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Queerty: This massively popular fantasy series on Netflix is about to feature its first gay romance


Image Credit: Netflix

As we’ve gradually come to realize, even the Netflix series that aren’t “gay,” so to speak, usually end up featuring at least one gay character, or a prominent gay subplot.

But, until now, the massively successful fantasy epic The Witcher—based off a Polish book series and its popular video game adaptations—has held out on us.

And, frankly, that’s pretty surprising for a show that initially promoted itself with an image of its brawny lead, Henry Cavill, sitting naked in a bathtub. You can’t just tease us with that and not expect the gays to tune in!

Image Credit: ‘The Witcher,’ Netflix

That all changes with Season 3, which drops its first five episodes this week, and features the show’s first-ever queer romance! Huzzah!

To back up a bit, The Witcher is the hardest of hard fantasy—there’s magic and monsters and a complicated history of myths and legends. So, if that’s not your cup of tea, understandable! (And we don’t blame you if you still tuned in for that peek at Cavill’s pecs.)

The actor formerly known as Superman stars as Geralt Of Rivia, the titular “witcher”—or monster hunter—on some sort of destiny-fulfilling quest that eventually links him up with young princess Ciri (Freya Allan) and sorceress Yennefer (Anya Chalotra), a makeshift family united in their cause against evil.

Also in their broader entourage is a traveling bard named Jaskier (Joey Batey), the series’ comic relief, who fans have assumed was queer from the very beginning. Ever since a moment where he asks Geralt about his “lovely bottom” fans have been ‘shipping the pair, dubbing them “‘Geraskier.”

Sadly, “Geraskier” has yet to come to pass, but these new episodes are finally giving the bard an opportunity to explore his sexuality—and with a dreamy new paramour.

Enter Prince Radovid, played by Hugh Skinner, a British actor best known for his roles in movie musicals like Les Misérables and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (where he played the young version of Colin Firth’s character, Harry).

Hugh Skinner in ‘The Witcher’ | Image Credit: Netflix

Radovid is the younger brother of Vizimir, the king of a realm called Redania, and he’s described as a royal playboy with “good looks and often drunken charm.” When he finally meets Jaskier—whose songs he was already familiar with—the two have an instant spark. And thus begins The Witcher‘s first gay love story.

In conversation with The Gay Times, both Batey and Skinner discuss what a thrill it’s been to bring queer representation to this fantastical world.

“I was very excited and a little apprehensive, if I’m honest,” haress Batey, “because I wanted to ensure that this was done sensitively and carefully; that it wasn’t, in any way, becoming stereotyped.”

Skinner describes their characters as “star-crossed,” as they meet at a time of political turmoil and unrest, with the two of them stuck in the thick of it. And though we don’t yet know if these two crazy kids are end-game, there’s still more of Season 3 to come, when the final three episodes premiere on July 27.

(And, beyond that, a Season 4 has already been greenlit by Netflix. It sounds like both Batey and Skinner will be returning, though our barrel-chested hero, Henry Cavill, will not. Liam Hemsworth will be taking over the role moving forward.)

Speaking to The Gay Times, Skinner, who is openly gay, describes the opportunity to play an LGBTQ+ character “in a show of this genre and with this much reach” as thrilling and a real privilege.

Joey Batey in ‘The Witcher’ | Image Credit: Netflix

Batey, who’s been with the show since the beginning, knows there is a very vocal, negative “minority” of the fan base who will “inevitably” push back against the gay romance, but vows to do his best to “counteract is when discourse becomes bigotry.”

“If storylines like this can help in the smallest possible way,” Batey says, “particularly for the younger demographic that tends to watch this show, then it will honestly become one of the greatest honors of my life.”

We’re personally just excited to see a super nerdy high-fantasy show like this go all-in on a gay love story. We just have two small requests for The Witcher going forward: (1) Let these two kiss even more! And, (2), the bard loves to sing, Skinner himself is an accomplished vocalist (see below), so… why not a duet? We would like to see it!

The first five episodes of The Witcher Season 3 are now streaming on Netflix. “Volume 2” will premiere July 27.


Related

Meet the queer actor bringing gay romance to Netflix’s hit fantasy series ‘Shadow And Bone’

For Jack Wolfe, bringing queer representation to a globally popular TV series is more than just a fantasy.


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