By Ananta Evander, MSc, International Relations
Season 2 of The Witcher highlights Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) finally embracing his destiny to adopt the child of surprise Ciri of Cintara (Freya Allan).
On the other hand, Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) attempts to seek her missing magic. The intensifying political tensions between fractions, the increasing arrival of deadly monsters and the hidden darkness within Ciri’s power slowly lead towards an all-out-chaos in the continent.
In terms of character developments, the father and daughter dynamic between Geralt and Ciri become the highlight of this season. Geralt’s protective behaviour toward Ciri indirectly brings out the humanity within himself, while Ciri manages to overcome his insecurity surrounding his survival as nobility and unfamiliarity to his own power.
Throughout the season, Geralt employs his wisdom to protect Ciri from conducting an audacious action. Their dynamic also influences their relationship with other characters such as Geralt’s mentor Versemir and friend Triss as Ciri’s power can bring both benefits and dangers to the world.
Unfortunately, Yennefer’s quest for power after losing her magic feels unsatisfying. During the first act of the story, her ambition results in the agreement with a malevolent witch and betrayal towards people who care for her. However, her change of heart following the meeting with Geralt and Ciri is considered rushed without a proper development to support her transformation.
In this season, Hissrich manages to reduce the overused narrative tropes of moral ambiguity which caused underwhelming battle scenes and narrative jumbles in the first season. To address the issue, Hissrich outlines compelling villains by showcasing their characteristics in the beginning of the plot before the protagonists fight against them. This approach leads towards the high point of the season during Episode 1 when Geralt and Ciri encounter the cursed Nivellen. At first, the viewers are introduced to the light-hearted nature of Nivellen capable of creating magic. However, the later story development highlights his close association with a monster which killed the entire village and reveals his past brutality that caused his curse.
Despite such pitfalls, season two manages to feature more menacing monsters for the titular characters to encounter during their journey. The directors manage to achieve this through well choreographed action sequences, compelling visual effects compared to the previous season resulting in realistic-looking creatures, diversity within the enemy’s capabilities and the removal of moral greyness in certain confrontations as they are designed to become a tool for a sinister act.
In terms of production value, the beautiful filming locations across the UK and the well-designed set pieces make The Continent a visually appealing world with both charming and believable characteristics. On the flip side, the decision of replacing Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli with Joseph Trapanese for the soundtrack lacks the sense of musical memorability as compared to season one which featured the famous ‘Toss a Coin to Your Witcher’ and The Witcher theme song.
Featured Image: IMDB, Katalin Vermes, Jay Maidment
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