Shadow and Bone (TV series)

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Shadow and Bone
Shadow and Bone Title.png
Based onShadow and Bone and Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo
Developed byEric Heisserer
Music byJoseph Trapanese
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Executive producers
Production locations
  • David Lanzenberg
  • Owen McPolin
  • Aaron Morton
  • Tyler Nelson
  • David Trachtenberg
  • Niven Howie
  • Lisa Bromwell
Running time45–58 minutes
Production companies
Original networkNetflix
Picture format
Audio formatDolby Atmos
Original releaseApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23) –

Shadow and Bone is an American fantasy streaming television series developed by Eric Heisserer for Netflix. It is based on two series of books in the Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo, the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. All eight episodes of the first season premiered on April 23, 2021. In June 2021, the series was renewed for a second season, also consisting of eight episodes which is scheduled to premiere on March 16, 2023. The maturity rating will also shift from TV-14 to TV-MA.

The series adapts the story of young Alina Starkov, an orphan and cartographer of the Ravka nation's First Army, as she discovers she is a Grisha, one with special gifts, and one long awaited to address a dire need in the universe. The first season adapts Shadow and Bone (2013), and adds an original storyline featuring the Crows, a criminal gang for which the eponymous duology is named. The second season will adapt Siege and Storm (2013), and another original storyline featuring the Crows.

Premise and world[edit]

The Grisha universe consists of the nations of Ravka, Fjerda, Shu Han, Kerch, Novyi Zem, and the Wandering Isle. Each adapts elements of language, culture and tradition from countries of the real world (drawn from different real time periods).[1][2][3] Grisha are a people who have been described as "magic-users"[1] but in their words, they are practitioners of "The Small Science" which reflects an individual gift each holds to manipulate matter at its smallest level, the "molecular level".[1][2]

Ravka is home to most of the Grisha as they are "usually discovered as children by traveling Grisha testers and brought to... [train in that nation's] Second Army".[1] It is one of few places they can live safely and when training for the Second Army, they are divided into three orders. Etherealki summon natural elements such as wind, water and fire, Materialki control materials such as metal and glass and Corporalki manipulate people's bodies. Ravka's Second Army is led by General Kirigan, also known as the Darkling, who has spent his life searching for a Grisha who can summon light, the only person who could destroy the Shadow Fold (or "the Fold")—a region of engulfing darkness, created hundreds of years ago and divides Ravka in two, the east from the west. Since then, Ravka has been at war and is now on the brink of splitting in two as the west seeks independence.[4]

Alina Starkov turns out to be such a Grisha, and word spreads that a Sun Summoner has been found. In the Kerch capital and trading city of Ketterdam, Kaz Brekker, leader of a gang called the Crows,[2] is hired to kidnap her; Fjerdan witch hunters are sent to kill her; the people of Ravka venerate her as a Saint. Alina must come to terms with who she is and decide whom she can truly trust as she searches for the power that will allow her to destroy the Fold and save Ravka.[5]

Cast and characters[edit]




SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
18April 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
2[8]8March 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)

