Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Witcher Season 2 Character Arc That Has Fans Fuming

Contains spoilers for Season 2 of "The Witcher"

Prior to its release on December 17, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich revealed that Season 2 of "The Witcher" had learned from the mistakes of the first season, and would deliver a TV show worthy of the White Wolf. This latest season, now available on Netflix, picks up after the pyro-clastic conclusion of Season 1, finally bringing Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), princess Ciri (Freya Allan), and Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) together in a meaningful, and almost binding way. One of the most pressing themes of this new batch of episodes is family, and considering the interactions between the main characters, this is only likely to grow in intensity over time.

In Episode 2 of Season 2, Geralt and Ciri find themselves in a stronghold called Kaer Morhen. This essentially serves as a capital for Witchers, and most of its inhabitants have undergone the same transformation process as Geralt, through which regular humans can become capable of combat against powerful beasts. Returning to what is essentially his homeland, Geralt comes across his mentor Vesemir (Kim Bodnia), as well as some of his brothers-in-arms like, for example, a WItcher named Eskel (Basil Eidenbenz). Unfortunately for die-hard fans of the "Witcher" video games and the books both series are based on by Andrzej Sapkowski, this episode's approach to a fan favorite character had them ready to unleash their own destructive magic (and profanity).

Fans hated what happened to Eskel

Episode 2 of "The Witcher" Season 2, appropriately titled "Kaer Morhen," sees the newly-introduced Witcher Eskel quickly meet a horrific end when he's transfigured into a monstrous tree creature known as a Leshen. This was a development some fans of the books did not expect or appreciate. 

In an episode discussion thread on the official subreddit for the "Witcher" franchise, user u/iTzCrazyDan wrote, "They could have just, you know, made one of the other random witchers infected. But nah, we gotta just kill off Eskel for no f***ing reason. (Not before making him act like a total douchebag first)." This elicited a tremendous response from fans, many of whom with knowledge of the source material were similarly disappointed by such a popular character being killed right away.

Reddit user u/TuckB32R added, "What the actual f*** is this? Just gonna fridge Eskel, and completely s*** on source material?" This comment was followed by one from u/beach_boy91 who replied, "Seriously he's my favorite witcher after Geralt and Vesemir. He's supposed to be very similar to Geralt but less drama." 

It was typically the more dedicated "Witcher" fans that felt betrayed by the series' decision to get rid of Eskel so quickly. Reddit user u/Echo-Alarming summed things up by saying, "But killing off Eskel? Why? Anyone reading the books, or playing the games, will feel awkward knowing they just killed him off in half an episode in the show. ... Seriously, what a way to completely s*** on a great first episode."

Some fans were disappointed with Eskel's personality

While much of the fan disappointment over Eskel's character arc is centered on the fact that a fan favorite character dies in the very same episode introducing him, some viewers are similarly upset about a change in personality compared to his prior appearances in the "Witcher" books and video games. One popular Twitter post about Eskel's new characterization, by user @Wanted4Treas0n, includes a screenshot of a document associated with the new season of "The Witcher," describing Basil Eidenbenz's version of Eskel as "a particularly arrogant Witcher" who "loves sharing tales of his adventures and celebrating them with women and wine." Accompanying this screenshot is the caption "Im killing the writers." In a similar vein, user @IsaAfterDark replied to that Tweet, "Dunno who this 'eskel' bloke is but no way an 'arrogant Witcher' who likes boasting, drinking and wh0ring is The Witcher's Eskel. Literally not the same person." Whereas in prior appearances a set of facial scars have been a prominent component of his characterization, they found that the show "heavily downplaying his scarring should've been a heads-up."

Twitter user @Iadyofthelake likewise expressed their disappointment in how Eskel was handled by the TV series, writing "I know Netflix would change things from the books so I was prepared but eskel being a mean womanizer who brought girls to kaer morhen and threw a party wasn't one of them."

So, while to viewers unfamiliar with prior versions of "The Witcher," Eskel may simply be a short-lived companion of Geralt of Rivia's, existing fans of the character were unhappy with both the character's new personality and his death coming so soon his introduction.