Although not a live screen adaptation. I'm talking about a comic book adaptation, about the comic book called The Witcher: Fox Children, written & illustrated by CD Projekt RED. It was heavily based on the fourteenth and fifteenth chapters of Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski, additionally using some elements from the twentieth chapter (unfortunately, it is the ONLY comic book from CDPR that is directly based on the novels by Sapkowski, other graphic novels have their own compelling story). All of those chapters are telling about the encounter with Aguara, the vulpess that makes illusions. My opinion is that this adaptation really shows the way how theoretically would CDPR adapt the novels more directly. It's a "what if" scenario, namely, what if CDPR would make a TV series or a movie. Probably, they would have adapted the novels in the same way as in this comic book. As you might have guessed, this comic book is extremely faithful to those chapters of Season of Storms. Although there are some noticeable differences. I'd like to discuss how well the adaptation was made with any of you who read the graphic novel. And the ones who never did, I highly recommend you to do so and come back to discuss here (maybe). Therefore, major spoilers below for the comic book.
It is fair to say that the witty dialogue was largely kept intact here. But more importantly, the characters were portrayed almost exactly the way I imagined. Their characterizations and the way they act are adapted very well. The plot as a whole is almost exactly the same as in the book. It is truly impressive how well and consistently the events from the books are derived. The graphic novel will have its eerie moments and tension. Real fun to read! Now let's discuss the differences.
The difference is seen from the very first pages. Addario Bach and Geralt sit around a fire and they encounter a troll. This never happened in SoS, and this troll looks, acts, and behaves almost exactly the same as trolls in Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. I don't really know why this was added, it serves no purpose for the overall plot. Maybe it was like a nod to games (be prepared, we will have a lot of them in this comic book, but I think it is understandable why). After that, Addario and Geralt go to the port and see the sloop "Prophet Lebioda" and talk with the merchant Kevenard van Vliet. At this moment, everything plays the same as at the beginning of the fourteenth chapter, we also meet captain Pudlorak (renamed "Boxcray" for some reason) with Fysh & the company. They explain the need for the witcher on the boat. While the set of the story is the same, those who read SoS will notice a harsh deviation from the novel: Geralt has both of his swords behind his back. The whole plot of SoS was around Geralt losing the swords, and he gets them back only at the ending of the novel, in a vastly different situation. A possible explanation is that the authors wanted this story to be standalone, so this plot point was eliminated, however, there will be a major reference to Geralt losing his swords later in the comic book. So the story is set, the characters are setting sails.
On the boat, another major deviation can be seen. A totally new character, an elf in disguise, Janessa was added along with her guard. Here comes the drawback of this comic book, particularly, almost everything that is not from Sapkowski is legitimately pointless and weak. There is literally no reason to have her in this story, and her story arc means nothing. It is a bland unnecessary filler. I don't know if she appears in other comic books, but it seems unlikely. Janessa makes no difference in the plot, and the resolution of her plotline is not satisfying at all, it means that her presence on the boat was meaningless. So I cannot say why they added her to this story. The only good explanation is to have her in action scenes, that were not in the book.
Few dialogues are cut, some of them are slightly altered, but the beginning of the trip to the swamps is very faithful to the original. Strangely enough, I noticed that Aguara is actually NEVER referred to or named as "Aguara" in the comic book, while in SoS, she is called "Aguara" many times. In the comic, she is called either "vixen", "fox", and "vulpess". Seems to be a deliberate choice by the writers, I have no idea nor suggestion why. The plot continues to be faithful. The reader learns that Parlaghy accidentally killed the fox child, the illusions start to grow. All of them are portrayed accurately enough.
