The long awaited first season of Netflix’s Shadow and Bone is finally here! Fans of the books can expect to dive headfirst into the world of Ravka and the Grishaverse through this TV adaptation. That said, here are a few differences between book and screen. (This is your one-and-only spoiler warning.)
1. A Closer Look into Mal
In the books, Mal is Alina’s childhood best friend, who she has a massive crush on. This is still the same in the show, but Mal’s characterization flourishes on the silver screen in a way it did not in text. His character feels rich and the ways in which his loyalty is portrayed is definitely one of the high points in the series. In the book, Shadow and Bone, Mal’s character is tinged with a slight jealousy or resentment towards Alina, but in the show, his faith in her burns brightest.
2. Zoya’s Turn
A fan favorite, Zoya is one of the first Grisha introduced to the reader. She has a mean edge, but by the end of the series, she’s someone that the audience is rooting for. In the book, we are led to believe that she hates Alina because she is The Darkling’s favorite and that she is jealous of her. In the show, Zoya is still envious of Alina, but it goes a step further. Alina is part Shu and Zoya makes sure to point it out and intimidate Alina because of it. Zoya’s hatred of Alina takes a racist edge that we had not seen in the books, and because of this, it inherently changes the dynamics between the two moving forward.
3. The Darkling Backstory 2.0
Fans of the book might be surprised to see parts of The Darkling’s backstory revealed much earlier than they were in the book. In particular, there is one pivotal moment from the last book in the series that is seen early on in the TV show. Because the characters in the show are aged up, The Darkling’s past is full of new twists, new names, characters and more along the way.
4. Three Crows in the Shadows
The new Netflix series intertwines the characters in Shadow and Bone with the main characters in Six of Crows: Kaz, Jesper, and Inej. While the series follows the main plot of Shadow and Bone, the characters from Six of Crows are directly involved in Alina’s story. Because of this, all of the events that happen in Shadow and Bone, specifically in the later half, shift to accommodate these new additions. Kaz, Jesper, and Inej push the story into new and interesting directions that will be sure to interest book fans. Expect surprises!
5. Kisses, Kisses and Kisses
In the book, the Darkling and Alina share only one kiss initiated by the Darkling. In the show, Alina makes the first move. Later on, in the same episode, they kiss again. This deviates slightly from the book, but it was something the actors pushed for. In a recent interview, Jesse Mei Li, who plays Alina, spoke on the importance of consent when it came to scenes like this saying, “We had lots of conversations with the producers and our showrunner Eric about kind of making it Alina’s choice, that ‘I’ want this and it’s not being forced upon her.”
6. The Shadow Fold
Shadow and Bone ends with Alina and Mal in the Shadow Fold, escaping from volcra and the Darkling’s army. Part of the cliffhanger is seeing what is on the other side and whether they will even make it before something else comes to stop them. In the show, Alina and Mal make it successfully across the Fold, and as viewers we are given a chance to catch our breath with the characters as they plan out their next steps.
What do you think of Shadow and Bone? Check out our review here.