Krew i brud. Uwagi na temat estetyki oraz poetyki opisów śmierci w cyklu o wiedźminie Andrzeja Sapkowskiego
Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series is the first Polish fantasy series that has gained so much popularity. When Sapkowski published his first story — The Witcher — in 1986, fantasy literature wasn’t well-known in Poland. In fact Polish readers, who were interested in fantasy, would mainly know John R.R. Tolkien’s novels like The Hobbit, Or Thete and Back Again, The Lord of the Rings or Silmarillion, all belonging to mythopoeic fantasy. Sapkowski’s story was vastly different from them, because the Polish author referred to sword and sorcery literature, which at that time was little-known in Poland. He created an interesting protagonist and a dark, vicious world, full of violence and graphic descriptions of death.
It appears that one of the main factors having an influence on the huge popularity of the series, may be the attempt to shock the reader by using a unique construction of the presented world, which contains a lot of graphic violent imagery. This article presents those methods of description of death and violence in The Witcher series to present why they are so interesting to the readers and what makes them stand out from the rest of similar descriptions in Polish fantasy literature.
The analysis is divided into several parts. The first part presents the influence of Sapkowski’s debut story on Polish fantasy literature. The second part contains the analysis of the dynamics of descriptions of death. The third and the fourth focus on showing the individualisation of death in The Witcher series and on detail exposure. The next part presents the narrative treatments used by Sapkowski to increase the impact of the literary images of death, for example changes of a narrative perspective. The last part of the article presents naturalistic elements of the descriptions and explains what functions they perform in the text.