something more the witcher

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski, A Book Review Part 2

Introduction

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski is a collection of short stories about the adventures of Geralt of Rivia that set some background for The Witcher series. This post is part 2 of my summary and commentary on Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski including the characters and summary of the short stories entitled A Little Dedication (Trochę poświęcenia), The Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia) and Something More (Coś więcej)

Goodreads Blurb of Sword of Destiny

Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.

 

In this collection of short stories, following the adventures of the hit collection The Last Wish, join Geralt as he battles monsters, demons and prejudices alike…

 

The anthology is composed of several stories, loosely linked in a chronological order:
The Bounds of Reason (Granica możliwości)
A Shard of Ice (Okruch lodu)
Eternal Flame (Wieczny ogień)
A Little Dedication (Trochę poświęcenia)
The Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia)
Something More (Coś więcej)

Book Review of Sword of Destiny

The Witcher Series Reading Order

Sword of Destiny is the second book in The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. Just like The Last Wish, it consists of short stories about the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, the witcher. Here’s the suggested reading order for this series.

Short Stories

The Last Wish (1993)
Sword of Destiny (1992)

 

The Witcher Saga

Blood of Elves (1994)
Time of Contempt (1995)
Baptism of Fire (1996)
The Tower of the Swallow (1997)
The Lady of the Lake (1999)

 

Standalone Novel

Season of Storms (2013)

A Little Dedication (Trochę poświęcenia) Characters

Geralt of Rivia

He is no ordinary witcher who slays monsters for money. He is also known as the White Wolf.

Agloval

The duke of Bremervoord who was in love with a mermaid, Sh’eenaz. He hired Geralt to translate for him and eventually changed Geralt’s task and told him to investigate the mysterious death of pearl divers.

Dandelion

Geralt’s loyal friend who is a singer, a bard, and a poet.

Essi Daven

Also known as Little Eye. She was a singer and a bard, a friend to Dandelion, and also became Geralt’s lover for a time.

Sh’eenaz

She’s a mermaid who fell in love with Agloval.

Short Story 4 – A Little Dedication (Trochę poświęcenia)

The story started when Geralt was translating for Agloval, a human prince and the mermaid Sh’eenaz. They were in love with each other but they could not agree on who could make a sacrifice so they could live together. Agloval refused to pay Geralt because the latter insisted that Geralt was not able to fulfill the task expected from him.

 

Geralt and Dandelion then went to a wedding feast where they met Essi Daven, Dandelion’s professional rival who was also a bard. Essi developed a feeling for Geralt but Geralt kept on hurting her feelings because he did not feel strongly about her because he still loves Yennefer.

 

Agloval then asked Geralt to investigate the mysterious deaths of local divers while collecting pearls. While investigating, Geralt and Dandelion saw a mysterious race of underwater dwellers who fight like real warriors. With the sudden appearance of Sh’eenaz, a battle between the underwater race and Geralt was averted.

 

In the end, Sh’eenaz sacrificed her fins for legs so he can live on land and marry Agloval. Geralt, Dandelion and Essi then left Bremervoord together.

The Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia) Characters

Geralt of Rivia

He is no ordinary witcher who slays monsters for money. He is also known as the White Wolf.

Braenn

She is a human who was raised by Dryads of Brokilon. She met Geralt when the latter was entering Brokilon as King Venzlav’s envoy and the next day met young Ciri who was attacked by yghern.

Nastrog Section

They are brigands from the Nastrog section, in the service of King Ervyll who tried to stop Geralt and Ciri on the way to Cintra from Brokilon.

Cirilla of Cintra

She is the princess of Cintra, a child of Elder Blood who is destined to Geralt by the law of surprise.

Queen Calanthe

She is the queen of Cintra and grandmother of Ciri.

Eithne

She is known as the silver-eyed and the Queen of the dryads of Brokilon.

Ervyll

He was the king of Verden and father to Prince Kristin whom Ciri was engaged to marry for a time.

Frexinet

He was one of King Ervyll’s governors in Verden. He once had under a cormorant curse and was lifted by the witcher. Together with his men, they searched for Ciri and ended up in Brokilon.

Kistrin

Prince of Verden and betrothed to Ciri.

Marck

He was a squire from Verden who helped Ciri escape from her arranged wedding with Prince Kistrin.

Morenn

She was a daughter of Eithne and wanted to have a child with Geralt.

Mousesack

He was a druid who served as Queen Calanthe’s advisor.

Venzlav

He’s the king of Brugge who sent Geralt to Brokilon to deliver a message.

Short Story 4: The Sword of Destiny (Miecz przeznaczenia)

Geralt was on the way to Brokilon to deliver a message from King Venzlav when he stumbled over dead bodies on the borders of Brokilon and eventually found Frexinet. Knowing Frexinet from the past because Geralt was the one who helped him free of the cormorant curse, he learned that they were looking for the princess.

 

Suddenly, the dryads of Brokilon appeared and surrounded them. The dryads agreed to escort Geralt to Duen Canell, where Eithne, the dryad queen could be found. Frexinet was left with the dryads while Geralt was escorted by Braenn. On the way to Duen Canell, through the forest, they encountered a girl fighting a giant centipede. It turned out that the girl was Princess Cirilla of Cintra. They decided to take her with them because they couldn’t just leave her there. On their journey deep into the forest, the 3 had the chance to get to know each other. There’s even a part when Geralt told Ciri and Braenn one of Aesop’s fable, The Cat and the Fox. Geralt learned that Ciri ran away from his prospective suitor prince Kristin, son of King Ervyll. She did so with the help of Marck but the boy was killed by the dryads.

