Five Differences Between The Witcher Game Series And Sapkowski’s Novels

Jordan Heal

In the wake of the 10 year anniversary of the Witcher games, here is a look at the differences between Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels and CD Projekt Red’s Witcher games series.

The hit game series, The Witcher, was non-canonical in relation to Sapkowski’s original novels, however, CD Projekt Red does a fantastic job at maintaining the rich lore and background that the Polish author created.

Rife with Slavic folklore tales, the highly acclaimed series acts as a sequel to the novels. It is worth noting, that Sapkowski himself, doesn’t believe the games can be considered an alternative version or a sequel to Geralt’s story, rather that only he, the author, can write an authentic ending for Geralt’s tale.

That being said, he does acknowledge that the game developers created a hugely popular video game series with its foundations based on his story.

CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3 concluded, their, compelling story of the White Wolf and the Child of the Elder blood, however they are notable differences between the books and the games:

5. Triss’ appearance

Triss Merigold was presumed dead following the battle of Sodden hill; her corpse was near unidentifiable due to severe burns.

Triss’ return in Blood of Elves ambiguously doesn’t answer how she is alive, though presumably she was healed with magic. The sorceress’ body is left with burn mark scars, thus she never wears dresses that reveal her neckline, contrary to her portrayal in the games.

4. Triss’ relationship with Geralt

Merigold’s relationship with Geralt is also changed within the games universe. Throughout the trilogy it is suggested that her relationship is significant to the White Wolf.

It is not, though they remain friends and Triss aids in raising Ciri at Kaer Morhen – Geralt deeply regrets his sexual history with Triss. As it rightly should be, for many fans, Geralt’s main love focus is always Yennefer.

3. Geralt’s characterisation

The Butcher of Blaviken himself is portrayed alternatively in CD Projekt Reds universe; Andrzej Sapkowski’s original Geralt is often brooding and philosophical.

He experiences waves of melancholy, which contrasts with the often witty game version of the Witcher. Book Geralt was also prone to outbursts of anger, irrational actions and a volatile temper.

Not only that, fans who love to rock the short hair and beard combo in the third game may be disheartened to hear, Geralt hated facial hair. He shaved his face a lot in the books.

2. Yennefer and Ciri’s relationship

Yennefer and Ciri’s relationship bears a lot more significance in the books. For Ciri, Yen is a pseudo-mother for her during the Child of the Elder Blood’s time in the Temple School of Ellander. Ciri suffers with severe nightmares until Yen’s arrival.

A relationship that initially begins with Ciri despising Yen, shortly turns into a strong bond leaving them calling each other Mother and Daughter.

1. Signs

The use of signs is greatly exaggerated in the games. Whilst the overpowered functionality of signs was implemented to give the game more RPG depth, in the books, signs aren’t as powerful.

For one, mages aren’t able to control people’s minds, yet Geralt’s Axii can do just that in the virtual world. Igni is used more to light ropes and fires in Sapkowski’s canon, it is not typically a combat move. Aard is employed in combat, but more to push an opponent off balance rather than to knock down multiple foes. The mutation, piercing cold, is the definition of overpowered when considering the video game signs in comparison to the books.

Despite these differences, the Witcher games valiantly encapsulate the magic that Sapkowski meticulously created within his bestselling novels.

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