Physical pain is an aspect of humanity that is difficult to articulate to an audience because it is subjective in nature, and experienced individually. Authors have found ways around describing pain outright by personifying it (Scarry 11) or replacing it with the more relatable suffering and emotional turmoil. Others argue that an image of someone in pain puts a human face on the feeling and can inspire empathy in viewers (Sontag 9). The Last Wish (1993) by Andrzej Sapkowski is a collection of fantasy short stories that introduce a character known as Geralt of Rivia and inspired a series of video games, including Witcher III: The Wild Hunt (2015), as well as the Netflix TV series The Witcher (2019). Geralt was kidnapped as a boy and given concoctions to alter his genetics resulting in heightened strength, vision, and fighting abilities, and is a member of the monster-fighting brotherhood known as Witchers. While Sapkowski hides Geralt’s physical pain behind a cacophony of mental and emotional anguish, the video game and TV series are more successful at accurately portraying the pain to an audience. As Scarry deduced, The Last Wish is absent of physical pain because of the difficult nature of verbalizing it, but The Wild Hunt and The Witcher are more successful in aestheticizing pain because they are composed of visual images as described by Sontag.
Keywords: Witcher, Pain, Suffering, Fantasy, Fiction, Novel, Videogame
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25 March 2022
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20 July 2022
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