5 Ways HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ And Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’ Were the Same Story Served in Different Garnish

Published 08/29/2023, 7:28 AM EDT

via Imago

In moments of seeking an escape from reality, the allure of stepping into a realm of mystery, magic, and fantasy is undeniable. It is no surprise that Netflix’s The Witcher stood as a cherished choice for its viewers (not to mention Henry Cavill’s irresistible charm). Unbeknownst to many, another enigmatic world was poised to grace screens in 2023 under the title The Last of Us, an HBO creation that quickly hooked the audiences.


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Undoubtedly, series like The Walking Dead, The Mandalorian, and Game of Thrones have long been reigning champions in the fantasy genre. However, there is an undeniable allure and resonance within The Witcher and The Last of Us. Amidst inevitable comparisons, it is intriguing that The Last of Us was often compared to The Witcher, but with a refined touch. Let us explore the shared elements that bind these two remarkable gems.

Father-daughter storyline


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A common thread woven through both these creations is the father-daughter storyline. In each, the protagonists shared a profound connection with their respective daughters. Take The Witcher, for instance. The intricate bond between Geralt and Ciri was one of destiny and complexity. Although not Ciri’s biological father, Geralt’s link with her was unbreakable, stemming from his act of saving her true father, Duny, from a curse.

The Last of Us also delved into a captivating father-daughter narrative, with Joel and Ellie taking center stage as characters who made an indelible mark on the game’s storyline. The dynamic between a father figure and a surrogate child has the power to elevate or diminish a story, and The Last of Us excelled in showcasing an unforgettable connection. Joel saw Ellie as a poignant stand-in for his own departed daughter, Sarah, adding layers of depth to their relationship.

Apocalyptic undertones

Both series share a common theme of impending apocalypse. In The Last of Us, this is central, while The Witcher introduced a similar concept called the White Frost. Originating from prophecies, the White Frost symbolized a looming ice age caused by planetary shifts. Despite attempts to avert disaster, including by characters like Ciri, only opening Ard Gaeth portals offered a chance for survival. However, it was believed the world would eventually be reborn under a “new sun,” marking a fresh beginning.

In The Last of Us, the world collapsed over a weekend, revealing the brutal survival instincts of characters like Joel and Ellie. Joel’s suppressed violence becomes his means of enduring the post-apocalyptic chaos, while Ellie’s hidden vulnerabilities are unmasked. The series’ appeal lies in its ability to make us question our own identities and societal norms in the face of an apocalypse.

Based on popular games

Crafting video game adaptations is a complex task, exemplified by the journeys of The Witcher and The Last of Us. The Witcher successfully merged stunning visuals and captivating action with Henry Cavill’s central role as Geralt. Although The Witcher draws inspiration from Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, it was the immersive experience of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game that introduced many to the captivating world of Geralt of Rivia. The TV adaptation had its shining moments, embracing visual grandeur and heart-pounding action.

The Last of Us (get all the delicate details) navigated the delicate balance between staying true to its game origins and offering fresh storytelling. It draws from the 2013 PlayStation video game of the same name. Early reviews laud Pedro Pascal’s portrayal of Joel, possibly breaking the video game adaptation curse.


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Director Neil Druckmann’s dedication to capturing the game’s essence contributes to its success and the adaptation benefits from the game’s cinematic nature. The current pandemic context also added a unique perspective to narratives set in post-apocalyptic worlds.


From the same palette emerged comparable monsters, inviting parallels for fans of both series. The Witcher thrives on multiple strengths, and among them, its creatively terrifying monster designs and lore stand out. With Witcher’s being monster hunters, Netflix’s adaptation is rich with formidable creatures. These monsters are not ordinary–they vary in form and size but share a deadly and bloodthirsty demeanor that unmistakably reflects their menacing nature.

In a parallel vein, The Last of Us emerges. Set in a post-apocalyptic backdrop, the story revolved around a mutated Cordyceps fungal outbreak that decimated the United States, transforming most of the populace into mindless zombies dubbed “the Infected.” The Cordyceps fungus gradually engulfs humans, reshaping them into unrecognizable monstrosities. This infection’s essence hinted at the monsters’ role in propagating the devastating disease.

Daughters of destiny

Delving into the father-daughter dynamic, a captivating twist emerges–the daughters possess the power to reshape the apocalypse and rescue the world. The enigmatic White Frost, a cosmic force freezing entire realms, takes center stage. Enter Ciri, the chosen savior with the ability to switch off this cataclysmic phenomenon. The outcome hinges on Geralt’s past actions–his affection and empowerment towards Ciri. This pivotal moment determines Ciri’s triumph or fate in a gripping showdown.


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In the heart of The Last of Us lies a franchise defined by tough choices. At the finale of the first game, Joel faced a poignant dilemma. With the potential for a cure resting in Ellie’s immunity to the Cordyceps fungus, which had plagued humanity, Joel defied the obvious path. Instead of sacrificing Ellie for a global remedy, he became her guardian. Ellie’s unique immunity holds the promise of ending the twenty-year-long nightmare that has gripped the world.


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What other similarities can you draw from both the series? Let us know about them in the comments below.



Riva Khan

287 articles

Riva Khan is an entertainment reporter at NetflixJunkie. Given her love for the language and writing, she has honed her narrative skills from a young age. She loves her latest tea in Hollywood and keeps an eye on the news.