The Witcher video games have been a huge success. The third game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is the most successful of all. It won the Game of the year award in 2015 (Golden Joystick Awards”, “Game Developers Choice Awards” and “The Game Awards), a prestigious award given by various gaming publications to a video game that they feel represents the pinnacle of video gaming that year. If that was not enough, it is also considered by tons of fans as the best video game in this Console generation. Its developer, CD Projekt Red, couldn’t be happier, because the figures of this game series have already exceeded the thirty-three million copies sold.
The Witcher is an action role-playing game based on the novel series of The Witcher by polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The story is set in a medieval fantasy world telling the story of the witcher Geralt of Rivia, monster slayer with unnatural abilities like the power of the signs (considered simple magic spells by mages) or accelerated healing. These incredible powers are thanks to both his extensive training and the mysterious ritual that is performed in order to become a witcher.
If this was not enough, is going to be also a TV series created by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich for Netflix. If you are interested on this TV adaptation check this post.
The Witcher books
Thanks to these games, the witcher novels have gained more notoriety. People want to know more about Geralt of Rivia and his companions, could there be a better way than reading these fantastic series? Nope. The book’s plot happens years before the stories in the video games, it could be considered somehow a prequel, so reading is a perfect way to learn more about this wonderful world and its charismatic characters.
Whether your hobbies include both video games like reading fantasy books and you didn’t know anything about this saga, The Witcher is a great way to complement both worlds. As I have already said, the video games are a sequel of the books, meaning that a good approach would be to read books and then play the video games (this is what I did by the way, and worked great), thus understanding better the plot and characters that appear. This way you would enjoy the most this literary saga which finds an astonishing sequel in the world of video games.
In case you already played the video games, I won’t spoil you anything, but you will be shocked more than once even so. Also, you will understand a lot of references to the books made during the game (it’s full of them!)
The proper way to read them
So, have you decided to read The Witcher books? Great! This is a fairly long series, and it gets a bit difficult to know the proper order to read them. There is much controversy on what is the correct reading order of these books. In my opinion, the one that makes more sense is reading them in chronological order (with one exception). The saga begins with two short story books after this come the novels, they subsequently end with a prequel. So, in my opinion, the best way to read this saga is the following:
- The Last Wish (short story collection)
- Sword of Destiny (short story collection)
- Blood of Elves (novel begins here)
- Time of Contempt
- Baptism of Fire
- The Tower of Swallows
- The Lady of the Lake
- Season of storms (Prequel)
I know, it may sound odd recommending reading the prequel the last one. There is a reason for this, it is true that chronologically it is the first one, but if you read the other books first you will understand its plot way better. This is only a recommendation of course. By the way, this book is not necessary to understand the overall story, but if you read the rest you will surely want to know more about the witcher’s story.
Why should you read the books?
The Witcher is a great literary saga, the plot of the books is certainly fascinating. The series revolves around Ciri a girl tied to the witcher by fate. Its protagonist, Geralt of Rivia has very special charisma, which makes the dialogues being spicy and fun.
Many of the characters have a unique personality that makes them very attractive. One of my favorite characters is Yennefer, a very powerful sorceress of which I already wrote in a previous post. The relationship between Geralt and his troubadour friend Dandelion (or Jaskier) is really inspiring, something that in my opinion you don’t get such impression while playing the video games.
If you’ve already played video games or intend to do so, these books will provide much information on both the world and the characters depth. In addition, the game makes constant references to previous events that took place in the books. Therefore you will enjoy much more both formats if you read them before.