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There were lots of things that fans loved about The Witcher when it debuted on Netflix late last December. Audiences were taken by the portrayals of beloved characters Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri, and they enjoyed watching the world of author Andrzej Sapkowski become realized in a whole new way. But, while many viewers liked watching all the monster-fighting, magic-based action, bard-singing, character growth and Geralt-bathing, they were not so hot on the three separate timelines which filled the show until nearly the end of Season 1. Never fear, though, because showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich knows how to fix that for the new season.
One of the things that baffled many viewers as they got into Season 1 of The Witcher was the eventual realization that the stories we were seeing for Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri, which were separate for much of the season, were not usually happening during the same time period. Because Geralt and Yen are magical characters, they age at a slower rate than regular humans, so there was no actual evidence of their stories taking place in times very different to Ciri's until well into the season. And, as Lauren Schmidt Hissrich told The Wrap, she knows that was a problem for a lot of fans:
Obviously, it was one of the most controversial parts of Season 1 and I didn’t expect it to be as controversial as it was. But it’s something I still stand behind, in terms of storytelling.
It might sound like a bad idea to you for Schmidt Hissrich to both admit that some fans didn't like the multiple storylines but still say that she stands behind it, but I happen to admire her for making the decision to unfold their histories that way and sticking by it. As she explained in her interview, she needed everyone to get to know the characters on their own before bringing them together, and she felt the best way to do that was to allow the tale to hop around in time so we could experience the breadth of Yen and Geralt's histories without worrying about how they related to each other.
Of course, one of the big issues for many of those watching The Witcher was that the multiple timelines (with Ciri's being the most "present day") were basically hidden from audiences. While magic-using characters like Geralt and Yen don't show their advanced years for obvious reason, by the time many fans realized that their lives are unfolding in different eras to each other and Ciri, many of us also realized that the non-magical humans of the series don't show their ages any more than the magic characters do, which only added to the confusion.
Luckily, as everyone who finished Season 1 will know (I really hope you've finished the first season by now.), the finale saw all three timelines converge, with present day Geralt finally meeting a fleeing present day Ciri. And, as Lauren Schmidt Hissrich points out, that's the key to making Season 2 a lot easier for fans to follow:
What’s great though is they have intersected now. So what we’ll see in Season 2 is that all of our characters are existing on the same timeline. What that allows us to do storywise though is to play with time in slightly different ways. We get to do flashbacks, we get to do flash-forwards, we get to actually integrate time in a completely different way that we weren’t able to do in Season 1. Because, if you can imagine, if we were in three different timelines (in Season 1) and then flashed forward or flashed back, we would have been in four or five or six timelines — even I know that’s too much. So I think it will be a lot easier for the audience [to] follow and understand, especially a new audience coming in. But there are still going to be some fun challenges with time.
Well, all of that sounded easy peasy until we got to the end, didn't it? Considering that I enjoyed most of The Witcher the first time around, though, I'm down with Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and her team continuing to give us "some fun challenges with time." At least we know what to expect, and that we can see whatever those challenges are with Ciri, Geralt and Yennefer as a team following the same path.