Shadow and Bone (TV series)

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Shadow and Bone
Shadow and Bone Title.png
Based onShadow and Bone and Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo
Developed byEric Heisserer
Music byJoseph Trapanese
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Executive producers
Production locations
  • David Lanzenberg
  • Owen McPolin
  • Aaron Morton
  • Tyler Nelson
  • David Trachtenberg
  • Niven Howie
  • Lisa Bromwell
Running time45–58 minutes
Production companies
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
External links
Official website

Shadow and Bone is an American fantasy streaming television series developed by Eric Heisserer for Netflix that premiered on April 23, 2021.[1] It is based on the Grisha novel trilogy, the first of which is Shadow and Bone (2012), and the Six of Crows (2015) novel duology by Leigh Bardugo.


The story centers around characters from the Grishaverse - primarily the members of the Second Army of Ravka and the Crows from Ketterdam. The show follows Alina Starkov, who discovers that she is a Grisha (a person who can perform "small science") and can summon the light. This ability places her in the center of the war that has been raging between Ravka, Fjerda and Shu Han. Throughout the show, Alina attempts to control her powers so that she can destroy the Shadow Fold (a sea of darkness created centuries ago by the Black Heretic) inhabited by Volcra. The story also switches to that of Crows (a gang) and their struggle for power against Pekka Rollins in Ketterdam.[2][3]

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov, an orphan former assistant cartographer of the Royal Corps of Surveyors in the First Army and the Sun Summoner
    • Kaylan Teague as Young Alina
  • Archie Renaux as Malyen "Mal" Oretsev, an orphan tracker in the First Army and Alina's childhood best friend
    • Cody Molko as Young Mal
  • Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker, leader of the Crows, known as Dirtyhands
  • Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa, member of the Crows, known as the Wraith
  • Kit Young as Jesper Fahey, member of the Crows, a skilled sharp shooter
  • Ben Barnes as General Kirigan / Aleksander / The Darkling, General of the Second Army and the Shadow Summoner
  • Zoë Wanamaker as Baghra, Alina's Grisha trainer



