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The Witcher Reading Order

The Witcher Reading Order: A Polish fantasy adventure by Andrzej Sapkowski

“There’s a grain of truth in every fairy tale.”

The Witcher was maybe more famous in the video games world, at least before Netflix opt to adapt and remembered everyone that, before the games, there was a book series, also quite popular.

Written by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher consists of 6 fantasy novels and 15 short stories. The story revolves around Geralt of Rivia, the eponymous “witcher”, a magically enhanced monster-hunter (played by Henry Cavill in the Netflix adaptation), as he travels the Continent and makes a living killing monsters that plague the land.

Geralt of Rivia’s story started as a series of short stories. The first one was written for a contest held by Fantastyka, a Polish science fiction and fantasy magazine, where it won third place. Due to readers’ demand, Sapkowski wrote more stories before deciding to write a fantasy saga.

The books have been translated into 37 languages, adapted into a film and two television series, have inspired video games and graphic novels.

The Witcher Books in Order

The Short Story Collections

The Witcher Saga

Standalone novel

The last The Witcher book published, “Season of Storms” is a stand-alone novel that takes place between the short stories “The Last Wish” and “A Question of Price”. Despite being set before The Witcher saga, it is recommended to read it after. The book relate a side adventure for Geralt, with an epilogue tied to the series’ ending.

Cover for The Last Wish - The Witcher Reading Order Cover for Sword of Destiny - The Witcher Reading Order Cover for Blood of Elves - The Witcher Reading Order Cover for Time Of Contempt - The Witcher Reading Order

Cover for Baptism Of Fire - The Witcher Reading Order Cover for The Tower Of The Swallow - The Witcher Reading Order Cover for The Lady Of The Lake - The Witcher Reading Order Cover for Season of Storms - The Witcher Reading Order

The Last Wish (short story collection) – Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher. He is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good…and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

Sword of Destiny (short story collection) – As the Witcher Geralt of Rivia roams the country seeking assignments, he gradually comes to realize that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.

Blood of Elves – For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf. Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child. This child has the power to change the world — for good, or for evil. As the threat of war hangs over the land and the child is hunted for her extraordinary powers, it will become Geralt’s responsibility to protect them all. And the Witcher never accepts defeat.

Time of Contempt – The Elves and other non-humans are still suffering under decades of repression, and growing numbers join the commando units hidden deep in the forest, striking at will and then dissolving into the trees. And against this backdrop of fear and contempt Geralt and his lover Yennefer must protect Ciri, orphaned heir and sought by all sides. For the prophecy rests on her, and whether she lives or dies she has the power to save the world – or perhaps end it.

Baptism of Fire – The Wizards Guild has been shattered by a coup and, in the uproar, The Witcher Geralt of Rivia was seriously injured. Now that dark times have fallen upon the world, Geralt is helpless until he has recovered from his injuries. While war rages across all of the lands, the future of magic is under threat and those sorcerers who survive are determined to protect it.

The Tower of Swallows – The world has fallen into war. Ciri has vanished. Hunted by friends and foes alike, she has taken on the guise of a petty bandit and lives free for the first time in her life. But the net around her is closing. Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher, has assembled a group of allies to rescue her. Both sides of the war have sent brutal mercenaries to hunt her down. Her crimes have made her famous. There is only one place left to run. The tower of the swallow is waiting…

Lady of the Lake – After narrowly escaping death, the Witcher girl, Ciri, finds herself in a completely different world… a world of the Elves. She is trapped with no way out. Time does not seem to exist and there are no obvious borders or portals to cross back into her home world. She knows she must escape to finally rejoin the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, and his companions.

Season of Storms – This is the last book released and a prequel. It takes place chronologically before the rest of the books but it is recommended to read it at the end in order to best understand it. A contract has gone wrong, and The Witcher Geralt of Rivia finds himself without his signature weapons. Now he needs them back, because sorcerers are scheming, and across the world clouds are gathering. The season of storms is coming…

The Witcher Comics by Dark Horse

The comic book series published by Dark Horse present mostly original stories, written by other writers than Andrzej Sapkowski, with the exception of Fox Children, an adaptation of a story from Season of Storms.

The first three volumes are also collected in: The Witcher – Library Edition Volume One or The Witcher – Omnibus Edition Volume One

The Witcher Video Games

Writer Andrzej Sapkowski doesn’t consider the games are canon, but it doesn’t mean you have to. They take place after the books and make multiple references to what happened in them.

  • The Witcher
    → Buy from: Amazon
  • The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
    → Buy from: Amazon
  • The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt
    → Buy from: Amazon

The Witcher’s Film and television series

The Witcher was adapted into a 2001 film and a 2002 TV series, both titled The Hexer and directed by Marek Brodzki. Michał Żebrowski portrayed Geralt in both. Sapkowski didn’t like at all those adaptations.

  • The Hexer (film, 2001)
    Directed by Marek Brodzki. Screenplay by Michał Szczerbic. With Michał Żebrowski as Geralt of Rivia and Grażyna Wolszczak as Yennefer. 130 minutes.
  • The Hexer (TV series, 2002)
    Watch on
    Written by Michał Szczerbic and aired on Telewizja Polska. With Michał Żebrowski as Geralt of Rivia and Grażyna Wolszczak as Yennefer. 13 episodes.

