main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Amph Netflix's "The Witcher" (based on book series)

Discussion in 'Community' started by heels1785 , Sep 4, 2018.

  1. Lord Vivec

    Lord Vivec Chosen One star 9

    Registered:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Not what I'm saying. I'm saying that the filmmakers making a main protagonist nonwhite while everyone else of her villainous nation is white is blatant virtue signalling. Nonwhites have been having a difficult time being cast as villains in major movies. Where were the non-white Imperials in Rogue One?
     
  2. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Also wasn't it Zerrikania that was vaguely Arabian, @Ramza?
     
  3. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Well, in this case, you're speculating based on several theoretical casting decisions that haven't happened yet, so time will tell I suppose. As for Rogue One hasn't the Empire always been a pretty clumsy Nazi analogy without PoC members barring some EU stuff? They probably figured that they ran the risk of undermining their lame metaphor. A bad rationale, especially considering the free appropriation of fascist iconography for marketing purposes already undermines any such metaphors far more than any theoretical casting decision could ever hope to (assuming they even can), to be sure.

    More than anything Zerrikania is just kind of a repository for medieval myths, so they get some south Arabian, some Isle of Lesbos, some Prester John, some sub-saharan Africa, etc.

    Edit: Really part of the problem here is that there's this weird rhetorical game both sides start participating in (and I'm hardly innocent, or we wouldn't be at this point in the discussion) where there's this agreed upon "base everything on historical Poland" mindset buuuuuuuut we're talking about a fantasy setting where it was kind of obvious Sapkowski was blending a lot of real world cultures together to give each region a familiar flavor (which is not the most uncommon thing in fantasy, 'sup Wheel of Time?) so it, uh... doesn't.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
  4. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Sure, but we're also looking at a lot of decisions to make changes for the sake of being seen to be agents of change, which isn't the same thing. There is a stronger argument against Ciri, of all people, being re-imagined in a POC context because of her lineage, and the incredibly Gaelic faerie roots of Sapowski's elves. And as much as it was a Polish-centric, with parts of the Netherlands and France thrown in for good measure, tale (cultural appropriation is only bad if you do it to non-whites, lel) it was very much the fantasy trope of monocultural nations. You'd actually probably find it easier from a lore perspective (though fan backlash would be toxic) to make Geralt/Yen/Triss a POC than Ciri.

    And mostly because, yeah, "the Black Ones are coming." Or Redania's "kill all Black Ones".
     
  5. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Yeeeeeeaaaaaaaaah good point.
     
  6. blackmyron

    blackmyron Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 29, 2005
    I've always found a strong Spanish element to the Nilfgaard Empire; the racist accusations by the Northern Kingdoms of their descent from "Black Siedhe" (elves) echoes the racist attacks on the Spanish by other Europeans of their European heritage being 'tainted' by African/Middle Eastern blood.

    Middle East/Persia, yeah.
     
  7. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    One of the biggest issues we're going to run into with fantasy as a genre is that because its springboard is medieval in nature, there will be a fair degree (though not exclusively - sorry, racist Odinists) of ethnic homogenity. That is, the assumptions will be made based on what we assumed of history and that in turn will inform the view of the fantasy world. There's a lot of Orientalism in this approach, and I think it's helpful to critique it (because it's incorrect) but it's also important to acknowledge it exists.

    Poland is a less multicultural country than we are used to (and that's why a few Polish people I know have been passing on snippets from Polish reddit type thingys about how angry they are at the Americans smashing their ham-fisted take on race and culture to the show, because they see it as a Polish artefact and the Yanks cocking it up) and I mean, Sapowski has the term "quadroon" used in the books without any sense that this is probably not, universally, a well received word. Australia has an ugly history with the term, though in Sapowski's world it literally applies to people who have quarter Elven blood and isn't a slur. These things actually do matter when adding nuance, and I'm not suggesting for a moment you disagree or have pushed the opposite view Ramza.

    What I am saying though is that the fact that people who know nothing about the IP have no issue with it - like the typically-useless-but-very-woke Generic Gizmodo Reporter, or dp4m - doesn't mean it's necessarily a well thought out idea. The problem of orientalism in fantasy isn't done yet - if you listen to me and read the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, the primary existential threat to the very European Angland is the Gurkish Empire, whose Emperor is influenced by the Prophet (You'd call it lazy writing if it wasn't so deeply, ironically postmodern intentionally.) Those books are a few years old, with more planned. No, fantasy has an issue but it's a round hole and a bit of stunt casting on Ciri is a square peg.

