So, Netflix’ “The Witcher” was weird, and could not decide what it wanted to be: A “Hercules Legenday Journey’s”-like half-comedy, half-camp series, or something else, darker and denser, with more story and background. It hinted at a better story, better told, that did not make it into the final product, and died somewhere between the scriptwriting and the cutting table.

Investigating, I got myself the equivalent of the Witcher Boxed Set on the Kindle and started reading. And indeed, just as with Conan, the Barbarian, the book is nothing like the film.

We get indeed a dense and increasingly dark story, the story of Geralt and Jennifer, both remnants from a time gone by, and Ciri, the product of an age-old arrangement of breeding and selection, gone wrong in the last few steps, all of them fighting for freedom of will and their choice in life, and ultimately failing.

The reading order is “The Last Wish”, “Sword of Destiny”, (“Season of Storms”, optional), “Blood of Elves”, “Time of Contempt”, “Baptism of Fire”, “Tower of the Swallow” and “The Lady of the Lake”. And indeed, the story is good, the Netflix series is shallow and has very little to do with the books. Also, Sapkowsky pulls off a surprisingly large and mean number of storytelling trickery.