On Second Thought I Find Jaskier From Netflix’s “The Witcher” (Kind of) Disrespectful

The Witcher Season 1 Geralt
Jaskier giving Geralt a bath and being sassy (Image: Screengrab)

The Witcher season 1 on Netflix seems to be gaining popularity. And you know what? Good for everyone involved. The show has already spawned a passionate fanbase for Geralt and Jaskier. I would have been happy about it, too, but I have my concerns.

Shipping happens. It has been happening for a very long time and it isn’t going anywhere. When it comes to shipping, the team behind a particular piece of media (that the shipping is linked to) can fully embrace it, kind of ignore it, or start an all-out war with the fandom.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like the Geralt/Jaskier ship is gaining a lot of traction, especially in the part of the fandom that is only familiar with The Witcher series on Netflix. You can easily find fanart, fan edits, fanfics, and more involving Geralt and Jaskier online.

Again, I would have been glad to see so much passion coming from numerous fans, but I can’t make myself be happy about it.

To me, it feels as if the current situation can get out of hand. And that is never a pretty sight. Just ask the Voltron, Teen Wolf, and Supernatural fandoms.

One of the issues I have deals with the obvious manner in which Jaskier has been queer coded. And no, I don’t think it was unintentional in this case.

The writers knew what they were doing when they wrote the scenes between Jaskier and Geralt. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have had Yennefer (Geralt’s love interest) wonder if he and Jaskier were just friends.

There’s even a scene where Jaskier is clearly annoyed by Yennefer because of their past encounter and how Geralt is very chummy toward her.

The way Jaskier has been handled during the eight-episode first season is what, in my opinion, comes across as disrespectful to the queer community.

Media is full of unfortunate examples of effeminate men being used for comedic purposes. 

Now, I’m not saying that effeminate men don’t exist. I’m not even saying that effeminate straight men don’t exist.

However, the way Jaskier has been written can be easily read as a fictional character that is effeminate to only serve a comedic purpose. There’s just nothing else to his arc in the first season.

Heck! He doesn’t even have an arc except for acting like a “girl” (for a lack of a better word) around the “manly” Geralt.

The entire thing is even more annoying due to the writers refusing to acknowledge Jaskier being queer.

Again, I’m not saying having an effeminate Jaskier be queer would have helped matters with him being nothing more than a comedic tool, but at least, it would have been something.

Right now, Jaskier serves another example of “gay panic,” dealing with how queer comedy can be used for laughs, but everything needs to be instantly made “No Homo” to not offend certain viewers.

Just think of how much better Jaskier’s character would have come across if he exhibited the same mannerisms while being queer because he just didn’t care.

It would have helped (even if just a bit) to do away with how (in the first season) he is supposed to be a queer coded “straight” character written for comedic effect.

Take Eric from Netflix’s Sex Education as an example. He owns who is and is a better character for it. There aren’t any “No Homo” moments when he interacting with his straight friend Otis. They get each other and Eric is simply who he is.

Making Jaskier queer doesn’t mean Geralt has to be queer, too. Queer men can be platonic friends with straight men. I know! Shocking!

However, making Jaskier queer would have helped add some queer representation (though somewhat problematic) in a show that, frankly, had the potential to be a lot better. At least, it didn’t have to have numerous instances of “No Homo” humor in it.

It will be interesting to see what The Witcher writers think of the fandom’s passion behind Geralt and Jaskier. 

With the second season already greenlit, I just hope this show doesn’t intentionally pander to shippers to get more eyeballs to view this series.

The Witcher hyping up the Geralt/Jaskier ship, without actually delivering, to promote the upcoming season won’t do anyone any good.

Geralt and Jaskier The Witcher
The scene where Jaskier goes to comfort Geralt (Image: Twitter @witchernetflix)

As someone who is familiar with Jaskier from The Witcher game series, I was surprised to see how he came across on the streaming platform.

In my opinion, the game version of Jaskier is someone who does read as straight even if some of his mannerisms likely fall on the effeminate spectrum.