Eventually, the comic book delivers its highest departure from the novel. The event that never happened in the book. In the comic, Geralt attempts to see above the trees to find the way to sail, but once some of the crew (Addario, Geralt, Janessa, and others included) come off the ship to the ground. The ship simply vanishes. It was one of the illusions of Aguara. After that, Geralt & Co. circle around the little swamp isle, they fight monsters, some of the "no-name" crew members die horribly because of their stupidity. They encounter a crypt with the illusion of the wraith. Inside the crypt, they find the survived crew of another ship that disappeared in the swamps months ago (they also serve no purpose to the plot). In the process, the true identity of Janessa is revealed, she is actually an elf. There comes the reference to Geralt losing his swords. In the comic book, waterhags take them away and Geralt ironizes, this time, Geralt also loses them, but in a different context. After some additional monster fightings, the "Prophet Lebioda" crew finally finds the vanished ship. As you can see, this expansion simply serves for adding more action, it makes no difference to the plot.
Talking about the action. The comic-book is expectedly vastly more action-y than SoS chapters. In the book, Geralt is never said to use any of his signs. But in the comic book, similarly to the games, the signs are used frequently as Geralt fights the enemies. Namely, Aard and Igni are used. There are much more monsters to fight and some of them are taken directly from Witcher 3. Those are waterhags and wraiths. Although, the vodyanoi fight from SoS is done great and accurately enough. If you ask me about the added action, in my opinion, it's a welcome change. It makes some moments with high tension and thrills. However, I think that the walking on a land episode in the swamps was totally unnecessary, just like Janessa. Then the plot continues as in the book.
The crew fights the vodyanoi and illusions. Fysh tries to escape on a boat but dies horribly the same way as in the book. The vixen comes in person, talks with Geralt with promising that she will return someday. She takes away the seemingly dead child and flees. Aguara leaves a "farewell" illusion and many crew members fall for it and then the majority of them die. Only people with brains stay alive on "Prophet Lebioda". When I read the novel, I realized that the majority of the crew are brainless morons. Therefore, it is really well-shown in the comic. So all of the questions of numerous character stupidities should be asked only to Sapkowski. Addario Bach catches the boat that was used by Fysh, and then the survivors leave from the sloop. In the novel, only Geralt and Addario were on the boat, and Pudlorak with van Vliet stayed on the sloop. In the comic book, there are several other people leaving together with Geralt and Addario, most importantly Janessa, it never happened in SoS.
The story comes to its conclusion. The shitty plotline of Janessa comes to a hollow resolution. And here comes the element from the twentieth chapter of SoS, the return of Aguara. However, it happened when Geralt was together with Dandelion, not Addario. Just like in the novel, it is revealed that the child wasn't actually dead, she was pretending to be with a help of the illusion. Aguara praises the dignity of Geralt and lets him touch her face. This is the legitimate moment that could piss many of the book fans off. So much that some fans possibly may hate this comic book. In the novel, when Geralt touches the face of Aguara, she turns into an illusion of Yennefer & then disappears. But in the comic, she SIMPLY disappears. There is not even a hint about Yen. When I saw this ending for the first time it made me really angry. It makes me think that CDPR actually hates Yennefer and they really tried to write her as cold as possible in Witcher 3. Almost every character says something bad about her in Witcher 3. The truth is that this excellent character, the love of life of Geralt, never deserved this harsh attitude. Say anything you want, Witcher 3 fans and TeamTriss. Triss Merigold is not a match for Geralt. This change in the ending delivered me a lot of frustration and disappointment.
Overall, I think that this comic book was very fun to read. I really love the attention to detail and faithfulness of this comic book. The atmosphere, characters, and moments are adapted extremely well. The differences are only about expanding some moments. Those changes were completely unnecessary, nevertheless, it does not hurt the overall plot. The only change that was welcome is about adding more action. I'd love to see a screen adaptation done this way. It's the thing that Sapkowski's books deserve. It's not an ideal adaptation due to the single moment at the end of the comic. Nevertheless, in the case of adaptations, readers should be pragmatic, there simply no ideal adaptation. Thank you for reading this far, if you have read the comic book and SoS, please let me know your opinion about this adaptation. If you have other points that also deserve attention, feel free to write here, I'd love to read! Generally, any opinions about this Dark Horse comic are welcome here. Peace!
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