No.TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release date
1"A Searing Burst of Light"Lee Toland KriegerEric HeissererApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
In East Ravka, Alina Starkov is a cartographer who is reunited with her childhood friend Mal Oretsev. Mal is chosen to be a part of the team who will cross the Fold. Alina sabotages the mission and is forced to join him. The team enters the Fold, overlooked by the arrival of General Kirigan. They are attacked by Volcra. Alexi, a crew member, escapes. Alina discovers her Sun Summoner abilities by unintentionally using them to fight off the Volcra. In Ketterdam, Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, and Jesper Fahey compete with Pekka Rollins for a job that pays one million kruge. When it is discovered that Dreesen first needs a Heartrender, Kaz beats Pekka to the only known one. Dreesen reveals to Kaz that he’s captured Alexi. The Heartrender gets Alexi to reveal that Alina is a Sun Summoner, and Dreesen reveals that getting Alina is the job.
2"We're All Someone's Monster"Lee Toland KriegerEric HeissererApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
In East Ravka, Alina is taken to Kirigan, who proves she is a Sun Summoner. She is then taken to the Little Palace. On her way, her convoy is ambushed by drüskelle. Most of the Grisha are killed, but Kirigan rescues her. They make it to the Little Palace, where Alina is given a room. In Ketterdam, Kaz refuses to give Pekka the job. Inej is summoned by Tante Heleen, who promises to give Inej her freedom if she kills Arken, a human trafficker. Kaz discovers that a man called The Conductor is ferrying people across the Fold, then discovers that Arken is The Conductor and Tante wants him dead. Kaz stops Inej from killing Arken, then gives Tante an acceptable collateral and promises to pay off his debt for Inej once he completes the job.
3"The Making at the Heart of the World"Dan LiuDaegan FryklindApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
Alina meets with a Tailor, Genya Safin, and they prepare for her meeting with King Pytor and the court. At court, Alina astonishes all with her abilities, which are amplified by Kirigan's touch. After befriending two Grisha, she spars with Zoya Nazyalensky, who beats her. In the library, Alina meets The Apparat, who tells her more of the stag she has been dreaming about. Alina then meets with the Baghra, who bitterly tells Alina to return when she believes in herself. Meanwhile Kaz, Jesper, Inej, and Arken are unable to get to Nina Zenik, a Heartrender willing to break them into the Little Palace, in time. Four pounds short of the needed coal, they dare to make the train voyage through the Fold. They fall behind schedule and are attacked by Volcra, but Jesper uses his superior marksmanship abilities to get them safely through. On a ship, the drüskelle who captured Nina restrain her along with other Grisha.
4"Otkazat'sya"Dan LiuVanya AsherApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
Alina goes riding with Kirigan, who decides the two are on a first-name basis. He talks about how he felt like an outsider as a child due to being a descendant of The Black Heretic, and Alina realizes how much he needs her. Baghra shows Alina that she is holding back for Mal, but needs to focus on herself if she wants to master her powers. After another encounter with Kirigan, and after not receiving a letter from Mal for the nth time, Alina finally puts herself and the Grisha first, and makes true progress with her power. Meanwhile, Mal volunteers for a mission to find the stag that can amplify Grisha power, and the reward is a visit to the Little Palace. He and his team are ambushed by Fjerdans, but Mal survives. He then sees the stag, and vows to reunite with Alina. The Crows and Arken steal the blueprints for the Little Palace, and join a troupe of traveling performers who will be performing in the Little Palace for the Winter Fete. The ship carrying Nina hits a bad storm. Kirigan sends Fedyor to find Nina, as she has not checked in recently.
5"Show Me Who You Are"Mairzee AlmasM. Scott Veach & Nick CulbertsonApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
The Little Palace holds an event to show off Alina as the Sun Summoner. Kaz, Inej, Jasper and Arken infiltrate the Palace to kidnap Alina. Mal, injured by Fjerdans, makes his way to a First Army camp. Here, he reveals that he has found the stag General Kirigan had been looking for. Mal, along with a first army general, make their way to the Little Palace to pass the information on to Kirigan. The palace guard is initially reluctant to let Mal in, believing the stag to be a myth, but gives in, and escorts Mal to Kirigan’s room. Kirigan asks Mal to show him exactly where he found the stag. Mal, however, refuses, demanding to see Alina before he shows the General where he found the stag. Kirigan is angry but eventually agrees to allow the two to meet later. Kirigan and Alina kiss after the event but are interrupted when Arken attacks a decoy, believing it to be Alina. Alina learns a secret about Kirigan and attempts to flee The Little Palace by climbing into the carriage of The Crows, who believe their mission has failed. Meanwhile, Nina Zenik, the Heartrender is captured by Grisha Hunters who call them witches.
6"The Heart Is an Arrow"Mairzee AlmasShelley MealsApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
Arken is captured and interrogated after the attempt to kidnap Alina backfires. Alina manages to leave the Palace but is found and is chased into a forest. She reunites with Mal and they both catch up. After learning about the Stag from Mal, Alina realises she must get to it before Kirigan, so she and Mal make their way North. The ship that is holding Nina Zenik sinks during a storm. She bonds with one of the Grisha Hunters, Matthias, and the two become closer after Nina saves him from freezing to death with her powers.
7"The Unsea"Jeremy WebbChristina StrainApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)

Alina and Mal find the Stag and Alina shares a moment with it before Kirigan shows up. He injures Mal and kills the Stag before having parts of its antlers imbued into Alina as well as his own hand. He shows Alina that he can now control her power and will take her to the Fold. He tells her he will cure Mal if she complies.

