Shadow and Bone Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

“Shadow and Bone” / Shadow and Bone

Genre fantasy
Creators Eric Heisserer
Cast: Jessie Mei Lee (Alina Starkov), Ben Barnes (General Kirigan), Archie Renault (Mal), Freddie Carter (Kaz), Amita Suman (Hoarfrost), Keith Young (Jasper), Danielle Galligan (Nina), Zoe Wanamaker ( Bagra), Daisy Head (Zhenya), Tom Weston-Jones (General Zlatan) and others.
Netflix channel
Release year 2021
Series 8
Site IMDb

So, the first season of the series “Shadow and Bone” presents us with a new and rather intricate fantasy world with its monsters, magicians, wars, rulers, conspiracies and, of course, a love triangle.

The series is based on the novels of the American writer Lee Bardugo (the showrunners decided not to film them in the order of release, but immediately combined several books into a single plot). The plot takes place in a place called Ravka – this is a country that the writer came up with, being impressed by the Russian Empire.

Actually, this fact itself can repel from viewing. But as soon as Netflix took over the film adaptation (along with 21 Laps Entertainment, which participated in the production of Stranger Things), it became clear that only military uniforms would remain of the imperial basis in the series. Well, the king, sitting on a high throne (however, his role is so small that it becomes comical in its own way). Otherwise, Netflix has given free rein to its favorite trends, so there is a lot of racial diversity in the cast, modern mannerisms in the conversations of the characters, and love affairs are not limited to heterosexual relationships.


This is still not the main thing in history, in the center of the series “Shadow and Bone” the classic basis of most fantasy plots is the confrontation between good and evil, as well as the thorny path of the Chosen One, on whose shoulders the fate of all mankind will be entrusted at one moment.

The chosen one, and to be exact – the Sorcerer of the Sun, turns out to be a girl named Alina. She lived in an orphanage, unaware of her powerful power. The only treasure she treasured was her friendship with a boy named Mal. The children grew up to be close friends who serve in various military units near the Shady Canyon, a giant dark streak inhabited by terrifying monsters.


To quickly get into the plot, you need to know that the Shadow Canyon divides Ravka into two parts, and you can cross it on horseback on special ships controlled by Grisha (people who from birth have special abilities, such as the ability to heal flesh or control the wind).

It is also worth remembering a land called Ketterdam (visually very similar to Victorian Europe, where gambling houses and human trafficking flourish) – there will be another group of central characters that turns any plan into a well-thought-out adventure.


To be honest, from the first episode of the series it is quite difficult to understand how the fantasy world works, who fights in it, and who profits from other people’s abilities. However, the main storylines quickly clear up and become more or less interesting, even if the writers are in no hurry to fully clarify the big picture. So, for example, showrunners add racial hostility to Alina’s character, but they never really explain the reasons for hating the girl’s appearance (perhaps they will talk about her parents in the second season, the shooting of which is already in the plans).

There are interesting faces in the main cast, they are quickly remembered thanks to expressive characters and rather thoughtful storylines with a lot of nuances (some moments visually resemble The Irregulars series, but it just turned out to be a complete failure in all of the above). But the plot really comes to life when Ben Barnes appears in the frame, who still fits well into fantasy worlds (the actor previously starred in a two-part film adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia), where he takes on a leading role.


Despite the intricate system of peoples, states and gifted people, the series “Shadow and Bone” sometimes resembles other famous works and, alas, does not avoid the cliché of teenage romances with two contenders for the heart of the main character. However, so many events happen in eight episodes that the romantic lines do not linger on the screen for a long time, giving way to hunters, swindlers, palace schemers and magical deer.

All this is accompanied by pretty good (for a series) special effects and, of course, twists to such an extent that the story is simply obliged to continue.

Pros: young actors who are well remembered; Ben Barnes in one of the main roles; new fantasy world; showrunners change the material of the book in their own way; modern innovations turn out to be successful Cons: in some places the plot is similar to other fantasy works; some nuances were not clarified to the end (like racial hatred for the main character) Conclusion:

Writer Leigh Bardugo’s material is skeptical, but Netflix adapts her novels quite well, so the first season of Shadow and Bone is almost a success.

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