In season one of “Shadow and Bone,” we witnessed Alina Starkov transform from an ordinary cartographer of the Royal Corps to an extraordinary Grisha. The character arc of Alina was typically that of a shy and timid outcast who miraculously learns that she is the savior that the world has been waiting for. She initially lived in denial of her power, desperately hoping to lead a simple life with her best friend, Malyen Oretsev, but ultimately, she realized the importance of accepting her true identity and using her power to its full potential. Coming from a person who has not read the text, it would have been all the more exciting if the character of Alina was not as helpless and gullible as she was portrayed to be in the first season. As an orphan whose world revolved around her best friend, her initial conflict and denial was expected. But her vulnerability and overall lack of valor towards the end seemed a little too stretched, especially if we compare her with Malyen, who remained undefeated even after being shot and stabbed. Nonetheless, in the second season of “Shadow and Bone,” we will surely witness a powerful and determined Alina, who has now accepted that she is the Sun Summoner. Here are a few crucial instances from season 1 that you should remember before tuning in to watch season 2 of “Shadow and Bone.”
The Darkling And Alina Starkov: Shadow And Sun
Alina and Kirigan started off as lovers before becoming sworn enemies. The Shadow Summoner, Kirigan, was the General of the Second Army, and he was the man Alina was brought to after the ship she was traveling on successfully passed through the Fold. The shadow Fold divided Ravka into two— the East and the West. The Fold was created as an act of vengeance by the Black Heretic when King Anastas, fearing opposition, put a bounty on his head. Only the Grishas were able to travel through the Fold, and they offered their service to the King to keep the connection between the East and the West alive. The Fold consisted of deadly monsters who fed on humans— the volcra. The chances of success were higher with the Grishas, but there was no guarantee. The volcra often became impossible to deal with, leading to several failed attempts to cross the Fold. Therefore, it was nothing short of a wonder that the ship Alina was onboard, crossed the Fold even after being attacked by volcra.
Alina was not enlisted to travel through the Fold, but the thought of staying away from Malyen was impossible for her to accept. She burned the maps left in the tent and volunteered to travel through the Fold to redraw them. Unfortunately, the volcra attacked the ship a few minutes after it entered the Fold. When the monster lifted Alina off the ground, she summoned the light with her dormant powers and destroyed the creatures. It was in the face of danger that her powers emerged to its full potential, and she utilized her special talent for the first time in her life. General Kirigan wished to verify the floating rumor, and Alina was brought to his tent. A simple cut in her skin revealed the light she carried within. For centuries, the Grisha and the common folk had been waiting for the Sun Summoner to destroy the Fold. Watching Alina glow was surreal for Kirigan, and he immediately took measures to protect her. Alina was confined to the Little Palace with the other Grishas. After demonstrating her power to the King of Ravka, she was instructed to polish her skill under the guidance of Baghra. After noticing how the sudden pressure of saving the world overwhelmed Alina, the General discussed the shame and guilt he lived with for being a descendant of the Black Heretic. Alina was the hope of all Grishas, especially him. After the creation of the Fold, Grishas were murdered, experimented on, and treated as outcasts by most of the world. With Alina’s special gift, she could destroy the Fold and free them. The pressure on Alina was immense, but she trusted Kirigan when he promised to protect her. From then on, Alina shared Kirigan’s dream of changing the world.
Kirigan realized he was getting closer to his dream as Alina practiced and mastered the art of summoning at will. Delegates from far and wide were invited to witness Alina’s special gift at the Little Palace. The moment Alina summoned light at will, the entire room bowed down to her, hailing her as the Saint and the promised Sun Summoner. A lot happens in this elaborate affair, from a man popularly known as the Conductor mistakenly murdering a Grisha who was impersonating Alina to make a political statement for the liberation of the West Ravka to the Crows trying to kidnap Alina for a million kruge. The most important thing that happened that night was when Baghra disclosed to Alina the whole truth about her son, General Kirigan, alias the Darkling.
When Baghra noticed how Alina was falling in love with Kirigan, she decided it was time that Alina knew the truth. She revealed the most shocking truth about the Black Heretic to her. He was her own son, General Kirigan, who had lived through many centuries. He did not create the shadow fold by accident; he did so intentionally and chose to hide behind a nobleman’s name after it. His intention was to expand the Fold and use it as a weapon to take over the world. He used the Merzost to turn innocent people into monstrous creatures now residing in the Fold. Therefore, the volcra were nothing more than the former residents of the land now consumed by the Shadow Fold. He never cared about the lives he destroyed, and he was surely not too bothered about Alina’s welfare. All he wanted was power, and he intended to hunt all of Morozova’s creatures. He had been waiting centuries for Alina, because with her power, he could enter the Fold and weaponize it. Baghra helped Alina leave the Little Palace through a secret passage. She did not believe Alina was trained enough to fight the Darkling, and running away was the safest option. Thus began the Darkling’s hunt for Alina and her desperate attempt to protect herself and Malyen from the terror unleashed upon them.
One of the most interesting aspects of “Shadow and Bone” is the journey of the three crows: Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, and Jesper Fahey. Brekker was the leader of the gang and took pride in always coming up with solutions in times of crisis. He is also known as the ‘bastard of the barrel,” and his iconic cane makes him distinguishable. He blindly trusts his chosen assassin, Inej Ghafa. Born a Suli, Inej was forcefully brought to Ketterdam to work as a slave when she was a child. When it came to Inej, Kaz was sentimental; her talent and dedication impressed him. Inej was content living with the gang, and the only thing she wanted in exchange for working for Kaz was that he paid off her captor, Tante Heleen. Jesper Fahey was a gambler and sharpshooter. Unlike Kaz and Inej, Jesper is far more flamboyant. He is a talented shooter, but his gambling addiction often had the better of him. Jesper brings humor and a lighthearted approach to their rather intense mission of kidnapping the Sun Summoner.
