Is ‘The Witcher’ the new Game of Thrones?
Will this be the fantasy series to dethrone GOT as the best fantasy drama series?
Networks try desperately to imitate the success of GOT.
The latest fantasy dramas are just a poor copy of Game of Thrones.
Since the premiere of ‘The Witcher’, articles that compare ‘Game Of Thrones’ with the Netflix series have been flooding the internet.
Both the shows come under fantasy genre but there are vast differences that set them apart.
After the last season of GOT turned out to be a disaster, people have been looking for new shows that could aid their Game of Thrones hangover. This is the very reason why I bought ‘The Dragonbone Chair’ by Tad Williams. It is the series that inspired George R.R. Martin to write ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series.
So, I understand why people want ‘The Witcher’ to be more like GOT and why they are prone to compare the two dramas. Both the series are grittier than the traditional fantasy stories and feature a lot of nudity and violence.
However, if you watch ‘The Witcher’ expecting it to be another Game of Thrones, then you’ll be disappointed.
The tone and structure of the 2 shows are very different from one another.
(There are spoilers ahead)
Here are some of the major differences between the two series:
Magic does not play a significant role in the initial season of Game of Thrones. After the first scene, that featured white walkers and some brief encounters of the black brothers with the undead, we don’t see a lot of magical lore in the first season of GOT.
The dragons, Red Priestesses, Bran’s ability to warg only come to focus in the later seasons.
‘The Witcher,’ on the other hand, makes heavy use of magic. The 3 main characters Yennefer, Geralt and Cirilla have all shown an affinity towards magic. In each episode, Geralt fights a new magical creature.
People in Westeros don’t believe in magic but mages are frequently featured in the world of ‘The Witcher’.
2. Nobility and Outcasts
Most of the characters from GOT are part of the nobility. Jon Snow and Tyrion are often mocked for being a bastard and cripple respectively, but both of them lived a comfortable life in castles, and later on one became a king while the other became ‘the hand of the queen’.
However, ‘The Witcher’ is preoccupied with outcasts, peasants and the common folk. Even our main character Geralt has to constantly work and hunt down monsters in order to earn his mead. Yennefer also lived in poverty before she became a mage.
‘The girl in the forest will be with you always, she’s your destiny’
This line haunts Geralt’s dreams. The word ‘destiny’ is repeated throughout the run of ‘The Witcher’. The show emphasizes that one cannot escape from fate and destiny. The season ends with Geralt finally meeting Cirilla and we see that Renfri’s prophecy is starting to take effect.
Game of Thrones is indifferent towards ‘destinies’. The prophecies about ‘Azor Ahai’ and ‘The Prince That Was Promised’ are only briefly mentioned.
Even the popular prophecy about ‘The Valonqar’ is left unfulfilled as Cersei dies because some rocks fall on her. But according to the prophecy, it should have been Jamie or Tyrion who should have become the cause of her death.
The Witcher takes place in 3 different timelines while GOT is set in the same time frame, more or less. The characters in GOT are more morally ambiguous, and hence they are harder to root for but this isn’t a problem for ‘The Witcher’.
Game of Thrones has a large set of characters but the storyline of ‘The Witcher’ primarily revolves around a few main characters. This makes it easier for the audience to follow the arcs of its characters.
There are many more differences that separate the two shows, hence, comparing them won’t be fair.
Comparing Different Shows May Hurt The Chances Of Their Success
Comparing every new fantasy series with GOT might ruin the chances of its success because of the following reasons.
People who are fond of watching stories that entail magic and witchcraft and who didn’t enjoy Game Of Thrones because magic comprised only a little part of it, might not watch the new fantasy shows if people keep referring to them as ‘the next Game of Thrones’.
Secondly, people who loved GOT because of its political intrigue will be left dissatisfied with other series as they might not focus on politics. So, the ratings and reviews of the show will come down because people didn’t get what they were expecting out of the show.
The mainstream audience has only recently started to take a keen interest in the fantasy genre. Fantasy TV shows also require a big budget and hence are not easy to produce. If the viewership is not high, the TV networks pull the plug.
So, if people won’t stop comparing the different fantasy shows and bringing them down because they are not GOT, then we might not get more fantasy shows.
Comparisons can only be made when there are some distinct similarities. Brutality and themes of darkness aside, ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Witcher’ are fundamentally different. Both shows are excellent in their own right.
So, toss a coin to your witcher, and enjoy its brilliant storyline without bringing Game of Thrones and Red wedding into the mix.
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