The Witcher star defends necessary season 2 death after Netflix backlash

Henry Cavill discusses the character of Geralt in The Witcher

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Episode two of the second season of Netflix’s fantasy epic drew huge complaints from fans by killing off a major character from Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels and short stories. Now, the recurring star of The Witcher Paul Bullion has revealed why he believes showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich made the right call for the small screen adaptation.

Paul, best known as fellow witcher Lambert, has defended the decision to kill off Eskel (played by Basil Eidenbenz) in the second episode of the new season.

After an intense opening, Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) and Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan) seek refuge in the witchers’ training grounds, Kaer Morhen.

Unfortunately, their rest is disrupted when they realise Eskel has been corrupted by a malevolent forest spirit known as a leshy.

Despite Eskel becoming a frequent companion and firm friend of Geralt’s in the books and video games, he’s eventually slain in the ensuing battle.

Fans who were familiar with the original story were furious to discover one of The Witcher’s most beloved characters had been axed from the Netflix adaptation so soon.

Speaking to The Direct, Paul admitted he knew the decision would be divisive but felt the unexpected death was necessary to separate the television series from its source material.

He explained: “I 100 per cent knew that there’d be fans that wouldn’t be happy about it.

“He’s a fan favourite. You can see it all in the fan art and the fan fiction involving the Witchers: Eskel, Lambert, and Coën.”

“I think if you took any of those three Witchers away, excluding Geralt as he’s the lead, it was going to be a shock factor.”

Thankfully, both Lambert and Coën (Yasen Atour) were left alive by the end of the new season.

Hopefully, Geralt’s other witcher companions will remain safe if the series continues, though fans have now learned not to hedge their bets when it comes to untimely deaths.

Moving forward, Paul believes any adaptation of The Witcher should throw in enough surprises to keep fans of the original material on their toes.

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“Me personally as a storyteller,” he continued. “I think if you’re going to do a TV adaptation, I think it’s good to keep the audience guessing.

“Even if you are a Witcher lore expert, I think it’s great to throw a curveball.”

However, he also admitted even he was shocked when he was perusing the show’s new scripts.

He recalled: “I found out when I read the scripts at the start, and I was going through like, are they going to bring him back magically somehow?”

But, as Paul explained: “I think it’s necessary in TV adaptations to let the audience know that nobody can guess.

“I think even people that are fans of Eskel, to be affected by it whether you’re filled with sadness or shock, isn’t it great to watch something and be like, ‘I did not see that coming’?”

Perhaps fans of the character could eventually see Eskel magically resurrected, but for now, the TV series will be going ahead without one of Geralt’s closest friends.

The Witcher seasons 1-2 are available to stream on Netflix.

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