Shadow and Bone (TV series)

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Shadow and Bone
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 seasons2
No. of episodes16
Executive producers
  • Christina Strain
  • Thane Watkins
  • Rand Geiger
  • Vanya Asher
  • Craig Forrest
  • Becca Edelman
Production locations
  • David Lanzenberg
  • Owen McPolin
  • Aaron Morton
  • Petra Korner
  • David Higgs
  • Tyler Nelson
  • David Trachtenberg
  • Niven Howie
  • Lisa Bromwell
  • Paul E. Alderman
  • Franzis Muller
  • Chester Howie
Running time45–64 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23) –
March 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)

Shadow and Bone is an American fantasy television series developed by Eric Heisserer for Netflix. It is based on the written works of Leigh Bardugo, and set in the Grishaverse, which consists of 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 premiered on March 16, 2023. In November 2023, the series was canceled after two seasons.

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 (2012), and adds an original storyline featuring the Crows, a criminal gang for which the eponymous duology is named. The second season adapts Siege and Storm (2013) and Ruin and Rising (2014), along with elements of Crooked Kingdom (2016) in the Crows' storyline.

Premise and world[edit]

The series is set in the Grishaverse which consists of the nations of Ravka, Fjerda, Shu Han, Kerch, Novyi Zem, and the Wandering Isle. Each nation adapts elements of language, culture and tradition from countries of the real world, drawn from different time periods.[1][2][3] In the Grishaverse there exists a group of people who have been described as "magic-users".[1] In-universe, these people are considered practitioners of "The Small Science" - an individual gift each Grisha 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 the few places where Grisha can live safely without fear of persecution. When training for Ravka's Second Army, they are divided into three orders according to their gift in The Small Science:

  • Etherealki summon natural elements such as wind, water and fire;
  • Materialki control materials such as metal and glass; and,
  • Corporalki manipulate people's bodies.

The nation of Ravka is divided in two, from East to West, by the Shadow Fold ("The Fold"), a dark region filled with beasts created centuries ago by the Grisha known as The Black Heretic. Ravka is at war with Fjerda, and the western part seeks independence. General Kirigan, also known as The Darkling, leads Ravka's Second Army and seeks the Sun Summoner, the only one who can destroy the Fold.[4] In the series' first episode, Alina Starkov, a cartographer in the First Army, is revealed as the Sun Summoner, triggering various events. Kaz Brekker, leader of the Crows gang in Ketterdam, is hired to kidnap her, while Fjerdan witch hunters aim to kill her. Alina grapples with her identity and alliances as she seeks the power to save Ravka.[5]

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov, an orphan and former assistant cartographer of the Royal Corps of Surveyors in the First Army. She discovers that she is the Sun Summoner, a Grisha with the rare ability to summon light. Alina was reimagined as half-Shu (having had one parent from Shu-Han) in the series.
    • Kaylan Teague as Young Alina (recurring season 1)
  • Archie Renaux as Malyen "Mal" Oretsev, an orphan tracker in the First Army and Alina's childhood best friend and love interest.
    • Cody Molko as Young Mal (recurring season 1)
  • Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker, leader of the Crows, known as Dirtyhands and the Bastard of the Barrel.
    • Fflyn Edwards as Young Kaz (recurring season 2)
  • Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa, a Suli former indentured prostitute. She is a member of the Crows and is known as the Wraith.
  • Kit Young as Jesper Fahey, member of the Crows who is a skilled Zemeni sharpshooter.
  • Ben Barnes as General Aleksander Kirigan, the Shadow Summoner and The Black Heretic.
  • Zoë Wanamaker as Baghra, Alina's Grisha teacher and Aleksander's mother.
  • Patrick Gibson as Sturmhond / Nikolai Lantsov (season 2), a privateer who is later revealed to be the second Prince of Ravka.[6]
  • Daisy Head as Genya Safin (season 2;[7] recurring season 1), A Grisha Healer and Tailor, who befriends Alina. She falls in love with David Kostyk.
  • Danielle Galligan as Nina Zenik (season 2;[7] recurring season 1), a Heartrender and Grisha Tailor, who is taken captive by Fjerdans. She later falls in love with her captor Matthias Helvar and becomes a member of the Crows.
  • Calahan Skogman as Matthias Helvar (season 2;[7] recurring season 1), a Fjerdan Drüskelle (witch-hunter), who takes part in Nina's capture but later falls in love with her.
  • Lewis Tan as Tolya Yul-Bataar (season 2)[6] a Shu Heartrender loyal to Nikolai and Alina. Tamar's brother.
  • Jack Wolfe as Wylan Hendricks (season 2),[6] an alchemist who reluctantly becomes the Crows' demolitions expert. Jesper's love interest.
  • Anna Leong Brophy as Tamar Kir-Bataar, (season 2)[6] a Shu Heartrender loyal to Nikolai and Alina. Tolya's sister.


