Sword & Sorcery: "An earthier sort of fantasy" discussion

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Authors, Books and Series > The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski

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message 1: by Martin (new)

Martin Christopher | 67 comments There had been some talk about the series in other threads about different topics, so let's make one just for it.

It's a series of seven books written in the 90s that was originally released in Polish and translated into over a dozen languages, with English somehow ending up as one of the very last. There are still two more left that will be out this year and next one, after the series got a hefty kick in popularity since the release of a very successful videogame series based on it. The first two books are collections of several stories, but there's a clear continuity throughout them, during which many of the plot threads of the "proper novels" are already starting. They are the "real" start of the series and in my own opinion not optional.

The series is in many ways very much straight Sword & Sorcery. and in other ways also very unconventional at the same time. There's a good amount of action, lots of monsters, and characters ranging from gray to black. But finding the monster and killing it is almost never the solution to the real problem and the hero Geralt is often the only person who sees it that way.

I've read the first three books so far and started with the fourth, and it's one of my favorite S&S series, right up there with Conan and Kane. It's less boisterous, but the quality of the dialogue and the interesting characters easily make up for that. I think it would fit pretty well in the midpoint on a spectrum between Conan and Kane.


message 2: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 205 comments I'm looking forward to eventually diving into the books. I have a love/hate with the first game. It's ugly as sin but the world is so fascinating. The story is quite interesting but I felt like I kept missing chunks of narrative. Geralt can be pretty rad but the way sex is handled is...shall we say, lackluster?

Still need to get around to the second game but it was clearly designed to be played with a controller and my machine can only run it on the lowest settings. I'm dying to play the third game but I can't even begin to run it.

Back to the books, I've heard mixed reviews about the English translation but considering I love the Vampire Hunter D books, I doubt it'll be a huge problem.


message 3: by Martin (new)

Martin Christopher | 67 comments I played the first game again a few weeks back, and it really is a very mixed bag. It's one big selling point is the world, which it manages to capture really well and faithful to the books. Plot and gameplay are indeed rather lacking. The second one is much, much better in my opinion.

I didn't see anything wrong with the English translations. Looks totally fine to me.


message 4: by Dan (last edited Mar 03, 2016 06:46AM) (new)

Dan (TheGreatBeast) | 213 comments It seems that while the first had some detriments, it was also praised for it's originality, and obviously it was successful enough to spawn a sequel, which turn was more was more successful and spawned a third game. Which(er?) too seems to be even more successful. I just posted my thoughts on the first books as I am wading through it in the Group Read for RPG Tie-Ins (though as pointed out this is not a tie-in but the other way around).

Side note: I didn't know that Vampire Hunter D had a series of novels. Do they predate the Anime, was their a manga as well, and if so which of the three came first? I loved the two films, big Amano fan.


message 5: by Rich (new)

Rich | 58 comments Ashe wrote: "Back to the books, I've heard mixed reviews about the English translation"

I read the first book about a year ago, and didn't find any problems with the translation. I knew going in that it was a translation, but I don't think I would have even noticed had I been unaware.


message 6: by Dan (new)

Dan (TheGreatBeast) | 213 comments Having not read the original Polish version it's hard to compare. But I've heard a lot is lost in translation from Russian to English in general, so I wouldn't be surprised if it were the same with Polish, but also feel like there is little that can be done if it's simply a problem of syntax and cultural paradigm.

In general I have no problem with the language so far. Not too florid, but not the simplest prose either, it does have a bit of a flourish or uniqueness to it.


message 7: by Martin (new)

Martin Christopher | 67 comments It still reads very fun in a clever way to me. Usually authors trying to be clever with their jokes rarely works for me, but here it's fun even in translation.

And I think Dandelion is the only comic relief character that I ever thought was actually funny and a good addition to the story. I think part of it is because he's actually able to recognize real danger and never does anything that causes harm to everyone else because he doesn't take things seriously. He's never a burden to have a around and you don't think the best thing to do in any given situation is to ditch him.

And the series also has the first Chosen One character who I like. It is very obvious that fate is heavily intervening to make something happen, but at least for the first half of the series I've read so far, everyone is very much puzzled by it and nobody seems to have any clue what higher power might be at work and what purpose it all could have. It's genuinly mysterious and it doesn't give anything away about what will happen later and how the story will end.


message 8: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 205 comments Dan: The novels do in fact predate the first movie. The novels are the source. They started a manga adaptation several years ago but quite frankly, the art is atrocious. There's a new tv show in the works too.


message 9: by Dan (new)

Dan (TheGreatBeast) | 213 comments Martin wrote: "It still reads very fun in a clever way to me. Usually authors trying to be clever with their jokes rarely works for me, but here it's fun even in translation.

And I think Dandelion is the only co..."


Might want to give a bit of a spoiler warning there...


message 10: by Martin (new)

Martin Christopher | 67 comments I don't think there's anything slightly revealing in that.


message 11: by Dan (new)

Dan (TheGreatBeast) | 213 comments There is, you reveal that he is (view spoiler) I really had no idea about any of that, it's not even really implied where I am.


message 12: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 205 comments I'm pretty sure Dandelion isn't the subject of that bit of info.


message 13: by Dan (new)

Dan (TheGreatBeast) | 213 comments No, that's just what happens when you quote someone's reply. Either way I'm sure it's not pertinent, and had I played the games I might have had it spoiled for me already. Nonetheless, I'm just suggesting to be careful when discussing a book that others haven't read.


message 14: by Arley (new)

Arley Dial (arley1977) | 24 comments Just looked at the link above. The series sounds intriguing, and I just added it to my 'want to read' shelf. Thanks guys!


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