The Netflix adaptation of Andrej Sapkowski’s The Witcher has been successful so far. While the series has been widely popular amongst the general audience, there are a few issues that some have pointed out with the show. One is the race changes from the books to the show, and the author himself has weighed in on the matter.
In a recent interview with Wyborcza, the topic of how some viewers have an issue with black Nilfgaardians and Northerners was brought up. Sapkowski was asked for his thoughts with regards to a “few viewers” paying attention to the black Zerrikanians who were actually blonde in the book and that they “can’t get over” a black elf (translation via Reddit).
“As far as I remember, skin color isn’t discussed in detail in my books,” he said. “So the adaptors can freely show their craft.” Sapkowski says “everything is possible” and that “everything is allowed.” “They made my blonde Zerrikanians dark-haired in the comic because the artist had his artistic freedom,” he added. He also used Netflix’s Troy: Fall of a City as an example, where Achilles was played by a black actor. “The series seems to question this ‘as we know’ and suggest a Nubian interference. And this is what could’ve happened too, after all,” he added.”
Sapkowski has also stressed many times in the past that his novel is neither a medieval nor a Slavic story. He admitted that he was “very surprised” to see the attempts to ascribe his characters with a Polish origin. “The Witcher Geralt has a pretty Slavic name, there are some Slavic vibes in the names of people and places,” he continued. Sapkowski then reiterated that Witcher is a “classical and canonical fantasy. “There’s as much Slavic spirit in it as there’s poison on the tip of a matchstick, to quote Wokulski's words to Starski.”
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The Witcher Season 1 is available to stream on Netflix.