I might have mentioned my teeny tiny obsession with the Witcher universe, I’ve read all the books, watched all the shows, and finally am playing Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt (with the bonus Blood and Wine expansion…). I wasn’t joking. Obsession level fan girl.
And … get this – FanX Salt Lake has invited me to be on this weekend’s Witcher panel. There’s so much squee here, I just might die.
So, the timing of the release of “The Nightmare of the Wolf” a few weeks ago is completely perfect.
The Netflix series “The Witcher” covers the story of the Witcher Geralt of Rivia and the sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg. “Nightmare of the Wolf” steps back in time to the life of Geralt’s mentor and father figure, Vesemir.
The show switches back and forth between two significant parts of Vesemir’s life. One, of when he was a child wanting adventure and anything more then living the life of a lowly servant. The other, when he’s an experienced Witcher facing a problem that brings back part of a lost part of his past.
As with most Witcher stories, there’s a lot going on in here. A foul plot is afoot to wipe out the Witchers at Kaer Morhen, orchestrated by the Sorceress Tetra. She uses her control over monsters to convince the court that somehow the Witchers themselves are responsible for the creation of said monsters. Adult Vesemir uncovers part of this plot and works to figure out the truth.
As a child, Vesemir had a close friend named Illyana who he was separated from when he chose to be a Witcher. Over the intervening years, Illyana married into power and prestige. She uses her position to argue at court against those of her town from turning against the Witchers, who most see as a blight on society. She gets caught up in Tetra’s plot as she tries to protect Vesemir, who she still has feelings for.
All of this culminates into a massive showdown between Tetra’s monsters and mob against the Witchers of Kaer Morhen. It’s an unfair fight from the beginning, as Tetra can summon thousands of deadly monsters at will. Vesemir is torn between his loyalty to the Witchers against the truths he’s uncovered and must choose which side to take.
First, know that I’m a biased watcher. That said, this was a great addition to the Witcher Universe. While there are parts of the story that do step away from cannon, namely the details surrounding the sacking of Kaer Morhen, from what we know of Vesemir’s past, this story fills in a part of the history that we haven’t seen much of in previous works.
The best part of the whole thing is Vesemir’s character arc. He starts as a petulant youth who craves adventure over all else and only cares about Illyana, then becomes an arrogant Witcher who, after Illyana’s rejection, doesn’t care about anyone, and in the end after enduring a bitter loss, learns that not only are there are people worth caring for in the world, but it’s up to him to ensure they have a future. Yes, I’m talking about none other than Geralt, Eskel, and Lambert.
There’s a bit of everything in this story. We’ve got plenty of action and magic, but we also have a generous amount of heart – something I love seeing.
For those of you who loved Castlevania and/or already like the Witcher universe, this is a perfect pick. The art style matches that of Castlevania, which I might have already fangirled about in previous posts.
That said, true to the nature of the story, this is a gory, violent show with plenty of intense fighting and images that might be disturbing to some viewers. Beyond that, there’s some profanity, brief moments of nudity (mostly butts and possibly a boob), and consumption of alcohol as well as alchemical potions that turn the Witcher’s eyes completely black.
Proceed at your own risk. I recommend this one for at least 16+ and those they let play.
I rate Nightmare of the Wolf 5/5 for being a perfect edition to the Witcher universe.
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