How The Witcher Handled The Book Lore For New Witcher Lambert, According To The Star

The Witcher finally made its long-awaited return to Netflix for Season 2 to introduce some of Geralt’s fellow witchers. Casting news ahead of the season revealed the actors who would be playing the other monster hunters who were being adapted from Andrzej Sapkowski’s novel series, and fans of the books could connect some dots about what these newcomers would bring to the fantasy series. Paul Bullion, previously best known for Peaky Blinders, came to the Continent to play the witcher known as Lambert, and he has shared how the book lore for his character inspired his portrayal in the series. 

Like most notable characters from The Witcher so far, Lambert was a book character who made the jump to live-action on Netflix. He was also a figure in the popular Witcher video games, and is known for monster-hunting and teaching Ciri. Paul Bullion spoke with CinemaBlend about playing Lambert for Season 2, and broke down how the source material was used:

I thought it was very important to actually make sure I've looked at everything. During the actual audition process, I didn't look at material because I think whatever I was giving them in the room was what they were looking for. So I didn't want it to interfere with that, But once I had the part, I've got to be respectful and detailed with my work. So I read the books. And then I started dabbling in the games. Very colorful, very informative games, to help me with the lore, and there's nothing better than going through the Continent on the console and coming up against a rock troll, and it will tell you like what a rock troll's about and how you can kill a rock troll and the rest of it. So this is a really fun way of making sure the lore kind of buries into your mind. And I really enjoyed that.

Although the lore wasn’t essential for actually winning the role of a witcher, Paul Bullion dove deep into it to prepare to play Lambert. Henry Cavill was a fan of the franchise to the point that he campaigned for the lead role; Bullion came from a different background but built up the expertise on the Witcher world. He elaborated: 

But yeah, everything I needed for filming, the scripts are vast and detailed, there's a lot of lore in the scripts for Season 2 as well. But obviously the book, especially Blood of Elves, really does give the energy of Lambert there. So I've always kept Blood of Elves as kind of my center point for Lambert's energy.

Between the novel series and the video games, there is no shortage of lore for The Witcher to draw from. In fact, the first season pulled quite heavily from the short stories for a pretty faithful adaptation. With Season 2 based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s Blood of Elves as the first full Witcher novel, it makes sense that it would be an important resource to Paul Bullion as Lambert. And even if the game plots aren’t translated directly to the TV show, they provided a fun way to catch up on the complex lore of the Witcher world. 

Fans of Season 1 could undoubtedly guess even before the second season released that there would be a lot of detail in the scripts with more of the same layered storytelling, even though the showrunner had already confirmed that the passage of time would be more linear in the second season compared to the first. Of course, with so much going on in the books, the plot doesn’t dwell too long on the witchers at Kaer Morhen, and Paul Bullion revealed how his character for the show compares to the character on the page of the books:

I think [my character] is very true to Lambert in the books. He's very short tempered, he's fiery. But I've made him very insecure. Because I often find those people that are fiery and short tempered, it's normally because they're avoiding genuine connection. And so I've given Lambert a bit of an avoidant personality. So, you know, if he likes somebody, he behaves like a five-year-old child would act in a playground. If you like somebody, you pick on 'em, and that's kind of how Lambert behaves. Or if somebody is being nice to him, he doesn't quite know how to compute that, because nobody's normally nice to him. He's a witcher, and he's a witcher because obviously he was orphaned, he's a mutated orphan. And he's not used to that [niceness].

Netflix already gave a look at the lives of witchers with the Nightmare of the Wolf anime movie, although it was set long before The Witcher and only featured Lambert as a young boy… and one of the last who would ever be mutated into a witcher before the process was lost. Considering everything he went through as a child combined with the life of a witcher, is it surprising that he’s not entirely prepared for somebody to be kind to him? Paul Bullion continued:

So when somebody is nice to him, he doesn't know how to take it. So he will shut it down with humor, or he will avoid any kind of genuine connection. It was very important to me not to just make him this grumpy kind of clown. He has to kind of resonate with an audience and I think most insecure people would be able to [relate]. I think everybody's insecure in some way. So I hope that the audience can go ‘Yeah, there's a little bit of me in that.’

The world of The Witcher is packed full of magic and monsters and mutated monster-hunters; the relatability of the characters can help ground the fantastical stories. Lambert didn’t get as much focus in the novels compared to witchers like Vesemir and of course Geralt, but the show fleshes the character out in some fun ways… at least insofar as he won’t just be a grumpy kind of clown! 

When I noted that fans were excited to see more witchers, the actor shared his thoughts on bringing an existing popular character to life in a new way:

I was aware of Lambert being popular amongst fans of The Witcher. So I had to make sure that I didn't take on too much pressure of that. I just had to focus on the job in hand. And really, I trust all the creatives and the cast around me. So you know, I hope what I've contributed to the show is going to be received well.

Luckily for fans who have been waiting since all the way back in December of 2019 to see what happens next, the wait is over to get a look at how Lambert and the other new witchers fit into the story as it moves to Kaer Morhen. The trailers gave glimpses at what remains of the witcher stronghold, and Nightmare of the Wolf previewed its scale and function. It’s down to The Witcher Season 2 to fill in the blanks. You can find the second season of The Witcher streaming on Netflix now!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).