@qrdl: This is pretty much how I interpreted it as well.
Ihmishylje's forum posts
@karkarov: Matter of interpretation, I suppose. That's why I said "reductive". It's more complicated than that, as it always is in the Witcher-verse, but there's definitely a Nazi/Soviet Union/Roman Empire/whatever conquering nation/empire feel about Nilfgaard. But I might be projecting because it's a Polish author, and because history. Also, from TV Tropes:
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Nilfgaard Empire. Totalitarian state with world dominance ambitions (with Lebensraum gist), disdain for other nations as uncivilized subhumans, troops with black uniforms and lightning emblem (aka Sig rune) and so on.
- The conquering of Aedirn kingdom follows to the smallest details the history of the Poland Campaign, including: false-flag operation as a cause, Blitzkrieg-like deep raids of cavalry (in the place of tanks) and backstabbing from a former ally, who make a pact with an aggressor to acquire territories they claim are rightfully theirs.
@stonyman65: If you have time, I really do recommend the books, they are quite good. Other than that, in terms of lore, the basic setting is fairly simple. Late medieval fantasy setting (elves, dwarves, trolls, etc.) with some anachronistic themes, bits of satire and lots of snark. Geralt is a genetically mutated monster hunter, part of a dwindling group, who are largely frowned upon in a world where "regular" humans rule and all other humanoids are discriminated against if not outright persecuted. Geralt takes monster contracts for money and tries to stay out of politics, but when things get personal, he ends up being your typical 90s anti-hero, although the books color him as much more multilayered than the games. Although as a witcher, Geralt dabbles in simple magic, postions and traps, he is mostly known as one of the greatest swordsmen in the world. There is enough unique flavor to the world to set it apart from generic fantasy settings, but it could simply be described as follows: in the first short story collections, the stories were largely deconstructions of old fairy tales, the novels increasingly made the world darker and more melancholic in a Slavic sense, with more political intrigue and grander mythical plot elements.
Overall, the books are relatively light on lore and world-building, especially compared to something like Tolkien. It's more about the characters, their relationships, dialog, interesting scenes, etc. Most important characters include Yennefer, a powerful sorceress, Geralt's soul mate, with whom Geralt has a tumultuous, on-and-off relationship; Dandelion, a bard and a puckish rogue, Geralt's best friend; and Ciri, a gifted child, essentially adopted by Geralt and Yennefer, who is part witcher, part sorceress, part princess. Other characters, particularly in the games, include younger and less experienced sorceress Triss, who is hopelessly in love with Geralt but who doesn't reciprocate her feelings, except in the games where after amnesia Geralt totally does her multiple times (I think this was some wish fulfillment type of thing on part of the developers), and Zoltan, a dwarven warrior and friend of Geralt's.
Basically as the third game starts, there's a war going on, where the southern empire of Nilfgaard (fantasy Nazis, if one were to be reductive about it) has attacked the northern kingdoms.
@GaspoweR said:Fun fact: the games aren't canon. Sapkowski initially said that it's a continuation of the books and approved the general script, but then he flip-flopped and said "nope". So they basically can go crazy.
Well, at the very least it'll give some closure to his story line that started with the novels.
Did he say why he changed his mind?
Sapkowski is, in simple terms, kind of a prick. He in general has very little regard for video games and while he has no problem with his works being adapted to other mediums - he said he thinks the game is a fine adaptation - he holds them as completely separate entities due to the fact that he didn't write them personally. He maintains that the games are merely adaptations (he's very adamant about using that particular word), not continuations and if he ever returns to the Witcher universe, he won't take them into consideration at all - there's a very unsubtle implication in the way he said it that he doesn't think anyone could match up to his own writing prowess. This also has a positive side, though, since he doesn't intend to interfere with the writing process in any way, including consulting and he has no problems with issuing the license.
Andrzej Sapkowski generally has an aura of condescension around him and he's not the most pleasant person. I'm pretty sure he initially called the game canon around the time it wasn't supposed to feature Geralt as a protagonist and maintained it up until around the time the game finally came out - I think he underestimated the medium and CD Projekt RED and is simply too stubborn to admit that it's something more than just a video game at this point. The interview in which he last spoke about this issue is from Summer 2012. I'd send you a link, but I don't think it's been translated.
