Otherness and Intertextuality in The Witcher. The Duality of Experiencing Andrzej Sapkowski’s Universe
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Andrzej Sapkowski’s saga The Witcher has been popular amidst Polish audience for nearly thirty years. It was an inspiration for the CD Projekt Red ́s games, but the books became bestsellers abroad only after the release of the new Netflix show (The Witcher, Lauren Hissrich, 2019-). The recent developments in the franchise shifted the focus back to the novels. In this paper, I zoom in two ways of experiencing The Witcher: native and international. Firstly, I put my attention to the original texts and describe the duality of the morally ambiguous main character. Geralt is not a hero, nor an anti- hero; his neutrality categorises him as a middle-man, whom I will call a no-hero. Secondly, I write about the saga’s Slavic folklore which is mixed with (Western) (anti-)fairy tales and creates an interesting cultural melange. Thirdly and lastly, I look at the whole franchise and analyse both native and foreign reactions to the Netflix show. I discuss elements important to these two audiences and explain the reasons behind The Witcher’s Polish-ness. This closer look at the saga’s cultural and literary backgrounds explains not only its popularity in Poland but also the reasons behind its re-discovery by foreigners.