The Witcher Book Series

So chances are that if you’re here, you’re a fan of the Witcher, but with the giant influx of popularity that occurred upon the release of the Witcher III: Wild Hunt, many new fans are unaware of the source material that inspired these fantastic games.

The Witcher video games are based on a renowned fantasy book series by the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The Witcher Series is made up of 2 short story collections and 5 novels. The short story collections introduce many of our favorite characters and do a lot of world building, and the novels tell the story of Geralt and Ciri. These books take place several years before the beginning of the first game and provide a lot of background information on the characters and world. They do not spoil the story of the games in any way. Lucy for you, unlike when this guide was originally made, all of the books now have official English translations!

Sorted in chronological order (the way you should read them) the books that make up the series are:

  • The Last Wish (short story collection)
  • Sword of Destiny (short story collection)
  • Blood of Elves (beginning of novels)
  • Time of Contempt
  • Baptism of Fire
  • The Tower of Swallows
  • Lady of the Lake

The Witcher short stories were first published in Fantastyka, a Polish science-fiction and fantasy magazine, beginning in the mid-1980s. The first short story, “Wiedźmin” (“The Witcher”) (1986), was written for a contest held by the magazine and won third place. The first four stories dealing with the witcher Geralt were originally featured in a 1990 short-story collection entitled Wiedźmin—now out of print—with “Droga, z której się nie wraca” (“The Road With No Return”), which is set in the world before the Witcher stories and features Geralt’s mother to be.

The second published short-story collection was Miecz przeznaczenia (Sword of Destiny). Although Ostatnie życzenie (The Last Wish) was published after Sword of Destiny, it replaced The Witcher as the first book since it included all the stories in The Witcher except “The Road With No Return” (the only story without Geralt). Although new short stories were added to The Last Wish, they took place before those in Sword of Destiny.

Although “The Road With No Return” and “Coś się kończy, coś się zaczyna” (“Something Ends, Something Begins”, an alternate ending of the Witcher saga about Geralt and Yennefer’s wedding written as a wedding gift for Sapkowski’s friends) were later published in Coś się kończy, coś się zaczyna, the other stories in that book are unconnected to the Witcher series. In some Polish editions, “Droga, z której się nie wraca” and “Coś się kończy, coś się zaczyna” are added to The Last Wish or Sword of Destiny.

EDIT: A few people have had questions about the book Season of Storms. It is a new Witcher book and was released in 2013 (14 years after the release of Lady of the Lake). It takes place in between the short stories of The Last Wish. It has not been translated to English officially. You can find a fan translation for it here. It is not essential to the overall story and can most likely be skipped unless you are the type of person that need to read absolutely EVERYTHING Witcher related. If anyone has any updates on the status of the fan translation for this book please PM me.


Why Should I Read Them?

  • You’ll finally understand all the references Geralt and other characters are constantly making to past events
  • They’ll provide you with a lot of in-depth background information on the world and characters
  • You’ll actually understand who the hell everyone is
  • Random names of places like Kovir, Nilfgaard, Cintra, Kaedwen, etc. will actually mean something to you
  • You’ll care about the characters and story significantly more
  • They’re just damn good books
  • Adaptations: The Hexer is the title of a 2001 film and a 2002 TV series, both directed by Marek Brodzki. Michał Żebrowski played Geralt in both. In several interviews, Sapkowski criticized the screen adaptations: “I can answer only with a single word, an obscene, albeit a short one.” (Source Wikipedia)

Where Can I Get Them?

Prices as of 4/3/17

The Last Wish:

 

Sword of Destiny:

Blood of Elves:

 

 

Time of Contempt:

Baptism of Fire:

 

 

The Tower of Swallows:

Lady of the Lake:

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