When starting up any Witcher game by CD Projekt Red, the first thing you may notice is a caption that says "Inspired by the work of Andrzej Sapkowski." Many gamers do not know that the award-winning game series was originally a long-running series of novels. Sapkowski praised CD Projekt Red's work but has no interest in actually playing them. He believes the games took attention away from the novels, but the reaction from gamers was the opposite.
Fans of the Witcher games who learned that the series was based on books were eager to read them. The Witcher book series consists of two short story collections and five novels. The novel series takes place five years before the events of the games. They offer insight into familiar faces in the series, such as the protagonist Geralt of Rivia and his best friend, Dandelion. The names you've heard on your travels, such as Temeria, Kaedwin, and Cintra will hold more meaning to you. You'll understand why they were so important and why war tore them apart.
Unfortunately the games are not a perfect representation of the novels. CD Projekt Red did an incredible job on developing the novels into a game, but some of the writing decisions they made were off the mark. This list contains spoilers for both the Witcher novels and game series. Read on if you're ready to learn how CD Projekt Red's adaptation greatly changed from Andrzej Sapkowski's novels.
15 Alvin Was Geralt’s Child Of Destiny
When CD Projekt Red developed the first Witcher game, there were many inconsistencies in the lore. Ciri has always been a central character in the novels, but she was replaced by a young boy named Alvin. Alvin has many similarities to Sapkowski's Ciri. Alvin had Elder Blood flowing through him and could travel through time and space. He had powerful abilities he was unable to control fully. Geralt also adopted him, in a similar manner to Ciri. When Geralt first attempted to take Ciri by the Law of Surprise, he left her behind. Geralt finally took her with him after meeting her again and realizing fate wanted them together. Alvin's adoption by Geralt is similar: Geralt meets the boy a few times before deciding to take him under his wing. In the game sequels, Alvin is replaced by Geralt's true Child of Destiny, Ciri.
14 Silver Is Required To Kill Monsters
Fighting a large variety of monsters and men is an important aspect of the Witcher game series. Geralt always carries two swords on his back: one made of silver used for slaying monsters and the second made of steel for slaying men. An emphasis is put on silver being more effective on all monsters in the games. In the novels, Geralt only carries one sword on his back. The other sword is kept with his horse, Roach. Silver swords were not required to defeat every monster. Only monsters such as specters, ghouls, and vampires who came post-conjunction, or after the Conjunction of the Spheres, required silver. Steel could still be used to defeat lesser monsters, which is why there are fewer monsters in the novels. Non-Witchers were able to destroy monsters without employing a Witcher.
13 Geralt Likes Being A Witcher
In the Witcher games, Geralt is teased for being moody. Though he is more serious and pessimistic, he is still seen as a great hero. His characterization was greatly changed from his novel version. Geralt is more emotional, contrary to the belief that The Trial of Grass stripped Witchers of their emotions. He is more vocal and expresses himself more to his friends and those around him. Few things make Geralt happy in the novels. He often finds himself torn between his relationships, especially with his companion by fate, Yennefer of Vengerberg. He also hates being a Witcher because there are fewer monsters to kill. Fewer monsters mean less work and even lesser amounts of money for Geralt. In the games, contract work is still plentiful.
12 Signs Are A Powerful Tool In Battle
Signs are incredibly powerful in the Witcher games. Level your arsenal of signs high enough, and Geralt is almost invincible. Axii can persuade any foe, and Ignis can set a forest on fire. Though the games have made the signs almost a crutch that can be used to defeat any enemy, they have less power in the novels. The unleveled base signs Geralt uses at the start of the game are still more powerful that their novel counterparts. Geralt also does not use the signs very often during battle in the novels. He uses Igni to light campfires and light candles while casting Axii to calm down his horse, Roach. He even has an additional sign, Somme, which is used to help people sleep. Though he commands many signs, he uses them primarily for mundane tasks.
11 The White Frost Is A Terrifying Magical Entity
In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, gamers learn little of the White Frost, except that it must be stopped. The White Frost is a terrifying snowstorm made of magic. If not stopped, it would consume the world. As the Child of Destiny, Ciri is the only one who can stop the world from being destroyed. It is a pivotal moment in the game. If you, as Geralt, did not make the right decisions with Ciri to make her a confident woman, this would be the last time you saw Ciri. In the novels, The White Frost has less importance. The White Frost occurs due to the natural axial tilt of the world. It brings the Ice Age closer, though the novels state it will not occur for approximately 3,000 more years.
10 Ciri And Yennefer Don’t Share A Bond
When we first meet Yennefer of Vengerberg in the novels, she is working on a magic spell or potion to accomplish something she always wanted. Magic users, including Sorceresses and Witchers, are sterile. Yennefer wanted to give birth to a child but was not able to. When Geralt takes Ciri under the Law of Surprise, Yennefer starts working with her. Yennefer helps Ciri control her magic abilities as Geralt teaches the young girl how to become a Witcher. Yennefer's bond with her becomes so strong that when she is captured, she undergoes painful torture, but never reveals Ciri's location. By the end of the novels, Ciri was calling Yennefer "mother." In the games, both Yennefer and Ciri don't appear until The Witcher 3. Their bond is not as strong, and they spend little time together.
9 Everyone Knows About The Lodge
The Lodge of Sorceresses is a secret group of sorceresses from around the world. They meet in the shadows and speak through megascopes. They conspire against kings and others with power to make themselves richer. They want magic users to have a stronger role in politics. The most important thing about The Lodge is that they are a secret society. In the games, they are spoken about as if they're a household name. The Witcher I mentions The Lodge too often. Their plots are known to everyone and spoken about casually. In the later games, CD Projekt Red tones down the common knowledge of The Lodge. They have less of a role in The Witcher II and work more in the shadows. In The Witcher 3, they are finally called out as the evil, conspirator group that they are.
