Did Nina Save Matthias From Pekka Rollins At The End Of ‘Shadow And Bone’ Season 2?

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We all love a good “opposites attract” love story, especially when the guy is the grump, and the girl is a ray of sunshine. It is the most tiring trope in the world, yet the most effective, and we can say that it will never go out of fashion. It also helps that when Calahan Skogman, who plays Matthias Helvar, smiles, the screen lights up. He deserved to share better chemistry with whoever played Nina Zenik. We did like Danielle Galligan in the role, but we were disappointed at the lack of chemistry, that is all. Something else that upset us was the duo’s absolute lack of screen time. The series “Shadow and Bone” has not just kept to the trilogy of its namesake but has brought together the stories of the entire Grishaverse, with the “Six of Crows” and the “King of Scars” duologies. That has forced the development of significant relationships and even some of our primary protagonists.

Concerning Nina and Matthias, while the general outline of their story stayed true to the books, the development of their love was left to the imagination of the viewers. We understand that since “Shadow and Bone,” Season 1 and Season 2 were not about them. We also did not feel trouble in filling the gaps in their story, considering how many of that kind we have seen and read. But it still pinches us a little bit. We think it is because we like the actor, Calahan Skogman, so much. 

As we come to their story, we learn that there have always been tensions between Ravka and its neighboring countries. In fact, it was these very tensions that are rumored to be the reason the Grisha came into being. A Lantsov king prayed to the saints to send help to defend his country, and a group of monks who could transform into animals answered him. After the wars, they had to go through a ritual to become humans again. They joined the King, and it is said that they are the first Grisha. It is sad that after their purpose was served, they have only been treated with mistrust and hostility. Even in Ravka, though the Grisha were a part of the King’s defenses as their Second Army, they are still not as accepted as they should be. In fact, it was this very persecution of them that had prompted Aleksander to create the Shadow Fold all those years back. The Grisha was a necessity for Ravka, yet they were mostly tolerated by others. It was only in Novyi Zem, the place where Jesper comes from, that the Grisha power was seen as a blessing. Unfortunately, neither Matthias nor Nina belonged to Novyi Zen. Matthias came from Fjerda, where Grisha was considered a witch and was hunted by Druskelle.

The book and series have different versions of how Nina was captured by them. In the book, she accidentally wanders into their camp while on a mission. In the series “Shadow and Bone,” she is betrayed by the innkeeper and captured while putting up a fight against five of them. Matthias was one of her captors, and that is why we would have preferred the book version since it allows us to look at him with a kinder lens. In the series, he was the guy who fought against Nina by unfairly outnumbering her. She is taken to the ship, where she is kept tied up all the time with the other prisoners. Presumably, she is left alone for most of it, but one time, Matthias brings her some bread and tries to barter it for some information about other Grisha. But Nina refuses to give in and questions his laws and his way of life. He spent years persecuting Grisha without knowing if they were actually good or evil.

When Nina refuses to answer any questions of Matthias, he tells her to just take the bread and that he doesn’t want anything in return, but Nina doesn’t give in. If you ask us, we would have taken the bread in the interest of being practical when confined to grueling conditions. But Nina was either too proud or too stupid. However, that caught Matthias’ attention for sure. When the ship faces a massive storm, Nina manages to get free, and she rescues Matthias as well. They form an uneasy partnership, where she keeps them warm with her abilities while he swims them back to the shore with his strength. They are in Kerch now, and Matthias doesn’t have to abide by Fjerdan laws where he hunts Grisha. That allows him to start seeing Nina as a person, and he falls in love fast. We wish he hadn’t constantly made the comparison between her and the “meek” Fjerdan women. It reeked of the “not like other girls” trope, and that was simply off-putting. Either way, Matthias fell for her vivaciousness, and Nina fell for his smile and gentleness.

Later, when they discuss whether they should be with each other, they realize that they would have to sacrifice everything about their previous lives. Nina would not be able to go back to Ravka or freely use her Grisha powers, and Matthias couldn’t go back to Fjerda. But they love each other enough to take the chance. Unfortunately, before they can start their new lives, Nina has to reveal Matthias as a slave trader to protect him from the other Grisha. Matthias doesn’t know this, and when he finds himself in prison, he assumes that Nina has betrayed him to take revenge and subject him to everything she went through.

In Season 2 of “Shadow and Bone,” Nina gets caught up with the Crows just to protect Matthias. She meets Matthias and tries to tell him why she had to do what she did, but he doesn’t believe her. Either way, Nina doesn’t stop her efforts. She makes sure that he is not subjected to any of the fights by asking Kaz Brekker to pay off the guards and keep his name off the list. Nina is presented with an opportunity by Pekka Rollins to betray Kaz and get Matthias’ freedom, but Nina chooses the right way. It could have been her choice, or it could have been how she has changed as a person since she met Matthias. We would have known better if their story had been as elaborate as it was in the books. Either way, when Matthias’ anger cools down, he remembers how Nina never stopped visiting him and pleading for her innocence. This is not the behavior of a person who wants revenge, especially since there is nothing he can do for her anymore. Yet he wants his freedom and asks Pekka Rollins to get him into a fight. When Matthias comes to know that Kaz was probably keeping his name off the list, he is confused, as he doesn’t know the man, but he might have connected the dots later on.

In their last scene in “Shadow and Bone,” season 2, Nina brings Matthias the letter of pardon, but to no avail. However, when he sees her being taken away, the look in his eyes is one of concern and love. We think he realizes that she is innocent or is at least ready to hear her case again. We will only know in “Shadow and Bone” Season 3 whether they are able to reunite and what role Pekka Rollins will have in their story or what awaits them from thereon.


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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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