Geralt Cracks More Smiles On The Witcher Than You'd Probably Think

Netflix struck gold when it cast Henry Cavill as the titular hero in "The Witcher," a fantasy series which follows Geralt of Rivia as he tries to eke out a living by hunting monsters that plague the land. The whole thing is based on a series of books by Andrzej Sapkowski, and so far, the episodic adaptation has completed two seasons, with Season 3 on the way. With Cavill in the leading role, the social consensus is that the series' primary pull isn't the magic or lore but the grungy, silver haired man "Man Of Steel" star himself. Even Sapkowski agrees: in an interview with People, he compared Cavill's aptness to Viggo Mortensen's portrayal of Aragorn in the "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy. And Cavill's castmates have confirmed that as impressive as he is in the role, his off-set behavior is even more exemplary. 

Conversely, a common critique of Geralt — such as in the Daily Dot's 2019 review — is that he can be a bit one-note. He is, indeed, seemingly built atop the "strong and silent" trope. A quick way that some might point this out is to throw shade at the actor's facial expressions, which are often set in a deep grimace. However, as observant fans know, that's not quite the truth. Viewers will note that he's quite eloquent when he has the need, especially in Season 2. What's more, Geralt turns that frown upside-down a lot more than one might remember, and some fans have gone out of their way to compile the evidence.

Whether it's a dumb joke or a dumb friend, Geralt actually smiles quite a bit

In a subreddit dedicated to the Netflix series, u/Brionidae posted a collage, along with the tag, "When reviews say Geralt never smiles." The collage was a mashup of screen-captured sequences from "The Witcher" in which Geralt's grumpy geezer demeanor broke into something akin to friendliness. Happiness, even. 

It is perhaps an easy misconception to fall prey to, thinking that Geralt is exclusively a frowny faced emotionless lump, because the "Butcher of Blavikan" wants it that way. Canonically speaking, it's well circulated that Witchers are supposed to live devoid of feeling — it's baked into their training which is specifically designed to make them better killers. Geralt, though, is far more emotional than he tries to appear.

Henry Cavill (via Comic Book) shared his thoughts on the subject before the series aired, referring to the idea of them being emotionless as hearsay within the "Witcher" universe, rather than fact. "Geralt is much more than that," he added. "He has this hard exterior because he believes that's the way the world is, but in truth deep deep down there's this man that has a belief in what the world can be."

Here's the thing to ponder: Geralt is kind of a bad Witcher. He's notably in love with Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), best friends with Jaskier (Joey Batey), and a dutiful father to Ciri (Freya Allan). He also has a tendency to defend the helpless, often without pay, which is not particularly wise for a bounty hunter whose livelihood depends on people in peril. The qualities that make him a bad Witcher, though, are actually what make him a great Witcher — that is, a Witcher that takes a little time to smile with his found family ...

... and to smile at people he's going to enjoy harming. Sometimes that, too.