential project yet.
About the tv series, Sapkowski is very optimistic about Henry Cavill playing Geralt of Rivia, he said: ”- I approve him, I believe in him as an actor.”
The Witcher, the sorcerer’s saga created by Andrzej Sapkowski that will bring darkness to the Netflix series
Clarín spoke with the Polish author of a fiction that draws fans from the screens to the paper: the video game pushed the popularity of Geralt around the world. And his arrival on TV is already compared to Game of Thrones.
In fantasy stories there is almost always a hero who lives in a dark world and someone who has to be saved. The one that inhabits the sorcerer Geralt of Rivia is full of monsters and human beings that are sometimes more horrible than the beasts. But that place does not need a hero: it needs a professional. And Geralt is one of the few that remain.
Henry Cavill, who played Superman in 2013, will be The Witcher next year, in an overproduction that Netflix is preparing, and that will give life to the fantastic world that the Polish Andrzej Sapkowski wrote between 1992 and 1999 in seven books.
The saga gained immense popularity as of 2007 for a series of three video games, of which the third, The Wild Hunt, is considered one of the best action RPG in history.
The saga of the Sorcerer (Wiedźmin in the original Polish and The Witcher in English) is a speculative fiction in adult tone. Like so many other fantastic worlds, there are elven races, beasts and kingdoms. And these hired killers who, more than protect men, work to make a living.
Sorcerers pass as boys through a series of brutal mutations that, among other things, make them sterile. But once overcome, in what is called “the test of the herbs”, they acquire supernatural abilities: a tremendous capacity for concentration, better reflexes, feline eyes to see in dark areas, strength and a sharpening of the senses that allows them to feel what any average human does not.
Many of them do not survive this process. But Geralt not only surpassed it, but “the white wolf” is a legend. Nicknamed the “Butcher of Blaviken”, he is one of the best professionals in this fantastic world.
”All this is nothing more than the transformation of a classic fairy tale,” Sapkowski tells Clarín.
The story was something unknown outside of Poland and certain areas of Europe until the arrival of the video game, created by CD Projekt RED. His release triggered interest in the dark world of Geralt to the point that the books began to be edited and translated throughout the world.
In Argentina they were obtained only in comiquerías and specialized places. Now the saga is available completely in bookstores (edited by Riverside).
Sapkowski, also called the J. R.R. Polish Tolkien, spoke with Clarin to understand their influences, where Geralt came from as a character and the mythology that surrounds what many will mistakenly call the next Game Of Thrones. Because we should recognize that the tone of Sapkowski’s universe has long since gained a place of its own.
Many people are coming to the saga of Geralt. What is the correct order to read the books?
There is a very common mistake: consider The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny as storybooks. Incorrect. They are short, interrelated stories to structure a complete novel with beginning, end and an internal chronology. That’s why I recommend readers to start with The Last Wish and continue with The Sword of Destiny. Just after that you have to go to the blood of the elves and the rest of the pentalogy.
What did you read as a boy? What influences do you recognize in your writing?
─ He was a voracious kid reader, he read everything he could. Luckily my parents also enjoyed reading and had a huge library. Most of the gifts they gave me were books. In the 50s reading was a popular entertainment, much more than today. I thought there was no television, it was not until I was 14 years old that the first TV came home.
When did you start to imagine the universe of The Witcher? How did it all begin?
─My first story Wiedźmin was thought and written in the winter of 1985 for a literary contest, “Fantastyka”, which today is the most important speculative fiction magazine in Poland. Being aware of the growing popularity of the genre of the fantasy novel, I decided to write a story for the competition, but I pointed to something more original. After thinking it over a lot I chose to transform a classic fairy tale.
How was that adaptation?
In fairy tales a generic dragon is killed and a generic princess is rescued by either a generic poor cobbler or a generic brave prince with shiny armor. And the two get a princess as a reward. It happens that the job of killing monsters requires a professional: the one who offers his services for money, not for a princess.
Exactly: that’s how I invented Geralt the Sorcerer, the professional killer of monsters.
In Argentina, Slavic and Polish mythology is far from us. Can you give us some clues about this folklore to understand a bit about what the saga is based on?
