The hotly-anticipated Shadow and Bone introduces the lavish fantasy world of the Grishaverse
from dark villains to chosen ones, shadow monsters to magical maguffins, and a charismatic
crew of hustlers thrown in for good measure.
Yippee-ki-yay, movie lovers, I'm Jan and in this video I'm breaking down everything you
need to know about Shadow and Bone, that final shot of the Darkling, and all the clues to
what you can expect in Season 2 for Alina, Mal and the Crows.
Spoilers ahead, of course, so take care.
Dominating the world of Shadow and Bone is the Fold, a giant area of darkness created
by The Darkling hundreds of years before the main events of the show and which split the
powerful nation of Ravka in two.
At the time, The Darkling was the Ravkan king's military advisor and had used his Grisha powers
to help the king win a war.
However when the king became fearful of the Darkling's desire for more power, he put a
bounty on his head.
After the king's soldiers finally tracked down the Darkling, he turned to a form of
forbidden magic known as merzost once used by his forefather Ilya Morozova.
The Grisha only practice the Small Science, which they define as the manipulation of matter
which already exists, and because it doesn't involve conjuring or
creating something from nothing, they don't consider it magic strictly speaking.
The use of merzost for the work of creation on the other hand is much more dangerous and
unstable; so although the Darkling's intention was only
to transform the king's soldiers into his own army, he lost control of the magic and
ended up creating the Shadow Fold.
As the merzost escaped it transformed the ordinary human beings who lived in the area
of the Fold into monsters known as volcra which now roam the shadow world threatening
and attacking anyone who enters or attempts to pass through.
Several hundred years later in the present time of the show, the Darkling who now goes
by the name General Kirigan, leads Ravka's Second Army which is made up entirely of Grisha.
Although he appeared to create the Fold accidentally, its existence has made Ravka dependent on
the Grisha and their powers to help traverse the dangerous routes through the Fold.
"Bide your time until there's a problem only Grisha can solve.
Then the King must embrace us."
So, when Alina Starkov discovers her Sun Summoner powers with the ability to destroy volcra,
Kirigan takes a special interest in her.
He takes her to the Little Palace to train and develop her powers which she was unaware
Kirigan claims he wants to use her to help destroy the Fold and free Ravka from its curse.
At the palace, Alina ends up becoming romantically interested in Kirigan until his mother Baghra
reveals the truth about who he really is and explains he's obsessed with finding Morozova's
stag, a potent amplifier that will increase his
Alina flees and, after a brief encounter with the Crows, she ends up reuniting with Mal
and together they track down the stag themselves.
Ever since she was a child, Alina has had dreams of the stag and we can see the connection
she has with the magical animal when she touches it and it amplifies her power.
Kirigan and his Grisha, however, interrupt this moment and he kills the poor creature
with the Cut, the lethal blade he can summon from darkness.
Kirigan then has David perform a bonding ritual that fuses the stag's antlers onto Alina's
body while tethering her to Kirigan giving him control over her powers and the ability
to turn them on and off as he pleases.
"You could've made me your equal.
Instead, you made me this."
With Alina under his control, Kirigan puts into motion the final step of his plan and
uses her Sun Summoner powers to create a safe tunnel for him and a group of foreign emissaries
to travel through the Fold.
Alina then asks Kirigan to use her to destroy the fold as he once said he would.
"Why would we destroy the Fold?
It's the greatest weapon that we've got."
In a lethal demonstration of the power he now wields, he expands the Shadow Fold beyond
its current position to consume the city of Novokribirsk right on the Fold's borders.
As the darkness and volcra consume the city, Kirigan rids himself of General Zlatan, the
Western Ravkan independence leader who threatened the unity of Ravka and ordered Alina's assassination.
With this gruesome display of power, Kirigan demands the foreign ambassadors on the skiff
submit to his demands to end their wars with Ravka.
"With the power of the Sun Summoner at my command, I control the Fold.
And its monsters.
I can move it to any border I like.
All countries will answer to us."