8 Dandelion Is Just A Travelling Bard
In both the games and the novels, Dandelion is Geralt's best friend. He's a bard and traveling companion to the White Wolf. The novels expand on Dandelion's role, but the games reduce him to a comedic side character. Dandelion is light-hearted and a bit of a coward, which isn't surprising in a world of monsters and monstrous people. However, Dandelion is more than a bard. The games only mention in journal entries that he is also a lecturer at Oxenfurt University and studied seven different Liberal Arts. Besides from his intelligence, he is always close by when Geralt is in trouble. When Geralt is in a dark mood in the novels, he is a good friend to him. If gamers didn't know of his role in the novels, they might just find Dandelion annoying.
7 Overpopulation Of Monsters
Geralt and other Witchers on The Path are destined to eliminate monsters of the world. In the novels, they're dying out, which makes Geralt question his profession. In the games, there are more than enough monsters to go around for Witchers, Sorceresses, and strong fighters hoping for extra coin. Monsters attack from every corner, and there are few signs of their extinction. When Geralt decides to retire at his vineyard after The Witcher 3's Blood and Wine expansion packs, he explains he is tired of continuing on The Path and wishes to enjoy life in Toussaint. There's no end in sight for the multiplying monsters in the game series. The only explanation would be that Witchers are dying while monsters are quickly reproducing.
6 Triss Merigold Is A Vital Character
Triss Merigold holds greater importance to Geralt in CD Projekt Red's game series. She has the combined personalities of both her novel counterpart and her best friend, Yennefer of Vengerberg. Triss moves on to work beside royalty and gains great power. In the novels, she was not such a powerful sorceress. Triss was much younger than both Geralt and Yennefer and made her immaturity known. Triss used her magical abilities to manipulate people. She wanted Geralt to be hers, even though she knew Yennefer cared for him. The Witcher 2 shows the pair deeply involved with each other, but in the novels, Geralt is intimate with her once, then regrets it. What CD Projekt Red gets right is that Triss is obsessed with him, but they tone down her love of Geralt in the games.
5 Emhyr Var Emreis Is A Loving Father
Emhyr var Emreis makes his first in-game appearance in The Witcher 3. He is Ciri's only living parent by blood. He tasks Geralt, Ciri's father figure, with finding his lost daughter. Geralt is more concerned with finding Ciri because he knows what kind of man Emhyr is. CD Projekt Red fails to give gamers more background on why Ciri wishes to avoid Emhyr. In Sapkowski's novels, Emhyr was fooled by a prophecy that stated Ciri was going to rule half of her world and her son would rule the other half Wanting that power. Emhyr wanted to marry his own blood daughter and have a son with her so that he could rule the world. Geralt wanting to find Ciri first seemed more like jealousy instead of actual concern over Emhyr's plans for her.
4 All Women Love Geralt Of Rivia
Geralt wasn't quite the handsome ladies man as CD Projekt Red portrayed him in the novels. Sapkowski's portrayal of the White Wolf was a brooding man focused on fighting. He sees himself as an outcast from society and believes few want to interact with him, though he feels the same way. Though in both the novels and games women were drawn to him, his love life wasn't as grand as the games portrayed them. His relationship with Triss was non-existent, as her love for him was not reciprocated. Sapkowski put greater emphasis on his bond with Yennefer. The novels make it clear they are destined for each other. Even as Geralt enters a relationship with Fringilla Vigo, an important character in the books that CPR spoke little of, he still thinks of Yennefer.
3 Yennefer Lacks Importance
Yennefer is one of the most important characters in The Witcher novels. As soon as Geralt met her, he made a wish to bind their fates forever. For a character so important, she had little importance in the game series. She was only mentioned as an afterthought in the first two Witcher games. She finally appears in The Witcher 3, but by that time, gamers chose Triss. Yennefer had more importance in the novels. She remains a powerful Sorceress, but she and Geralt are a powerful force together. She is willing to do what it takes to protect Geralt and Ciri, even if it means she is hurt in the process. CD Projekt Red drastically decreased her importance in the game series, making her a side character compared to the well-established Triss Merigold.
2 Ciri Is Perfect
When we finally meet Ciri again in The Witcher 3 she is a young adult. CD Projekt Red turned her from a young woman learning her place in the world into a perfect being. Geralt trained her, but in a short amount of time, she surpasses him. She is almost undefeated in battle and can shift through time to escape her foes. Her Elder Blood grants her powerful abilities, making her almost invincible compared to other magic users. Ciri is also incredibly attractive even though she has a large scar on her face. Several characters, from The Wild Hunt to her birth father, Emhyr var Emreis, want to procreate with her. Ciri is not so perfect and precious to the other characters in the novels.
1 Geralt Is Alive
The Witcher games take place five years after the events of the last novel. The games star Geralt of Rivia, but there's a problem: Geralt is not supposed to be alive. Geralt even has flashbacks in The Witcher 2 speaking of his death, but CD Projekt Red fails to explain how he's still alive in the game. Geralt met his end in the novels, not by monsters, but by regular humans. Humans in the world of The Witcher have prejudices against magic users. Geralt was captured and killed by a villager's pitchfork. Ciri may have been able to transport him somewhere to safety, but his survival was not thoroughly explained. Geralt stated that no Witcher ever dies in his bed of old age. While this is true for him, he somehow survived his death and continued on The Path.