Season 1 (2021)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release date
11"A Searing Burst of Light"Lee Toland KriegerEric HeissererApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
In East Ravka, Alina Starkov is a cartographer who is reunited with her childhood friend Malyen "Mal" Oretsev. Mal is chosen to be a part of the team who will cross the Fold, an extremely dangerous journey as the Fold is swarming with flying monsters named Volcra. Unwilling to be separated from Mal again, Alina burns the maps so the cartographers have to cross as well. The team enters the Fold just as General Kirigan, leader of the Second Army and the Shadow Summoner, arrives at the camp. Shortly after entering the Fold, they are attacked by Volcra. Alexei, another cartographer, escapes. Alina discovers her Sun Summoner abilities by unintentionally letting off a burst of light to fight off the Volcra. In Ketterdam, Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, and Jesper Fahey compete with mob-boss Pekka Rollins for a job that pays one million kruge. When it is discovered that Dreesen first needs a Heartrender, Kaz beats Pekka to the only known one. Dreesen reveals to Kaz that he has captured Alexei. The Heartrender gets Alexei to reveal that Alina is a Sun Summoner, and Dreesen reveals that kidnapping Alina is the job.
22"We're All Someone's Monster"Lee Toland KriegerEric HeissererApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
In East Ravka, Alina is taken to Kirigan, who proves she is a Sun Summoner and orders she be taken to the Little Palace. On her way, her convoy is ambushed by Fjerdan drüskelle (Grisha-hunters). Several Grisha are killed, but Kirigan rescues her and escorts her to the Little Palace himself. Alina, angry that she will now be hunted for the rest of her life, tells Kirigan she wishes she could give her power to someone who wants it. In Ketterdam, Kaz is threatened by Pekka to give him the job, but Kaz refuses. Inej is summoned by Tante Heleen, who runs the brothel Inej was sold to until Kaz bought her contract. He still owes Heleen some money for Inej, but Heleen promises to give Inej her freedom if she kills Arken, a human trafficker who has been selling to rival brothels. Kaz discovers that a man called the Conductor is ferrying people across the Fold, then discovers that Arken is the Conductor and Heleen wants him dead. Kaz stops Inej from killing Arken, then gives Heleen his club as an acceptable collateral and promises to pay off his debt for Inej once he completes the job.
33"The Making at the Heart of the World"Dan LiuDaegan FryklindApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
At the Little Palace, Alina meets with a Tailor, Genya Safin, and they prepare for her meeting with King Pytor and the court. At court, Alina astonishes all with her abilities, which are amplified by Kirigan's touch. The King gives permission for Alina to be trained, but insists that it be done quickly, as West Ravka is increasingly rallying for independence. After befriending two Grisha, Alina spars with Zoya Nazyalensky, who is jealous of the attention Alina is getting (especially from Kirigan). In the library, Alina meets the Apparat, who tells her about the stag Alina has been dreaming of, and about amplifiers; animals Grisha have killed in order to increase their own power. Alina then meets Baghra, a Grisha trainer who is unimpressed with Alina's abilities. She tells Alina to return when she believes in herself. Meanwhile Kaz, Jesper, Inej, and Arken are forced to travel to the Little Palace without Nina Zenik, a Heartrender who agreed to smuggle them in, as she has been captured by drüskelle. Four pounds short of the needed coal, they dare to make the train voyage through the Fold. They are attacked by Volcra, but Jesper uses his marksmanship abilities to get them safely through. On a ship, Nina is chained by the drüskelle who captured her and told she will be tried for witchcraft in Fjerda.
44"Otkazat'sya"Dan LiuVanya AsherApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
Alina goes riding with Kirigan, who decides the two are on a first-name basis and asks she call him Aleksander. He talks about how he felt like an outsider as a child due to being a descendant of the Black Heretic (the Grisha who created the Fold), and Alina realizes how much he needs her. Baghra shows Alina that she is holding back for Mal, but needs to focus on herself if she wants to master her powers. Alina grows disheartened that Mal has not yet replied to her letters, and after another encounter with Kirigan, finally puts herself and the Grisha first and makes true progress with her power. Meanwhile, Mal has volunteered for a mission to find the stag that Alina has been dreaming of; the legendary Morozova's Stag is rumored to be the most powerful Grisha amplifier in the world, powerful enough to make Alina able to destroy the Fold. The reward for finding the Stag is a visit to the Little Palace. His team are ambushed by Fjerdans, and Mal alone survives. He then sees the Stag, and vows to reunite with Alina. The Crows and Arken steal the blueprints for the Little Palace, and join a troupe of traveling performers who will be performing in the Little Palace for the Winter Fete. The ship carrying Nina hits a bad storm. Kirigan sends Fedyor to find Nina, as she has not checked in recently.
