[Recommendation Friday] My Favourite Fairy Tale


it’s friday and I have a special recommendation for you. Today I finally finished reading my favourite series of books. The last one took me about two years. Why did it take so long to read a book, you might ask. Well, I guess I never really wanted to finish it. I didn’t want the story to come to an end. But today it did, vaesse deireadh aep eigean.

But enough with the secrets, I’m talking of course about the Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. I’m guessing lots of you know about the video game The Witcher and its sequels. Those video games are based on the story by Sapkowski. If you have played these games you already know about the style and the world that these books are set in. It’s a dark and sinister fantasy world based on European fairy tales and a real world medieval setting. But it’s hard to compare it to a classic fantasy setting on a Tolkien basis. It’s way darker and takes a huge step away from you stereotypical elves and dwarfs. Those species still exist in this universe but they are much less mystified and more comparable to human minorities in real world.

So, what is this whole thing about? Well, first there are two books with short stories, The Last Wish and The Sword of Destiny, introducing the so-called witcher Geralt of Rivia. A witcher basically is a trained monster hunter, usually hunting by sword. They wander around and get paid for hunting down monsters that threaten villages and towns. To do so they have to undergo mutations in their their training. Those short stories are read very quickly and most of them are based on European fairy tales, told in a much more adult way.

Those short stories also introduce two other very important characters. First, there is Yennefer of Vengerberg, a sorceress whom Geralt falls in love with. And then there is Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon or Ciri, a young girl who was promised to Geralt before being born. She is the focus point of the five following novels, Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire, The Swallow’s Tower and Lady of the Lake.

While the short stories focus on Geralt’s work as a witcher the novels are far more politic stories about war, a greater force and the life of Ciri. Geralt is still the main character, though it feels like he is pretty much played by the whole world around him. I don’t want to go much into detail, since I don’t want to spoil the story to you. But if you like the short stories or the games I’m sure you will love the novels.

Also, if you plan to play the games, I highly recommend reading the books first. For the first game, The Witcher, it doesn’t really matter but there are a lot of things you will only notice when having read the books. The second game, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, on the other hand already contains huge spoilers you don’t want to know before finishing the books. And as far as the trailers for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt go, it will get worse. They already spoiled a lot of information about Ciri and Yennefer.

There are also some differences between how the characters are characterized in the books and in the games. For example, if you have played the games, forget about Triss. She’s a whole completely person in the books.

Now go buy the books! They are my favourite story by far and you shouldn’t miss out on them. I recommend it to anyone who can or cannot read. I’m looking at you, Henrik.


24.04.2015 17:09:14 UTC

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