Mal and the Crows intervene, with Inej almost killing Kirigan as she shoots a knife into
The Darkling, however, calls on his merzost powers, which seem to be one of the reasons
he's immortal, and pulls out the knife, tossing it aside.
Alina then has a vision of Morozova's stag again, and seeing the knife to her side she
uses it to stab Kirigan through the hand, which slices off the wedge of skin melded
onto his wrist that was keeping her tethered to him.
It's a striking moment as Alina regains autonomy over both her own body and her abilities as
the Sun Summoner.
"Your first words to me were, 'What are you?'
This is what I am."
Kirigan can't understand how Alina now has control over the amplifier because he killed
the stag so says he should have control over it, which is what the legends about Morozova's
"They learned killing one of these beasts and then melding a piece of it into their
body would amplify their abilities."
Alina explains though that it was the stag's choice to give her the power.
This is presumably down to Alina's connection with the stag she'd already established throughout
her life and perhaps the fact she chose not to kill the animal when she found it.
"I didn't understand before, but I do now.
You cannot claim what was not given to you.
The Stag chose me."
Proving her point, the antlers which until then had been crudely melded onto her body
are now absorbed into her as the stag seems to become one with Alina,
a convenient practical detail when it comes to prosthetics and VFX for future seasons
of the show as well.
This isn't the last we've seen of Morozova's amplifiers though and there are at least two
more to appear in future seasons.
More on those very shortly.
Kirigan is still alive, of course, and although he ends up hauled off by a Volcra during his
fight with Mal, the final shot of the season reveals he survived
this, something not that surprising given his own mother described him as "eternal".
We can see he's been wounded badly with some deep scars on his face, though I'm sure he
could find a Grisha Healer for these at some point;
but, more significantly, emerging from the Fold are some new evil-looking shadow creatures.
These are Nichevo'ya, also known as "nothings" and are another creation of the Darkling's
They are a different kind of beast to the volcra as they can pass outside the Fold and
I expect we'll see Kirigan use these monsters against Alina and Mal when he tracks them
down in Season 2.
Unaware that Kirigan is still alive, Alina, Mal, the Crows, and Zoya plan their next steps.
Alina is concerned she'll be blamed for the destruction of Novokribirsk
and Zoya says the Apparat who's now pulling the strings at the royal palace since the
king's poisoning will blame everything on the Grisha again and asks Alina to find new
This is setting up Season 2 of Alina's storyline which, if it stays close to the books more
or less like the first season, should see Alina and Mal travel across the
True Sea in search of another of Morozova's amplifiers that Alina already learned about
from the Apparat earlier in the show.
"It all began with this man.
One of the first Grisha in recorded history.
Book readers will know that the Bonesmith's real name is Ilya Morozova, who was Baghra's
father and therefore the Darkling's grandfather.
The Bonesmith was obsessed with creating amplifiers that could boost a Grisha's powers as the
"He made creatures from his own finger bones.
Mythical animals brimming with power.
Attuned only to Grisha."
We can see Morozova's Stag on this page, the first amplifier that Alina has already acquired,
but there are two other important creatures, the Sea Whip and the Firebird, that we can
expect to show up in subsequent seasons of the show.
The Sea Whip, like the stag, is a legendary beast from Ravkan folklore and is said to
be a dragon prince cursed to live as a sea serpent in waters known as the Bone Road.
We got a hint that Alina will be headed to those icy waters in Season 2 in one of the
books she picks up at the library.
"The bone road ebbs and the bone road flows."
Once caught or killed, the Sea Whip's scales can be used to create a fetter or a bracelet
that when worn around the wrist will amplify a Grisha's powers.
Notice how Alina turns her wrist in this same scene, foreshadowing the second amplifier
that we can expect to see her wear in Season 2.
The third amplifier that Morozova is said to have created is the Firebird, something
that probably won't be seen until a third season or later.
However, there is another possible living amplifier that the show may already be hiding
in plain sight: Alina's childhood friend Mal.
There've been several scenes hinting that Mal may have some latent powers and that he's
even more crucial to Alina's destiny than we might imagine.
