Blood Origin doesn’t come close to The Witcher, but is it worth checking out for Christmas?

The Witcher: Blood Origin takes place 1,200 years before the events of The Witcher. The Netflix original series, which is not directly adapted from the books, chronicles the origins of the witchers. Without being completely missed, it falls a little flat.

The Witcher was a very good surprise on Netflix. Adapted from the books by Andrzej Sapkowski, the TV series puts Henry Cavill in the shoes of Geralt de Riv, the witcher. Faced with the audience success, Netflix decided to expand the universe with a prequel series: Blood Origin (Blood Legacy), an original creation, not a direct adaptation. The mini-series is available this December 25, 2022 on Netflix.

The challenge was tough. Adaptations that take so much freedom with an already constructed universe regularly risk the outcry of fans; and more concretely, to disappoint. For Blood Origin, the result is mixed: it’s a decent fantasy series, but without panache. She never reaches the pleasure we have before The Witcher.

Blood Origin is less well constructed than The Witcher

The Witcher had managed to seduce both by its cocktail (humor, action, monsters, varied characters, initiatory quest) and by a first season with an original temporal structure. Season 2 continued very well on its way by deepening the destiny of the endearing Ciri (Freya Allan). The Witcher therefore had everything of a hectic fantasy adventure, and even the little kitsch side sometimes added charm.

Eile (or the Lark) in Blood Origin. // Source: Netflix

Blood Origin is more sluggish, in that it ultimately does not say much. The meeting between two characters, from the pilot, suggests a predictable love story, which will happen well, but whose feelings will suddenly seem to be born from one episode to another. This writing devoid of subtlety infuses the entire story: the heroes and heroines are introduced as in NPCs in an RPG video game. The geopolitical stakes are quite obvious.

The prequel also lacks strong characters — where The Witcher has not just one (the witcher) but several: Yennefer, Ciri, Dandelion, Fringila, Triss. Each protagonist has his place… and a place of choice. Remove a single character, the house of cards collapses. In Blood Origin, on the other hand, the protagonists have a vague and potentially replaceable role… as if the story had been written before the characters and not for the characters. This is perhaps what is missing: a soul, a deeper reason for this story, other than explaining the origins of the first series?

Should we watch Blood Origin, the prequel to The Witcher’s blood legacy?

Blood Origin can legitimately be disappointing, because it does not come close to The Witcher. But, the series does not deserve to be booed either. The fantastic atmosphere of The Witcher remains palpable; humor mixes with action scenes in a story that remains pleasant to follow. Michelle Yeoh, of course, pierces the screen every moment, although she’s a lot less central than one would hope. The team of the series sought to build this prequel like a tale told by a bard – and this detail there of the approach is rather successful.

Michelle Yeoh in Blood Origin // Source: Netflix
Michelle Yeoh in Blood Origin. // Source: Netflix

In short: clearly moderate your expectations. Blood Origin remains a good entertainment to follow to travel to another world during the Christmas holidays. But, we will forget three quarters of it at the end of the viewing, especially while waiting to find Geralt, Ciri and Yennefer in The Witcher — that we have not forgotten!

The verdict

Blood Origin isn’t entirely a bad fantasy series, but definitely lacks panache. The fault with too bland and expedited writing, which would have deserved much more soul. No character really stands out during the quest and the stakes are a bit flat. We only find pleasure in finding the same magical universe that we love, but without the magic working completely on us. As a result, we are mainly waiting for season 3 of The Witcher impatiently, Blood Originn will have been only an intermission, not unpleasant, but forgettable.

Source: Numerama editing

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