─ Slavic ethnology, mythology and folklore – and Polish mythology and demonology in particular – are the subject of countless scientific dissertations and scholarly works, most of them in huge volumes. Do not ask me to encapsulate it in a few words because it is impossible.
Slavic mythology could have been developed over 3,000 years and is a set of pre-Christian beliefs
─ Alps, Leshens, Ghouls, superior vampires … Did any of these creatures in The Witcher universe scare you more when you were a boy?
─ When I was a kid I saw in the cinema a cartoon animated Russian about Baba Yaga, a kind of witch that in Russian mythology eats boys. In that cartoon it was terrifying. Then I grew up and nothing frightens me anymore. I do not even go to the dentist.
Are sorcerers part of Polish mythology in some sense, or an invention of yours?
“The sorcerers, or witchers, and everything that is tied to them are my invention. Product of my imagination. The word too. It did not exist, I invented it. The word Wiedźmin (witcher) did not exist in the Polish language. Now it exists.
─ “The Wild Hunt” (“Wild Hunt”) has a fundamental role in the series. What is it?
─ Die Wilde Jagd, that’s part of German mythology: they are specters that go through the sky. They are considered the horsemen of Wotan (Odin), a mythological king. In my books I modified the myth in the service of my story.
CD Projekt explained why he chose Geralt to take him to a videogame: “In Poland we grew up with this story and this mythology, that’s why we thought it was fascinating that the world knew her”
─ The saga had many translations, between languages and formats: from Polish to Chinese, from books to a video game. What do you think has been lost along the way and what has been gained?
─ Well, you will know the Italian saying “traduttore, traditore”: translator, traitor. In Poland we say: translations are like women, beautiful ones are not faithful, the faithful are not beautiful. The two sayings are absolutely true. The only question is: how much did the translator betray you, a little or a lot? I consider myself fortunate: my translators, as far as I know, were very good. The majority.
The adaptations of the games had to deal with translation problems: the Slavic mythology is not known in the whole world and for that reason it had to have a thick conceptual scaffolding
In both the game and the books, the sorcerer faces very strong moral decisions. How would you describe Geralt in this regard?
─ Geralt is a fictitious character in which I tried to get out of stereotypes: it is complex, far from clichés and not at all flat. That makes it interesting. I tried to achieve this in many ways, and one of them was to force him to make decisions. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes dubious and other controversial. Is there morality? Let the reader judge.
”If I had to choose between one evil and another, I would prefer not to have to choose”
Geralt of Rivia, The Last Wish
─ Next year the series comes out on Netflix. What do you expect from this adaptation?
I am optimistic. The series is prepared by true professionals.
What do you think about the work of Lauren Hissrich, general producer of the series, who worked on Daredevil and The Defenders?
I have all the reasons to be optimistic. Lauren is a professional.
You had to give any kind of warning in particular?
Yes, I gave many warnings. But it’s confidential, I can not tell anything.
What do you think of Henry Cavill as Geralt?
I approve, I believe in his gifts as an actor.
─ The game is considered one of the best in history, and a work of digital art for its narrative, among other issues. What relationship did you have with CD Projekt Red?
“Excuse me, but I do not know anything about the game and I do not feel like talking about it. I will consider any question about the games as nonexistent.
Sapkowski against the video game and CD Projekt Red. The Polish author maintains a strong legal dispute with the studio that developed the videogames. It happens that for the release of the first, CD Projekt Red bought him the rights for an unknown number, but that is estimated at 10 thousand dollars. Sapkowski never thought that the game would be so successful.
Today he claims 60 million Polish zlotys, about 16 million dollars.
“They offered me a percentage of the profits, I said, ‘No, there will not be any profit at all, give me all the money that corresponds to me right now! The whole amount.’ That was stupid. I was stupid enough to leave everything In his hands because he did not believe in his success, but who would have predicted that success? I could not, “said the writer this year to a specialized videogame medium, Eurogamer.
Today, the Witcher saga, in its three video games, exceeds 33 million copies sold.
And it continues to win fans around the world.
Revisão: Nalva de Moraes
Edição de Imagem: Bruna Oliveira
Redação: Fabiana Franzosi
Tradução: Erica Moura
Portal Henry Cavill ©