“Shadow and Bone” returns with a second season more triumphant than its first 


Vanya Arakelian

“Shadow and Bone” returns to Netflix, as well as its unique episode title pages.

Vanya Arakelian, Photo Editor

After 2 years of waiting, “Shadow and Bone”’s second season is finally on Netflix. After the critics’ praise of season 1, many expect the second season to live up to its high expectations, if not surpass them. 

Indeed it did. The second season brings back familiar faces from the first season, along with it the series’ most beloved characters, as well as the introduction to new characters that readers fell in love with before. 

With the charming additions of characters like Prince Nikolai Lantsov, or as he is first introduced to watchers as the pirate Sturmhond, (Patrick Gibson) the show lights up with a new character for watchers to fall in love with. The additions of the dynamic twin duo Tamar (Anna Leong Brophy) and Tolya (Lewis Tan) expand the Grishaverse family. 

Season 2 of the show follows a mixture of all of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse books. While at times it felt rushed compared to the books, it was necessary for the TV show. Reading and watching are very different. Bardugo’s second book, Siege and Storm follows Alina’s journey to meet Nikolai and try to locate the Sea Whip. If the first season covered the first book, many were sure that the second season would cover the second and second only. 

However, as the episodes went on, almost half of the second book was entirely cut, and replaced with the third book. There is some good and some bad in this. The buildup that readers were expecting was completely gone, and there weren’t as many cliffhanging moments. On the other hand, the second book is fairly slow-paced and repetitive. While producers capitalized on that, for readers, it might seem like a way to cram all the storylines into one season. Nevertheless, it was entertaining and very engaging, even for readers. 

The moments where the show shined and transcended the first were the storylines of the Crows. Separate from the Shadow and Bone book series, the Crows’ storyline almost identically matched the books. Watchers finally understood each character’s backstory and deep-running trauma that eventually led them to Ketterdam. Finally, Wylan Hendricks, played by Jack Wolfe, plays a more prominent role this season. 

Truly, what elevated this season was the focus on the Crows’ storyline. Often, Alina and Mal’s storylines became repetitive and uninteresting. The Crows’ fascinating and engaging storyline made up for the dry moments during the episodes. This specific focus brought readers’ favorite scenes to life, including the introduction to Kaz’s trauma which molded him into the character he is currently, as well as his physical and mental struggle with overcoming that trauma and being the man that he deserves for Inej. 

Specifically, Kaz’s character development was drastically improved compared to the first season. At first, he was portrayed as weak, but in this season, Freddy Carter took the character Kaz and brought him to life on screen. 

Readers and watchers alike will follow the journey that the Crows and Alina go on simultaneously, but at the same time fall in love with the Crows’ storylines even more than  before.