In a rare interview with Corriere la Lettura, author of The Witcher saga Andrzej Sapkowski discussed the background for his books, the Henry Cavill-led Netflix adaptation, and George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire saga and its differences from The Witcher.
Andrzej was joined by showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich for the interview. She explains: “For years, the fantasy genre was the prerogative of the great film productions. Only they had the budgets for famous actors, for shooting stunning action scenes, for having Oscar-winning costumes. Today the fantasy has found a new home in streaming and on TV, so that the public can see those actors, those costumes and those scenes in their homes. The Witcher does all this with a lot of monsters and magic, and it is very original. The other reason for the luck of fantasy on TV is that the public today is wider than before. Fantasy is no longer just for nerds: just think about the great success of Game of Thrones.”
Sapkowski says he is certain that The Witcher will succeed in replicating the success of the highly-acclaimed HBO series, if not even surpass it. “I appreciate the work of George R.R. Martin. I like his series, but found his books have too many protagonists. Once I asked him: ‘But why do you kill all those characters?’. ‘Because I like it,’ he replied. I don’t think the readers feel the same way.”
He adds: “All literature is fantastic in its own way because it tells what wasn’t on paper before and it doesn’t matter whether you write about hobbits or love.”
Sapkowski further dives into the story how it all started. Thirty years ago he decided to submit a short story to the Fantastyka fantasy competition. He didn’t believe he could compete in this genre with fantasy giants like Fritz Leiber, Ursula Le Guin, and Roger Zelazny, so he decided to look at the folklore.
“So, when I entered the literary competition announced by the magazine ‘Fantastyka‘, the only one that was about fantasy and sci-fi, I decided to look at folklore,” he recalls. “Polish literature and mythology exert a very strong influence in all my books. Some elements, unfortunately, are lost in translations. One fairy-tale was about a cobbler who kills a dragon. ‘An impossible undertaking,’ I told myself. ‘I would never succeed. Who would kill monsters?’ And so I created Geralt, a professional monster-hunter. I only got the third place in the competition, the judges were prejudiced, but it went well.”
Andrzej Sapkowski will appear on two panels at Lucca Comics & Games on October 30 and 31 where he speak extensively about the Netflix adaptation and much more.