Aside from the other Bad Things twn has committed, what probably pisses me off the most is the fact that it’s a Polish series produced by a bunch of Brits and Americans. Mainly because Polish(and other slavs,eastern europeans) face xenophobia from white Brits to this day, hell, there are cases from like two-three years ago when brits beat up a couple of Polish folks and Czechs. It adds another layer to the erasure of historical and cultural significance from the story, because we have these hooty-tooty Brits with their colonizer genes wagging their fingers at the Polish that their culture is irrelevant.
This. As a Czech that’s lived abroad in NA for quite some time and has experienced this xenophobia (and with plenty of friends and family who have lived in the UK because yes, UK is still a common destination for Slavs and Eastern Europeans, even if we get treated worse than shit over there), this is exactly what I was feeling with the show. But whenever I mentioned it, I got shut down by American and British fans saying they like the show, as if that makes my argument invalid. Of course you like the show, and please don’t misinterpret me, you’re completely within your rights to like it. But the reason you do is because it was catered to you while erasing us. And while overall I have no problem with people liking it, I wish the problematic nature of the Slavic erasure would also get as much, if not more, attention as people give to all the other things (not following the books, character misinterpretation, not following the philosophy, etc - while those things are a huge part of that erasure, they are not advocated for with the “Slavic problem” in mind). I think a lot of non-Slavic fans don’t realise what Sapkowski’s books meant for us over here. Slavic paganism has been dying out for over a millennium since Christianity but these books revived it for a lot of us. It was like a Slavic cultural renaissance for the previous and my generations and something that made us dig deeper into who we were and what we came from. And we really needed that, because for once we weren’t just the impoverished Soviet leftovers, it made us look more into our identity because for once these stories were made cool and interesting with a life of their own, turned into more than just “my babka’s wack story”. That’s why we were excited for the games (which, while still having their own problems, delivered a masterpiece that felt like it really honoured Polish culture, it was created by CDPR after all, a Polish company) and slightly vary of the TV show (because Netflix, America…), but still hopeful because with the right people at helm it would introduce our culture to the west and maybe, just maybe, we’d stop being hated so much for no absolute reason. People forget that Wiedźmin was created by Sapkowski to serve as bed-time stories for his son. He included so many ethnic stories from Poland that are in their nature grey and meant to both teach a lesson and scare unruly kids. Because that’s what parents have been passing to us for generations, these stories mean a lot to us who grew up listening to them and being scared of the characters in them. Sapkowski created an amazing world from all that and I love him for it (but for nothing more, he’s an Ass with capital A and TWN worshipping his ground will forever be peak comedy for me), but Netflix has no right to steal it just like that and keep Polish people out of it. Now, instead of being seen as someone coming from a creative, interesting and scary culture, we have to face people who think The Witcher is an American creation due to this erasure. No joke. I think everyone should see that as problematic, no matter where you’re from.
jesus this this and this once again.
literally yesterday i was telling someone how the witcher made me really appreciate my own culture so much more, look into it, grow interested by it, i started to listen to slavic music, i started to really appreciate old slavic fashion, i started to look into our myths, our roots, where we came from, and i am surely not the only one.
poland was completely erased off the map for over 100 years. there was no poland, we were nothing, our culture was being washed away, we were germanized and russificated and killed for speaking our language or teaching it to children and as this lovely person said, sapkowski’s books were exactly that - a renessaince of our own culture.
I have nothing else to add. This perfectly encapsulates what I have been saying for ages now, on Discord to my friends, fearful of backlash.
I still remember being 15, around the time Brexit was happening, & my mother banning me from speaking Polish when out by myself on the streets because she feared someone would assault me. I have been made to fear who I am for years, after running away to a country where my parents no longer had to worry about the economy collapsing.
I remember the ugly looks at 13 I got from bus passengers when my Maltese friend & I were whispering between each other about our cultures. Because I was a kid in love with the world, wanting to learn & learn, & share my own experiences with people who understood.
I remember being 6 & having some older kid at school tell me to go back to my own country. The absolute horrific treatment Slavs get is hardly talked about, hardly mentioned when all Americans & Brits can think about is their own problems, completely ignoring the plight of other cultures.
And this blatant erasure, the appropriation of a culturally significant text by a bunch of self-important asshats is part of the problem. People get outraged at the mistreatment of POC actors/characters in media, but where is the outrage for us? People get outraged when they hear the horror stories of Catholicism turning our countries into hells, but where is the outrage when those of us still practicing the old faith are persecuted & erased? We are not disposable, we are not just another European country, we are a varied culture spanning many many countries, many many dialects & languages. We are Slavic first & foremost, & you should be outraged at this culture of ours being erased again & again & AGAIN. You should be outraged that people are still trying to stifle one of, if not the oldest, cultures that has existed on this continent. And you better start getting outraged now, because bigotry & erasure is an insidious little demon that hides & festers, growing bigger & bigger with more of us that it devours. The Witcher books were our escape from the belly of the beast, don’t let Netflix string us up for that monster to feast on again.