The Witcher Season 2: Here’s how Nivellen’s storyline differed from the book

Kristofer Hivju stars as Nivellen in Season 2 of Netflix's The Witcher
Kristofer Hivju stars as Nivellen in Season 2 of The Witcher. Pic credit: Netflix

Season 2 of The Witcher opened with an interesting tale featuring Game of Thrones actor Kristofer Hivju.

In the HBO series, he played Tormund Giantsbane, a willing from North of the Wall. In The Witcher, he played another formidable character, albeit a cursed one.

Nivellen is first introduced as a man trapped inside the body of a boar thanks to a curse placed on him. Geralt (Henry Cavill) and Ciri (Freya Allan) stay with Nivellen, and his story unfolds from here.

However, the story has a tragic ending and the first episode of Season 2 of The Witcher is also the last time this character features.

The episode plays out like a short story set within the universe, and that is because that is also how it played out in the book series by Andrzej Sapkowski.

And, it was because of this that the story also almost didn’t make it into the TV adaptation.

Nivellen’s story nearly didn’t make it into the TV adaptation

Season 1 of The Witcher was based on the first book in the series titled The Last Wish. Whereas, Season 2 centered around book two, titled Blood of Elves.

With the series showrunner, Lauren S. Hissrich focusing on one book per season, it looks likely that Nivellen’s tale would be cut after it didn’t air in Season 1. However, Hissrich has previously admitted that the story, titled A Grain of Truth, was one of her favorites, and that is why she used it in Season 2 of The Witcher.

However, book fans will also note that the story that played out in Season 2 is somewhat different from what happened in the books.

Henry Cavill stars as Geralt of Rivia in Season 2 of Netflix's The Witcher
Henry Cavill stars as Geralt of Rivia in Season 2 of The Witcher. Pic credit: Netflix/Susie Allnut

Nivellen’s story is a little different from the books

The difference between the two mediums is not great, but it does alter the storyline somewhat, especially in relation to Geralt’s reaction.

As pointed out by Screen Rant, in Episode 1, Nivellen does not reveal the reason as to why he was cursed until after it was lifted. This gave viewers plenty of time to become sympathetic toward the character.

The original short story revealed very early on that Nivellen had raped a priestess, and that is why the curse was laid on him. While Geralt decided to help Nivellen lift the curse in the books even after his story came out, the witcher’s reaction differed from the TV show.

Geralt was horrified at what Nivellen had done and when the man asked for him to take his life rather than have to continue to live with what he’d done. Geralt then walks away, leaving Nivellen to live on with the knowledge of his heinous crime.

Screen Rant also points out that because of this slight change, it takes a problematic lack of reaction by Geralt to sexual assault to one that is much more acceptable in today’s society and leaves a clear message that rape will not be tolerated.

But, for those wondering what will become of Nivellen, the actor who portrayed him offered his opinion in an interview with Collider.

“I believe that we are able to change, and I think he has gone a long way in his remorse for the [deed] he [has] done. So I believe that he can come back from that. And I don’t think he has the courage to kill himself, so I believe in him,” Hivju said.

Season 2 of The Witcher is currently available to stream on Netflix.

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