The Witcher Season 2 Will Feature Less Of Geralt Grunting And Dropping F-Bombs, Sorry

If you're fond of fantasy and the f-word and like to see them commingled, you'll be disappointed to know that "The Witcher" season 2 will feature less of the latter than the first season did. In the Netflix series, based on Andrzej Sapkowski's novels, Henry Cavill plays the platinum-blonde Geralt of Rivia: a rather taciturn monster hunter who has been known to grunt and cuss, if and when he does speak.

Cavill, of course, played Superman (and still wants to play Superman), and that clean-cut DC hero's new motto is, "Truth, Justice, and A Better Tomorrow." For Cavill, a better tomorrow for "The Witcher" entails fewer expletives and perhaps a power thesaurus. He told SFX magazine (via Total Film):

"For this season, I wanted to push really hard to make sure [Geralt] was more verbose. ... There's always the risk of a character becoming a bit tropey and just comedic by grunting and saying the F-word, and not being representative of the talent of [The Witcher series author Sapkowski]. Again, I really worked very hard to make him more intellectual, have an expanded vocabulary and be representative of a guy 70-plus years old."

At the risk of exposing myself as a dilettante, the truth is ... I haven't seen "The Witcher." So I'm not sure how its level of f-bombing stacks up in comparison to its fantasy forebear, "Game of Thrones," which delighted in being crass. Yet I have more to say!

Geralt Swearengen No More

As someone who spent years teaching conversational English in a foreign country, the f-word has sort of fallen out of my vocabulary, since it's obviously not a word you'd be using much in polite conversation in a classroom setting. I still might spit it out if I stub my toe, but I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing that Cavill wants to expand his character's vocabulary.

For viewers, it might be jarring if a previously gruff character suddenly becomes "verbose," as Cavill puts it. At the same time, "The Witcher" is on a global platform, Netflix, whereas "Game of Thrones" was a show on HBO, the same U.S. premium channel that produced "Deadwood," which even had a sweary character named Al Swearengen.

While the ears of viewers in English-speaking countries may have become desensitized to the f-word, imagine how it would be if English was not your native language and you kept hearing the same nonsense word hundreds of times in a piece of American media. At a certain point, it loses its meaning and just becomes a gratuitous crutch for screenwriters who can't think of a better word to insert in their dialogue.

That's one school of thought, anyway. The flip side is the films of Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, or headlines like this and this and this (or another one I just submitted, with a cantankerous quote from Ridley Scott). Taken as a whole, these would appear to show that people like the f-word and it's the way of the world. Alas, the same is not true of our new WordPress submission system here on /Film 2.0, which will give me a red "censor alert" if I type that *bleeping* word.

"The Witcher" season 2 drops on Netflix on December 17, 2021.