The Main Differences Between The Witcher Books And Netflix TV Show

The Witcher, the new Netflix TV show, is already on air, and it's time to have a look at the cast of the series and see how different is the appearance of major characters from The Witcher games and books.

Triss Merigold

The casting choice for the role of Triss Merigold was the most controversial of all. The showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich definitely took some liberties where Triss was concerned. One might say that this is an adaption of the books, not the games, so there can be differences, particularly visual ones. But the fact is that the appearance of a young sorceress is very different from Sapkowski’s books too!

Triss Merigold from the games is known for her bright red hair, bright green eyes and pale skin. It made the character more memorable, of course, but went a bit too far from the sourcebooks. First of all, she wasn’t a very prominent character, as she became in the games. Thus, her description is lacking details.

Of course, she is beautiful, just like all the sorceresses are. But all we know apart from it is her chestnut hair with “sheen of red” and cornflower-blue eyes. And The Witcher series pushed these differences even farther, as actress Anna Shaffer is definitely not a red-haired.


Brown hair and eyes, much darker skin color – it was too much for the majority of the fans. But maybe – just maybe – this casting choice is a hint that the role of this character in the series will also be different from that of the books, not to mention the games. And The Witcher series narrative will be totally focused on Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. 

Ciri

In the books, we first meet Ciri, the Lion Cub of Cintra, when she’s very young, around 8 or 9 years old, and almost indistinguishable from the boys of her age. Her appearance is quite common, except for her large emerald green eyes and ashen hair.


Because of distant elven descent and (later) witcher training, Ciri is a slender and agile girl. Freya Allan, cast as Ciri for The Witcher series, seems to be a perfect match to the description of the character in Sapkowski’s books, and video games as well. In the games, Ciri is renowned as a badass character.

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But in the series – just like in the books, - we first meet her at the times when she’s still a princess of Cintra. She young, vulnerable and hasn’t been through all the adventures and sufferings, that made her that brazen as we might expect. Also, she doesn’t have her distinctive face scar yet. 

Yennefer of Vengerberg

The choice of an actress for the role of Yennefer of Vengerberg wasn’t so controversial as that of Triss, but still, not all of the fans, both of the games and the books, have come to terms with it. But why? Because it seems that the only thing in common between all the versions of this character is… her spectacular violet eyes! (Oh yes, and a star obsidian necklace!)


Compared to both books and the games, the series Yennefer looks slightly different, if taken trait by traits. The book Yennefer is famous for her beauty. She has sharp features, pale white skin, and raven black hair that fall down her shoulders in curls. And she accentuates all this by wearing black and white clothing.

In the games, Yennefer is also pale-skinned and dark-haired, but her hair is straight, and the features are strong, though softer than in the books. The fans expected to see in the series someone like Eva Green or Jessica Chastain, but the showrunner chose an aspiring actress of Indian descent.


Obviously, her skin tone is warmer than in the books and the games, and features are much softer, though the black hair is just like that in the games. Also, from the trailers, we see that she prefers a total black look. 

But what is definitely in common in the series, games, and books – Yennefer is a beauty. Oh, one more thing: in the games, this character speaks with a slight British accent. And the actress, who portrays her – Anya Chalotra – is actually British.

Geralt of Rivia

And we have finally made to the titular character of The Witcher… The fact is that his appearance has been extensively discussed already when The Witcher games were released, especially The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.


He was made much more good looking than he had been described in the books. Moreover, even more, handsome than in the previous games, where he was much more angular. Mind that the witcher has undergone severe mutations, that made him a kind of super-human who could fight monsters.

But the developers thought that he should be at least a relatively handsome man because in the books he had many affairs with beautiful women.

As CD Project RED’s Director of PR explained: “Looking as a monster, you couldn't achieve that.”

So, in the latest game, Geralt of Rivia is a rather handsome man with a charming smile and a beard. He also has scars, that hint on his experience and makes the character more interesting. Regarding his physique, Geralt is lean, strong, and quite buff. The only thing that marks him as different from the ordinary people is his cat-like yellow eyes.


The developers made Geralt quite an agreeable character, adding a deep, slightly husky voice. In the book series, the witcher’s description is more… grounded. The mutation process left Geralt with pale skin and milk-white hair. His appearance was described as weird and frightening, especially his “odd” eyes and an ugly, malicious smile.

No wonder that the ordinary people considered his scary, and cats arched their backs, hissing. And a beard, for sure! Books Geralt was lanky, skinny, and “made of sinews”, quite heavily scarred. A top of that, he had an “unpleasant” voice. Generally, you wouldn’t have got this man mixed up with someone else.


So what we know so far about the witcher from the series? The first promotional photos showed us a rather elvish-looking Geralt, which frustrated many fans. But later the trailers revealed a more grounded and badass look of the witcher (fortunately, without a beard). 

Played by Henry Cavill, Geralt is certainly even buffered and more attractive than in the games. He looks rugged, with an emphasis made on his golden eyes And, no sane person can call Cavill’s voice unpleasant, though it’s not as deep as in the games. Also, the showrunners added his alternative, rather monstrous look he probably acquires after drinking the special elixirs. So, this should satisfy both the games’ and books’ fans.

And what do you think about The Witcher cast? Did you expect the main characters to look like those from the games – or the sourcebooks?

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