Wanting to retain creative authorship of one's own literal creations while still allowing them to be adapted by and speculated on in different mediums by other artists, and then complementing those works for their quality but maintaining that they are not part of the canon of the original works does not make one a "kind of a prick," at least not in my view. Far from it. Sounds more like regular artist behavior.
I haven't read any Polish interviews, since I don't speak the language, only the first five books that have been translated into Finnish so far. I'll have to take your word for Sapkowski coming off the way you describe in interviews. But even if that's the case, it's hardly unexpected in the world of art. Nothing people have said that I've read so far has given me the impression that he'd be an asshole in any evident, factual sense, but I still hear this complaint often enough on the internet. Is it just because people want really badly for the games to be canon with the books? If so, why? Or is there some other, perhaps cultural, thing here that I don't understand?
@stonyman65: I'm sure, but the problem with many of these arts is that they often have to be watered down when taught to the general public. The dilemma that remains is that how useful is it to train an extremely deadly technique when you can never really try it in sparring or sometimes even in drills to really know you've mastered it? And even so, if you're not a soldier, how useful are these techniques to begin with? Perhaps in the U.S. it might be a little different, but in most parts of Europe, for example, you can't just maim or kill your attacker because "they started it." Even the police typically must not cause any more damage or inconvenience than is absolutely necessary.
To most people, my advice would be to pick an art that seems interesting or fun to you personally, and intrinsically. By which I mean not as a means to learn to protect yourself, but because it's fun to train the art, or to compete in it, or whatever. As a result, you will get into better shape and maybe even learn to defend yourself a little bit in some situations. Even if you're a professional boxer and you can beat the shit out of pretty much anyone you would ever meet on the "street", it doesn't make you bulletproof, knifeproof, or immune to prosecution.
@zevvion: I meant no disrespect to your hobby. It's a competition sport, and a very technical one (yet not to the point of absurdity). Technically calling it "grappling" would be more accurate than calling it "wrestling" but I didn't mean it as an insult, just to explain it to the layman. Perhaps this is also a matter of cultural context -- from my point of view, wrestling is an olympic sport, and thus practiced by the very elite of athletes. Also, where I'm from there's a half-joke-y tendency to call everything and anything that includes grappling "wrestling", i.e. Daitoryu would be "knife wrestling."
But I do think it's a little bit of bullshit to say that the best man always wins. In competition there are very good reasons for why weight classes exist. On "the street", there are numerous factors that play into a situation, mostly weaponry and dumb luck. But that's not a slight toward BJJ, just a general observation.
@monetarydread: My point was that BJJ can be a lot more dangerous than people tend to think. It's nowhere near boxing-levels of insanity, but if you break your shoulder joint, that might end up being a permanent disability. Of course, it's all about how carefully you train, but in the heat of the moment stuff can happen.
@cookiemonster: If you want something where you have a low chance of injury, maybe go for something that's "self-defence" oriented and doesn't have sparring. These are typically, arguably, less effective, due to the lack of sparring. Sparring is almost always done with a rule-set to protect the participants, so even in "omfg so reals street defence" arts you will have sparring that more or less resembles sports martial arts. Nevertheless, even with rules and careful participants, injuries can happen (and minor ones eventually will, if you take it seriously enough and stick with it for a while).
I would say there's no martial art that is completely safe or injury free. Maybe Tai Chi or something comes close. Most sports carry a risk of injury however, so you will have to evaluate this for yourself. This is true of most sports, however. You can injure yourself doing yoga, after all. And even martial arts that don't have sparring, that rely on drills (joint locks etc.), can be dangerous if done carelessly or too fast.
I can give you a brief recap of the few martial arts I've tried or practiced for some length of time.
