An Ambitious, Mostly-Satisfying Foray Into Andrzej Sapkowski’s World

Monster-hunting is an integral part of “The Witcher,” as Geralt and Ciri hinge a part of their identities on this essential, yet thankless job. There are some badass fight sequences where Ciri is given a chance to hold her own and flaunt her witcher abilities, with Geralt granting assistance when needed. This role reversal is crucial for Ciri’s sense of confidence, which literally decides her fate in “Wild Hunt” — if Ciri’s sense of autonomy is stifled and decisions are made for her by Geralt, it can spell literal disaster in the game’s final outcome. In a surprisingly welcome turn of events, the series follows the game’s lead and lets Ciri be her own person, with the others gently guiding her throughout her journey.

Some monsters serve a greater purpose apart from being ingredients in a cool witcher fight scene, as they directly tie into the origins of imposter Ciri, who is also indispensable to the grander plot. Some decisions in this respect might raise a few eyebrows, but there is a clear attempt to deepen character origins and lore without interfering with broad canon events. Unless you’re a Sapkowski purist, these choices, although imperfect, work.

While Cavill is ever-compelling as the white-haired witcher, capable of balancing gentleness and brutality in equal measure, Allan and Chalotra genuinely elevate this season with the rich complexities they bring to their roles. Yennefer has always been a rather complicated figure — extremely flawed, with some skeletons in her closet — and Chalotra delivers these nuances with striking vulnerability. However, Allan’s Ciri is easily this season’s highlight, as we visibly witness her character grapple with the meaning of true, unbridled power. Whether she wants to be a princess, the savior of the Elves, or a wandering witcher, the choice is hers to make. And that makes all the difference in the world.

/Film Rating: 7 out of 10

Volume 1 of “The Witcher” Season 3 premieres on June 29, 2023, on Netflix. 

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