The Witcher universe is now adapted into a Netflix television series, with already a spin-off animated movie serving as a prequel. Another animated is in development, as well as a live-action prequel series, The Witcher: Blood Origin.

  • The Witcher (TV Series, 2019-present)
    Watch on Netflix
    Created by  Lauren Schmidt Hissrich for Netflix. With Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, Freya Allan as Ciri, and Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg.
  • The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf (animated film, 2021)
    Watch on Netflix
    Prequel to the series The Witcher written by Beau DeMayo and directed by Kwang Il Han. With Theo James as Vesemir, Mary McDonnell as Lady Illyana Zerbs, Lara Pulver as Tetra Gilcrest and Graham McTavish as Deglan. 83 minutes.

List of All The Witcher Books in (sort of) Chronological Order (including comics and games)

Following is a sort-of chronological order for The Witcher books, comic books, and video games. don’t hesitate to tell in the comments if you think a story should be moved!

The Witcher Quotes

“People,” Geralt turned his head, “like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves. When they get blind-drunk, cheat, steal, beat their wives, starve an old woman, when they kill a trapped fox with an axe or riddle the last existing unicorn with arrows, they like to think that the Bane entering cottages at daybreak is more monstrous than they are. They feel better then. They find it easier to live.”
― The Last Wish

“Evil is Evil. Lesser, greater, middling… Makes no difference. The degree is arbitary. The definition’s blurred. If I’m to choose between one evil and another… I’d rather not choose at all.”
― The Last Wish

“I manage because I have to. Because I’ve no other way out. Because I’ve overcome the vanity and pride of being different, I’ve understood that they are a pitiful defense against being different. Because I’ve understood that the sun shines differently when something changes. The sun shines differently, but it will continue to shine, and jumping at it with a hoe isn’t going to do anything.”
― The Last Wish

“I need this conversation. They say silence is golden. Maybe it is, although I’m not sure it’s worth that much. It has its price certainly; you have to pay for it.”
― The Last Wish

“Because I know that in order to unite two people, destiny is insufficient. Something more is necessary than destiny.”
― Sword of Destiny

“I like elven legends, they are so captivating. What a pity humans don’t have any legends like that. Perhaps one day they will? Perhaps they’ll create some? But what would human legends deal with? All around, wherever one looks, there’s greyness and dullness. Even things which begin beautifully lead swiftly to boredom and dreariness, to that human ritual, that wearisome rhythm called life.”
― Sword of Destiny

“Life is full of hazards, selection also occurs in life, Geralt. Misfortune, sicknesses and wars also select. Defying destiny may be just as hazardous as succumbing to it.”
― Sword of Destiny

“Mistakes,’ he said with effort, ‘are also important to me. I don’t cross them out of my life, or memory. And I never blame others for them.”
― Blood of Elves

“I know you’re almost forty, look almost thirty, think you’re just over twenty and act as though you’re barely ten.”
― Blood of Elves

“Intolerance and superstition has always been the domain of the more stupid amongst the common folk and, I conjecture, will never be uprooted, for they are as eternal as stupidity itself. There, where mountains tower today, one day there will be seas; there where today seas surge, will one day be deserts. But stupidity will remain stupidity. Nicodemus de Boot, Meditations on life, Happiness and Prosperity”
― Blood of Elves

“always takes action. Wrongly or rightly; that is revealed later. But you should act, be brave, seize life by the scruff of the neck. Believe me, little one, you should only regret inactivity, indecisiveness, hesitation. You shouldn’t regret actions or decisions, even if they occasionally end in sadness and regret.”
― The Time of Contempt

“They didn’t teach me how to tend wounds,’ she said bitterly. ‘They taught me how to kill, telling me that’s how I could save people. It was one big lie, Little Horse. They deceived me.”
― The Time of Contempt

“Life, it turns out, isn’t poetry! And do you know why? Because it’s so resistant to criticism!”
― Baptism of Fire

“Everyone has some kind of debt. Such is life. Debts and liabilities, obligations, gratitude, payments, doing something for someone. Or perhaps for ourselves? For in fact we are always paying ourselves back and not someone else. Each time we are indebted we pay off the debt to ourselves. In each of us lies a creditor and a debtor at once and the art is for the reckoning to tally inside us. We enter the world as a minute part of the life we are given, and from then on we are ever paying off debts, To ourselves. For ourselves. In order for the final reckoning to tally.”
― Baptism of Fire

“No one wants to suffer. But that is the fate of each. And some suffer more. Not necessarily of their own volition. It’s not about to enduring the suffering. It’s about how you endure it.”
― The Tower of the Swallow

“And now he was glowing with happiness, pride and a sense of importance, like every liar when his lies accidentally turn out to be true.”
― The Tower of Swallows

“But every dream, if dreamed too long, turns into a nightmare. And we awake from such dreams screaming.”
― The Lady of the Lake

“We won’t manage to do much more than we’re capable of,’ he said more quietly and more warmly. ‘But we shall all do our best to make sure it won’t be much less.”
― The Lady of the Lake

“A story is a largely false account of largely trivial events, fed to us by historians who are largely idiots.”
― Season of Storms

“Anxiety is never irrational, Geralt thought to himself. Aside from psychological disturbances. It was one of the first things novice witchers were taught. It’s good to feel fear. If you feel fear it means there’s something to be feared, so be vigilant. Fear doesn’t have to be overcome. Just don’t yield to it. And you can learn from it.”
― Season of Storms

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