At the campsite near the Fold, Genya reunites with Alina to get her ready for an event Kirigan is holding; he is going to take some nobles across the Fold and show them his and Alina's new found power. Kaz, Inej and Jesper find a way of getting on a ship to secure a way back home, after the train they took with Arken was blown up.
8"No Mourners"Jeremy WebbEric Heisserer & Daegan FryklindApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)

After safely reaching a city, Nina and Matthias find rest in an inn and even eat together before Fedyor arrives and slows Matthias heart. When Fedyor tries taking her back to East Ravka by force, she is forced to declare Matthias as an enslaver to be taken for judgement and bounty, setting a stand-off that ends in the ship captain's favor. Awakening imprisoned, Matthias wrongly believes Nina manipulated and betrayed him. As the ship starts its journey through the Fold, Alina uses her powers to shield it and the passengers, creating a light tunnel that shields them from volcra attacks. When reaching the other side, however, Kirigan shows his true colours in front of everyone, expanding the Fold towards West Ravka, overwhelming it and the brewing rebellion. Kirigan intends to use the Fold to bow all nations towards Ravka's will, but some resist, claiming Kirigan will make Grishas a target due to his actions. In the lower decks, Kaz and the others find Mal has snuck on board and they hatch a plan, but Mal rashly moves against Kirigan, being held at gunpoint, prompting the Crows to advance. Zoya, witnessing what Kirigan had done to West Ravka (whose relatives of hers lived there), turns against Kirigan's forces and starts steering the ship across the Fold. Alina struggles to take back full control of her powers until she uses a dagger left by Inej to cut Kirigan's antler off his hand, breaking his control and using her light against him before being stopped by Kirigan's Heartrender, whom Jesper shoots off the ship. While fighting Mal outside the ship, Kirigan is seemingly killed by volcra on the return through the fold.

Zoya, Alina and Mal, along with the crows leave the Fold, being the only survivors until they decide to part their ways, with Zoya warning Alina she will now be targeted before departing. Kaz's gang meets Nina at the skiff headed back to Ketterdam. Alina goes with Mal on the skiff, as well, to continue learning how to use her powers. Back at the fold, a wounded Kirigan walks out as he summons the army of volcras who assume human forms.



In January 2019, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order for an eight-episode first season with Eric Heisserer as showrunner, creator, head-writer, and executive producer. The project falls under Netflix's deal with 21 Laps Entertainment with Shawn Levy executive producing. Leigh Bardugo, Pouya Shahbazian, Dan Levine, Dan Cohen, and Josh Barry acted as the executive producers as well.[4] Author Leigh Bardugo and show creator Eric Heisserer discussed their expectations in Season 2 of the show.[5]


Casting began in April 2019 with calls for Alina.[6] On October 2, 2019, it was announced Lee Toland Krieger would direct the pilot with Jessie Mei Li, Ben Barnes, Freddy Carter, Archie Renaux, Amita Suman, and Kit Young starring.[7] Sujaya Dasgupta, Danielle Galligan, Daisy Head, and Simon Sears would also feature.[8] The second round of casting was announced on December 18, 2019 with Calahan Skogman, Zoë Wanamaker, Kevin Eldon, Julian Kostov, Luke Pasqualino, Jasmine Blackborow, and Gabrielle Brooks in the recurring cast.[9] Prominent book characters Nikolai Lantsov and Wylan Van Eck did not appear in the first season.[10]


Principal photography for the first season began on location in and around Budapest and Keszthely (Festetics Palace) Hungary in October 2019 and wrapped at the end of February 2020, with post-production following.[11][12][13] Additional shoots took place in Vancouver. Bardugo reported through Twitter in June 2020 that working remotely in light of COVID-19 had slowed post-production down, rendering the release date less certain.[14]


Joseph Trapanese is the composer for the series.[15] Heisserer and Bardugo appeared on a panel at New York Comic Con in October 2020,[16] during which they played some of the score.[17] Executive producer Josh Barry reported on December 16, 2020 that the final sound mix was complete.[18]