BJJ - Fun, if you like wrestling on the ground. Because that is most of it. Yes, it includes other things too, but if your main interest is wrestling on the ground, go for BJJ. No kicks or punches (in sparring or competition anyway), but sparring can still be very dangerous, particularly for joints, but your face may take damage too. Personally and anecdotally I consider it more dangerous than arts that have strikes.
Boxing - You will get punched in the head a lot. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to get brain damage, go for boxing. Unlike what you might think, it's an endurance sport, and a very demanding one. The most demanding training sessions, from an endurance point of view, I've ever experienced in martial arts, have been in boxing.
Daitoryu Aiki-Jujutsu - This is similar to Aikido (never tried Aikido myself) in the sense that there is no sparring and focuses almost entirely on joint locks. It is the parent sport from which Aikido originated, and includes numerous very difficult and very lethal techniques (it was designed by the samurai for the battlefield, not self defence -- the intent of many techniques is to kill or maim your opponent) that were scrapped when the more streamlined and self-defence focused (and some would say, less effective) Aikido was developed. Central concepts are "jujutsu" (fighting based on the mechanics and physics of the human body) and "aiki" (mental focus and ability to react to your opponents reflexes and use them against them). Most if not all techniques are based on the idea that your opponent has a weapon. If you like Japanese history and culture, and very esoteric martial arts, try Daitoryu.
Escrima - only tried this briefly, so not a lot to say, but lots of fighting with sticks and knives. You first learn to fight with sticks against sitcks, unarmed techniques are only learned later, because the assumption is that your opponent is armed, and fighting an armed opponent unarmed is very, very difficult. The group I was in didn't have "proper" sparring, but a kind of free-flow drill session every now and then. If you like getting stabbed (with a dull knife) try Escrima.
Judo - Similari to BJJ (it is the origin of BJJ anyway) but the focus is more on wrestling while standing up. Lots, and lots of throws. If you like being thrown to the ground often and violently, then go for Judo. Practice and sparring includes ground game similar to BJJ, although this is less of a thing in competition. Judo is one of the most physically intense competition sports out there. Like most japanese arts, includes the idea of using your opponent's strength and motion against them. In reality, this is not always so effectively employed.
Savate - French kick boxing, that includes strikes from boxing, and kicks with shoes (so no elbows or knees, like muay thai, for example). Very technical, lots of fun, but you may end up being kicked in the head a few times -- shoes on. A competition sport, so of course includes sparring. If you like getting kicked in the head, try Savate.
Systema - Russian self defence martial art supposedly developed from CQC training of Russian special forces. Some teachers, more than others, focus more on the sort of "bullshido" mysticism often attached to the art. Very fluid system with no particular rules or techniques. Just "ideology" on how to fight or how to train fighting. Quite different from many sports martial arts. More focus on singular heavy strikes and takedowns than sports tend to be. Employs a similar ideology to most japanese arts (like aikido, most forms of jujutsu, judo) that you should use your opponents motion against them. May include sparring, but relies mostly on free-flow drills. If you are interested in militant shit and weird Russian ideas, try Systema.
Of course, it all depends on your teacher/sensei/coach and the group in general, so you should always shop around before you settle on one, and not make your choice purely on what sounds cool on paper.
I love cultural differences like this. I live in the suburbs of the the biggest city in a small country, Scotland. It would be actively weird and creepy to drive someone you're going on a date with around. And you know, alcohol.
I guess that would be going off topic so I will drop it..
Yeah, I definitely get what you're saying. I live in a city that has probably the best public transport in the world (Helsinki -- bigger than Edinburgh but smaller than Glasgow), and the thought of needing a car for dating is AMAZING. It just blows my mind that someone would even have that thought floating in their head.
I get that, if you live in a rural area, whether it's the U.S., Scotland, or Finland, you'll need a car for everything. But at that point you wouldn't be asking whether you need a car for dating either, would you? If you didn't have a car in a place like that, dating would be the least of your worries. I know somebody already brought this point up, but still.
As for the OP asking people out, always go for it. I get that it can be terrifying in the beginning, but there is literally no downside to doing so. Later in life, you will only regret not trying. I cannot emphasize this point enough.