Shadow And Bone Ending Explained: Alina’s Powers, The Darkling’s Plan, And Everything In Between

Mal and Alina at the end of the show in _Shadow and Bone._

Alina and General Kirigan in Shadow and Bone.

When Shadow and Bone popped up on Netflix not that long ago, those unfamiliar with the books were likely curious about what it could be about. But with how well-received it was, it’s no wonder that people are already reaching the end of the series and wondering what could possibly come next for Season 2 if/when it's officially renewed. But let’s all be honest – with how popular Shadow and Bone already is, I’d be stunned if a Season 2 didn’t come.

Here, we’re going to take a look at everything from the ending of Shadow and Bone Season 1, from the manifestation of Alina’s true powers to that eerie cliffhanger that teases the horrors to come. For all that want our speculation into what might happen the next time we see Grisha’s and Ravkan’s on our screen, look no further than here.

And obviously, spoilers ahead from Season 1 of Shadow and Bone, as well as some general references and spoilers from the books.

Alina with the Stag in Shadow and Bone.

Alina Has Begun To Truly Embrace Her Powers

As we've throughout the first season of Shadow and Bone, Alina had trouble at first trying to really gain control of her Sun Summoning powers, but as soon as she finally found some sort of hold on it, General Kirigan – otherwise known as the Black Heretic – wanted to use that to his advantage. When they finally found the Stag -- its antlers can be used to increase the power of any Grisha -- Kirigan imbues parts of it into Alina as well as himself, so that they share a connection through power now and he can control her.

However, Alina has a vision of the Stag while on the ship in the Fold, and in turn, picks up a spare dagger that Inej had thrown, using it to somehow stab the piece of the antler out of Kirigan’s hand, so she has control of her powers once more.

Kirigan asks how she can harvest this much power when he was the one who killed the Stag, as the legend says that only the one who slays the Molostive amplifier can obtain that power. But she knows that it doesn’t matter who killed the Stag because the Stag chose her to harness the power.

With the ending that came not long after this discovery, it’s not a shocker that Alina knows what she is capable of now. However, just because she wants to tear down the Fold, that doesn’t mean there aren’t new parts to her that the series might get explore soon. In an interview with Harpers Bazaar, star Jessie Mei Li, who plays Alina, said she’s excited to explore Alina’s dark side.

I think it would be interesting to see that other side of her that’s slightly hinted at – the side of her that is kind of seduced by her power and the possibility of her life with Kirigan and things like that.

I’d be down for a multi-dimensional protagonist any day. Either way, I’m excited for what Alina will bring to the table in a possible Season 2 – and maybe even beyond.

General Kirigan aka the Darkling in Shadow and Bone.

The Darkling’s Plan Explained – And What He Might Bring In The Future

Okay, we can break down the Darkling’s – or General Kirigan’s – plan in two points 1). He created the Fold centuries ago so that Grisha would never be eliminated and would always have a place in the world, and 2). He planned to expand the Fold to not only keep Grisha in power but to stop the war and prove his own power, as long as he has Alina by his side and he has control. Obviously, that latter plan did not work out, as we saw Kirigan basically get whisked off by one of his own creations of the Fold in Episode 8, creating an escape for Alina and her friends.

However, at the end of the finale, we see the Darkling emerge, scarred but alive (I mean, he is eternal), and bringing along some not-so-nice creatures that can walk outside the Fold, called Nichevo’ya from the novels.

I can only imagine the horrors of which he will bring with these creatures because if Kirigan is alive, you can bet he is going to go in the same direction as Alina and Mal – and those monsters are coming with him.

Mal and Alina in the woods in Shadow and Bone.

Mal And Alina Could Be Heading Out To Find The Next Grisha Amplifiers

For those who haven’t read the Shadow and Bone books, a good part of the Shadow and Bone series is about Alina and Mal trying to find the next Grisha Amplifiers before Kirigan can get to them. When Alina was in the library in the palace, she was exposed to the tale of the Bonesmith, who used his own bones to create beings with unimaginable power that, when killed, can amplify the power of a Grisha. There are two known others besides the Stag – a Sea Serpent who was once a dragon prince, cursed to live in the Bone Road, and a Fire Bird.

At one point, this mission is teased when Alina reads a novel that mentions the Bone Road, saying, “the Bone Road ebbs and the Bone Road flows.” So if this is the case, it wouldn’t be a surprise if that was where we were heading in a possible Season 2, to find the next amplifier near the Bone Road.

Archie Renaux, who plays Mal in Shadow and Bone, recently talked with Glamour about the adventures of the pair, and what Season 2 could bring.

I’d like to see new lands explored and new countries within the Grishaverse. I’d also like to see the characters get split up and mixed and matched a little bit.

New lands and countries? I mean, if we’re going in the direction of the books, it doesn’t sound like that’s too far from the truth. That Sea Serpent feels even closer now.

Kaz, Jesper and Inaj as the Crows in Shadow and Bone.

What The Crows Storyline Means For The Grishaverse

In the original Shadow and Bone books, the Crows (Kaz, Jesper, and Inej) weren’t even featured. There was a whole separate story called Six of Crows that focuses directly on them, taking place years after the original events of Shadow and Bone. However, the producers of the Netflix show made the interesting choice to combine the two stories – and a great choice it was in my opinion, as I found that the Crows heist storylines and funny jokes were a great companion to the seriousness and magical lore of Alina and her powers.

However, what does this mean for the Crows in the following seasons of the story? As we know, they now have some sort of plan to face off against the crime boss of Ketterdam, but how does that fit into the story as a whole?

With the addition of them trying to steal Alina, it was a welcome change to the story and combined the two worlds of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows beautifully to show how they could very well interact in the same world and yet have completely separate storylines. I can only wonder where they’re going to go now, especially since the crew has some debts to pay back in Ketterdam.

Even so, I believe that we’ll be seeing plenty more of the Crows once Season 2 comes along, and maybe even more team-ups with Alina and Mal. It’ll be different from the novels, but a good kind of different – one that I think brings the series to new heights it was never at before.

What did you think of Shadow and Bone? With all these 2021 Netflix shows that have come out, it was only a matter of time before one really started to blow up like this. It’s going to be interesting to see where the series leads from now on – and who exactly is going to come out on top, the light or the dark? Only time will tell.

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!