The Real History Behind “The Witcher”: From Books to Games to Screen


The Real History Behind “The Witcher”: From Books to Games to Screen


You’ve probably heard of “The Witcher”, the epic fantasy series that has captured audiences’ hearts with its sword-swinging, monster-slaying, morally gray narrative. But did you know that the Netflix hit has a rich backstory that spans decades, mediums, and even controversies? Let’s dig in!

The Source Material: Andrzej Sapkowski’s Books

It all started with a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. His first Witcher story was published in 1986 in a Polish science fiction magazine. The books gained immense popularity in Eastern Europe before catching fire internationally.

  • Sapkowski and Slavic Mythology: The author drew heavily from Slavic folklore, bringing mythical creatures and moral complexities into a fantastical universe. Want to dive into the original books? Goodreads has a comprehensive list.

The Video Game Leap

In 2007, CD Projekt Red adapted the novels into a video game, simply titled “The Witcher,” which eventually grew into a highly successful trilogy.

  • Game Mechanics and Storytelling: The games were praised for their intricate storylines and open-world mechanics. IGN gives a thorough review of the final installment, “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.”

The Netflix Sensation

Finally, the saga was adapted into a live-action series by Netflix, starring Henry Cavill as the titular Witcher, Geralt of Rivia.

  • Casting Choices: The casting of Cavill, a self-proclaimed fan of both the books and the games, was met with widespread approval. Vanity Fair has an in-depth interview with Cavill discussing his role.

Real Historical Inspirations

Did you know that the Witcher universe has some grounding in real history? From the political dynamics reminiscent of medieval Europe to the variety of armor and weapons, there are sprinkles of reality in this fantastical world.

  • Historical Accuracy: This History Extra article explores the historical elements woven into “The Witcher.”

The Controversies: Adaptation vs Original

Not all has been smooth sailing for “The Witcher.” The show has faced its share of controversies, mainly concerning its adaptation of the source material.

  • Racial Representation: One point of contention has been the show’s approach to diversity, which diverges from the original books. Polygon discusses this aspect in depth.


“The Witcher” is not just another fantasy series; it’s a cultural phenomenon that has crossed borders and mediums. Its rich backstory and complex characters make it a multi-layered experience, whether you’re reading the original books, playing the video games, or watching the Netflix series.

So the next time you watch Geralt slay a monster or navigate political intrigue, remember that you’re witnessing the latest chapter in a story that has been evolving for over three decades. And trust me, it’s a tale worth following.

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