55"Show Me Who You Are"Mairzee AlmasM. Scott Veach & Nick CulbertsonApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
The Little Palace plans to show off Alina as the Sun Summoner at the Winter Fete. Kaz, Inej, Jesper, and Arken infiltrate the Palace to kidnap Alina. Mal, injured by Fjerdans, makes his way to a First Army camp and says he's found the Stag. Along with a First Army general, he travels to the Little Palace to tell Kirigan directly. The palace guard is initially reluctant to let Mal in, believing the Stag to be a myth, but gives in, and escorts Mal to Kirigan's room. Kirigan asks Mal to show him exactly where he found the Stag. Mal, however, refuses, demanding to see Alina first. Kirigan is angry but eventually agrees to allow the two to meet later. Baghra sends a guard to bring Mal to her hut, whereupon the guard tries to kill Mal so he can't tell Kirigan where the Stag is. Kirigan and Alina kiss after the event but are interrupted when Arken attacks a decoy, believing it to be Alina. Baghra tells Alina that Kirigan doesn't want to destroy the Fold, but use it as a weapon, and that Alina needs to flee the Little Palace. Alina attempts this by climbing into the Crows' carriage. Mal escapes the palace and flees to the woods. Baghra is revealed to be Kirigan's mother and doesn't want him to find the Stag.
66"The Heart Is an Arrow"Mairzee AlmasShelley MealsApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
Arken is captured and interrogated after the attempt to kidnap Alina backfires, and he is killed by Kirigan. Alina climbs from the carriage but the Crows are unable to catch her; she blinds Kaz and Jesper with her light, and Inej deliberately lets her go, believing her to be a living Saint. Alina is recognised as Shu (that is, descended from the people of Shu-Han) by some townsfolk and is chased into a forest, where she reunites with Mal and they both catch up. After learning about the Stag from Mal, Alina realises she must get to it before Kirigan, so she and Mal make their way North. The drüskelle ship sinks during a storm, and Nina is forced to work with one of the drüskelle, Matthias, in order to survive. As they travel together, they begin to bond.
77"The Unsea"Jeremy WebbChristina StrainApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
Alina and Mal find the Stag. Instead of killing it, Alina shares a moment with the Stag, and plans to let it go, until Kirigan shows up and kills it himself. He injures Mal and orders David to graft parts of the Stag's antlers to Alina's collar, as well as a piece to his own hand. Kirigan shows Alina that he can now control her power and will take her to the Fold. He tells her he will heal Mal if she complies. At the campsite near the Fold, Genya reunites with Alina to get her ready for an event Kirigan is holding; he is going to take some nobles across the Fold and show them his and Alina's newfound power. Alina realises that Genya was intercepting her and Mal's letters. Kaz, Inej and Jesper find a way of getting back through the Fold, after the train they took with Arken was blown up.
88"No Mourners"Jeremy WebbEric Heisserer & Daegan FryklindApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
Nina and Matthias safely reach a city but are confronted by Fedyor. To save his life, Nina declares Matthias a slave trader so that he is arrested instead of being captured by Feydor. Awakening imprisoned, Matthias wrongly believes Nina manipulated and betrayed him. As the ship crossing the Fold starts its journey, Alina uses her powers to shield it with a tunnel of light, protecting the passengers from the Volcra. However, when the ship reaches the other side, Kirigan expands the Fold towards West Ravka, overwhelming it and destroying a growing rebellion there. In the lower decks, Kaz and the others find Mal has snuck on board and they hatch a plan, but Mal rashly moves against Kirigan and is held at gunpoint, prompting the Crows to advance. Zoya, witnessing what Kirigan had done to West Ravka, turns against Kirigan and starts steering the ship across the Fold. Alina breaks free of Kirigan's control by cutting the antler from his hand and, with help from the Crows, defeats Kirigan's forces. Mal battles Kirigan but Kirigan is suddenly dragged away by Volcra. Zoya, Alina and Mal, along with the Crows, leave the Fold, being the only survivors, and decide to go their separate ways. Kaz's gang meets Nina at the skiff headed back to Ketterdam. Alina goes with Mal on the skiff, as well, to continue learning how to use her powers. A wounded Kirigan emerges from the Fold.

