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'The Witcher' Showrunner Explains Why Divisive Season 2 Death Had To Happen

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'The Witcher' Showrunner Explains Why Divisive Season 2 Death Had To Happen

Major spoilers for The Witcher season two follow, read on at your own risk!

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The Witcher's second season finally hit Netflix late last year, but a number of fans are unhappy with some of the... liberties the fantasy show's writers have taken with the source material this time around.

The first season, as I'm sure you recall, was a pretty faithful adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski's original short story collections, albeit with certain events moved around a little. Season two took these deviations much further, making substantial changes to a numerous characters and plot points.

Take a look at The Witcher season two in action below!

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While there are a lot of changes between the books and the second season (one fan actually outlined them all here), none are quite as surprising - or devastating - as the death of Geralt's friend and fellow Witcher, Eskel.

Eskel meets a grim end in the second episode of the new season. Tragically, it's Geralt who's forced to cut down his old ally after a mysterious infection causes him to transform into a monstrous Leshen. Given Eskel doesn't die in the books, and certainly never transforms into a Leshen, fans had questions. And complaints. Mostly complaints, to be fair.

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"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."

The Witcher showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich has since defended the decision, and explained why Eskel had to be involved in this particularly story. In short, Hissrich explained that Eskel's transformation and death was a TV-friendly way to quickly and efficiently show how much Geralt had come to care for Ciri. He swiftly kills an old friend to protect the young girl is, after all, which establishes the lengths our hero would to for his charge.

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"One of my favorite moments on screen is when Geralt first hugs Eskel,” Hissrich writes on Twitter. “The concern and confusion on his face says it all: ‘Are you okay?’ And Eskel’s not.

“He’s been infected by a monster that we don’t know yet, who is connected to Ciri in a way we don’t understand yet (and won’t for a while). But from the get-go Geralt knows this person so well, and can’t understand why he’s acting out of character: mean, and coarse, and flagrantly disobeying Kaer Morhen rules by bringing women there, disrespecting the other brothers with whom he shares a deep history."

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And just like that, we see the depths of Geralt's love for Ciri. I get it. To be honest, I'm sure most of the people who were unhappy with the decision get it too - I'm just not sure that's enough.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: The Witcher, Netflix

Ewan Moore
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