This week, we’re taking a look at Netflix’s adaption of The Witcher (just Season 1 though, no spoilers!). Are you guys surprised? Well, we will be doing an article on the crossovers between wuxia, samurai, and knights real soon! So today, in honor of the release of Season 2, we’re looking at our favorite mutant monster hunter. I gave the first season a 9 out of 15, a bronze!
Is Geralt of Rivia a Wuxia Hero? I gave this section a 5 out of 8. Mutations aside, Geralt’s story reads like that of a self-interested knight-errant; we cannot call him altruistic (by any stretch of the word), but for some poor souls he is still their knight in shining armor…or their knight in dripping monster guts, either way. He's got courage in spades (he would have to, with his job), and is strangely loyal to those he finds worthy.
Though a clear example of an anti-hero, he nonetheless sticks to his own sense of justice, even when it makes his life harder or puts him at odds with the folks around him, and part of his individualism is that he does not shy away from giving voice to the harsh reality of his situation. While not truthful for the sake of it, he is disinclined to lie for his employers’ sakes or for anyone else’s peace of mind.
Is the series Essential Wuxia? I gave this section a 4 out of 7. To start with, not everyone can be a hero. Those who fail to become Witchers die horribly, as do those who are born with the ability to use magic but fail to ascend. Yet many elements of the show are very similar to wuxia. Gerolt’s unique style of fighting was taught to him as part of the School of the Wolf, one of several different Witcher schools of combat. Each school was headed by a Grandmaster and had its own techniques and codes, or morals. With the addition of the various schools of magic, and other covert organizations, this series is full to the brim with secret societies of one sort or another.
Essential Wuxia Score: 9/15!
Missed points: As stated, Geralt is not altruistic, he certainly has his moments but ostensibly works for coin and is always on the lookout for himself first and foremost. No one could accuse him of being generous, and we certainly cannot say he is morally disciplined or dignified. As said, not everyone can be a hero in this series, and it often falls flat on the themes of empowerment and self-discovery in favor of dramatic combat or sex scenes (this may be a point of contention between the books and the TV series). The chaos/power used by mages is not present in all beings, and though there are certainly creatures in the Witcher bestiary that suck the life out of their victims, we cannot say there is a universal life energy or chi present.