The Witcher: How Episode 5 Pays Tribute to 'Bathtub Geralt'
If you know The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, then you know. If you don't know the game, then you probably still know something about "that ripped dude in a bathtub, right?"Now that Netflix's The Witcher is out in the world (check out all of our Witcher Season 1 reviews here), with Henry Cavill starring as Geralt of Rivia, many are wondering if it can be the "next Game of Thrones." The series has a lot of source material at its disposal. Fans will be looking for the show to not only service the Polish fantasy short-story series, by Andrzej Sapkowski — particularly the sagas contained in "The Last Wish" — but also the world, tone, and various aesthetics established in the video games by CD Projekt Red. And that includes not just things like characters' various looks, behaviors, and fighting styles, but also, you know, the famous scene that opens Witcher 3 — Geralt's sultry steam bath.
The Witcher: The Bath Scene in The Game
There are several iconic tender-slash-erotic moments in Witcher 3 (um, we can save the Unicorn conversation for another time), but Geralt's spa day might be the most memorable since it opens the game.The story starts with Geralt dreaming back to a simpler time, in Kaer Morhen (his Witcher Academy), while he and the sorceress Yennefer (played by Anya Chalotra on the show) relax in their chamber. He soaks in a hot bath while Yennefer reads a book nearby. She eventually plays a magical prank on Geralt by summoning a lobster-type creature to saddle up to his nether regions. Geralt exits the tub and then heads off to help his adopted daughter Ciri (played by Freya Allan on the show) train in her powers and abilities. It's a flashback, basically, acting as a calm before the Wild Hunt storm.The scene became an instant meme. So much so that, eventually, you could buy a novelty statue of the scene from Dark Horse. It even has a rubber duck! Take a look…
Anyhow, this moment in the game perfectly encapsulates some of the (totally forgivable) silliness at the center of the series, which is that Witchers are supposed to be hated by most commoners for being grotesque "freaks." And here's Geralt, The White Wolf – clearly one of the hottest attractions on the entire Continent. Needless to say, it'll be even funnier to watch peasants gag and turn their nose up at Geralt when he's played by the handsome Henry Cavill.
The Witcher: The Bath Scene on the Netflix Show
The Netflix series does pay homage to the bath moment, in its own way. In the sense that, well, any scene featuring Geralt in a bath is automatically a nod now to Witcher 3's opening.If you've started binging the show already, you'll see the moment, clear as day, in the fifth episode, "Bottled Appetites." Geralt enters the estate of Beau Berrant, mayor of Rinde, in search of a rumored mage who can help his ailing friend Jaskier recover from a djinn attack. There, (after Geralt inadvertently wanders into a magic-fuelled orgy) he finds Yennefer and she invites him into the bath chamber to discuss his issue. They sit back-to-back in the tub to preserve Yennefer's "modesty" and discuss their tortured pasts.
The Witcher: The Bath Scene in the Book
In the short story titled "The Last Wish," written by Andrzej Sapkowski, the circumstances surrounding Geralt's visit are largely similar after Dandelion (aka Jaskier) is attacked by a djinn, but in this version, Geralt finds the mysterious sorceress Yennefer in Beau Berrant's bed, and she instructs him to take a bath before she'll help him. Unlike the show, Yen doesn't join Geralt in the tub, but takes a bath separately while Geralt gets dressed and tells her about Dandelion's predicament. She also turns herself invisible so he can't ogle her (although he does his damnedest, thanks to the water and soap suds she splashes over herself). Watching Henry Cavill effectively talking to himself in the tub probably wouldn't have made for quite as thrilling a scene, so the artistic license is forgivable.For more Witcher news, here's a reading guide to prepare for the series, star Henry Cavill being quizzed on all-things Witcher, and the official character posters for the show.
Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.