Danielle Galligan and Calahan Skogman in the snow as Matthias and Nina in Shadow and Bone

Anyone else missing Game of Thrones lately? Sure, the finale left a sour taste in many mouths, but it’s the journey, not the destination right? We may have run out of episodes for the HBO hit two years ago at this point, but Netflix is offering something akin to George R.R. Martin’s expansive fantasy world. The bestselling YA book series Shadow And Bone gives Netflix its own Westeros, with a couple direct connections to be drawn.

That’s not to say you should expect incest, a mother of dragons or a red wedding. It’s most certainly its own thing. But Shadow and Bone does immerse its audience in a new world complete with new lands, people and power over its eight episodes to eat right up. Game of Thrones alum Danielle Galligan, who had the small role of Sarra in Season 8, did point out an awesome connection the series have with each other when speaking to CinemaBlend about the new fantasy language she picked up for Shadow And Bone:

[Speaking Fjerdan] was really cool because I love language anyway and me and Cal are actually learning languages on Duo Lingo at the moment, so this is a theme in our relationship [laughs]. I thought that was really fun… to be able to go and learn another language that has been completely made up now. The guy who [helped us] also did Valyrian and Dothraki for Game of Thrones, so the fact that he can go back to etymology and to make this is absolutely incredible, and just speaks to the producers and showrunners about how specific they are and want us to be about this world. And yeah, I loved speaking Fjerdan, my voice always dropped two octaves and I’m not sure why.

For the role of Nina Zenik, Danielle Galligan got to learn a language native to Shadow and Bone, and created by Game of Thrones language conlanger David J. Peterson. The language called Fjerdan was referenced between the pages of Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone novels, but much like the HBO fantasy series before it, Netflix went all in on fleshing out its world.

During CinemaBlend’s interview with Danielle Galligan and Calahan Skogman, who go on a snowy expedition during the first season of Shadow and Bone, Galligan shared how much she loves learning languages. She and her co-star are learning human languages together right now, but for the show she was tasked with learning a brand new one. The lengths the Netflix series went to make its world feel real are quite amazing and impressive.

David J. Peterson, who has published a book called The Art of Language Invention since creating Dothraki, Valyrian and and Shiväisith for Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, reportedly met with Leigh Bardugo about making the Shadow and Bone language ten years ago while at a convention. It’s certainly been a long time in the making, and the existence of a wholly unique language places the series on another level with Lord of the Rings and Star Trek.

Shadow and Bone showrunner Eric Heisserer additionally shared how the success of Game of Thrones influenced Netflix’s new series:

It helps to know it has been done before [with Game of Thrones]. It’s useful when you’re trying to tell producers, studio or network execs that this is a thing that can be built and built well. So it serves that much, but you also need to make sure you’re carving out your own space and you don’t feel like you’re just regurgitating a show [audiences] have seen before.

Shadow And Bone premieres on Netflix this Friday, April 23 alongside a host of exciting April releases reaching the platform this month.

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