Geralt of Rivia: a disabled protagonist

Geralt of Rivia: a disabled protagonist
"[Geralt] noticed that Regis was staring at him intently. 'Is that a fresh wound?'

"'Actually no. But it's haunting me. Do you have any herbs that can relieve pain? '"

- The Baptism of Fire by A. Sapkowski, pp. 128

Geralt of Rivia is a disabled person.

It's always interesting to see how people react to this statement, especially the fans, and I got some of those reactions when a thread I created went viral on Twitter.

Geralt became such a fantasy icon. Especially loved after the success of CD Projekt RED's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Netflix's The Witcher series, but every time we think of him our minds instantly go to the rude but adorable monster hunter of video games. wave of the award-winning TV series I felt it was important to raise your voice about my personal experience with Sapkowski's novels and perhaps draw attention to what has been left out over the years spent revisiting Geralt's story.

Geralt of Rivia & the Importance of Disabled Protagonists

A Thread.

Geralt of Rivia is disabled.

That statement always surprises people, even fans of the series. But it's true. It's just that people only remember how Geralt is shown in- 1/20

- the dislocating GM? Talin in Idle Champions 13/1? (@mustangsart) November 9, 2020 This content is hosted on an external platform, which will only display it if you accept targeting cookies. Please enable cookies to view. Manage cookie settings I am a person with disabilities and I work professionally as a consultant on disability-related issues, as a sensitivity reader (professionals who analyze unpublished writings to find cultural inaccuracies, ed), writer and designer for table role-playing games and other media . I started showing symptoms at age 12 and my childhood was one of having a hard time 'integrating', not being able to do things that my friends could. I grew up alone and angry, feeling that no one understood my chronic pain or was interested in it. It was at age 20 that I stumbled upon Sapkowski's novels after seeing some friends playing and talking about The Witcher 3 and I quickly became an avid fan of both books and video games.

When I came to the novel War Time and Geralt was seriously injured, I unconsciously began my way to acceptance and peace. Although recovered from the magical waters of the Brokilon Forest, Geralt continued to complain constantly of pains in his knee, hip and elbow.

I was suddenly fascinated.

Unlike other fantasy novels, in which the cliché of the magic that eliminates any disease, injury or disability is rampant, the care Geralt received has neither denied nor diminished his injury. He began to plague him in the long run and had to learn to compensate for and accommodate his newly discovered disability. It took him some time, he was angry and frustrated with himself and with the world and this situation made him take it out on his friends as well.

At that moment I realized he was like me.

It is Geralt's long journey to accepting his disability that has helped me accept mine. Over and over again it has been shown to be still capable, strong and to have a value as a person, all unusual things in the representation of the disability I had interacted with before and which is still proposed very often today. This does not mean that the books are perfect in their representation (the "crippled" insult is used in abundance as if nothing had happened) but they perfectly captured and represented my personal experience, an experience made of internalized anger and discrimination towards the disabled .

When I created my thread, I knew perfectly well that I was about to open Pandora's box. Disability is still largely not accepted, not only in the media but also in society and I have largely received the reaction I expected.

"Geralt is not disabled".

"This guy demagogy must stop ".

" In reality Fringilla Vigo has healed him in La Signora del Lago so he is not disabled ". (A point that I have already disproved on Twitter, explaining that Geralt has canonical disabilities that go beyond his knee and elbow. Things like infertility, severe mental trauma, low tolerance to poisoning due to overuse of potions. , the nerve damage caused by old wounds and scars. The word "healed" should not be confused with the word "cured". They do not mean the same.)

Suddenly , I was accused of "ruining" The Witcher because I pointed out disabilities written by Sapkowski that video games largely chose to ignore. I have had people teasing me by saying that "disability in video games wouldn't work", not knowing that the protagonist of the Mad Max video game used a leg brace and walked with a limp. Disability "doesn't work" in the media because in a field largely dominated by "able-bodied" people no one cares to try or hire professionals with disabilities who could work to make it "work".

I haven't stopped thinking about this thread. I've read these books a dozen times, these specific sections, and I've not thought of it further than: "Geralt has some pain, onto the next thing."

I 've been wrong.

I'm excited to dig into this more. To add this layer to our hero.

- Lauren S. Hissrich (@LHissrich) November 10, 2020 This content is hosted on an external platform, which will only display it if you accept targeting cookies. Please enable cookies to view. Manage cookie settings While I'm delighted with the Netflix showrunner's response, I'm also extremely nervous. The television and film industry does not have the best track record when it comes to depicting disability, at worst we are portrayed as villains, at best as creatures to be pitied rather than human beings. While I have clearly made my offer as a professional disability consultant (who is currently working on the paper RPG of R. Talsorian Games' The Witcher), I can't raise my hopes too much that they will actually sign one. Often the industry goes on its own thinking that disability is something "easy" to represent and as a result we receive a large dose of skill instead.

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I wholeheartedly hope Netflix and the Witcher team engage a consultant to help them capture such an important and sensitive part of Geralt's character. I've been teased, ridiculed and accused of being "overly critical" and "not being a real fan". But people have forgotten on the street what my thread was really about: they saw me calling Geralt a person with a disability, and they came looking for excuses to remove that part of his identity once again, exactly like video games did. >
But it is important that we recognize the fact that Geralt is a protagonist with disabilities and stop erasing that part of him. We should step forward to represent and manage that part of his story in a correct, explicit and sensitive way. Because there are people with disabilities out there who need to know right now that they are not alone in their pain and experiences. People who need to know that they are still individuals with value and a life. People who need positive representations.

People who need someone like Geralt of Rivia.

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