Book Report: ‘The Last Wish’

Andrzej_Sapkowski_-_The_Last_Wish

I just finished reading ‘The Last Wish’ by the Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski.

The book is a collection of several short stories about the witcher Geralt of Rivia, a traveling monster hunter for hire.

 

Like all witchers, Geralt was trained extensively from a young age, and forced to undergo several mutations to transform his body and mind into the ultimate weapon against ghouls, vampires, giants, and other monsters.

The witchers utilise magical signs in combat, consume elixirs to gain an extra edge, and carry two swords on their backs. Silver for monsters, steel for humans.

The mutations also caused him to lose all body pigmentation, earning him the nickname The White Wolf.

 

But these mutations also cause the common folk to distrust the witchers, almost as much as the monsters they hunt.

When they are needed, people call upon them. When they are not, people shun them.

 

Despite his gruff outer shell, it becomes apparent that Geralt is much deeper than it seems at first glance.

In fact, things not being what they first appear seems to be a recurring theme in all these witcher stories.

From certain monsters being more kind than the people who fear them, to the way Sapkowski twists classic fairytale tropes.

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Since this book has seven separate stories, I figured I would write a little about each:

 

The Voice of Reason

This is the framing story for the rest of the book.

During this, Geralt thinks back at certain events in his life, which we get to read as short stories.

There is a sense of regret to this story, as if Geralt wishes he had spent his life differently.

 

The Witcher

Geralt has to cure a cursed princess, by surviving a night in her tomb.

But before that he has to navigate the politics of the court, avoid angering the king and figure out who cursed the princess in the first place.

 

A Grain of Truth

In a twist on the ‘Beauty and The Beast’ story, Geralt finds a monstrous looking man living in a mansion in the middle of the forest.

The man believes that he will be freed from his curse if he finds true love, and has consequently paid off several men throughout the years, in exchange for a year of their daughters lives.

When Geralt arrives, he figures out that the latest beauty living with the man is a blood-thirsty vampire.

 

The Lesser Evil

In this twist on the ‘Snow White’ story, a wizard attempts to hire Geralt to kill a “monster”, a woman he had once hurt, justifying his acts with the claim that she had been born under the Curse of the Black Sun.

She had escaped as a girl, and went on living with a thieving band of seven gnomes. But now she was back for revenge.

This woman later attempts to hire Geralt aswell, to kill the wizard.

This leaves Geralt in a moral predicament, while trying his best to stay out of it all.

 

A Question of Price

Geralt is hired by a queen to pose as a nobleman at one of her swanky dinner parties. But she will not let him know why..

The party is being held to find a suitor for the young princess of the kingdom.

But it soon turns out that she is already taken.

 

The Edge of the World

This story uses elves as an allegory for real native people of various colonized areas, but mixed with the sense of superiority elves are often represented with in fantasy.

The story sees Geralt and his poet friend Dandelion getting captured by a group of elves. The bound witcher tries to bargain with the elf leader to let them go, while at the same time scolding them for not trying to live in peace with the humans.

The elf leader compares the situation with a louse trying to get a person to share their coat with the lice.

 

The Last Wish

Geralt meets his equal and opposite in Yennefer, a sorceress.

The two has to work both together and in opposition to one-another when Dandelion lets loose a Djinn near the town where Yennefer resides.

By the end of it, both Geralt and Yennefer’s destinies are forever changed.

 

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These short stories are funny, exiting, sad, and interesting.

Most of them have all these elements, to some degree.

 

This book series went on to inspire The Witcher trilogy of video games, the third of which is one of the best games ever made.

It is, in fact, from that game that I was made aware of these books to begin with.

And I am glad that I have been able to spend this time with these great characters in the great world that has been built around them, both in the books and in the game.

 

I love how even the most unimportant side-character is given a characterisation, so that this world seems like a real living world, rather than feeling that the world ends where the viewpoint of the main character ends.

I love how that world is built up with a mix of Slavic paganism, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, dark fantasy, and the Middle Ages.

And I love how the worlds monsters are often more than just monsters, and have well-developed personalities all of their own.

 

 

I Won a Pop Culture Award

silver screenings pop culture award SindrElf

A few days ago, Ruth from Silver Screenings held The Silver Screenings Awards over on their website.

This is an award that they hand out to various bloggers they like, from time to time.

 

When it comes to awards in the blogging community, one has to be specific.

This is not a chain letter interview-award.

I do appreciate getting those aswell, as it can be fun answering questions, but I don’t think that those should have been given the name “award”.

How about “chain-interview”?

 

No. This is a more conventional award, with several winners in different categories.

And I won in the Pop Culture category!  Thanks Ruth 😀

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Since part of the reason for getting this reward was my varied output of posts, I decided I would link to a few of my pop culture posts about various forms of media.

Of course, if you are more interested in one subject than another, clicking on a posts category tag should help you find even more of what you are interested in.

I hope you enjoy.

 

Art: The Art of Theodor Kittelsen

Comics: The Scrooge McDuck Origin Story

Fan Fiction: Doctor Who and The Black Star

Film: Five Essential Marvel Movies

Games: Why You Should Play Games

Music: Philharmonic Space Orchestra

Photography: Curating My Own Facebook Photos

Podcasts: My 3 Favorite Podcasts

Recipes: SindrElf’s monthly Geeky Recipe

Television: The Russo Brothers’ Community

 

Books: Oh, wait. Nothing? Damn it. I better fix this…

Next post; Some literature!

 

Top 5 Songs from ‘MoS: Level 2’

MoS Miracle of Sound Level 2

Back in February, I shared my favorite song from each ‘Miracle of Sound’ album.

This proved to be very difficult, as there are so many great songs there!

So I have decided to make a Top 10 or Top 5 list for each album, depending on how big the album is to begin with.

Here goes!

 

5. Nord Mead

A merry drinking song from the Nord warriors of Skyrim.

There is no better way to get your thirst up than slaying dragons!

 

4. Joker’s Song

A ballad sung by The Joker, to his archnemesis The Batman.

This song gives you a look into the mind of the best villain in DC Comics.

 

3. Life In Bullet Time

The Max Payne series is gritty neo-noir about the titular Max Payne, an ex-cop with a grudge.

This song mixes Max’s survivor’s guilt and self-destructive behaviour with the game-series iconic gameplay feature, bullet-time.

 

2. Shooter Guy

This satirical song showcases a lot of the clichés you can find in video game shooters, while still appreciating them.

After watching this, you can get a good idea about the experience of playing around 80% of all shooters.

 

1. Take It Back

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If you liked this music, you can buy the album here!