Netflix has delved into more of The Witcher lore for its latest four-part series The Witcher Blood Origin. Set some 1200 years before the exploits of Geralt, Blood Origin leads up to the Conjunction of the Spheres and what the great Elvish civilisation was really like before its demise.
The Witcher Blood Origin is a tale of seven outcast elven warriors who come together to overthrow a great power and corrupt elven empire. It is told by the mysterious Seanchaí (Minnie Driver) who recruits our favourite bard Jaskier (Joey Batey) so that he may recount the story in his travels and bring some hope to the elves. Seanchaí is a character I had to look up more info on as their involvement intrigued me. She is described by the series showrunner Declan de Barra and a “creature that moves through time collecting stories and bringing them back to life” an interesting addition to how the story is told to you in addition to how it is playing out in front of you.
Coming in at four episodes at around an hour each Blood Origin doesn’t hang around too long but packs a lot into its story to be told. The Elven empire is at its peak but the thirst for further power is bringing them swiftly towards their own demise. Princess Merwyn (Mirren Mack) sees this and believes a change is needed to the way the monarchy is run and takes steps to unite the elvish tribes under one rule in a hope of bringing food and prosperity back to the kingdom. Unfortunately, Merwyn places her faith in the power-hungry Chief Balor (Lenny Henry) which only seems to seal her fate and hasten their collective demise.
Like any good story you need to have your unruly band of heroes who overcome their own differences to band together, predictable yes, done to death, maybe but still a lot of fun if done the right way.
We begin with Eile of Raven Tribe (Sophia Brown) exiled from her clan for refusing to carry out orders that felt wrong, Eile makes her way travelling the countryside keeping a low profile but spreading hope through song earning her the title of The Lark. Fjall of Dog Tribe (Laurence O’Fuarain) was exiled from his clan for a moment of indiscretion that saw him removed from his post and only allowed to live due to his standing in the clan. Scian of Ghost Tribe (Michelle Yeoh) the last of her tribe and a master with the blade. Meldof the Dwarf (Francesca Mills) and her love Gwen and taking somewhat a back seat in the group are Callan /Brother Death (Huw Novelli) and the mages Zacare (Lizzie Annis) and Syndril (Zach Wyatt). This group bands together with one goal in mind to kill the empress and restore power to the people.
While all give solid performances Brown and O’Fuarain stand out in their role of carrying the show forward. Providing good character development with two very different character types whose passion while coming from a different place often overlaps. Their chemistry and growth on this journey hold your interest between the moments of action.
I have to say though that it is Francesca Mills who steals the show here. Her quick wit, fire fuelled attitude and dark sense of humour had me in stitches at times and were exactly what the show needed. It added a fresh dynamic within the team and some heartfelt moments that just fit within her character and the lore behind the dwarves of this world.
Unfortunately, Michelle Yeoh is very much underutilised. Seen here playing a side note to the main story somewhat I can see where the writers have tried to give her a story of her own yet it ends up feeling a little lacklustre and tagged on for convenience. This is in no way a knock on Yeoh’s performance as always it was above and beyond. You’re just left wanting more from the character.
Overall, The Witcher Blood Origin is going to hit home most with those who are already heavily invested in The Witcher world and the lore that goes into it. The action is once again brutal and satisfying with plenty of epic moments to be had. Throw into that we get to see the origins of the Convergence and even a taste of the creation of the first-ever Witcher. Blood Origin was enough to keep me coming back for more but definitely only needed the four episodes to tell the story and I am glad it wasn’t strung out further.
If you’re a fan of The Witcher and want to see the story of the beginning unfold then this is worthy of your time. If you’re thinking about diving into this world then start with The Witcher’s main series. While a good watch it is a little flat and very predictable but sometimes that is exactly what some of us are looking for.
The Witcher Blood Origin is available now on Netflix.
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