Lorna Piatti-Farnell
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Building the Gothic channel
Dreams, spectral memories, and temporal disjunctions in The Witcher
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While ostensibly presented as fantasy series, The Witcher (Netflix, 2019) displays many elements that intersect heavily with the Gothic framework. Based on The Witcher books written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, as well as its several video game adaptations, the Netflix series capitalises on a number of genre-bending techniques, filled with mutating monsters, dark magic, and horror transformations. The horror hidden within the narrative often enters the scene through the flickering images and fragmented storylines of dreams, signalling the discovery of buried secrets, as seemingly forgotten events from the past re-surface to cast a dark shadow into the present. It is through dreams that the viewers get to glimpse into erratic chronicles and memories, as links between timelines and geography are established through the notion of Gothic haunting. This chapter considers the presence of dreams in The Witcher as Gothic conduits, exploring how through the notion of vision and representation, the narrative timelines of past, present, and future blend, mingle, and merge. Entangled as they are with notions of memory and remembering, dreams mediate and subvert history and make it changeable and unreliable. The dreams of The Witcher provide veiled critiques for real-life cultural conventions, as the use of ‘magic’ functions as a metaphor for addiction and body augmentation. As such, they also operate as agents of the uncanny, challenging the seemingly ‘normal’ nature of the everyday and transforming it into a monstrous reality..

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