The success of HBO’s The Last of Us, paired with its faithfulness to Naughty Dog’s game, has fans of The Witcher lamenting Netflix’s adaptation.
HBO’s The Last of Us has proven to be a hit among both newcomers and fans of Naughty Dog’s video games, especially because thus far the series has remained faithful to the source material. That success and the show’s refusal to deviate from the events and characters of the games have apparently made fans of The Witcher somewhat envious.
Across social media, The Witcher fans have been praising The Last of Us and HBO and dropping memes expressing their dissatisfaction with Netflix’s adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels and the creative liberties taken throughout the series and its spinoffs.
Over the last few months, beginning in October 2022, Netflix’s The Witcher has faced overwhelming backlash from fans of the novels, who constantly criticize the show for introducing entirely new elements to the series and, according to them, mischaracterizing some of the core figures such as Yennefer of Vengerberg, or omitting key events such as Geralt and Ciri’s meeting in Brokilon Forest. The backlash grew worse following reports and rumors that emerged shortly after star Henry Cavill announced he was leaving the series after Season 3.
Following the backlash, showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich assured that the upcoming season will stick closely to the novel, Time of Contempt (translated by David French). “Obviously, we can’t do every page, but Time of Contempt gave us so many big action events, plot points, defining character moments, huge reveals of a big bad. There’s so much to do that we were able to stick really, really closely with the books,” she explained.
HBO’s The Last of Us has received widespread praise across the two episodes released (at the time of writing), with critics describing it as the best video game adaptation yet. As mentioned, the series has also been praised by fans for adhering to the source material, which includes shots, designs and lines taken straight from the 2013 video game itself. CBR’s own Sam Stone described the show as something that “very much feels like a show made for even the most scrutinizing fans but completely accessible for those unfamiliar with the video game source material.”
However, the HBO show is not entirely free from changes. Video game and series creator Neil Druckmann recently acknowledged backlash to the change concerning how the Cordyceps fungi spread, with the game featuring spores and the show introducing tendrils. “I’ve learned to expect backlash from sneezing,” Druckmann said. While he expressed understanding and respect for the passion exhibited by fans, he added, “Without the full context of what it means, they assume the worst and push back on it.”
Seasons 1 and 2 of The Witcher are available for streaming on Netflix. The Last of Us is available for streaming on HBO Max, with new episodes dropping every Sunday.
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