Despite several delays as a result of the pandemic and Henry Cavill injuring his leg, it was widely believed that The Witcher’s second season wouldn’t debut until some time in 2022. If you’re as into The Witcher as I am, that probably came as a disappointing but understandable revelation. Fortunately, recent news implies that The Witcher season two is scheduled to launch later this year – I bet that cheered you up, eh?
There are two ways to prepare for this – by reading the books up until the point where the show leaves off, or by reading on even further so you can understand what the series is likely going to tackle next. I’m here to instruct you on exactly how to do both of these things – whether you’re afraid of spoilers or the kind of person who can’t wait a second to see the rise or fall after a cliffhanger, we’ve got you covered.
The first five episodes of The Witcher season one are derived from The Last Wish. Technically Witcher author Andrzej Sapkowski’s second short story collection, The Last Wish comes first in terms of chronological order, with the events of the previously published Sword of Destiny transpiring after it. The thing is, not all of the short stories from The Last Wish made the cut. The ones that did are, in episodic order as per the Netflix adaptation: The Lesser Evil, The Edge of the World, The Witcher (that’s the name of the show!), A Question Of Price, and the eponymous The Last Wish.
The next two and a half episodes come from Sword of Destiny. These are The Bounds of Reason, Sword of Destiny, and Something More, the last chapter in the short story collection section of the overarching saga. The thing is, The Witcher episode eight also includes The Battle of Sodden, which actually comes from the first novel, Blood of Elves. As a result, if you want a recap of what’s happened so far and don’t want to just watch the series again, you can read the two short story collections and get a whole lot of extra information – you’ll even get five extra stories, including A Shard of Ice, which I am incredibly disappointed didn’t make it into the show.
That’s if you want to bring yourself up to speed with extra context – if you want to know what happens next, you’re going to have to read Blood of Elves. It’s an excellent novel that I’m not going to spoil a single detail about right now, and I’d thoroughly recommend reading it prior to watching the series. I’d read all the books before I saw season one and was still enraptured by its adaptation – both in terms of the things that were the same and the things the showrunners changed. I don’t think it’s going to spoil anything for you by any means – instead, it will just mean you’re equipped to understand what’s going on in any given moment, as opposed to being floored by the infamous time jump midway through season one.
Also, given how little was taken from Sword of Destiny… well, let’s just cross our fingers that they fiddled around with the timeline a bit and it’s still viable after Sodden Hill, yeah? I need me some Shard of Ice, please. Come on Netflix – you know you want to.
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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.
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