It’s been ten years since Shadow and Bone was published, launching fans into the faraway world of Ravka and its Grisha. Leigh Bardugo’s captivating series spans nine books, with over 2.5 million copies sold just in English alone! The New York Times #1 best-selling series was also adapted into an amazing, record-breaking Netflix series – the second season of which is currently in production.
To celebrate ten years of Shadow and Bone, I’m going to revisit my speculation post from last year, just after it was announced that the series had been renewed for season 2.
Where We Left Off
When last we saw our intrepid heroes, they were all on the same ship, leaving Ravka behind (Kaz, Jesper, Inej, Nina, and Matthias bound for Ketterdam, Alina and Mal headed to an unknown location) and believing Kirigan to be finished. But we the audience knows that the Darkling emerged from the Fold and brought a whole new horror with him in the form of shadow soldiers called nichevo’ya.
All of our principal characters are confirmed to return for season 2.
Who’s Coming Back
Aside from everyone mentioned above, we have Zoya, who intends to search the ruins of Novokribirsk for her family. Genya and David worked with the Darkling but weren’t on the skiff when it was attacked and are presumably alive and well back at the Grisha camp in Kribirsk. Fedyor went to Arkesk after Nina. Nadia and Baghra were seemingly left behind at the Little Palace.
Genya and Zoya are confirmed to return for season 2. I expect more confirmations will trickle in now that they have finished filming.
While there hasn’t been much to report since my last post, in the past year, we have gotten some big reveals in the way of casting. Four hugely important and fan-favorite characters finally have faces attached to them, so let’s take a look at these new characters and what role they’ll potentially play in season 2.
Patrick Wilson as Nikolai Lantsov
Perhaps the most important new character, at least plot-wise, Nikolai is the second son of the King of Ravka. He has big ideas as to how he can bring his country into the future, and those ideas do not mesh with what his father and brother want. Nikolai is beloved among the Ravkan people for a number of reasons, not the least because he served in the army. He meets Alina in a very interesting way in Siege and Storm, but I don’t want to reveal too much because of spoilers!
I think Nikolai’s role will largely align with his arc in the books. Even with some of the changes from season 1, there’s no reason to suspect that they’re going to diverge too heavily from the main plot of the trilogy. This means Nikolai will feature heavily in the hunt for the next legendary creature (remember, the stag was not the only animal shown in Alina’s book!) as well as the return to Ravka and building up the Grisha army.
Lewis Tan and Anna Leong Brophy as twins Tolya Yul-Battar and Tamar Kir-Battar
Alongside Nikolai come his faithful bodyguards, Shu Heartrenders Tolya and Tamar. Tamar and Tolya play much larger roles in the King of Scars duology, but they are fan-favorite characters and valuable allies to Alina.
As with Nikolai, I don’t expect their stories to be that far off from what they are in Siege and Storm. We can probably expect to see a little more exploration of their abilities and background, though – information that wouldn’t be revealed for another few books. Tamar in particular is pretty important later, so I gather they’ll be laying some groundwork for that during season 2.
Jack Wolfe as Wylan Hendriks
This is the new character I’m most excited to meet – the young and impossibly naïve Wylan. He has a different last name in the books, but that may be because when we are first introduced to him – the new demolition man for the Crow crew – he is living under an assumed identity for his own protection. I’d imagine that will be the same in the series, as his identity is kind of an important plot point if the show decides to adapt the story arc from the Six of Crows duology.
At this time last year, I wasn’t sure if we would meet Wylan this early. He doesn’t join the Crows until Six of Crows (unlike the others who have been a team for a while), and I didn’t think they would start adapting the Ice Court heist yet. However, in the same way that they’ve adjusted some of the other characters’ backstories (Nina, for example, has a way different origin than she does in the books), they could just fiddle with Wylan’s as well.
Where Do We Go From Here
Season 2 will adapt Siege and Storm, the second book in the original trilogy. It may also feature some of Six of Crows, which is set about three years after Siege and Storm. Indeed, the hardest part about trying to figure out where season 2 will go is guessing what the Crows will be up to! It was a popular decision to bring the Crows in early – Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Nina, and Matthias aren’t in the original trilogy, and especially not in Shadow and Bone, which was the basis of season 1. But it presented a logistical decision of how to incorporate characters who haven’t been introduced into a story where they play no part.
For the most part, I think it was well done. Inventing a plot to kidnap Alina, the Sun Summoner, was an ingenious way to get all the necessary players in one spot (except for Nina and Matthias, all the way north in Fjerda). However, it does present an interesting challenge as to what will happen to the Crows now. The final episode of season 1 established that they are walking into a viper’s pit, and it’s a situation that didn’t happen in the books. The question will be, do they simply bring forward the Six of Crows plot, or do they again invent an entirely new story?
I’m a big fan of inventing an entirely new story! The Six of Crows duology was my favorite of the series, the characters are ridiculously popular, and they don’t really feature in the other books. But the world of Kerch, of Ketterdam, is so rich with possibility that it would be a wasted opportunity not to explore it further. Not to mention, a big part of the scheme in Crooked Kingdom involves characters who will be sort of busy elsewhere during season 2 (and hopefully season 3).