Season 2[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected by [9]Teleplay by [10]Original release date [8]
91TBABola OgunEric HeissererMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
102TBABola OgunNick CulbertsonMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
113TBALaura BelseyDonna ThorlandMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
124TBALaura BelseyShelley MealsMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
135TBAKaren GaviolaChristina StrainMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
146TBAKaren GaviolaDaegan FryklindMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
157TBAMairzee AlmasVanya AsherMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
168TBAMairzee AlmasEric Heisserer & Erin ConleyMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)



In January 2019, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order for an eight-episode first season with Eric Heisserer as showrunner, creator, head-writer, and executive producer. The project falls under Netflix's deal with 21 Laps Entertainment with Shawn Levy executive producing. Leigh Bardugo, Pouya Shahbazian, Dan Levine, Dan Cohen, and Josh Barry acted as the executive producers as well.[11] On October 2, 2019, Lee Toland Krieger was announced as the director of the pilot.[12]

In June 2021, the series was renewed for an 8-episode second season.[13] It was confirmed in January 2022 that production on the second season had begun.[14] In December 2022, it was reported that the second season will not only cover Siege and Storm, but also Ruin and Rising of Leigh Bardugo's main Grishaverse trilogy.[15]


In a panel discussion led by Petra Mayer, NPR books editor, Leigh Bardugo disclosed to San Diego Comic-Con 2019 that David J. Peterson would be working on the Grishaverse's fictional languages.[16] Christian Thalmann is also involved in this effort.[17]


Casting began in April 2019 with calls for Alina.[18] On October 2, 2019, it was announced that Jessie Mei Li, Ben Barnes, Freddy Carter, Archie Renaux, Amita Suman, and Kit Young would be starring.[12] Sujaya Dasgupta, Danielle Galligan, Daisy Head, and Simon Sears would also feature.[19] The second round of casting was announced on December 18, 2019, with Calahan Skogman, Zoë Wanamaker, Kevin Eldon, Julian Kostov, Luke Pasqualino, Jasmine Blackborow, and Gabrielle Brooks in the recurring cast.[20] Bardugo, the book series' author, was scheduled to cameo as a Materalki Durast in the third episode.[21]

Prominent book characters Nikolai Lantsov and Wylan Van Eck did not appear in the first season,[22] but will be introduced in the second.[23] On January 13, 2022, Lewis Tan, Patrick Gibson, Anna Leong Brophy and Jack Wolfe officially joined the cast for the second season while Daisy Head, Danielle Galligan, and Calahan Skogman were promoted to series regulars.[6][7] More new cast members were confirmed in November 2022, including Tommy Rodger, Rhoda Ofori-Attah, Alistair Nwachukwu, Tumi Fani-Kayode, and Seamus O'Hara.[24]

Filming and locations[edit]

Festetics Palace is used as the Little Palace in the series.

Principal photography for the first season began on location in and around Budapest and Keszthely, Hungary in October 2019 and wrapped at the end of February 2020.[25][26][27] Additional shoots took place in Vancouver in September 2020.[28]

Shadow and Bone's Ketterdam set was built at Origo Studios. Other Budapest filming locations included the Ethnographic Museum (Grand Palace throne room); Buda Castle (Royal Archives exterior) and its medieval rondella (Grisha training grounds and Os Alta gates); the old Stock Exchange (Royal Archives interior); and the main square (Novokribirsk).[29]

Outside of Budapest, the exterior, grounds, and interior of Festetics Palace were used to create the Little Palace, and the winter fete took place in its concert hall. Other locations included the Amadé–Bajzáth–Pappenheim Mansion (Keramzin orphanage); the town of Szentendre (Ryevost) and its open-air museum (Chernast); and the Royal Palace of Gödöllő (stable and chapel). The flashback in which the Darkling creates the Shadow Fold was filmed at the ruined Széchényi–Wenckheim mansion in Békéscsaba.[30]

Filming for the second season began in early January 2022[31] and wrapped on June 6, 2022.[32]


Post-production began after the February 2020 close of shooting.[25][26][27] Bardugo reported through Twitter in June 2020 that working remotely in light of COVID-19 had slowed post-production down, rendering the release date less certain.[33][better source needed] Ted Rae served as VFX supervisor.[34][35]


Shadow and Bone (Music from the Netflix Series)
Shadow and Bone (soundtrack).jpg
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
LabelMaisie Music Publishing

Joseph Trapanese is the composer for the series.[36] Heisserer and Bardugo appeared on a panel at New York Comic Con in October 2020,[37] during which they played some of the score.[38] Executive producer Josh Barry reported on December 16, 2020, that the final sound mix was complete.[39]

Trapanese wrote the score over 11 months.[40] In an interview with, he explained how he put it together in lockdown, between conducting an orchestra over Zoom and incorporating solo recordings.[41] Russian and Slavic music provided the basis of the score's inspiration, Bardugo naming Sergei Prokofiev and folk songs as specific examples.[42] In addition, elements from other musical traditions were used, such as gamelan.[41]

Shadow and Bone (Music from the Netflix Series)
2."Ask the Saints"6:32
3."Court Demonstration"3:09
4."True North"6:21
5."Royal Archives Heist"4:09
6."Face the Truth"4:42
7."Erase the Past"2:19
9."Hope for the Future"2:10
10."Her Name Is Alina Starkov"2:57
11."The Heretic"5:04
12."Just Ask"5:32
14."A Message"5:46
15."Helpful Goat"7:24
16."Fight for the Light"5:41
17."Five Markers"4:06
18."Strike Now"6:12
Total length:1:34:00

Marketing and release[edit]