  • Andy Burse as Dubrov (season 1), a tracker in the First Army and Mal's friend.
  • Tom Weston-Jones as General Zlatan (season 1), a general of the First Army.
  • Sujaya Dasgupta as Zoya, a Squaller (wind Summoner), who serves under Gen. Kirigan as his favourite and who is jealous of Alina but later becomes a valued ally.
  • Elizabeth Rider as Ana Kuya (season 1).
  • Hugo Speer as Lieutenant Bohdan (season 1; guest season 2).
  • Angus Castle-Doughty as Mikhael (season 1), a tracker in the First Army and Mal's friend.
  • Simon Sears as Ivan (season 1), a Heartrender, who serves under Gen. Kirigan. Feydor's lover.
  • Howard Charles as Arken (season 1), the Conductor, who smuggles people across the Fold.
  • Julian Kostov as Fedyor (season 1), a Heartrender, who serves under Gen. Kirigan. Ivan's lover.
  • Jasmine Blackborow as Marie (season 1), an Inferni (fire Summoner), who befriends Alina.
  • Gabrielle Brooks (season 1) and Joanna McGibbon (season 2) as Nadia, a Squaller, who also befriends Alina. Tamar's love interest.
  • Luke Pasqualino as David Kostyk. As a Durast, he crafts weapons and other gadgets for the Grisha. Genya's love interest.
  • Gareth Turkington as Feliks (season 1).
  • Dean Lennox Kelly as Pekka Rollins (season 2; guest season 1), the ruthless leader of the Dime Lions gang in Ketterdam and Kaz's foe.
  • Tommy Rodger as Jordie (season 2), Kaz' older brother.
  • Iliasz Shweirif as Doughty (season 2).
  • Shobhit Piasa as Vladim (season 2).
  • Thue Ersted Rasmussen as Ahlgren (season 2).
  • Rachel Redford as Fruszi (season 2).
  • Keir Charles as Colonel Raevsky (season 2).
  • Alistair Nwachukwu as Adrik (season 2), Nadia's brother.



SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
18April 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
28March 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, who 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 realizes 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 clavicle, 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 toward 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 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 (2023)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release date
91"No Shelter But Me"Bola OgunEric HeissererMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
Following the events at West Ravka, a bounty is placed on Kirigan and Alina, who are blamed for expanding the Shadow Fold. Alina is haunted by visions of Kirigan but rejects his overtures. Alina and Mal take refuge in a port city, evading First Army soldiers seeking to arrest them with the help of Novyi Zem merchants and the ship workers Tamar Kir-Bataar and Tolya Yul-Bataar. Meanwhile, in Ketterdam the Crows Kaz, and Jesper are arrested after being framed by Pekka Rollins for the murder of Tante Heleen. They are freed by the privateer Sturmhond, who is also searching for Alina. Kaz and Jesper escape Sturmhond and reunite with Inej, Nina, and Wylan. Kaz agrees to help Nina infiltrate Hellgate in return for her heartrending powers. Seeking retribution against Pekka, Kaz blows up the Kaelish Prince gambling hall, which had formerly been the Crow Club. Alina and Mal discover their Captain Sturmhond, who is interested in Alina's sun-summoning powers. Meanwhile, Kirigan saves several Grishna including Genya Safin from being killed by the First Army. He takes the opportunity to recruit them.
102"Rusalye"Bola OgunNick CulbertsonMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
Alina convinces Sturmhond to support her quest to destroy the Shadow Fold. To strengthen her powers, she convinces Sturmhond and his crew to take part in an expedition to track down down a Sea Whip in order to harness its powers. During the voyage, Alina befriends the heartrenders Tolya and Tamar. The expedition manages to trap a Sea Whip in its lair but Alina is forced to kill the sea monster after it kills several crew. Alina absorbs the creature's powers and is almost overwhelmed but is saved by Mal's embrace. This surge of power attracts the attention of Kirigan, who struggles with the cost exacted by his dark powers. Kirigan also promises to help Genya find her friend David. Meanwhile, Kaz and his associates including Jesper, Nina, and Wylan take part in a heist against Pekka. Though they fall into a trap, the group escape due to Nina's actions. After securing their object, the group reunites at Black Veil. Elsewhere, Matthias befriends a fellow Fjerdian inmate while in Kerch custody.
113"Like Calls to Like"Laura BelseyDonna ThorlandMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
A reinvigorated Alina accompanies Sturmhond and his group travel on a flying vessel, known as the Hummingbird into the Fold. Alina attempts to banish the Fold but even her reinvigorated powers are insufficient. After being attacked by Volcra, the ship crashes on Ravkan territory where they are intercepted by First Army soldiers. Sturmhond reveals his true identity as Nikolai Lantsov, Major of the 22nd Regiment and King Pyotr's second son. Nikolai brings her to the Spinning Wheel, a Grishna sanctuary where Alina reunites with Nadia. He offers to protect her by marrying her and placing her under the royal family's protection. Meanwhile, Jesper and Wylan infiltrate Appelbroek by posing as repairmen. Inej learns from Kaz that Pekka murdered his older brother, Jordie Rietveld, and the two find solace in each other. Inej survives an assassination attempt by Mogens. Meanwhile, General Kirigan resumes his hunt for Alina and cuts off his mother Baghra's finger to help find her. David and Genya attempt to leave Kirigan's palace and warn Alina. However, Kirigan uses one of his shadow creatures to attack Genya. Elsewhere, Matthias shuns Nina following a cage fight. Pekka Rollins offers to free Matthias in return for Nina capturing Kaz.
124"Every Monstrous Thing"Laura BelseyShelley MealsMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
Nikolai announces his engagement to Alina, which causes tensions at the Ravkan Royal Court. In private, Alina reaffirms her love for Mal. Nikola's brother Vasily has Mal arrested for desertion. David reaches the royal palace but Alina doesn't trust him and has him imprisoned. During the engagement ceremony, Vasily attempts to reveal Alina's relationship with Mal but the event is interrupted by the arrival of Kirigan and his shadow creatures, leading to a showdown. Meanwhile, in Ketterdam, Kaz and his Crows launch their revenge plot against Pekka, which involves staging a faux Firepox outbreak in bars and brothels owned by Pekka. Following a confrontation with Pekka, Kaz tricks Pekka into believing that he has kidnapped his son Alby Rollins. In return for revealing Alby's supposed location, Kaz forces Pekka to confess to the murders of Tante Heleen and Constable Sem and to produce a quitclaim deed for Inej. Alby is revealed to be safe and well while Pekka is arrested for his crimes. Kaz gives Inej the deed but expels her from the Crows after she freed prisoners without his consent. Elsewhere, Baghra and Genya work together to free themselves from their cages at Kirigan's base.