Besides, the season 1 finale clearly indicated that they were going to be Dealing With Some Things when they returned to Ketterdam. So I’d wager that the Crows’ season 2 plot will largely revolve around them getting out of the situation they put themselves in by failing to kidnap the Sun Summoner. Will it be completely separate from the events going on in Ravka, or will the different plots intertwine?
Now, at the beginning of Siege and Storm, Alina and Mal are hiding out in Novyi Zem. The show could keep this aspect, as Mal makes a friend named “Jess” and Jesper is from Novyi Zem. (That they are the same character has never been confirmed; this is primarily fan speculation.) Or it could lean into the changes and have the two of them take refuge in Ketterdam with the Crows. Alternatively, they could go to Shu Han, which is a location in the King of Scars duology.
Wherever they end up, they won’t be there for long, as they’re eventually discovered and brought back into Kirigan’s clutches. As I mentioned earlier, there is yet another hunt for a legendary creature, so Kirigan not only needs Alina’s abilities but also Mal’s skill as a tracker.
The hunt will definitely happen. The legendary creatures and the amplifiers they create are a huge part of the trilogy, something Kirigan has been after for years. There is no way they would have been hinted at in season 1 if they weren’t going to feature prominently. And if the hunt goes the way that it should, it’s on this voyage that we’re introduced to Nikolai, Tolya, and Tamar.
However, I do suspect things to go a little bit differently than they do in the book, if only because after the attack on the Fold, Alina has a better understanding of the amplifiers. The way that she took control of the situation implies that she won’t be as easily led as she was in the books. Alina and Mal may decide to go on the hunt themselves, or they may even ask the Crows for help, as a way to keep those storylines connected.
A large part of Siege and Storm relies on Kirigan and his loyal followers going off and doing their own thing while Alina rallies the others at the Little Palace. Again, this is a fairly pivotal arc in the trilogy and I don’t expect them to differ too wildly from what happened in the books. There may be some changes based off of what happened in season 1, but for the most part, I expect they’ll stick to the script as much as they can.
The question is, who will go where? Ivan is loyal to Kirigan, but his fate is currently unknown – although he is alive in Siege and Storm. Fedyor, on the other hand, sides with Alina in the books. In the Netflix series, the two are a couple (which, honestly? brilliant), which may complicate the situation. At the same time, Fedyor is away from the chaos, trying to track down Nina. He may stay on that mission and follow her to Ketterdam. If Ivan is dead after the attack on the Fold, Fedyor may hold Alina and the others responsible. That could also alter his role.
Also on Alina’s side in the books, we have Zoya and Nadia. Nadia plays a huge role in later books, particularly in the King of Scars duology, so I have to imagine that she’ll be returning. Zoya is super important for the same reasons, and I don’t expect her arc to change much, except to expand her role. I suspect that season 2 will continue to lay the groundwork for Zoya’s post-trilogy arc, which is objectively huge.
Another of Alina’s allies that we haven’t met yet that should be introduced in season 2 is Nadia’s brother, Adrik. I love him, so I hope they bring him on. As with the other characters, Adrik has a larger role to play in later books in the series. There are other Grisha that may be introduced, but at this point, it’s not certain that they will be. After all, Marie is alive in Siege and Storm, but she was killed during season 1.
Kirigan currently has Genya and David on his side, but don’t expect that to last long, especially if the creature hunt goes the way that it should. Expect that the eventual schism will be super dramatic. It may not go the exact same way as it does in the books, but with the exception of wild-card Fedyor, I still suspect the “sides” will be the same.
The introduction of new characters will also complicate existing interpersonal relationships. But will these complications mirror those in the trilogy, or will future books be taken into account? Some of the couples that form are not together in Siege and Storm, but will the show begin dropping hints for these pairings in season 2? Will we see love triangles (or quadrangles, in some cases) that we didn’t see in the books? Or will those subplots be altered completely?
It’s hard to delve too deeply into speculation on these matters without getting into spoiler territory. Maybe you don’t want to know which couples are endgame, and I fully support that! But there are definitely some things that, if they didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be that upset. Now that the show has all of the books to go off of, I’m looking forward to some characters and relationships getting more depth than they did in the books. Even among the ships that I have – even among the ships that went canon – I will never argue with more development.
Another thing to take into account when theorizing about season 2 is the show’s longevity. Netflix has a habit of canceling shows after two seasons because of costs, and the streaming platform’s current financial issues are no secret. Did the team behind Shadow and Bone go into season 2 banking on getting renewed for an additional season, or did they write a season that could act as a satisfying conclusion should the show get canceled?
Season 2 only recently finished filming, and there is as of right now no release date. So any theories I may come up with, even the vague ones outlined in this post, can and will change as more information comes out. Right now, there’s no reason to suspect that they’ll vary too widely from the plot of Siege and Storm, except for the Crows.
What are your theories about season 2? If you read Siege and Storm, what are you hoping they definitely adapt? How do you think the Crows will fit into everything?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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