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'The Witcher' Showrunner Defends Controversial Season Two Death

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'The Witcher' Showrunner Defends Controversial Season Two Death

Major spoilers for The Witcher season two ahead. Read on at your own risk!

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The Witcher's second season is available to stream right now on Netflix. But some fans are less than happy with the latest run of episodes, in light of their many deviations from the source material.

The first season of the hit fantasy show was was a fairly faithful retelling of the original collection of short stories from Andrzej Sapkowski, albeit with some bits chopped and changed around. Season two takes things even further, making huge changes to a number of characters and plot points.

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One fan went so far as to outline all the changes between The Witcher season two and the books, and there are lot of 'em. But while there are plenty of changes to be surprised about, none are quite as shocking as the death of Geralt's old friend and fellow Witcher, Eskel.

Eskel bites the bullet in the second episode of the new season when, after transforming into a monstrous Leshen, Geralt is forced to cut him down. Given Eskel doesn't die in the books, and that Leshen have never been able to infect and turn their victims, fans were more than a little taken aback.

"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.

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"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."

The Witcher showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich has now come out in defense of the controversial decision, arguing that it was the perfect way to bring real tragedy into Geralt's world. They considered killing off an original Witcher created specifically for the show, but decided offing an established character from the books would have more impact.

The Witcher / Credit: Netflix
The Witcher / Credit: Netflix
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"We knew we had to kill someone in that episode," said Hissrich in the behind-the-scenes special The Witcher: Unlocked. "We knew that we wanted a monster to enter Kaer Morhen and have something to do with Ciri, and both Geralt and Vesemir and the brothers realize that bringing this girl into their Witcher keep is going to fundamentally change things.

"And, in all honesty, the very first version of the script that we wrote was a brand new Witcher that we'd never met before, we'd never heard of, and all of a sudden we were like... Oh, our audience is going to meet Coen and Lambert and Eskel and, you know, John. And who's going to die? John is going to die. So we thought about it really hard and I know that there are fans who love Eskel and who feel like, why would we do that?

"But, honestly, his death is what changes everything for Geralt and I think it propels Geralt's need to figure out what's going on with Ciri and to do it fast, because he knows that he's going to risk losing her and his brothers if he doesn't. And we really just wanted to motivate that character journey for him."

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Fair enough! Sadly, I'm not sure this explanation will please the fans who have already made up their mind about hating the decision.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: The Witcher, Netflix

Ewan Moore
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