Warning: the following contains major, major spoilers for the novels Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm**, as well as Season 1 of** Shadow and Bone on Netflix. Please do not read unless you’ve already partaken. Or just hate surprises, whatever floats your boat.
The Shadow and Bone Season 1 ending delivered pretty much everything a Grishaverse fan could ask for. Magical battles! A morally-grey-yet-lovable band of thieves! Ben Barnes as the Darkling! (Thank you, Internet.) As a huge fan of the Shadow and Bone books, I was thrilled to see the show’s creators successfully bring author Leigh Bardugo’s first novel to life. I had so much fun watching my favorite moments from the first book that it got me thinking ahead to Shadow and Bone Season 2, which Netflix ordered a few short weeks after the Season 1 premiere. It will presumably be based on the second Shadow and Bone novel, Siege and Storm, but, like the first season, may also mine material from companion series Six of Crows. There’s about one thousand characters and scenes I'm dying to see in the second season, but we can start with the top six.
The Hunt For The Sea Whip
Thought the giant white stag was cool? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The first section of Siege and Storm is focused on tracking Rusalye, a sea whip (read: giant aquatic monster) rumored to be a cursed prince of Ravkan legend. General Kirigan, believing the sea whip to be Morozova’s second amplifier, forces Alina to hunt and kill the dreaded sea serpent to increase her power. Sea monsters are objectively awesome, and Rusalye’s appearance in Siege and Storm is one of my favorite moments in the entire series. One, because I love a good dragon, and two, it takes a mildly magical series and sends it straight to the realm of fantasy.
There isn’t much description of the sea whip’s appearance in the book beyond scaly and serpentine, so the design staff has room to play around and make something really cool. The costumes and set design for Season 1 were intricate and gorgeous, so it stands to reason the sea whip would be as well.
An Actual Malina Moment
If you read the books after watching Season 1, it might have surprised you to learn that Alina and Mal are actually each other’s love interests (or one of them, anyway). Alina spends most of the first book pining for her best friend, and it’s explicitly stated that she has feelings for him. The show hinted at her crush but spent more time developing her relationship with General Kirigan. I’ll never complain about more screen time for Ben Barnes, but the decision to highlight the Darkling over Mal makes the tracker come off as a good buddy rather than a romantic lead. It would be nice to see more of the rapport between Alina and Mal, as well as that attempted kiss from Siege and Storm.
Nikolai Lantsov. That’s It, That’s The Tweet.
Nikolai Lantsov is one of the most iconic Shadow and Bone characters, end of sentence. However, he’s not introduced until the second book when the Darkling hires the privateer/Ravkan prince to captain his ship. With his secret double identity and quippy one-liners, Nikolai is a breath of fresh air in what can be a fairly dark series. He was such a fan favorite that Leigh Bardugo wrote a third Grishaverse series with the prince as the main character. It’s not so much a question of if he’ll appear in the show so much as how. Nikolai’s plot becomes integral to the trilogy’s story arc, but the show may choose to sideline him or reduce his role in order to focus on other characters. Shadow and Bone showrunners, take note: he’s awesome, we love him, give him his rightful place as a main character in Season 2.
More Of The Crows’ Backstory
Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, and Jesper Fahey were a highlight of Season 1. The Shadow and Bone cast nailed the relationships between the characters - you can tell they have a long history together. That being said, the show never really elaborates on that history. We only see Kaz purchase Inej’s contract from Tante Heleen, and that’s only because it relates to the present plot. How did Kaz become the Bastard of the Barrel? Why does he always wear gloves? The TV show keeps Kaz a mystery, which is an interesting choice considering his past shapes every single choice he makes in Six of Crows. Actor Freddy Carter creates a compelling portrait anyway, but it would behoove the show to shed some light on Kaz’s motivations. Trust me, it only makes him a better character.
Tamar, Tolya, And The Rise Of Sankta Alina
Shu twins Tamar and Tolya are two other characters in the Shadow and Bone trilogy who don’t make their entrance until Siege and Storm. Originally working as crew members on Nikolai Lantsov’s ship, they swear fealty to Alina when they discover her power. Why are they important? Aside from their sheer entertainment value (Tolya loves to recite epic poetry, to the chagrin of everyone in his immediate vicinity), they play a pivotal role in spreading the legend of the Sun Summoner.
The twins create a secret sect of loyal followers who end up saving Alina and the rest of the Grisha when the Darkling attacks the Little Palace in Siege and Storm. Alina’s position as a religious figure is partially due to their efforts. The religious themes take up a good portion of Alina’s headspace in the second book and make for an interesting moral dilemma. If the people want to die for her, should she let them? Even though she doesn’t believe in her own sainthood? It’s a thorny theme that I hope to see the show explore.
The Darkling Actually Being The Villain
Yes, it’s really fun to watch Jessie Mei-Li and Ben Barnes have a stupid amount of chemistry. It’s probably one of the reasons the TV show gave more credence to their relationship. But the flirty banter comes at the cost of creating sympathy for the devil. This isn’t to say that book Darkling is one-dimensional, but the novel makes it clear that his desire for power far outweighs his desire for Alina. The show is attempting to humanize him, and while I understand the decision, we need to remember who he is and why he’s after Alina in the first place. Men only want one thing, after all. And that thing is the power to create a horde of shadow demons.
These are just some things from the books that I'd really like to see play out in Season 2. We'll have to wait and see what actually transpires when Shadow and Bone returns for its second season on Netflix.,