Rating: 5 out of 5
The second collection of short stories that introduces the world of the Witcher far surpassed the first one in my estimation. All the good things that one could note about the first were still present, while the stories were broader and more interesting overall. My favourite, perhaps not unexpectedly, was the story about a golden dragon.
The reader learns much more about Geralt in these stories. Not all of it is good, and Geralt has the important quality of being quite annoying from time to time: it’s quite interesting how the author’s used the premise that Witchers don’t have emotions and turned it around by making Geralt a double-mutant, so to say. The intransigences that the Witcher goes through, both with respect to emotions but also about his travelling companions, are often funny to read though sad to think about. Slowly, we learn much about Geralt’s morals, his guiding compass which the Witcher uses to guide himself through life.
I found it very enjoyable again to look into the Netflix version of the series while reading the respective stories. Many of the changes made make sense from a television point of view, but undoubtedly Mr Sapkowski’s original is deeper and more thought-provoking than the adaption. Both have their strengths, however, and reading the story and watching the episode based on that story makes for a thorough experience.
It is also very good to see how the author has drawn from so much of Eastern Europe in how he names things and what is “good” vs “bad”. This provides a welcome respite to the Anglo-centric worlds of so many fantasy books and is a pleasure to behold. Of course, this also means that certain traditions are incorporated from these lands, making these stories also a journey into other cultures.
I really enjoyed this.