135"Yuyeh Sesh (Despise Your Heart)"Karen GaviolaChristina StrainMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
Alina, Prince Nikolai, David, Queen Tatiana, and other survivors of The Darkling's attack on the royal palace retreat to nearby caves. They are joined by Baghra and Genya, who are able to track them down through David's heartbeat. Genya confesses to her role in Kirigan's plot to poison King Pyotr but manages to convince Nikolai not to punish her after admitting that the late King was her rapist. After escaping arrest, Mal reunites with Alina and the others. Alina uses her powers to project herself onto Kirigan but fails to destroy their link after being distracted by Mal. Meanwhile, the Crows travel to Shu Han on a mission to obtain the Neshyenyer sword to fight Kirigan. While searching for clues about the enigmatic Disciple, the group breaks into the home of the Disciple's assistant Ohval Saran. However, the four are trapped by Ohval. Meanwhile, Pekka arrives in Hellgate where he fatally beats Matthias' cellmate and becomes the new "top dog" of the prison.
146"Ni Weh Sesh (I Have No Heart)"Karen GaviolaDaegan FryklindMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
Determined to destroy the Darkling, Alina, Baghra, and Mal travel to Morozova's workshop. Baghra reveals that she is the daughter of Morozova but was banished after accidentally killing her sister with a telekinetic Cut. Alina and Mal learned that Baghra resurrected her sister as an Amplifier with Merzost. Mal also learns that he is the third Amplifier as the descendant of Baghra's sister, a position passed down over the generations. As the Firebird, Mal must sacrifice himself on Alina's blade in order to destroy the Fold. When Kirigan reappears as a projection and attacks Alina, Baghra sacrifices her life to save Alina and Mal. However, Kirigan learns about Mal's identity as the Firebird after turning his late mother into an Amplifier. Meanwhile, in Shu Han, the Crows experience hallucinations caused by Ohval's poisonous flowers: Jesper sees his late mother, Tolya sees a dying Tamar who blames him, and Inej sees Kaz and her having a romantic, tender moment. Kaz sees his late brother, Jordie, drowning him and criticizing his excuses and choices, but later sees Inej saving him. After the four neutralize the flowers with butterflies, Ohval reveals herself as Sankta Neyar, the Saint who forged the Neshyenyer. The Disciple is revealed to be her husband. Tolya manages to convince Ohval to give them the Neshyenyer in order to fight the Darkling.
157"Meet You in the Meadow"Mairzee AlmasVanya AsherMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
The Darkling attempts to convince Mal to abandon his plan to sacrifice himself as the third amplifier. Though Mal refuses, he learns that he and Kirigan are related. Mal later reveals his identity as the third amplifier to Nikolai. With the Darkling and his forces approaching Alina, Mal, and Nikolai hold a war council to discuss their next move. Believing that Kirigan plans to attack the orphanage at Keramzin, they split their forces. While Alina and Mal travel into the Fold, Nikolai uses his flying ship to reach Keramzin with reinforcements. However, the Darkling's Grishna led by Fruzsi and Nisho shoot down Nikolai's ship. Nikolai and his surviving soldiers retreat to a nearby fort, which is enveloped by the Fold. With the help of Kaz, Jesper, and Wylan, Nikolai's forces ambush and kill Kirigan's Grishna followers within the fort's moat. Both sides suffered heavy casualties including Nikolai's commander Dominik. David also sacrifices himself to protect Genya from one of Kirigan's Nichevo'ya. Meanwhile, Alina, Mal, Inej, Nina, and Zoya sail to the heart of the Fold to destroy it. Before Alina and Mal can put their plan into action, they are attacked by the Darkling, who injures Mal. Alina manages to wound Kirigan with the Cut.
168"No Funerals"Mairzee AlmasEric Heisserer & Erin ConleyMarch 16, 2023 (2023-03-16)
Inside the besieged fort, Nikolai and Wylan fight a Nichevo'ya, a shadowy creature created by the Darkling. Putting their plan into action, Alina stabs Mal through the heart, killing him and unleashing a massive amount of energy that destroys the Fold. Following the Fold's destruction, Kirigan attempts to take advantage of Alina's grief by proposing a relationship with her. Alina however rejects Kirigan's overtures and stabs him to death. Despite Bagra's warnings, Alina decides to use Merzost to resurrect Mal. After vanquishing the Darkling's Nichevo'ya, Alina and her allies burn Kirigan's body to prevent his followers from using his body for relics. Genya mourns over David's death and discovers he intend to propose to her, with a ring he was going to make for her. Mal decides to become a privateer and joins Inej, Tamar, Tolya, and Nadia on their flying ship. Nina travels to Hellgate with a royal pardon for Matthias. With Pekka's permission, Matthias takes part in a fight but refuses to kill two wolves due to his drüskelle beliefs. After resisting, Matthias is beaten up by the guards. Elsewhere, Kaz informs his fellow Crows that their new job involves smuggling jurda parem, a drug that enhances Grishas' powers. During Nikolai and Alina's coronation ceremony, a Heartrenderer, under the influence of Jurda Parem, makes an assassination attempt. However, Alina kills the assassin with the Cut, drawing on her new shadow powers.



