While I enjoyed watching The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, the character named Luka stood out. In a sense, he made me wonder if he was actually supposed to be queer or he was just another unfortunate example of queer coding a character for comedic relief.
Warning: There are certain spoilers below!
When we first meet Luka at the approximately 21 minutes and 40-seconds mark, he’s impressed by the money our lead character Vesemir’s able to make and complains about how he couldn’t earn enough “to score a night with a limp-pricked man-w*ore.” Of course, such a joke made me go, “Hmmm!”
I wondered if allowing Luka to make such a joke was the creative team’s way of throwing in some so-called queer representation in the popular The Witcher franchise on Netflix. The “man-w*ore” joke continued with Sven chiming in and Luka retorting with, “Aren’t you short everything?”
Ah yes, more sassy d*ck jokes. Eye roll.
Anyway, with those two jokes out of the way, I waited for the creative team to be more obvious about Luka’s sexuality if he was indeed supposed to be a queer character. And the first queer Witcher at that.
At the 36 minutes mark, Vesemir and Luka decide to go out for drinks. Sitting at the bar could have been the perfect moment to blatantly show Luka’s queer sexuality. However, instead, what I got was Vesemir and Luka sharing a table with two women keeping them company. Couldn’t one of the aforementioned man-w*ores be part of the group? Sigh!
What follows is Luka getting into an argument with a prejudiced knight and proceeding to call said knight “cute” just a second before they begin to fight.
Now, if such “homo jokes” are your definition of queer representation, especially in 2021, I don’t know what to say to you. By that logic, Jaskier from the live-action The Witcher series making “homoerotic jokes” and being “sassy” would mean he’s supposed to be a queer character, too. And you probably know how I feel about that.
After seeing The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, I tweeted my opinion about how Luka followed Jaskier in the sense that both “straight” characters demonstrated the “Making Homo and Sassy jokes = Haha! Funny!” trope.
That’s when I got a reply from screenwriter Beau DeMayo about how Luka identified as gay.
I mean, all the power to DeMayo for including a gay character in The Witcher animated spin-off movie, but if you, as a creative, have to go online to state a character’s queer sexuality or if viewers end up debating a character’s queer sexuality on forums and Twitter or didn’t even realize a character is supposed to be queer, then that can’t be considered an example of well-written queer representation.
Heck! I would even argue that The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf has no worthwhile queer representation because, in case I missed it, no major film critic has even talked about this animated movie having any LGBTQ+ rep. I wouldn’t be surprised if certain critics watched the film and saw Luka as another example of the “sassy and comedic but still straight” sidekick that works well against the cooler and manlier straight male lead.
It’s 2021. Queer subtext or unclear queer sexualities won’t cut it. Queer viewers have already sat through decades of such content in media. Please, stop. The last thing I want is the sexuality of another fictional character, from a famous franchise, being argued about.
Certain viewers also brought up the fact that Luka was killed off in the movie and how that’s another example of the “bury your gays” trope.
The world of The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is ruthless. A whole lot of people died in this movie. So, in my opinion, Luka’s execution made sense in the narrative being told. However, I also understand where certain fans are coming from when stating that Luka was singled out and he didn’t die in battle like the rest of his brethren. He was also tortured before being executed.
For those wondering if there is any queer representation in the popular The Witcher series, well there is. From what I know, we have a gay hunter named Mislav (his story involves a lover who took his own life). The sorceress Philippa Eilhart is bisexual. Ciri, a main character from the franchise, is also bisexual. A number of fans are looking forward to seeing how Ciri’s sexuality will be explored in the live-action The Witcher series as she grows older.
You can see that’s it’s not as if there aren’t any queer characters existing in The Witcher franchise. That’s why seeing Luka’s sexuality be handled in such a manner in Nightmare of the Wolf – where a number of viewers didn’t realize he was queer – made me go “Meh!” about Luka’s existence.
Having said all of that, The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is still an enjoyable animated movie that delves into the lore and answers a number of questions. It was released on Netflix on August 23, 2021. You should go watch it.
An older Vesemir will appear in the second season of The Witcher live-action series.
What are your thoughts about Luka being a queer character?
Let us know.
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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