The Witcher showrunner on the perfect casting of Vesemir and other WitcherCon highlights


Among the many goodies that Witchercon gave us, was the interview with Lauren Hissrich, showrunner, and executive producer of The Witcher. Hissrich spoke passionately about many aspects of season two, the Witcher family, Henry Cavill, Kim Bodnia, her favorite season two character, Kaer Morhen, and how she handled the various familial bonds in the story.

On Kaer Morhen, Henry Cavill, and the relationship between the Witchers

According to Hissrich, family is once again at the center of the Season 2 stories, and Kaer Morhen is the home. Hissrich elaborates:

“Kaer Morhen is the homestead. So much of what we talk about in The Witcher is about family. So that’s what we started this relationship with. Henry comes from a family of brothers, so it is something we talked about a lot and what it is like to be part of a big family. He also comes from a military family.

We talked a lot about the Witchers being almost like a military family. They all go out and they sort of do have their own adventures and it’s really dangerous and you don’t know if your brothers are going to come back or not. And when they do, they reunite every single winter and that’s when they get to relax and be themselves. So, the most fun thing we did was to just make sure everyone felt at home and they got to rough-house a lot.”

The showrunner’s favorite Season 2 character

Initially reluctant to reveal her favorite season two character, at the prodding of host Julia Hardy Lauren disclosed him to be none other than Vesemir.

“There are so many characters that we’re introducing in Season 2. We are getting to see Dijkstra for the first time and sort of the Redanian Kingdoms. I know a lot of fans are excited to meet Philippa for the first time, Codringher and Fenn, Rience, Nenneke. There’s so many, but I would have to say Vesemir is the one I’m looking most forward to our audience meeting.

Vesemir is so integral to the story that we’re telling this season. Obviously, we’re returning to Kaer Morhen for the first time, and in a season that is about Geralt becoming a father to Ciri, it felt so important to meet who his father figure was. And you end up with this multigenerational story because Vesemir and Ciri have a story as well, and it does start to feel like, “Oh, all of these people are meant to be interacting and learning from each other and fighting with each other.”

On Kim Bodnia’s Vesemir and her favorite scene of Season 2

Lauren calls the casting of Kim Bodnia as Vesemir “perfection”. Talking of a scene between Kim Bodnia and Freya Allan, Hissrich says:

“We were shooting a scene in the Kaer Morhen lab between Vesemir and Ciri. It took an entire day to shoot, and we struggled with it because it’s such an emotional scene and so much happens. It’s probably my favorite scene of the season. It is so beautifully acted and glorious. I cry every time I watch the scene.”

Lauren on handling Geralt and Ciri’s relationship in Season 2

Unlike the books, Geralt and Ciri only meet in the very last scene of Season 1, which led to many fans worrying how two people who have just met form a strong father-daughter relationship. Hissrich explains how she handled that.

“At the end of Season 1, we have what I think is one of the most emotional scenes that we’ve done, which is Geralt and Ciri finding each other after they’ve both been searching all season… And it seems like we’ve got a father figure and daughter figure, and everything’s going to be perfect at that point, except for they’ve never met.

And so it was really fun to start Season 2 thinking about, well, they’re not a family yet. How do they grow to be one? What do you do if you are a person like Geralt, who has sworn he doesn’t need anyone in the world whatsoever?

And then he’s presented with a girl who is now solely in his care. And we have Ciri, who’s used to being under the care of people but has basically been running from everyone for an entire season and now being told that this person is going to take care of you.

And so it was really fun to start Season 2 kind of them a little uncertain about how to be with each other, and they have to really grow into that. We wanted to make sure that felt like an authentic relationship, that they weren’t just bonded at the very beginning.”

With five months left to the second season’s premiere, we expect to learn more about the plot and the character arcs in the coming months and we look forward to reading more interesting interviews with Lauren Hissrich and the cast. Stay tuned to Redanian Intelligence as we cover the season two promos.

5 comments on “The Witcher showrunner on the perfect casting of Vesemir and other WitcherCon highlights”

  1. Great work on this site and keeping us all up to date with all the exciting things coming up!

  2. I cannot help to avoid the feeling that Lauren Schmidt Hissrich does not have a deep understanding of European history and culture, a trait she would allegedly share, being from the US, with many of her compatriots. Which would explain how crudely she sometimes treats the source material and subjects it to the receipts that would make TV shows successful with an American audience. While I think that over some stretches, Sapkowski’s Witcher novels aren’t really superbly written, they do reflect some almost prototypical courses of European history, such as the devastation of countries over long periods of wars, the low value of human life under unfavorable circumstances, as well as the attempts of people trying to find a way through all the mess. Here, Sapkowski has observed the historical development and how it affects those involved quite well, and interlaces it with some of the great stories, like the legend of Arthur – although one may debate if he really succeeds at this point. Nevertheless, all those parts of the Witcher novels which reach out wider and give it more context are, as yet, missing in the show. It is quite possible that LSH hasn’t realized that the Witcher novels have this wider historical outreach that give them some universal meaning, as good stories should. And the games, especially Witcher 3, take up such a historical framework as well, for example in depicting the witch hunters as a political power (and actually, an abuse of power). From a US point of view, the middle ages in Europe are little more than a gruesome form of entertainment. But here and there, the Witcher stories are embedded into a more meaningful historical and cultural frame that is largely ignored from the US perspective. That might also explain the sometimes weird casting choices as they appear from the European vantage point.

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