‘The Witcher’s Order Despite The Chaos?

Generally, (at least for me), there is some disdain for fantasy tales that involve magic. Why so? Because each fictitious world seems to have its own rules, and when doing cross comparison, each world seems capable of going against another world’s rules. Of course, this is so exactly since these systems are equally fictitious. But with a need to recalibrate themselves with each saga, viewers might become weary and confused. Also, while some systems are kind of aligned with familiar religious ones, they tend to creatively (or rather destructively) misrepresent them at some point.

Another ‘problem’ with magical stories is that both the wonderful and terrible seem too easily done or undone. The more far-fetched this is, the further detached from reality it becomes. Even while viewers want some fantastic sense of escapism from the real world, anything overboard is still excess. And whenever a magic spell with ridiculously great impact is cast, there is nagging question in mind, of why there is no greater spell that can be cast in retaliation… before remembering and resigning to the fact that the arbitrary rules are made and broken by the writers at will.

In season three’s last episode of ‘The Witcher’ titled ‘The Cost of Chaos’, there is what might be seen as some subtle addressing of the issues above. In Tissaia the sorceress-teacher’s last words, she wrote, ‘One of the first things we learn about Chaos is that it always has consequences. There is a cost to this magic. And eventually, we all must pay. It is not a gift. It is a trade. And often, that trade leads us to dark places.’ (In the the Witcher universe, Chaos refers to magic from a primordial power harnessed by mages, with many of those unable to master it going mad.)

What Tissasia reminded is that there is karmic method (or workings), even in the apparently ‘chaotic’. Chaos is not so chaotic after all. The cost of chaos is paid with corresponding consequences. Yes, even if a complex fantastical world is created with colourful characters and exotic customs, there must still be the basic underlying order of cause and effect.

In fact, for any fantasy story to be sufficiently meaningful and satisfying, moral issues are always raised and resolved within the drama, as an overarching theme. Powered by the law of karma, even if karmic effects are portrayed with delayed effects, they do arrive eventually, sometimes with ‘steep interest’ to be paid. This is fascinating proof of sorts perhaps, that deep down, even when offered sandboxes to conjure up and indulge in alternative worlds, we all still believe in cause and effect (深信因果), while yearning for universal fairness and justice.

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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