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The Witcher Season 2 Character That Had Fans Cringing Hard

"The Witcher" just can't catch a break. The Netflix series starring Henry Cavill as the deadpan Geralt of Rivia may draw in the viewers, but it can't escape harsh criticism. The first season of the series became infamous for how it set up the world, as fans were so critical of the multiple timelines that showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich had to promise that "The Witcher" Season 2 would be less confusing.

The series has certainly improved on that front. From the jump, after Geralt and Ciri (Freya Allan) unite, he takes her to Kaer Morhen for training. This allows for an extremely straightforward story that doesn't require the clue-hunting that the prior season involved. However, that hasn't stopped some fans from adding a new gripe to the list — as it appears that a number of viewers had issues with one beloved character who has been a central figure since Season 1, but is now being referred to as a "cringe-worthy" figure.

Some fans didn't like Jaskier's character evolution

On paper, it seems that Geralt's platonic life partner Jaskier (Joey Batey) would be a hit with fans. A perpetual thorn in Geralt's side, the quick witted bard is always around to offer an anecdote or song about the White Wolf. Even though these hallmarks are a staple of "The Witcher," it appears that some fans on Reddit grew increasingly unimpressed with him during Season 2.

"Those Jaskier scenes are some of the most heavy handed comedic release attempts I've ever seen," commented u/blocker1980. "That's just horrific. That show is trodding a very thin line to becoming stale." 

In Season 2, as it happens, Jaskier is absent for much of the earlier parts of the narrative until Yennefer (Anya Chalotra) has to escape persecution because of her elf blood. She runs into her old friend, otherwise known as The Sandpiper, in order to stow away on a ship. As much as many fans love Jaskier and the talented actor that portrays him, it wasn't enough to save him from those who found his schtick on the less enjoying side, particularly given the drastic change in his personality. Some argue that he wasn't around nearly enough to gain the same love from viewers he received in the first season, and this time around, his jokes did not necessarily land. 

"I love Joey, I love Jaskier," posted Redditor u/mayaamis. "But he was criminally underused this season and what little has been giving to him was forced. [A]nd his lines were often really cringy." What little screentime Jaskier did have left him as mostly just comedic relief, with no emotional resonance. In essence, Jaskier was regressed to slapstick character with little to bring to the table.

Jaskier's humor is a collaborative process

One scene in particular may be a prime example of what rubs viewers the wrong way. While Jaskier attempts to spirit Cahir (Eamon Farren) and Yennefer away, he is spotted by a dock worker as the bard who penned "Toss a Coin." Jaskier is criticized by the dock worker for his storytelling being too confusing, which is clearly a meta reference to the criticism of Season 1's multiple intersecting timelines. And when Lauren Schmidt Hissrich spoke to DigitalSpy, she told them that was intentional.

"​​One of the things that I love to do is interact with fans. I do it probably a little too often for anyone's taste. But I also hear what they're saying. And the truth is ... the dock guard's opinion is a completely valid opinion of 'Jaskier's' storytelling," Hissrich explained. 

Indeed, as many fans did not enjoy the interweaving timelines of the first season, it is amusing that the showrunner made a point to refer to this criticism (and to argue that it's merited) in the scene. But she wasn't the only one who had a hand in it. Batey also contributed, with quite a bit of ad-libbing. "It was a night shoot," Batey said in reference to the scene. "I was very, very tired, and when I get tired, my improvisation... I tend to wander. It's like having a jazz bassist taking the bass line for a walk." 

Of course, Hissrich has final say in what makes it into the episode, but clearly Jaskier's dialogue — whether you love it or hate it — is a collaborative process.