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.[8] On October 2, 2019, Lee Toland Krieger was announced as the director of the pilot.[9]

In June 2021, the series was renewed for an 8-episode second season.[10] It was confirmed in January 2022 that production on the second season had begun.[11] 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.[12]

Following the release of Shadow and Bone's second season, Heisserer revealed that the scripts for a spin-off series focused on the Crows were already written. He also stressed that the fate of Shadow and Bone and a potential spin-off depended on the viewing figures for season two.[13] On November 15, 2023, Netflix canceled Shadow and Bone after two seasons.[14] Plans for a spin-off series were also abandoned.[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 its lead Alina.[18] On October 2, 2019, it was announced that Shadow and Bone would starring Jessie Mei Li with Ben Barnes, Freddy Carter, Archie Renaux, Amita Suman, and Kit Young filling out the rest of the cast as supporting actors.[9] 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 were 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)
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
Shadow and Bone: Season 2 (Soundtrack from the Netflix Series)
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMarch 10, 2023 (2023-03-10)
LabelMaisie Music Publishing
Shadow and Bone: Season 2 (Soundtrack from the Netflix Series)
1."On the Run"3:42
2."Market Chase"2:49
3."Tolya and Tamar"2:14
5."Come Sail Away"2:03
7."Arriving at the Island"1:09
8."Crows Ambushed"2:27
9."Return of the Useless Grunt"1:25
10."I'm Here for the Killers"2:16
11."Matthias Fights"4:22
12."The Night We Met"2:01
13."Become the Blade"7:55
14."Jesper's Past"1:10
15."Hope is Dangerous"2:24
16."Shu Han"5:18
17."The Disciple"7:00
18."I Can't Lose You"4:35
19."Deserve Her"3:59
21."Battle at the Moat"5:47
22."Stronger Than an Emerald"1:50
23."We Can Do This"5:55
24."Final Goodbye"3:19
25."Let Me Be Your Monster"3:51
26."Loss and Sacrifice"3:19
27."Hope for the Future"2:48
28."How Will You Have Me"4:30
29."Rise and Fall"6:15
Total length:1:44:00

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 was released on March 16, 2023.[50] The official trailer for the second season was released on February 17, 2023.[51]


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.[10] Netflix reported that season 2 had been watched for 192,900,000 hours between January and June 2023, it was the 26th most watched show on Netflix in that time period, out of 18,000 titles.[52] According to a report by Eshap, the combined hours viewed of both seasons in the first half of 2023 amounted to 292,400,000 hours which actually made the series number 15 on the list of the most watched shows in that time period.[53] Season 2 was in the Global Netflix top 10 for 5 weeks and in the top 10 of 86 countries for up to 6 weeks after its release.[54] Shadow and Bone also ranked number two on the Nielsen charts in the week of its release, with over 1.14 billion minutes watched by subscribers (including season 1 episodes).[55] It then finished among the top 10 original series for four weeks after its premiere, compared to a five-week run during season one (however viewing time was about the same).[56] According to The Wrap and based on data gathered by Whip Media, Shadow and Bone was number 24 on the list of the most watched series on all streaming platforms in 2023.[57]

Critical response[edit]

As of January 2024, the show has a rating of 7.5 out of 10 on IMDb based on 112,000 ratings. It was number 10 on the list of the most searched shows worldwide on Google in 2023.[58] In January 2024, Shadow and Bone was voted Fan Favorite Series of 2023 on Rotten Tomatoes. The show took the lead with 54% of votes while the remaining four shows in the top five all earned just 4% of the vote.[59]

Season 1[edit]

Shadow and Bone has received positive reviews from critics. For the first season, Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 89% based on 81 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "From gorgeous costumes to impressive—if intimidating—world-building, Shadow and Bone is an exciting adventure for fans and newcomers alike."[60] Metacritic gave the first season a weighted average score of 68 out of 100 based on 22 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[61]

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."[62] 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."[63] Molly Freeman of Screen Rant praised it as a "thrillingly exciting fantasy drama".[64]

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."[65]

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."[66] 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."[67]

Season 2[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has an 83% approval rating based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 6.0/10. The website's critics consensus states, "Shadow and Bone's sophomore season packs in too much story sinew to properly breathe, but this adventure remains great fun for fantasy fans."[68] On Metacritic, the second season received a score of 73 based on reviews from 8 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[69]