    If I give into the void and look at the reddit megathread of death on this, there are two camps. One are the nativist, "anti-SJW" types who hate any diversity. The others are ones saying "actually this decision doesn't work because of thinks like the Lara Dorren angle and the whole "the Black Ones" angle, and you would fundamentally have to change so much to accommodate the choice. Change for the sake of change, in other words - Ciri doesn't exist in a vacuum and assuming she does breaks things. Not factoring in that she does, too, also breaks things.

    There is also an aspect of "I can't see past the video game depictions" for a lot of people, and that's to be expected (and challenged).
     
  8. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Also have you considered, @Ramza, how painful it's going to be when the show hits and you have show-only fans speculating about backstory that's readily available? It'll be Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones x10.

    Also lol @ someone freaking out at the idea Dandelion might be bicurious on that reddit tumourthread. "What, the man who has literally run marathons to escape jealous husbands?!" - as if Dandellion would say no to a holster - any holster - for his willy.
     
    Ramza likes this.
  9. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    I think this is where I really run into theoretical trouble on these things - on the one hand, **** it, change it, who cares? but on the other hand that position has to brush up against some very real material considerations that go into these sorts of adaptations - mandated faithfulness to the text from higher ups, more work to accommodate changes means more time in workshopping, practical benefits of reinventing the wheel, and there's just no reason to assume due diligence will be put in. Your Nilfgaardian nicknames example really drilled the point home for me - sure, it's easy to argue that "Oh it makes sense, Nilfgaard is already basically Holy Ottoman Iberia" but it's another thing to argue that a bunch of scriptwriters working on a deadline could actually make the whole thing... well, work.

    I mean, there's a good reason he's my favorite character and it's not because I look at a troubadour who's most frequently described with the adjective "dandy" and constantly writes about how he's such great friends with Geralt and think "Oh yeah, this is an exclusively heterosexual one we've got here." :p
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
    Ender Sai likes this.
  10. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    I just think in a climate of anti-immigration and isolationist populism (left and right), making the existential invaders dark skinned is asking for trouble. And needlessly hurtful. Leaving them white but making Ciri a POC means you have to change her mother and the elves, which is fine so long as it is consistent - and then the actor has to look mixed race.

    Whereas an Indian/Persian/Central Asian Yennefer would totally work.
     
  11. blackmyron

    blackmyron Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Well, there's the whole idea of the world being more 'grey' than 'black and white' with none of the nations being really 'evil' that I'm sure the show will completely **** up.
     
    Ramza likes this.
  12. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Yes I think we need to expect a detailed world will be dumbed down for a TV audience a la the ASOIAF books.

    EVIL NILFGAARD
    GOOD REDANIA
    but erm BAD RADOVID.

    etc

    And given that Americans do subtlety about as well as Catholics handle sex education, I look forwards to a clumsy "mage lives matters" episode.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
    FatBurt, Ramza and heels1785 like this.
  13. Mar17swgirl

    Mar17swgirl Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 26, 2000
    So, this show.

    I’ve been a massive fan of the books for many, many years. I like to re-read them every now and then, in an excellent Czech translation (the English translations are... well, could’ve been done much better, there are inconsistencies in translations between the individual books). I’ve also played the games and like them, but they are a bit of a departure from the books - but I don’t mind that, it’s games. I’ve always hoped for a good TV adaptation of the books (the 2001 Polish TV adaptation, with its very limited budget didn’t *quite* do it justice... :p Although Michal Zebrowski wasn’t a bad Geralt). I’ve been following Lauren Hissrich (the showrunner of this) on Twitter and her posts are encouraging. It seems to me she’s got the right approach and attitude, and wants to stay true to the spirit of the books. Also, apparently Sapkowski is involved in a consulting role, which is a big plus for me. :)

    I really hope the show manages to capture what I love most about the books - the vivid characters, the witty and memorable dialogue, the multifaceted telling of the story through many viewpoints, the “many shades of grey” morality and the subtleties of human nature... Obviously a TV adaptation must make changes to fit the format, dropping or merging characters or plot threads, but I hope there won’t be huge departures from the original story à la GOT (although it should help that the Witcher short stories and novels are a lot more concise than ASOIAF... :p). I would like to see some of the “collage” style of storytelling that Sapkowski does so well (my favourite example of this is the chapter describing the Battle of Brenna in “The Lady of the Lake”).

    When they announced Henry Cavill as Geralt, my first immediate thought was, “Isn’t he a bit on the young side?” :p But I’m pretty excited now, he seems to be genuinely a fan of the character and the franchise, so I think he’ll be great. And having a big name lead will surely attract viewers.