Netflix released a season one announcement teaser in December 2020 followed by promotional stills through Entertainment Weekly as well as main character posters in January 2021.[43][44] Bardugo, Heisserer, and the six main cast members appeared on a panel at the IGN Fan Fest in February 2021, during which a teaser trailer was released in addition to more stills. Netflix also posted a poster featuring the Shadow Fold the day before.[45][46] The official season one trailer was released on March 30, 2021, by Netflix, after having been leaked previously.[citation needed]

Bardugo answered in a November 2019 interview with SensaCine that the season one series was expected to air in late 2020.[47] The series was released on April 23, 2021, on Netflix.[48] On April 24, 2021, Netflix released an aftershow for the series on the service, titled Shadow and Bone – The Afterparty.[49] The second season is slated to be released on March 16, 2023.[50]


Audience viewership[edit]

Netflix revealed alongside the season 2 renewal announcement that 55 million households had watched the first season in its first 28 days of availability.[13]

Critical response[edit]

Shadow and Bone has received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 88% based on 75 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "From gorgeous costumes to impressive—if intimidating—world-building, Shadow and Bone is certainly as meticulous as its source material, but by folding in unexpected stories it expands the novel's scope to craft an exciting new adventure for fans and newcomers alike."[51] Metacritic gave the series a weighted average score of 68 out of 100 based on 22 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[52]

Writing for Empire, Ben Travis gave the first season 3 out of 5 stars, saying, "Shadow And Bone remains compelling while tasking viewers with grasping the Grisha terminology for themselves, showing rather than telling", but noted similarities between the series and Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones and described some elements of the series as being "overly confusing". He concluded that "Shadow And Bone will draw you into the Fold with its absorbing world-building and engaging lead duo."[53] Nicole Clark of IGN wrote that "the first season manages to capture much of the darker magic...while being unafraid to make smart changes to certain characters' origin stories and even the sequence of events—even if the storylines from the two series of books don't always easily mesh."[54] Molly Freeman of Screen Rant praised it as a "thrillingly exciting fantasy drama".[55]

Writing for, Roxana Hadadi noted the series' use of clichés found in young adult fiction, adding: "Eric Heisserer's adaptation transcends this familiarity thanks to the commitment of a pitch-perfect cast, well-stylized fight sequences, and intentional character development that makes these relationships feel nuanced and history-laden". She concluded: "Altogether, 'Shadow and Bone' maintains a sense of interior place for the characters dealing with plot developments as varied as mean girl dynamics, geopolitical posturing, and body horror, and the well-balanced nature of this first season makes for a promising introduction into this franchise's fantastical universe."[56]

Writing for The Daily Star, Yaameen Al-Muttaqi praised the changes made from the source material, noting that "the years added to each character's age allows the series to explore darker themes, like abuse, corruption, propaganda, manipulation, and human trafficking without breaking audience immersion or pulling punches, as is the case with too many YA adaptations." He was, however, more critical of the omissions made in world building, concluding that "a fair number of things are also left unexplained or unexplored in the series, which may leave viewers who have not read the books, confused."[57] Writing for Tell-Tale TV, Allison Nichols also noted that viewers unfamiliar with the source material may feel isolated when the series "throw[s] them in storylines that seemingly have nothing to do with the main storyline of the show — Alina's journey."[58]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2021 IFTA Film & Drama Awards Best VFX Ed Bruce and Robert Hartigan Nominated [59]
Dragon Awards Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Shadow and Bone Nominated [60]


  1. ^ a b c d Box, Christy (April 24, 2021). "Shadow & Bone's Map Explained: All Locations & Cultures". Retrieved January 18, 2022. The Grisha are the series' equivalent of magic-users, though their abilities are rooted in science at the molecular level... Ravka is home to most of the Grisha, who are usually discovered as children by traveling Grisha testers and brought to... train as a member of the Second Army.
  2. ^ a b c Grauso, Alisha (April 23, 2021). "Shadow & Bone Glossary & Vocabulary Guide: Grishaverse Terms Explained". Retrieved January 18, 2022. Crow Club-The Ketterdam casino run by Kaz Brekker's Crows, also known as the Dregs, and the crown jewel of their gang's operation. / Crows-Kaz Brekker's crew and a quickly-rising gang in the Barrel, even though its leaders are young. Owners of the Crow Club. / The Small Science-The Grisha term for their gifts. Grisha have the ability to manipulate and control matter at the molecular level, i.e. the smallest science.
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