Although everyone including Mal seems to assume he's not Grisha, we know he wasn't tested
on the day the Grisha came to the orphanage because he was injured, so we don't have conclusive
proof about that.
And if you re-watch carefully the scene when Alina discovers her Sun Summoner powers for
the first time, this occurs while she's holding hands with Mal.
Which is, of course, similar to how Kirigan helped Alina activate her power by taking
hold of her hand when she was at the Ravkan court to demonstrate her abilities.
From that scene we know that Kirigan is a living amplifier, which suggests that Mal
may be one too and that it was his touch which activated Alina's powers for the first time.
Notice also how Mal and Alina hold hands as children when they're hiding together to avoid
doing the Grisha test, and then at the end of the second episode
there's a moment where the pair seem to be able to sense each other even though they're
That sixth sense and connection with Alina seems to be what helps him find Morozova's
Stag when he's tracking it, as he explains in the letter he writes to her during his
expedition to find the mythical creature.
"When you lit up Kirigan's tent, there was a sound.
A high tone.
I knew it was you...
When we were kids, you'd hold my hand and sometimes I'd hear it in the back of my head.
Then I hear that sound again.
Calling to me."
The show is clearly hinting that there's something particularly special about Mal's tracking
abilities, which I expect we'll see him use to find the Sea Whip in Season 2.
And, by the way, if Mal truly does have a special connection with Morozova's amplifiers,
it implies there's a lot more to his past and his heritage than his orphanage upbringing
I'll talk more about some other easter eggs you might have missed in the first season
in my next Shadow and Bone video.
I'll add a link here and in the video description as soon as it's ready.
Of course, we also have to talk about the Crows, Kaz, Inej and Jesper, who in the book
Grishaverse don't show up until a few years after the main events of the Shadow and Bone
What the TV show has done therefore is to create a prequel story for the Crows characters
in which we discover they were involved in an attempted heist to kidnap the Sun Summoner.
That obviously didn't work out for them, however, they leave Alina and Mal on good enough terms
at the end and although their paths don't cross in the book Grishaverse,
as the TV show is its own thing, we may well see them meet again in the future.
What we do know is that at the end of the first season, the Crows are heading back to
Ketterdam where both Dreesen and Pekka Rollins await them.
Kaz says he has a plan for dealing with them that requires a Heartrender and, what are
the chances but, sitting right by them and overhearing their conversation is Nina, a
Grisha with that exact skillset.
Nina is on the boat with her former enemy-turned-lover Matthias,
who's in chains now and destined for the Hellgate prison in Ketterdam after Nina found herself
forced to accuse him of being a slaver so he wouldn't be taken away by the Grisha.
In the Six of Crows book, Kaz, Inej, Jesper and Nina team up together with another character
we haven't seen yet called Wylan for a heist to break out a scientist being held prisoner
In the novel, they also need Matthias to do this, so break him out of Hellgate prison.
Assuming then the show at least roughly follows the plot of the Six of Crows duology, we can
expect to see him reunited with Nina.
Showrunner Eric Heisserer and Grishaverse author Leigh Bardugo, who's a producer on
the show, at the time of making this video haven't confirmed
whether they'll continue to combine the Crows ongoing storyline with the Shadow and Bone
characters in future seasons, or whether the Crows could get their own separate
spin-off show set in the same universe.
"You stick with us, everybody gets what they want."
Either way, I think the Crows will be a hit with fans thanks to the heist action and humour
they bring to the story.
"So... what did we learn?
People with trains are evil.
You can't kidnap a human sunbeam.
True wealth is the friends you make along the way."
So what did you think of the first season of Shadow and Bone?
And do you have any theories on what will happen next?
Comment with your thoughts below, and if you enjoyed this, then a thumbs-up would be hugely
And you can tap left to discover all the easter eggs and book connections you might have missed
in Season 1 or tap right for something else you're sure to like.
Thanks for watching and see ya next time!
Yippee-ki-yay, movie lovers!