Future seasons of The Witcher will explore Geralt’s disability

The Witcher season 2. Image: Netflix
The Witcher season 2. Image: Netflix /

When you think of Geralt of Rivia, “disabled” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Yet Netflix may adapt that oft-overlooked aspect of the books.

Often portrayed as a rugged monster hunter with a penchant for pirouettes and dismemberment, The Witcher’s Geralt of Rivia is by all accounts a relatively familiar heroic warrior type. Yet in the Witcher novels by Andrezj Sapkowski, Geralt has a physical disability that he deals with for the entire latter half of the series, a detail largely omitted from the popular Witcher video games by CD Projekt Red.

But it looks like showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich wants to incorporate Geralt’s struggle with chronic pain into the Netflix show, which is currently filming its second season. Hissrich thought more deeply about it after reading a Twitter thread about Geralt’s problem (some minor spoilers for the books follow):

So what disability are we talking about? Well, near the end of the second Witcher novel (and fourth book overall), Time of Contempt, Geralt takes some pretty serious injuries during one of the series’ more epic action set pieces. He ends that novel with a broken forearm and thigh bone, screaming in pain as he’s brought to the Dryads of Brokilon for healing. Though the Dryads manage to heal him using the remedies of their mystical forest, the extraordinary nature of their magical healing causes Geralt severe, permanent nerve damage. For the entire rest of the saga, Geralt regularly deals with chronic pain in his knee and elbow. Sometimes it produces only trivial effects, like causing him to shift the way he’s sitting out of discomfort. At other times it can be life-threatening, such as when his knee gives out under him during combat.

The closest real-world ailment to compare it to would be arthritis. Geralt has more pain during colder weather, or from doing things like riding his horse Roach for extended periods. During Baptism of Fire, the book that follows Time of Contempt, Geralt and his companion Regis (who is an herbalist) discuss his condition, as laid out below in the thread that got Hissrich thinking:

So far as I’m concerned, this all sounds like pretty good news. Geralt’s struggle with the long-term effects of his injuries is just one of the many things that makes his character in the novels so nuanced. It adds a sense of the passage of time to his journey, because by the end of the series Geralt simply cannot fight with the same ease and abandon that he did as a younger man, despite the fact that the dangers he faces only grow worse. Without spoiling anything, it also creates a bond between him and the person who injured him. Let’s just say, there’s a serious score there to be settled, and the course toward its bloody resolution is one of the backbones of Sapkowski’s books.

If Hissrich and Netflix can effectively explore Geralt dealing with his physical disability, it will only make Geralt a more interesting, more fleshed out, more real character. This is exactly the sort of detail that so often gets glossed over in book-to-screen adaptations (Jon Snow’s burned hand and Tyrion’s constant cramps and aches in A Song of Ice and Fire come to mind). If The Witcher includes it in a conscious way, it will be to its credit.

All that aside, Hissrich and her team have quite a while yet to think about how to tackle this issue. Season 2 of The Witcher is on the way. Unless the show deviates wildly from the books, it’s likely that Geralt won’t even sustain the injury in question until the end of season 3, which would make him dealing with it a plotline for season 4 and beyond.

Next. 10 things The Witcher show should adapt from the video games. dark

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