Yet another inteview with author Andrzej Sapkowski during his brief promotional campaign of Netflix’s The Witcher at the Lucca Comics & Games festival. Speaking to Wired, Sapkowski reveals his feelings about the trailer, whether the adaptation will be true to the books, what his next project is and whether he is a feminist.
“Yesterday I witnessed for the first time the screening of the trailer of The Witcher series, together with the fans.” says Sapkowski. “I didn’t even see the pilot episode because I like being surprised. But I can say one thing: if the series will be as beautiful as the trailer, we will have a masterpiece.”
We already know that there will be a number of creative freedoms: for example, Ciri and Yennefer will be introduced immediately as co-protagonists. Can we expect the series to be faithful to the spirit of the books?
Sure. I worked as a consultant for the series, in the initial phase of writing the story, and I was very well paid to do it. But I was not involved in the actual production, in the casting or in the shooting, and when I see the images from the set, or the trailer, I am always amazed. Everyone asks me how I imagine Geralt and the others, or the setting of the books, even compared to what appears in the series or in video games. The truth is that I don’t visualize the characters and the scenes I write, I don’t have an image of their own in mind. All I do is put one letter after another until I have filled a page. I have no idea how they should appear on screen.
What is the secret that makes Geralt of Rivia a character so loved by fans?
When I created Geralt in the first story, to present it to a fantasy fiction contest in Poland, I had only one choice before me: doing it right, or not doing it at all. For me, the story of a book is like a circus tent, the protagonist is the pole that supports it, and the secondary characters are the pegs that keep it anchored to the ground. All this must be built in the best possible way, so as not to collapse under one’s own weight. And then I wonder what moves the protagonist, and the answer is obvious: a woman.
About women: in the books the female characters are almost always stronger and more determined than the male ones.
Of course: because this is how it is in real life. Women are and always have been stronger than men.
Would you call yourself a feminist?
No. I love women, I love their role in a story and in the world, but I don’t make it a philosophy.
The Geralt of the books always tries to keep out of politics, only to fail miserably. Do you think that fantasy plays a similar role, which wants to be – as many claim – a form of escapism to forget the problems of the real world?
Many try to frame fantasy, to define it as escapism. But that is not so. With the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien certainly wasn’t trying to escape from the real world. Those looking for escapism are welcome, but this is not the purpose or work of a fantasy author.
What will your next projects be?
I do not exclude, sooner or later, to go back to writing a new book in the Witcher saga, but the truth is that I still don’t know what I want to dedicate to myself now. I don’t have a specific project yet.
Fantasy literature is dominated by Anglo-Saxon authors, with a few notable exceptions. How do you assert yourself on the international scene?
You can’t compete with Anglo-Saxon authors. Those who aspire to international success need two things: an extraordinary talent and an excellent agent. I luckily have both.
Your favorite contemporary fantasy author?
I have to be careful not to advertise my competitors … but I would say Joe Abercrombie: I like his style, his characters, the way he builds history.