Witches, warlocks, and monsters! While The Witcher season 3 hasn’t aired yet, there’s still time to read all The Witcher books (if you haven’t yet done so).
Probably one of the best shows on Netflix, according to many reviews, the series (did you know?) is based on a video game, which is, in turn, based on the best book series.
That’s right, The Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, who fights against hellish monsters on Netflix, was inspired by The Witcher video games and books. The books were written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski in the 1990s, with the English translations published in 2007 (the first two by Danusia Stok; the rest by David French). Yet, the books became hugely popular from the very beginning and even before the release of video games by the studio CD Projekt Red.
The Story of The Witcher
The Witcher books weren’t released in chronological order. The first series of short stories was published in Fantastyka, a Polish science fiction and fantasy magazine, in 1986. It was called Wiedźmin. Andrzej Sapkowski wrote it for a contest held by the magazine, and it won the third prize. Sword of Destiny was the second published short story collection, and The Last Wish was published after it, replacing The Witcher as the first book.
Right now, you can read the stories and novels about The Witcher in Czech, Bulgarian, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
What’s The Witcher About?
Set in a medieval-inspired world called the Continent, The Witcher series covers the adventures of Geralt of Rivia and the people (and monsters) he encounters. He’s a mutated human with supernatural abilities and exceptional combat skills, trained from early childhood to battle monsters. In other words, he’s a monster slayer for hire. The books tell many stories; there’re plenty of monsters, killing, sword-wielding action, and, of course, romance. Three timelines in The Witcher are focused on Geralt himself, Yennefer of Vengerberg, а sorceress, and Cirilla, a runaway princess of Cintra. Why The “Witcher”?
Why The “Witcher”?
The original Polish name for “witcher” is “wiedźmin.”
While the initial English translation preferred by the author was “hexer,” “witcher” was used by a Polish video game publisher CD Projekt Red in The Witcher game and in the translation of the book The Last Wish made by Danusia Stok. Andrzej Sapkowski also used it in the book Historia i fantastyka. While “witcher” is a neologism in English (there is a more standard English term—“warlock”), it seems to be way more appropriate in describing Geralt and his occupation.
The Witcher Books in Order
As we’ve already mentioned, The Witcher books weren’t published in chronological order. So here’re our reading recommendations: ignore the release dates and instead read The Witcher book set in true chronological order.
So, here’s your list of The Witcher book series order:
- The Last Wish (short stories)
- Sword of Destiny (short stories)
- Blood of Elves
- The Time of Contempt
- Baptism of Fire
- The Tower of the Swallows
- The Lady of the Lake
- Season of Storms (prequel)
The most common recommendation is to start with The Last Wish. As you already know, it was published after Sword of Destiny, but it’s now considered to be the start of the series. This is where you get to know Geralt and learn about the Continent. The book tells about the importance of Geralt’s silver sword and introduces us to many characters Geralt meets and has relationships with.
How Many Books Are in The Witcher Book Series
All in all, there’re eight books in The Witcher book series—two short story collections and six novels. Some lists include the original publication of the first Witcher book; however, it’s now out of print, so we won’t be including it in our list.
Below are the best prices you can currently find on BooksRun for these books individually as well as for a pack of Witcher series books together:
|The Last Wish
|Buy new from $17.53
|Sword of Destiny
|Buy new from $31.89
|Blood of Elves
|Buy new from $11.99
|The Time of Contempt
|Buy new from $25.26
Marketplace offers from $18.83
|Baptism of Fire
|Buy new from $25.26
Marketplace offers from $18.98
|The Tower of the Swallows
|Buy new from $17.70
|The Lady of the Lake
|Buy new from $25.63
|Season of Storms
|Buy new from $25.34
|The Witcher Boxed Set
|Buy new from $44.46
Buy used from $44.01
Are There Other Witcher Books?
We can also recommend reading The World of The Witcher: Video Game Compendium, created directly by CD Projekt Red. Whatever you need to know about the monsters and people in The Witcher universe, you can find it here.
You can also try Witcher 3: Wild Hunt art book, which is pretty rare, so the one who finds it will be quite lucky. Also, check Gwent: The Art of The Witcher and Witcher Adult Coloring Book. The latter is a treasure if you need to keep yourself occupied in the company of your favorite characters.
Dark Horse Comics also released several graphic novels a while ago. If you like comic books and are a Witcher fan, you should check The Witcher Dark Horse Digital Comics.
Are The Witcher Books Good?
Oh yes. Ask any fan of The Witcher books. For those who have just started their journey on Netflix, reading books will only enrich your perception of The Witcher world, its complex characters, intricate world-building, and engaging storytelling.
No, it’s not just monster hunting. There’s also political scheming and power play between numerous kingdoms and factions, love, magic, and a good deal of nicely-choreographed sword fighting. Among other things that The Witcher explores are the consequences of one’s choices, the nature of destiny, and the search for belonging in a harsh and unforgiving world. Its extensive knowledge enriches its narrative, which incorporates elements of Slavic mythology, fairy tales, and moral dilemmas. Reading The Witcher books will help you understand the characters better and learn more about the plot twists and situations you may not fully understand when you play or watch a movie.
The Witcher Games vs. The Witcher Books
The Witcher games and books are both set in the same universe and follow the adventures of Geralt of Rivia. Yet, while the games are inspired by the books, they are not direct adaptations. CD Projekt Red did its best to recreate Sapkowski’s world of The Witcher most vividly. The games, nonetheless, have their original storylines, quests, and characters, while the books have a more traditional narrative structure. The games are known for their stunning visuals, immersive worlds, and interactivity: players can make choices that affect the storyline and outcomes. In the books, readers follow the story as it unfolds and rely on their imagination.
The Netflix Witcher series vs. The Witcher Books
Netflix adapted the book series into a live-action television show starring Henry Cavill as Geralt. Judging by the fact that the show was a great success, it managed to capture the spirit of The Witcher book series. The season follows Geralt as he navigates a dangerous world filled with magic and mythical creatures while crossing paths with two other main characters. For those who got confused trying to follow the timeline in the first season, Netflix put together a timeline map to keep things straight.
The second season is much more linear. It picks up where the first left off, with Geralt and Ciri’s paths converging as they search for each other. The season also introduces new characters and storylines and explores the political landscape of the world and the growing threat of the Nilfgaardian Empire.
Now, after the stunning visuals, expertly crafted characters, and intricate storytelling of the first two seasons, everyone is waiting for season 3. It looks like Netflix managed to make another amazing fantasy show.
As you can see, The Witcher has become a beloved fantasy for many over the years. If you haven’t read the books, we recommend you give them a try. We’re positive you’ll find yourself immersed in its world way faster than you can expect. Let us know how you feel about The Witcher books, games, and movie series on our social networks!