There are major spoilers for Season 2 of The Witcher ahead. Continue reading at your own peril!
The second season of The Witcher is currently streaming on Netflix. However, several fans are dissatisfied with the most recent batch of episodes, citing numerous alterations from the source material.
The hit fantasy show’s first season was a reasonably faithful recreation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s original collection of short stories, but with some portions cut and altered about. Season 2 goes much further, drastically altering a number of characters and plot issues.
One fan even went so far as to list all of the differences between The Witcher season two and the books, which are numerous. While there are other things to be astonished by, none is as startling as Geralt’s longtime friend and fellow Witcher, Eskel’s death.
In the second episode of the new season, Eskel bites the bullet as Geralt is forced to hack him down after transforming into a monstrous Leshen. Fans were taken aback by the fact that Eskel does not die in the novels, and Leshen have never been able to infect and transform their victims.
On the Witcher subreddit, one fan said, “They did him so dirty.” “First, they make him out to be a terrible jerk and a creep with Ciri; he was a caring instructor for her and Geralt’s best friend… Finally, he becomes infected and transforms into a Leshen, despite the fact that Witchers are meant to be resistant to illnesses.
“It was a terrible decision, poorly written, and they could have easily utilized one of the other Witchers for that plot if they wanted to go with it.”
Lauren S. Hissrich, the showrunner of The Witcher, has now defended the contentious move, claiming that it was the ideal way to bring true sadness into Geralt’s world. They considered murdering off an original Witcher character created exclusively for the show, but ultimately decided that killing off a well-known character from the books would have more impact.
In the behind-the-scenes feature The Witcher: Unlocked, Hissrich noted, “We knew we had to kill someone in that episode.” “We knew we wanted a monster to enter Kaer Morhen and have something to do with Ciri, and both Geralt and Vesemir, as well as the brothers, understand that bringing this girl into their Witcher keep will change everything.”
“They did him so dirty,” wrote one fan on The Witcher subreddit. “First, they make him a complete asshole and a creep with Ciri, he would never be like that, he was a caring teacher for her and Geralt’s best friend… Finally, he is infected and turns into a Leshen even though Witchers are supposed to be immune to infections, makes no sense.
“It was an awful decision, poorly written and if they wanted to go with it, they could easily have used one of the nobody Witchers for that plot.”
That’s fine! Unfortunately, I’m not sure this explanation would satisfy supporters who have already decided they despise the decision.