Kaz was promised a million kruge if he managed to bring the Sun Summoner to Ketterdam. They devised an elaborate plan to kidnap Alina, but it did not work in their favor. Later, when Inej witnessed Alina summon the light, she was mesmerized. She believed in the holy books and hoped that one day, the Sun Summoner would be born and bring Ravka back together. Inej’s respect and admiration for Alina were the reasons she chose to let her go. They were close to fulfilling their mission, but she could not fight Alina. Even though the trio had intended to kidnap Alina and escape, they ended up staying by her side and helping her fight the Darkling.
Why Was The Tally Significant? Did Alina Defeat The Black Heretic?
As a little girl, Alina would often dream about the magnificent stag without realizing its meaning or significance in her life. As an adult, the stag became her source of strength. The stag was almost like her guardian angel, looking after her whenever she faced challenging situations. Later, when Alina started living at the Little Palace, she learned from the Apparat about the significance of the stag and other Morozova’s creatures. Morozova, also known as the bonesmith in the legend, was rumoured to have created magical creatures with his own finger bones. The creatures were meant to amplify the strength that any Grisha possessed. The Grisha who killed the creature and melded its bone into their body would be able to magnify their strength. When the Darkling got to know that Morozova’s stag visited Alina in her dreams, he asked the first army men to search for the stag. Mal risked his life for the mission and went across the Fjerda border, hoping that the stag would bring him close to Alina. While Mal could not bring the stag to Ravka, he had seen it with his own eyes and knew where it could be found.
Alina had been waiting all her life to come face-to-face with the stag; therefore, when she saw the creature standing right in front of her, it was completely magical. She could not think about shooting the creature and hoped to find another way to take its power. But unfortunately, the Darkling and his men interfered and injured the stag. The Darkling offered to save Mal’s life in exchange for the stag. He killed the stag, and with the help of Fabricator David, he amplified Alina’s power by melding the antler into her neck and taking control of her power using the piece of the antler in his hand. With the power of summoning the sun under his control, he now had all that he needed to expand the Fold and weaponize it for himself.
The journey through the Fold began, and the Darkling had delegates from all across the world onboard to witness the chaos. The crows hid in the hull of the ship along with Mal, and they decided to attack the General when the time was right. With Alina’s power, the Darkling created a path through the Fold. Even after witnessing the ruthlessness of General Kirigan, Alina still wondered why he was unwilling to destroy the Fold. The Darkling demonstrated what he could achieve by merging his powers with those of Alina. He extended the Fold and slaughtered an entire city, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people. He wanted to show the world what the repercussions would be if anyone dared to go against him. He ordered the delegates to bow down to him, but when they protested, he killed them. Meanwhile, Mal and the crows attacked the Grishas working for the General. Just when Alina was losing all hope, the stag came to her rescue and showed her the right path. She stabbed the palm of the General with the dagger lying next to her, removing the piece of the antler in it. Even though the Darkling had killed the stag, she realized that her powers were magnified because the stag chose her before dying, as she had saved his life. He simply could not claim something that never really belonged to him. After an intense fight with Mal, the Darkling was ultimately attacked by his own creation— the Volcra. The perfect tale of tasting one’s own medicine.
After reaching the shore, Alina handed over a jewelry piece to Kaz. She was thankful for the crows and, at the same time, wanted them to keep her location a secret from the world. Kaz promised her to do so. Zoya advised Alina to stay away from Ravka, find new allies, and return stronger to claim their country again. It was time for the crows to return to Ketterdam, but there were too many enemies waiting to destroy them. Kaz had a plan, but it required a Heartrender to execute it. In the boat was Nina, a Heartrender who was captured by a Fjerdan man and eventually fell in love with him. The romance was short-lived, and after escaping several challenging situations, she was looking for a way to survive. Joining the crows seems to be her best possible option at the moment. Alina and Mal are on their own now, just like old times, and they are determined to return in a better form and with a well-thought-out plan.
‘Shadow And Bone’ Season 2: What To Expect Next?
At the end of Season 1, we witnessed that the menacing Darkling didn’t die in the Fold and had returned to the land with a new type of creature following him. After successfully weaponizing the Fold, the Darkling will attempt to take over the world in “Shadow and Bone” Season 2. His army is indestructible, and the only person who can defeat the Darkling is Alina. To effectively make use of the Fold, Kirigan needs Alina, and we don’t doubt that he will tear down heaven and earth to find her. Additionally, we think he might actually have feelings for her. He was playing a game all along, trying to ensnare her feelings for his benefit, but somewhere along the line, he started feeling for her. We got a clue to this when he hinted at his feelings for Alina during his conversation with Mal. Kirigan places his mission above Alina’s, for sure, but she means something to him.
We can also expect some politics with a weakened royalty that cannot stay that way since Alina is missing. Towards the end of “Shadow and Bone” Season 1, we saw that there were a lot of rumors floating around about what had happened to her. Therefore, if and when Alina comes back, it will be quite a surprise for many. We also believe that there might be trouble in Alina and Mal’s paradise. She is the most powerful Grisha out there and Mal is just another tracker. He might be used to blackmail her time and again but other than that, he is in danger of being left behind, especially if Kirigan finds Alina once again. As for Kaz, Inej and Jesper, we believe they will be off on their next big heist that will certainly intertwine with the story of Alina, Mal and Kirigan.
With more cities destroyed and people killed, Alina prepares to go to war with the Black Heretic. She will try to track down Morozova’s creatures to amplify her power and find allies willing to support her in the war. With an indestructible army, new characters, a fierce Alina, and of course, the crows, season 2 of “Shadow and Bone” looks promising.