Netflix’s The Witcher quickly managed to steal the spotlight after its premiere back in December, and as we’ve come to know, political assessments and cultural analysis are an inevitable and immediate consequence when an IP receives too much attention.
Indeed, the first season of the live-action adaptation of The Witcher saga from Polish writer Andrej Sapkowski has so far received universal praise from the general audience, though there are still some who criticize the show for being too confusing or deviating from the source material. In fact, one such deviation is the race change of several characters from the novels.
Namely, many people are wondering why some Nilfgaardians or Northerners are played by black people in the show. In addition, some particular characters who play an important role in the narrative are also changed. For instance, the Zerrikanian assassins in the sixth episode, “Rare Species,” are played by persons of color, whereas in the books, they’re blonde. Some fans even criticized the series for depicting a black Elf!
Well, if this strange issue has given you sleepless nights, too, the author himself has addresses the criticisms in a new interview by defending Netflix’s creative freedom.
“As far as I remember, skin color isn’t discussed in detail in my books,” Sapkowski said. “So the adaptors can freely show their craft. They made my blonde Zerrikanians dark-haired in the comic because the artist had his artistic freedom.”
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Sapkowski also used the streaming juggernaut’s Troy: Fall of a City as an example, where Achilles was played by a black actor. He added:
“The series seems to question this ‘as we know’ and suggest a Nubian interference. And this is what could’ve happened too, after all.”
The writer further stressed that his work is neither a medieval saga nor a Slavic story, even though certain names of characters and places have a Slavic vibe, reiterating that The Witcher is a “classical and canonical fantasy.”
What are your thoughts on the author’s new comments, though? Should these small inconsistencies even matter at the end of the day? Let us know in the comments below.