In the English translation of The Witcher, Geralt's friend, the bard, is called Dandelion. This caused me a brief bit of confusion when I started watching the series when his name was introduced as Jaskier instead.

Upon looking into the fandom wiki I see that Jaskier was his name in the original Polish version of the books. As far as I can tell most of the names and places in the series are the same as they were in the books. Though I don't know if anything other than Dandelion was changed between the Polish and English versions of the books.

Why was Jaskier used instead of Dandelion in the TV series?

  • thegamer.com/… – Shreedhar Feb 3 at 10:35
  • 3
    Possible dupe from SFF movie site here: movies.stackexchange.com/questions/105829/… – Shreedhar Feb 3 at 10:37
  • 6
    Because Dandelion is a silly name – Valorum Feb 3 at 10:59
  • 2
    @Valorum isn't Jaskier meant to sound silly in Polish? If so, Dandelion would be a good choice, even if Buttercup or whatever would have been better. – Andres F. Feb 3 at 13:30
  • 1
    Because it's his name? Yeah, technically it's a nickname, but the real one is almost never used, it should not be pseudotranslated in first place. – Mithoron Feb 4 at 17:15

From looking around I have seen that Lauren S. Hissrich, the show runner, has given two reasons why she went with Jaskier over Dandelion.

To match the author's intent

She has mentioned on Twitter back in June 2018 when initially questioned over it that is was to match the author's intent. It's quite fun reading the tweets and her replies to the reasons some people give for why they don't like it.

@LHissrich: Geralt is Geralt in every translation. So is Yennefer. Jaskier is... all over the place. I’m taking him back to his roots, as the author intended.

@LHissrich: Jaskier is the original name in the books. It was translated into English, later, as Dandelion.

Twitter, 7:49 am Jun 23, 2018

For a bit of an aside Jaskier when translated from Polish into English actually means buttercup, the original translator felt that wasn't quite fitting for Jaskier's personality and so changed it to Dandelion. This is what Lauren is referring to above.

@Smashycomman: In the books: Dandelion. In the games: Dandelion. In the comics: Dandelion. In the Polish novels: Jaskier. Are you producing this show in Polish? No? THEN WHY WOULD YOU NAME HIM JASKIER?!?

@vonschirz: Exactly. From my point of view iťs sad and nonsense. JASKIER has got no linguistic base nor meaning in English.

@LHissrich: But... neither does Yennefer. It’s not an English name. Nor is Geralt.


@LHissrich: True. I get that. I guess in terms of adaptations go, I just always want to protect the author’s intent as much as I can, including the proper names he specifically chose.

@LHissrich: For what it’s worth, I LOVE the name Jaskier. It does sound romantic and foppish and delightful to my ear.

Twitter, 7:17 am 23 Jun 2018

She also gives an extra reason in the last tweet there, she loves the name Jaskier and presumably thinks it matches the character better than Dandelion.

The pronunciation issue

If the audiobooks are anything to go by Dandelion is not pronounced like the flower but rather "Dan-dill-ion". This appears to have been at least part of the reason to go back to the character's original name.

"We call him Jaskier. Yeah, absolutely. Jaskier is 100% in the show," Hissrich said. "It's interesting, because people ask about Jaskier all the time and why we went with his original name. It is funny, part of it was because when I read the books I read it as Dandelion (the flower), and then I listened to the audiobooks. Dandelion (pronounced Dan-dill-ion), how would I get that?"

ComicBook, The Witcher Showrunner Confirms Unexpected Fan-Favorite Character Appears

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I'm a bit confused by the last part, is "dan-dill-ion" not the way you pronunce the flower? I suppose "dandy-lion" is also a common pronunciation, but dan-dih-lion / dan-dill-ion (which are hard to distinguish) are pretty normal to me... – Joe Feb 3 at 18:22
  • 2
    I expect that the first is /dændəlaɪən/ and the second is /dændɪliən/. They're pretty different. – Adamant Feb 3 at 19:44
  • 3
    Does /dændɪliən/ rhyme with "million"? – Segfault Feb 3 at 21:26
  • 6
    IMO this has the exact opposite effect of "matching the author's intent". Jaskier is a silly name in Polish, but it just sounds like a fantasy name in English – Max Feb 3 at 21:47
  • 2
    @Max at least she's got consistency though. The other media took liberties with his name, but left the others intact, which does strike me as rather odd. Now each character has their own original name back. – Doktor J Feb 3 at 23:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.