    Regarding Ciri’s casting... I’d like to reserve judgement until we actually get a name. Obviously, Internet is going to be Internet, and there are always plenty of people just itching to get outraged. :p But even disregarding the obvious racist “anti-SWJ” types who will bristle at any hint of diversity, I think there is a large portion of fans (myself included) that are concerned that the choice of making Ciri a POC (if indeed that is/will be the choice) just for the sake of it is just the studio calling for “moar diversity!” because they want to appear “woke”, without considering the wider implications. As Ender said, she doesn’t exist in a vacuum. And her physical looks (the green eyes and ash-blonde hair, and the resemblance to Lara Dorren) are an important part of her character and story.

    Then again, the Elves in the books are described as having almond-shaped eyes, so an argument could be made for them to be Central- or East-Asian looking... :p

    So that’s me, really excited for this series, but also really worried and hopeful and anxious that it does the books justice. But what I’ve read from Hissrich on Twitter so far is reassuring, so I’ve decided to be cautiously optimistic and trust her to make the right choices. :)

    Oh, and Thandie Newton for Philippa Eilhart, plz. [face_love]
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  14. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    Approved.
     
  15. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    I think by the last two or three (and paradoxically one of those is the second book, ****ing whatever) David French had figured out what he was doing but there's no way Gollancz would front the bill to let him go back and shore up the earlier books. A shame, really.
     
  16. Jordan1Kenobi

    Jordan1Kenobi SWC 100 Day Star Wars Challenge Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Sep 30, 2012
    While I don't mind the ethnicity of characters being changed, I don't like it when they do it for political reasons, and changing Ciri seems political. Like the other's have stated, she's the wrong character to change because of her background and how much of an impact it would make on the rest of the show.

    If I had to choose someone to play her, it'd definitely be Kaya Scodelario. Look at this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also Eva Green as Yen and Deborah Ann Woll as Triss.
     
  17. Mar17swgirl

    Mar17swgirl Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 26, 2000
    That's way too old. It would work for the games, because they take place some time after the end of the last novel. Ciri is around 8 when we first meet her in "The Sword of Destiny", and 14-16 during the novels. Ideally, there would be two actresses playing her. And Hissrich's tweets suggest that they'll be starting with the short stories before the novels, which makes a lot of sense - "The Last Wish" and "The Bounds of Reason" set up Geralt's relationship with Yennefer, "A Question of Price" and "The Sword of Destiny" introduce Cintra and Ciri, and "Something More" is pretty much a direct prologue to the novels. And also, the short stories set up Geralt as a witcher. He doesn't do much witchering in the novels - it's all "walk through fire and corpses to save Ciri" mode for him there... :p

    But it's really important they cast the right young actress(es) for Ciri. It's really a coming of age story for her, even though it's amidst a really messed up geopolitical situation when everyone is after her. She starts as this idealistic kid who gets her illusions shattered because of all the **** that happens to her and grows cynical because of it. She can't be too old, because then it will lose some of the impact.
     
    Ender Sai likes this.
  18. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    You do realise @Jordan1Kenobi has only played the games, and probably just Witcher 3 at that, right?
     
  19. Jordan1Kenobi

    Jordan1Kenobi SWC 100 Day Star Wars Challenge Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Yeah, I’ve still gotta read the books.
     
  20. Mar17swgirl

    Mar17swgirl Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 26, 2000
    We have Ciri and Yennefer!

    I’m really pleased with Ciri. :) Yen looks a bit too young, but that could be just the promo picture effect. Few more characters have also been cast.
     
    heels1785 likes this.
  21. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Okay, I'm looking at that list of known characters, which suggests some adaptation of A Question of Price at some point, and now I'm really interested to see if they get a big-ish name for their Duny. Who is definitely just a hedgehog knight. And nothing else.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
    Mar17swgirl and blackmyron like this.
  22. Mar17swgirl

    Mar17swgirl Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 26, 2000
    I’m surprised Pavetta hasn’t been announced yet. And also, Fringilla being cast - I’d have thought she wouldn’t appear until later, second series perhaps (and - she and Sabrina being “apprentice sorceresses”? LOL).
     
  23. Jordan1Kenobi

    Jordan1Kenobi SWC 100 Day Star Wars Challenge Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Why the hell is Yen so young?! I mean, she looks good but... what.

    Ciri looks good.
     
  24. Mar17swgirl

    Mar17swgirl Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 26, 2000
    Hissrich tweeted this today:

    [​IMG]

    I love that his trailer is called Kaer Morhen! :D
     
    Ender Sai likes this.
  25. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Registered:
    Feb 18, 2001
    I think they're doing the "110 looks 20" thing from the books. In literal terms.