By Yasmin Atwood, Second Year, English
Season two of Shadow and Bone (2021- ) develops Alina’s (Jessie Mei Li) plotline further as she looks for the final two creatures who will help amplify her sun powers, in order to face the Darkling (Ben Barnes) who intends to plunge all of Ravka into shadow.
Meanwhile, Wylan (Jack Wolfe) joins the Crows, and they are embroiled in gang disputes in the dark streets of Ketterdam, before they are recruited to recover a blade that can help Alina cut the Darkling’s shadow monsters.
There was definitely a lot of chaotic potential as this show combines material from Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy book series while integrating characters and plotlines from the Six of Crows duology: AKA the best books of all time. But, impressively the writers have managed to make it work and have all the plotlines converge smoothly towards the end.
Some of the dialogue does admittedly feel obviously expository, and some lines have an almost comical disconnect between the gravity with which they are delivered and their insubstantiality; it does feel more Young Adult orientated than the books, but I don’t think this detracts from enjoyment.
The magic system is quite confusing for viewers who haven’t read the books, but this is only to enable the fast-paced, action-packed sequences which make this series so exciting.
There have been some interesting changes, including simplification to aspects of Alina’s storyline – and it remains to be seen whether staunch book fans will be pleased with the ending of this season!
The much anticipated new characters of Prince Nikolai (Patrick Gibson), Wylan, Tolya & Tamar (Lewis Tan & Anna Leong Brophy) have joined the cast of this season, and overall there has been some really strong acting, Jessie Mei Li is especially good as Alina.
One of my favourite things about this series is seeing the attention to the details of different cultures from within the Grishaverse. I like how the series has taken interest in Bardugo’s real-world inspirations for certain locations in terms of their terrain, and most obviously in the beautiful costume design.
Ravka draws on cultural elements of Tsarist Russia, Ketterdam is like Peaky Blinders (2013-2022) era Birmingham, Shu Han takes inspiration from China/Mongolia, the flourishing land of Novyi Zem takes inspiration from African cultures, and Fjerda is a more insular Scandinavia.
Overall, Shadow and Bone season two continues to be a great series that I would recommend, and it ends with the dramatic introduction of Jurda Parem (a magical drug) which promises the Fjerdan heist plotline in future seasons!
Featured Image: Courtesy of IMDB
How would you compare the books to the series?