Joey Batey Discusses Season 1&2

December 20th is a big day for The Witcher fans all over the world. Netflix will be releasing season one and we can barely contain our excitement! Today, we were honored to speak to Joey Batey, who plays the lute-playing bard named Jaskier. You can also read our recent interviews with showrunner Lauren Hissrich, and actors Freya Allan and Anya Chalotra.

In a world where the consequences are life and death, how do you get into the mindset of playing a character that has such a jovial attitude in such dire circumstances?

I think the context—it's kind of hard to explain it, but the context of the Continent and everything that's going on—we have these huge themes of war, destiny, and xenophobia. That’s something that Jaskier is constantly aware of but in season one, we meet a very young Jaskier.

We see him grow throughout the series but we first meet him in his early 20s. And I think to anyone in their early 20s these days—when one might say the world is falling apart as well—there's still life in young people. That's something I really wanted to cling to really early on—a youthful exuberance, but also an honest exploration of what it means to be human. And I think Jaskier genuinely believes at the end of the day, there is a basic humanity and goodness to everyone. Whether that gets tested or not, everyone will have to find out.

It makes sense that some people joke or laugh in the face of fear.

Exactly. I mean, I definitely do. When I get scared or anxious, I start making loads of stupid jokes—which no one finds funny—stuff that’s very Jaskier. I think I've had about 30 years of research for this!

Jaskier and Geralt have a complicated friendship—they're kind of foils of each other aren't they? What are the good and bad sides they'll show viewers and what keeps them together as friends?

Well, I don’t know if the word ‘foil’ is right. The words that Lauren (Hissrich) first said to me when I landed the role—and I asked the exact same questions—she used the word mirror, which I cling to. It was really important that Jaskier became the mirror by which Geralt could see himself for who he truly is or truly could be.

And I think that works both ways. Geralt holds up a mirror to Jaskier and takes him down a peg—he’s not nearly as cool as he thinks he is. Henry (Cavill) and I had long conversations about it because a lot of the scenes we have together are based in this fierce, fierce loyalty that they have—however begrudgingly it might be on Geralt’s part.

That loyalty is what I used as Jaskier’s superpower, if you know what I mean. Everyone in this show has a superpower: Geralt has magic and can fight things; Yennefer can explode people with her mind; Ciri just explodes! Jaskier doesn't have a superpower. His superpower is storytelling and loyalty.

Everyone has a reason to be with Geralt, but they’re all for different reasons. I don't want any spoilers for anyone who hasn't read the books, but there are wishes involved, destiny, and these huge things tying these characters together. The only thing that ties Jaskier to Geralt is friendship, and that became my byword. I used to write all these keywords on my mirror in my trailer before going on set—just to remind myself exactly what his job was.

You wrote friendship on your mirror?

Loyalty! Loyalty! Not friendship. If anyone came to my trailer and saw that, they’d be like, ‘What? This guy is very strange!’

So, we know that we're starting with a young Jaskier. How does your character grow throughout season one? What lessons or mindset do you think will carry over to season two?

Season two, without spoiling too much, takes place over various different times and various different years. For Jaskier and Geralt’s story, because it does get to about just over decades, you do get to see a certain amount of maturity start to grow in Jaskier. The jokes and all this silliness is still there, but what comes with all these adventures and dire straits they always find themselves in is an understanding of the world around him and his place within it—which is to record the stories.

He is the storyteller—someone who believes so vehemently in the power of storytelling and in its ability to shape the world around them—having someone like that and to be playing him became an absolute joy. I really am very excited to start season two and continue that maturity whilst maintaining a certain amount of that Jaskier nonsense we hopefully know (and hopefully love).

We heard that Anya has musical talents. Did you both connect on a musical level?

Okay, so I turn up on set and I’m like, ‘I’m the bard. I’m the one who sings.’ Anya and I got quite drunk and were just off the bat with a guitar, and she started singing! And I was like, ‘Why am I the one who's doing all the songs!’ She sings astonishingly! She's one of the most incredible singers I've ever heard.

We did get quite drunk one night and we were like, we're going to do a side project. We're gonna make a band, and we'll call it Jaskier and the—I don't know what it was—Jaskier and the Woefully Underprepared.

We promised ourselves we'd do that but we've been so busy. So we might do something on Instagram at some point. Then you can all hear her sing—hear her beautiful dulcet tones—and I will get furiously jealous about the whole thing!

The first season of The Witcher will premiere on Dec. 20th, and Joey Batey seems passionate to jump into season two! What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or in our forum!

About the Author
Author: Editor-In-ChiefWebsite: TheWitcher.tvEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Editor-In-Chief / Owner
Kelsey Johnston is the primary admin of She also works for, and She's a published author and has been involved in the entertainment industry for over four years now.

Register as a user to comment on this post, it's free!