Watch: Joey Batey and Hugh Skinner discuss Jaskier and Prince Radovid's romance:
The Witcher introduces its first major queer romance in season three, which actor Joey Batey describes to Yahoo UK as "magical" whilst discussing it alongside co-star Hugh Skinner.
In the new season of the Netflix show, smooth-talking bard Jaskier (Batey) and Redanian prince Radovid (Skinner) discover an intense connection with one another after the musician is tasked with helping the royal's nation in their schemes to make their move on The Continent.
Sharing his love for Jaskier's moving romance, Batey says: "The most unexpected thing once I'd received the script, and talked to to Lauren [Schmidt-Hissrich, the show's creator] about it, was just Hugh.
"Hugh came in, and I actually was there, and we did a chemistry test — what's known as a chemistry read — with Hugh for his audition, and he was the first to make Jaskier laugh.
"He doesn't laugh very often except at his own jokes and that connection was just so magical to me, and that's where it started."
Jaskier has never been one to shun romance in the series before, but season three features the first acknowledgement that the character is interested in more than one gender, with one of his regular lovers even going so far as to say she'd never seen him so smitten with a person before Prince Radovid.
Skinner admits he was delighted to get the chance to dive into the romance with Batey, sharing: "It was really exciting.
"It's such a nice thing to play because no one has ever been that honest with Radovid before, and I think to escape the sort of terrifying world of the death [in Redania], it's a treat. So it was a real relief to do those scenes with Joey."
Batey is similarly full of praise for his co-star, as he says of acting opposite him: "I got to basically just sit in Hugh's presence and just watch that unbelievable talent shine through in every tiny look and every tiny glance in this porcelain mask, and [I was] just trying to find the cracks in it.
"He reveals just enough and I was in awe when I was working with him and I think that just helped. That was the most unexpected and most pleasantly unexpected aspect of the whole romance really."
Their blossoming romance is a first for the show but not overall in the season, as Redania's mage Phillippa (Cassie Clare) is also seen to be in a queer relationship. However, Jaskier and Radovid's romance is certainly the more central of the two, and the one that sees the most development.
Phillippa has more than one relationship in the show, though, as she and her co-conspirator Dijkstra (Graham McTavish) are also in an intense romance which, in the show, also sees them engage in BDSM.
Of their romance, Clare says: "I did some research into people who live this kind of lifestyle, their relationships and stuff, and I was reading about how much trust and consent is actually needed for these things to happen.
Read more: Why is Henry Cavill leaving The Witcher?
"It can bond people, we're talking about your emotions and some traumatic times that Dijkstra's been through and sharing those stories with someone, your vulnerability and your pain, and your pleasure is tightening those bonds.
"That's really important, for there bond to be as tight as it can be, that you really are one of the only people that you can trust or confide in at all and I think she doesn't trust anybody completely so this is the safest space."
The Witcher season 3 volume 1 is out on Netflix now, volume 2 will be released on Thursday, 27 July.
Watch the trailer for The Witcher season 3