Netflix’s The Witcher series might be based mainly on Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy novels, but fans of the video-game version from CD Projekt were also seeking after an Easter egg of their very own. In a classic story filled with a lot of characters and thrilling action set pieces, fans screamed for footage of … Geralt in a bathtub.
Geralt of Rivia, played by Henry Cavill in the Netflix series, is a Witcher who wanders the land killing beasts. It is a filthy work and sometimes he needs to bathe. Thus, the 2015 game The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt opens with a view of Geralt in a wooden bathtub.
For years, the website PC Gamer has often dropped a Tub Geralt image onto numerous articles concerning The Witcher. The gag turned out to be mainstream to the point that CD Projekt sent the publication a unique Tub Geralt statue.
— PC Gamer (@pcgamer) July 6, 2015
— PC Gamer (@pcgamer) May 4, 2017
— PC Gamer (@pcgamer) December 8, 2016
Reflecting on the bit earlier this year, PC Gamer writer Jody Macgregor wrote: “At first it was fun attaching the picture to Witcher stories because it’s always fun to enrage the kind of dudes who get mad online because they were shown some male flesh yet never have anything to say about video-game art overflowing with women’s skin.
But then the complaints changed. People stopped being mad at Tub Geralt — they started being mad whenever we published a Witcher-related story without Tub Geralt.”
Everything about this shot shouts “Deviant Art fetish thing.” In the scene, Geralt scratches one foot with another before spreading his legs, all but begging for someone to make an entry for him on WikiFeet.
The Witcher presents Geralt’s body for all to see, yet the eroticism of the picture is seriously undermined by the way that video-game graphics — in the same class as they — are still video-game graphics. With rare exceptional cases, video games occasionally demonstrate full-frontal male nakedness.
So you’re left with this picture that feints toward horniness, even as it holds back due to both specific and ground-breaking concerns. The horniness is, it could be said, the joke.
Fortunately, Netflix and The Witcher’s makers were very much aware that fans would be offended if they didn’t get the chance to see Geralt take a bath. Showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich told GamesRadar ahead of the premiere, “It is fun to visually throw a wink and a nod at video game fans, to say, ‘We see you too. We know you’re here.’ And we want them to be happy with what we’re doing as well.”
So that is the reason we can see Geralt in the fifth scene, in a tub, only a solitary kneecap looking over the water line and more of his chest. The tub is also a lasting fixture in the show, not a huge wooden vat in the middle of the floor.
“Hey, as long as people are happy, that’s all I really care about. Yes, it’d be awesome to see that meme going around,” Cavill told GamesRadar. “If people are enjoying my Geralt, and if I did my job right and presented a lore-accurate Geralt, then I’m happy.” In this case, “lore-accurate” means we see the Witcher lounging in a tub.