Season 2 of The Witcher has seen many book and game fans devastated over what happened to Eskel (Basil Eidenbenz) in Season 2. Now, the series showrunner, Lauren S. Hissrich speaks out about her creative decisions regarding this character.
SPOILER ALERT: Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed all eight episodes of Season 2 of The Witcher and wish to avoid spoilers.
Season 2 of Netflix’s hit epic fantasy series has copped some fairly substantial flack from fans over the premature death of Eskel. Along with this, many also felt that the character was changed much too significantly from the source material.
Because of this, many have taken to social media to ask Hissrich about why she did what she did with Eskel. The showrunner did not shy away from the conflicts and recently released a detailed series of tweets regarding her decision-making process for Eskel.
The Witcher’s showrunner cops significant criticism
When Season 2 of The Witcher dropped, Hissrich was immediately bombarded on Twitter regarding the changes she made compared to the original source material.
Initially, she noted that she would be addressing fans’ responses but told them it would not be immediately, citing the fact that the series had only just dropped and it being so close to Christmas as reasons why she would not be detailing her reasoning just yet.
In addition to that, she also stated that she had two young children who were demanding her attention as well and that she had decided to step away briefly to spend time with her family.
She has also briefly touched on Eskel’s death in Netflix’s after-show release, The Witcher Unlocked.
Her response indicated that she felt it was much better for viewers to have an emotional response to a known character rather than introducing an unknown witcher that would be quickly killed off in the manner that Eskel was.
‘Let’s talk about Eskel’
Hissrich has finally decided to give a further response regarding Eskel via her official Twitter account.
“Let’s talk about Eskel,” she started.
However, before she could even start discussing this character, she felt it important to bring back fans to Geralt (Henry Cavill). Here, she discussed Geralt’s vulnerable side and cited his relationship with his witcher brothers as helping develop his character.
All of this helped to mold his fathering abilities with Ciri (Freya Allan).
She also addressed the fact that in the book used as the source for Season 2 of The Witcher, Blood of Elves (BoE), a lot of Geralt’s growth occurred via conversations and internal monologue as he spent time with Ciri, also known by her full title, Cirilla.
While this is excellent for book readers, it is very hard to portray that sort of internal growth via a TV show.
“Articulating Geralt’s journey on screen had one other big challenge for us: namely, that in BoE, his time is mostly spent watching and taking in Cirilla and her powers so that he could understand the breadth of what he had promised Calanthe, and how best to protect the girl from future threats that hadn’t yet presented themselves,” Hissrich wrote. “In print, it’s a gorgeous unfurling of listening and learning, a slow and steady beautiful journey of how a Witcher becomes a father.”
It was all of this that led Hissrich to bring Geralt and Ciri to Kaer Morhen and to introduce a mystery involving a strange mutated leshen that had infected Eskel. This brought the dangerous situation right to the very place where Geralt felt most protected and among those people to whom he was closest to — and at a time when he is trying to protect Ciri.
Along with having to fight his own brother, the question of how far Geralt will go in order to protect Ciri is also brought to the audience’s attention as the situation unfolds.
“We’ve got a dilemma that will play out through the whole season: just how far will Geralt go to protect the girl that is his destiny? What wins out: being a witcher, or being a father? Can he save both? And how?” Hissrich wrote.
The showrunner also reiterated once more that viewers will get more of Eskel’s story in Season 3 of The Witcher thanks to several flashback scenes planned.
“We had several more flashbacks with Eskel laid out, to demonstrate further to the audience how close Geralt and Eskel were in the past: to reinforce just how far Geralt had had to go in his heart in order to make that sacrifice. I hope to return to them in the future,” she explained.
The full thread regarding Hissrich’s reasoning can be read here.
Season 2 of The Witcher is currently available to stream on Netflix.