How the Shadow and Bone Trilogy Ended

If you just finished season 2 of Netflix shadow and boneyou may be thinking, Holy shit, that was a LOT.

And it was, indeed, a lot! Unlike the first season, which mainly covered the events of the first book of Leigh Bardugo’s fantasy trilogy, the second season concludes the trilogy And adds some extra storylines for the other characters. In order to cover all this ground, some plot points have been removed, others skimmed over, and some reconfigured for the screen.

Any adaptation of a book will not be entirely true to the page. But when it comes to shadow and bonethis ending was a stark departure from what happened in the books.

(Ed. note: This post contains major spoilers for the end of shadow and bone season 2, as well as the Grishaverse books – read only if you watched the finale, or just want to be spoiled!)

Picture: Netflix

In the books, Alina and Mal enter the Fold, but the Darkling finds them and they have no chance of carrying out their plan. Mal tells Alina to stab him. And she does, but unlike the show, he doesn’t already die when she does. However, instead of the power surging through her, she loses her powers. Suddenly, everyone around her bursts into light, and Alina realizes that the Final Amplifier is multiplying the Solar Summoner’s power by thousands – literally, it’s multiplying into thousands of people all around her. With thousands of people now shooting the light like disco balls, the Fold is collapsing and the Darkling is truly upset. Not just because the Fold disappeared, but because Alina no longer has the ability to summon light. This means that he is the only Grisha in the world with such immense powers.

Because they are no longer bound by their psychic power bond, Alina grabs the same blade she just used to kill Mal and stabs the Darkling. As he dies, he asks Alina not to give him a grave so no one desecrates her, then asks her to say his name one last time. She does; he dies.

Miraculously, Tamar and Tolya are able to revive Mal, due to their combined Heartrender powers and the fact that Mal is a tough bastard.

But the mechanics of defeating the Darkling and defeating the Fold aside, the biggest difference is that in the books, Mal and Alina fake their deaths. “I died here. Do you understand?” Alina tells Tolya that they are leaving the remains of the Fold. “That was my martyrdom.”

Photo: David Lukacs/Netflix

Alina never explicitly says why she chose this, but it’s pretty obvious that she just wants this part of her life to be over. She never asked to be a saint and if she is still alive, she will be turned into a figurehead, put on a pedestal and scrutinized for everything she does. She informs the members of her inner circle – Tamar, Tolya, Nikolai, Zoya, Genya and David – of her decision and they help facilitate the lie. After working out their final details (including burning a corpse that Genya fixed to look like Alina), Mal and Alina return to the orphanage where they were raised and continue to lead quiet, ordinary, yet loving lives. life together.

…and they mostly disappear for three books, before appearing in Wolves Rule, the second book of the Nikolai duology, to help Zoya and Nikolai.

The series, however, does not exclude Alina and Mal in this way, presumably to keep them as active agents in a hypothetical third season. When Alina confronts the Darkling, the dangerous move she uses mortally wounds Mal as well. Since he must die anyway for her to absorb his Firebird powers, she stabs him as he dies, then kills the Darkling. Heartrender Nina tries to revive Mal, but it is implied that Alina is using ugly – or creation from scratch – to bring it back. When he returns, he has lost some of his innate tracking ability and tells Alina that he needs to part ways with her, as he no longer feels attracted to her. He takes over the alter ego of Nikolai from the corsair Sturmhond then embarks with Inej Ghafa of the Crows. Alina, meanwhile, is presumably continuing her engagement with Nikolai. During her coronation, however, a drugged Fjerdan agent slaughters an entire group of people, but Alina subdues her using the power of shadow magic – uh oh, looks like she has the powers of the Darkling!

We are far from what happens in the books, which link the story of Alina and Mal in the trilogy and emphasize the happiness of a quiet and cozy life. Curiously, the book’s ending matches the themes the series chose to focus on instead. In the books, much of the tension between Mal and Alina stemmed from romantic jealousy. But the show chooses to focus on the conflict between Alina’s desire to save Ravka no matter the cost to herself, and Mal simply wanting her not to destroy herself in doing so.

But that way, they’re in the center of the action for whatever Season 3 could possibly throw at them – even if it robs them of their thematically linked happy ending.

The second season of shadow and bone is now streaming on Netflix.

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