But there’s no denying how queer coded the show’s version is.

That’s why I do think it wasn’t unintentional. Did the writers deliberately portray Jaskier this way to queerbait certain viewers?

If they did, then shame on them.

Due to us being in 2020, fingers crossed, writers decide to leave intentionally queer coded characters in the past. I also hope they leave fictional “No Homo” effeminate “straight” comedic men behind, too.

Effeminate men (straight and queer) already have a lot to deal with around the world. Continuing to use fictional versions of such people as comedic tools that have no personal arcs isn’t helping push the needle toward a better place.

As for the Geralt/Jaskier shippers, yay to you finding something that inspires you to create, but try not to feel disappointed about it not happening (especially after the numerous examples we have of certain fandoms being taken advantage of for views).

Just be careful.

Feel free to share your thoughts with us. 

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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About the author

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

Comments

  1. Except Jaskier is very clearly made to be straight or at least attracted to women considering he slept with dozens of noble women. He was annoyed with Yennefer because last time he saw her he saw her she was preforming a crazy ritual and a building fell on his friend.

    Speaking of which, Geralt and Jaskier are simply friends (even if Geralt won’t admit it). They got in a fight because friends do that and Geralt had no one else to yell at but Roach and the only person who loves their horse more than Geralt is Arthur Morgan.

    In conclusion, You are reading into all the wrong things. Jaskier can act effeminate but be straight and that is completely okay. Also a man can be queer and like women (bisexual, pansexual, etc) so your entire article is either false information or clickbait and i dont know what’s worse

    1. No one is stopping Jaskier from being queer and liking women. The issue is blatantly queer coding a character. I don’t know if you read the article. If you did, I urge you to read it again. As I have already mentioned, the Jaskier version in the game series isn’t queer coded. However, the writers changed things up in the Netflix series and made him queer coded (to use gay humor but with a No Homo, every time).

    2. I think you’re reading too much in this thing, the level of “queerness” lol isn’t an issue in this show and I think that if you put the “queer” detector down for a minute and rewatch it you’ll notice. I feel that using this narrative of hurt over queer behavior is more damaging to the community than the show itself because it doesn’t have any sustainable data to back it off and it makes you look just like a fuzzy individual rather than someone advocating for the acceptance, freedom, advance and respect for the community so please, STOP taking away from the community and cut off the nonsense

  2. It’s (kind of) disrespectful that people see the need to find any vaguely effeminate, emotional and/or creative man and immediately call him “queer coded”. Jaskier isn’t all that different than he is in the games or the books; he’s a dramatic idiot with a love for theatrics and the creative arts, he tends to be the reactive character to balance out Geralt’s lack of reactions, a very standard stoic hero and funny sidekick kind of trope that keeps scenes entertaining when they might be dragged down otherwise. The fact some of twitter have jumped at the chance of geralt/jaskier being a ship is less to do with Jaskier being queer coded and far more to do with fandoms usual necessity to smash ships together no matter what the dynamic or sexuality happens to be, especially between characters who spend a lot of screen time together.
    There are some mild changes to how we see him in the game, he’s portrayed as far more of a cad and a womaniser in that medium, but as Joey Batey himself admitted, he and the creators of the series found that to be an extremely tired trope (which he is absolutely right about), and so they angled more for an overall affectionate and loving character, and less for the typical disrespectful cad. Brilliant change if you ask me, makes him a far more endearing presence.

    1. That’s the issue, isn’t it? Why does a fictional man has to be made effeminate to show they are affectionate beings? Why follow the tired trope of linking being affectionate to acting how stereotypically queer coded characters act in media? Why go ahead and have another character (Yennefer) ask if Jaskier and Geralt are only friends if their dynamics isn’t supposed to be queer coded? Regardless of the Jaskier/Geralt ship being a thing online, it doesn’t negate that Jaskier displays stereotypical tropes of queer coded male characters that are part of media.

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