Beware All Ye Who Enter Here…
Because spoilers. C’mon, of course there are a few small spoilers. You know better than to read a blog post about a show you haven’t seen yet.
This past December the first season of The Witcher was finally released on Netflix, and there’s no denying it: it’s a hit. It’s a wild, fun, breathtaking ride through a world of magic and monsters that, admittedly, I binged my way through in two days. The amount of detail packed into eight episodes is astonishing, giving us a frankly enormous world to explore and discuss. So I’d like to focus on one aspect that was brought to my attention a few days ago, during a conversation with a friend who hadn’t even seen the show yet.
“Didn’t that one song from it get really popular? Is it really that good?”
I paused. If you know anything about the show, you know exactly what song he meant. “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher” went viral. It’s on Spotify. It’s on Apple Music. The official soundtrack video on YouTube has 1.7 million views, but we all know lyric vids are where it’s at. First two results: 19 million and 10 million.
“Is it really that good?”
No one’s questioning that it’s a catchy tune. But.
I mean I’m no lyrical expert.
“While the devil’s horns
Minced our tender meat
And so cried the Witcher
He can’t be bleat”
He can’t be bleat.
It’s goofy. C’mon. You can admit it. It’s a goofy song. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It fits the tone of the show, which sports its fair share of gore but is hardly the grimdark violence and misery that seems to be so popular recently. It’s certainly believable the song came from Jaskier, the bard who, without hesitation, would use his first two all-powerful djinn wishes to give a petty rival apoplexy and regain the favor of his most recent lost lover.
Most importantly, though, it’s a song that belongs in the world it comes from, a world where cursed hedgehog-men marry princesses, where a powerful mage sells magic-Viagra to get by, and where that same mage commits tax evasion by turning the mayor’s house into what I’m sure was the best orgy on the continent. It’s a world that, despite its epic quests and grand magics, is exactly as ridiculous as our own, with believable characters to match.
Simply put, “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher” is immersive. Personally, I think that a large part of its success is in the fact that the song isn’t just a part of the soundtrack, it’s a part of the world. There’s always something special about songs, stories, or even merchandise that belongs within the canon itself. I’ll pick a shirt my favorite character would wear over a shirt with their face and the show’s logo on it any day. In the same way, I think fans latched onto this song so fiercely because it feels like a song the characters would hear in their world. It makes us feel like a part of the magic.
So. Is it really that good?
Yeah. It really is. It’s singable and joyful and just the right mix of epic and absurd. It’s precisely what it needs to be.
Or perhaps it’s simply an earworm, stuck in our heads and burrowing its way into our hearts with a catchy chorus. What do you think? Do you have a particular fondness for content that comes from within the world, or do you prefer an outsider’s perspective? Do you love the song? Hate it? Think it’s meh? Let me know in the comments below!