A Lovely Sarcastic Fairy Tale – Thoughts on The Last Wish
Really not sure why the cover of the book is Geralt engaged in battle with a Dragon because
- There is no Dragon, fire breathing or otherwise in this book
- Witchers are prohibited from killing true Dragons as part of their code since they are intelligent and sapient beings
But whatever we got to make the cover look generic so we can sell more copies right?
Recently I felt the need to dive into the Witcher series of books as my playthrough of Wild Hunt continues (here and there when I’m not drawing) not even Pokken could distract me for long because of how much I’ve grown to love this fantasy world in such a short time. Now, I’m not much of a reader. I would love to change this about myself but I guess my attention span started to worsen through the years. So instead I indulged myself in the Audiobook of The Last Wish, which is the first collection of short stories which introduced Geralt of Rivia to the world all those years ago. Here are my thoughts.
I know it’s only been one book and game for me so far but this is probably my favorite high fantasy series- I really loved The Last Wish. Strung together by a continuing frame story, Geralt recounts several of his morally ambiguous adventures of him being a sarcastic badass who probably cares more than he wants to let on. Each of these stories were great and had many moments that had me gasping with a ‘oh damn’ smile with how sly Geralt’s lines can get. He’s a great protagonist and his obscenely dry sense of humor never ceases to amaze me. The thing I liked about The Last Wish and honestly the Witcher franchise in general is how self-aware Geralt is as he runs into all these fairy tale inspired situations and dryly laughs them off or tries to not get involved unless he’s paid. A quote of his really stood out to me that I ended up loving. “I don’t believe in a lesser evil. If I’m to choose between evil and a ‘lesser evil’ then I’d rather just not choose at all.”
I liked each of the stories for lots of reasons. They ran the gamut of more creative set ups to more traditional fairy tale themes including what seemed like two homages to Beauty and the Beast in two of the different stories. They were both quite different though and I’m only just noticing it now that I’m looking back on it. I adore how Geralt handles himself through all of these journies and my atatchment to him as a protagonist is just that fascinating sense of professionalism he has. He listens intently, he always knows what to say, he knows when he’s being bullshitted and he can utterly destroy anyone who tries to mock him with just a few clever lines.
The titular story of The Last Wish was a high point for me as this is the origin of Geralt’s on again off again true love Yennefer of Vengerberg. I was awaiting this one greatly because in my playthrough of Wild Hunt I resolved to be with Yen instead of Triss, so it was great to finally see where the legend began. I’ll be honest, Geralt and Yen’s abusive relationship is adorable and how she wears the pants at all times is really humorous when in all other situations Geralt is a no-nonsense, sarcastic and powerful man. They also set things up to be a play on the ordinary fairy tale here as well, where Geralt and the ever amusing bard Dandelion stumble across a Djinn. Long story short, Geralt unintentionally makes two wishes, magical madness ensues and after a dire series of events he impulsively wishes ‘I want to be with Yennefer forever.’ Despite having just met her that evening and how she manipulated him with magic (humorously) to go screw over the dumb peasants who annoyed her before skipping town… It’s sort of making fun of the love at first sight thing in all those fairy tales since the Djinn grants the wish but they frequently fight with each other leading to long break ups before the wish inevitably drives them into one another’s arms once again. It’s really adorable to me and even though it’s still love at first sight, it’s a form of it that feels real and very adorable to me. Even she doesn’t understand why the hell he made that wish but is so stunned that in the passion they just straight up start making love amid the ruined buildings without a care if anyone ended up seeing them.
I really loved The Last Wish and it was a very strong start to the series. I’ve already got Sword of Destiny and Blood of Elves downloaded and waiting for me. I’ll certainly write more thoughts on them when I’ve finished listening to them.