 

Upon arriving in Brokilon, they saw Frexinet. Since this was Brokilon, anybody couldn’t just come and go. Geralt needed to talk to Eithne about Ciri’s fate as well. It was not easy talking to Eithne about Ciri’s fate but eventually, she let them go as Ciri was not changed by the waters of Brokilon and chose to go with Geralt. Frexinet on the other hand was left in Brokilon for Eithne realized that they need him to create new dryads.

 

On the way to Cintra, Geralt and Ciri came across the Nastrog Section brigands, and fight ensued but they were saved by the arrival of Mousesack. While Ciri was sleeping, Geralt left her with Mousesack. Ciri was devastated upon knowing that Geralt left him for she believed that Geralt is her destiny but Geralt thought otherwise and he couldn’t subject the princess to that.

“There is no destiny…It does not exist. The only thing that everyone is destined for is death. Death is the other blade of the two-edged sword. I am the first blade. And the second is death, which dogs my footsteps.”

Something More (Coś więcej) Characters

Geralt of Rivia

He is no ordinary witcher who slays monsters for money. He is also known as the White Wolf.

Princess Cirilla of Cintra

She is the princess of Cintra, a child of Elder Blood who is destined to Geralt by the law of surprise.

Dandelion

Geralt’s loyal friend who is a singer, a bard, and a poet.

Goldencheeks

She was the wife of Yurga, a merchant who was saved by Geralt.

Visenna

She’s Geralt’s mother. She’s a druid, healer and a sorceress.

Yennefer of Vengerberg

She is a sorceress and Geralt’s true lover.

Yurga

He’s a merchant from Lower Sodden who was saved by Geralt and in turn he helped Geralt when the latter was injured.

Short Story 6: Something More (Coś więcej)

In a crumbling bridge, a merchant cart was stuck. The merchant’s name was Yurga and his helpers left him because they were afraid of what’s coming as the bottom of the bridge was covered with human remains. Geralt arrived on the scene and decided to help Yurga when the latter invoked the Law of Surprise as a reward to the witcher. Geralt let Yurga wait on his cart while he battled the monstrous skeletons.

 

Geralt successfully got rid of the monsters but he was badly wounded. Fortunately, Yurga’s helpers came back and they helped him load Geralt to the cart and brought him to a healer. While wounded, Geralt dreamt of Yennefer, of Cintra and how he planned to claim Ciri as his surprise child from Duny and Pavetta and how Calanthe was trying hard to prevent him from taking Ciri. Geralt on his part told Calanthe that he did not believe in destiny and that there must be something more. He had no plans of actually taking Ciri. It was revealed that Geralt himself was not actually a surprise child rather he was abandoned by his sorceress mother to the witchers.

 

There’s a scene of Geralt also being healed by his mother, Visenna.

 

Then, Yurga told him about the second battle of Sodden and the heroic deeds of the mages of which 14 have fallen. At first, Geralt did not want to know about the names afraid that he would hear the name of Yennefer. It turned out that Yennefer’s name was not in there.

 

During the journey, Geralt had alternating dreams including the battles against the Nilfgaardian.

 

In the river Yaruga, in the midst of commotions, Geralt saw Dandelion and the latter told him about the news from Cintra. That Cintra had fallen, Calanthe and most of the royal family were dead and possibly including Ciri.

 

They continued their journey to Yurga’s house and it turned out Ciri was taken in by Yurga’s wife. They hugged each other and Ciri told Geralt that she was his destiny for which Geralt answered that she is more than that.

Commentaries About Sword of Destiny

Sword of Destiny set the Excitement for The Witcher Series

Two short stories in this book set the excitement for The Witcher series relating to the legends of Geralt-Yennefer and Ciri. If in The Last Wish, we saw how Geralt and Yennefer’s destiny were bound as well as how Ciri became Geralt’s surprise child, in Sword of Destiny, we saw the reunion of Geralt and Ciri despite the war and chaos. In a way, in Sword of Destiny, we saw already the deep connection between the two – Geralt and Ciri.

More Legends

Sword of Destiny just like The Last Wish is teeming with unique legends. We read the legend of the golden dragon, the Winter Queen which Geralt contested to be actually about the Wild Hunt, the power of eternal flame, mermaids and water dwellers, and the cormorant curse.

 

We also see unique characters like the doppler, the dwarf warriors, Crinfrid Reavers and more monsters battled by Geralt including basilisk, zeugl, yghern and monstrous skeletons.

 

These ensembles of characters and legends draw me to this book series.

Geralt of Rivia is Quite a Character

I like The Witcher series for a lot of reasons and one of them is the personality of Geralt. I like the complexity of Geralt’s relations to the other characters and his being famous and one of a kind. Although he is considered non-human, Geralt shows human qualities most of the time. He has his own struggles finding his true nature and relevance in the world. But, Geralt is a true and loyal friend who will not hesitate to protect his friends at any cost. He is honest and although he can negotiate well with royals and politicians alike, he is an honest and moral man. He often grants mercy to monsters who know logic and reason and could not cause any harm. Geralt had made many friends because of his just and honorable beliefs.

 

I must say Geralt’s personality is a complex one as he seems to act differently on certain occasions but despite his struggles, he often acts reasonably for a mutant.

Overall Rating and Final Thoughts

Obviously, I love this book. I would not get tired of it and I’m even planning to reread it again in the future. There’s something in Andrzej Sapkowski’s writing, the assemble of characters, and the richness of the story that I do appreciate. This is the kind of book where I hold the characters dearly in my literary heart and wanted to live with them and know more about their stories. Given all these things, I must say, this is surely a 5-star read.

Related post

Book Title: Sword of Destiny (The Witcher #0.7)
Author: Andrzej Sapkowski
First Publication Date: May 21, 1992
Print Length: 400 pages
My Rating: 5-star
Goodreads Link 

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