Lacy Baugher Milas of Paste Magazine gave a critical review, describing the second season as "not only poorly paced but narratively overstuffed, crammed with new characters, superfluous side quests, and rapid-fire plot revelations that are rarely given enough time to breathe, let alone develop fully." Due to the season's expanded plot-lines, Milas observed that little time was spent on exploring the emotional fallout that its characters experienced. Milas praised the performances of Li, Renaux, Galligan, Young, Wolfe, Barnes and Wanamaker.[70]

Abby Cavenaugh of Collider awarded the second season a B− rating, describing the second season as "more of a lackluster and uneven follow-up, but still remains an entertaining ride from start to finish." She attributed the "crammed" plotlines to the season's adaptation of storylines from six of Bardugo's novels Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising, Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom, King of Scars and The Lives of Saints. Cavenaugh praised Barnes' portrayal of the antagonistic Darkling, comparing him with Michael B. Jordan's portrayal of Erik Killmonger in Black Panther. She also praised the casting of newcomers Patrick Gibson, Lewis Tan, and Anna Leong Brophy as faithful to the source material but criticised their "overacting" for distracting from the story. Cavenaugh also criticised the neglect of Skogman's character Matthias' storyline. Cavenaugh also praised the initial appearances of both the returning and new cast members, as well as the animated maps of several plot settings including Ravka, Novyi Zem, and Ketterdam.[71]

Samantha H. Chung of The Harvard Crimson gave the second season a mixed review. While she praised the performances of the main cast members particularly Carter, Suman, Gibson, and Head, she criticised the cramming of multiple storylines from Bardugo's novels and the breakneck pace of the second season's storylines, which she opined affected the development of relationships between the series' characters. Chung however praised the second season's expansive worldbuilding, visually beautiful plot settings, the exploration of the protagonist Alina's biracial identity, and the relationship between Young and Wolfe's characters.[72]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2021 IFTA Film & Drama Awards Best VFX Ed Bruce and Robert Hartigan Nominated [73]
Dragon Awards Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series Shadow and Bone Nominated [74]
2023 Emmy Awards Outstanding Special Visual Effects In A Single Episode "Rusalye", Ante Dekovic, Helen Jen, Richard Macks, Gergely Galisz, Juri Stanossek, Adam Balentine, Jane Byrne, Håvard Munkejord, Angel Rico Nominated [75]
2024 Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project José María del Fresno, Matthieu Poirey, Carlos Puigdollers, Guillermo Ramos
(for No Funerals; Nichevo’ya the Shadow Monster)
Nominated [76]


Season 3[edit]

Netflix cancelled Shadow and Bone on November 15, 2023,[77] despite having been the 15th most watched show on Netflix in the first half of 2023,[53] the 10th most Googled show in 2023,[78] and having stayed in the top 10 of 86 countries for up to 6 weeks after its release.[58] The decision came a week after the end of the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike and a month and a half after the end of the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike. The strikes were presented by Netflix as the reason for the cancellation.[79] Eric Heisserer was at the head of the Negotiating Committee during the strike .[80] Leigh Bardugo,[81] Ben Barnes,[82] Daeghan Fryklind, Shelley Meals,[83] Christina Strain, Erin Conley, Stacy Milbourn, and Lilly Slaydon[84] were among the numerous Shadow and Bone cast and crew members who participated in the strike. Many media outlets stated that Netflix had made a wrong decision[85] based on the viewership data.[86]

Six of Crows spin-off[edit]

Following the cancellation, it was confirmed that Netflix decided to not go forward with the Six of Crows spin-off.[87] The script for the spin-off had been commissioned by Netflix and completed before the release of season 2.[88] Eric Heisserer shared a sizzle reel for the spin-off[89] in a Reddit comment.[90]

Fan campaign[edit]

Immediately upon the news of the cancellation, a campaign called Save the Grishaverse[91] was launched by fans online. A Discord server was created to coordinate the effort.[92] A petition titled "SAVE Shadow and Bone!!!" is currently online to save Season 3 and the spin-off. It was launched on on November 16, 2023, and gathered more than 120,000 signatures in 4 days.[93] According to, it was the most signed petition to renew a series in 2023. A Kickstarter project was also launched on November 18, 2023 to fund a billboard campaign in Los Angeles and London. The Kickstarter closed on December 23, having gathered $13,882 thanks to 457 backers. The two billboards were unveiled on January 23, 2024.[94]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]