Henry Cavill is no Longer the Witcher- Why it’s Probably for the Best

Much to the lament of fans, it’s been recently announced that Henry Cavill will not be reprising his role as Geralt of Rivia for the fourth season of Netflix’s The Witcher adaptation. To make matters worse, his replacement, Liam Hemsworth, is more known for his roles as a heartthrob roles than portrayals of brooding anti-heroes.

Given he’s a professional actor, I’m sure Hemsworth will do a great job overall, but I’ll still light a candle in my window in memoriam of Cavill’s portrayal. It was Cavill who understood Geralt’s character perfectly. There’s a a certain quiet, ominous strength in his scenes that not all characters can pull off. It also helps that Cavill himself was a huge fan of The Witcher before he tried out for the role. Supposedly, he spent no time preparing for the role; he was so familiar and enthusiastic about the character, it came naturally.

Given his fit for the role, fans were surprised when it was announced that Henry Cavill himself walked away from Netflix. This surprise didn’t last long when it became public that the writers of the show don’t even care. Beau DeMayo, a former writer for the show, recently said on an Instagram Q&A that, I’ve been on show [sic] – namely Witcher – where some of the writers were not or actively disliked the books and games (even actively mocking the source material.)

This contempt for the original work was present in season 2 of the show. The character Yennefer, a sorceress, loses her magic power. Fine, that’s not how it is in the books, but whatever. What made things particularly egregious, though, is that she is chasing after Ciri in order to get these powers back. In the books, Geralt and Yennefer have a parental relationship with Ciri. Yennefer would not do this. This is the opposite of how her character should act. It’s telling of the show’s writers that they’d cast aside themes of familial love in the face of adversity for a story about a woman’s empowerment (I don’t throw this buzzword around for no reason, there are scenes where her character screams about how she wants power). The motivation of power for its own sake is more fitting to characters like Voldemort or Sauron.

I myself am a huge fan of the Witcher book series and video games. That being said, I couldn’t bring myself to finish season two. It wasn’t that they deviated from the books, they went against the source material. That being said, I’m surprised Cavill didn’t jump ship earlier. He was the multi-million dollar canary in the coal mine; given that he doesn’t want to be part of the project, season four and onward most likely isn’t worth the time.

As much as I don’t want to diss on Liam Hemsworth’s casting, the fact that they chose him as the replacement is anther sign that the masterminds at Netflix don’t understand what they’re doing. Geralt of Rivia is a mutant outcast, and in the books, isn’t attractive. Fair enough it’s a visual medium and you want characters to look good, but the pretty-boy aesthetic doesn’t fit the Butcher of Blaviken. CD Projekt Red’s rendition for the first Witcher video game is more book-accurate.

Geralt in CDPR’s The Witcher

So with the show compromised, how can you get your Witcher fix? There’s actually never been a better time to be a fan, as a remake of the original rpg is on the horizon. Even if you haven’t read the books, you’ll do just fine jumping into any of the games if you’ve gotten through the first season of the show. Getting into the books can be tricky, since there are two short story collections that are necessary to read before diving into the novels. Start with The Last Wish, then Sword of Destiny. From there, you can move on to Blood of Elves, the first book in the main series of novels.

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