Trapanese wrote the score over 11 months.[19] In an interview with AwardsDaily, he explained how he put it together in lockdown, between conducting an orchestra over Zoom and incorporating solo recordings.[20] Russian and Slavic music provided the basis of the score's inspiration, Bardugo naming Sergei Prokofiev and folk songs as specific examples.[21] In addition, elements from other musical traditions were used, such as gamelan.[20]


David J. Peterson and Christian Thalmann are behind the Grishaverse's fictional languages.[22]


Netflix released an announcement teaser in December 2020 followed by promotional stills through Entertainment Weekly as well as main character posters in January 2021.[23][24] Bardugo, Heisserer, and the six main cast members appeared on a panel at the IGN Fan Fest in February 2021, during which a teaser trailer was released in addition to more stills. Netflix also posted a poster featuring the Shadow Fold the day before.[25][26] The official trailer was released on March 30, 2021 by Netflix, after having been leaked previously.


Bardugo answered in a November 2019 interview with SensaCine that the series was expected in late 2020.[27] The series was released on April 23, 2021 on Netflix.[1] On April 24, 2021, Netflix released an aftershow for the series on the service, titled Shadow and Bone – The Afterparty.[28]


Critical response[edit]

Shadow and Bone has received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 86% based on 63 reviews, with an average rating of 7.15 out of 10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Shadow and Bone is certainly as meticulous as its source material, but by folding in unexpected stories it expands the novel's scope to craft an exciting new adventure for fans and newcomers alike."[29] Metacritic gave the series a weighted average score of 69 out of 100 based on 20 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[30]

Critics directed praise towards the acting, world-building, and visual effects while saying that it would satisfy fans of the books and newcomer viewers. However, some criticism was directed towards the exposition and "overly confusing" elements.[31] Nicole Clark of IGN wrote that "the first season manages to capture much of the darker magic...while being unafraid to make smart changes to certain characters’ origin stories and even the sequence of events—even if the storylines from the two series of books don’t always easily mesh."[32] Molly Freeman praised it as a "thrillingly exciting fantasy drama".[33]


  1. ^ a b Del Rosario, Alexandra (January 27, 2021). "'Shadow And Bone': Netflix Sets Official Premiere Date, Unveils First-Look Images". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Bisset, Jennifer. "Shadow and Bone review: Hit Netflix fantasy lacks one thing". CNET. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  4. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (January 10, 2019). "Netflix Orders Shadow And Bone Series Based On Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse Novels From Eric Heisserer & Shawn Levy". Deadline. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  5. ^ "Shadow and Bone Season 2 Renewed on Netflix? and Other Details". Daily Research Plot. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  6. ^ "Pre-Production on SHADOW AND BONE Series Begins Casting Calls". The Fandom. April 16, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Jones, Marcus (October 2, 2019). "Netflix announces Shadow and Bone cast and fans are excited to see Ben Barnes as the Darkling". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  8. ^ Harris, Latesha (October 2, 2019). "TV News Roundup: Netflix Reveals Cast of New Series Shadow and Bone". Variety. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (December 18, 2019). "'Shadow And Bone': Netflix Series Adds Seven To Cast". Deadline. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  10. ^ Dempsey, Mary (December 23, 2019). "'Shadow and Bone' series reveals additional cast". BookStacked. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  11. ^ Daniels, Nia (July 12, 2019). "Shadow and Bone to film in Budapest for Netflix". KFTV. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  12. ^ "Netflix's Shadow and Bone Sets Cast as Production begins in Budapest". Broadway World. October 2, 2019. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  13. ^ Freeman, Molly (February 18, 2020). "Netflix's Shadow & Bone Video Introduces Main Cast As Filming Wraps". ScreenRant. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  14. ^ Leigh Bardugo (away for a while) [@LBardugo] (June 30, 2020). "No, we'll have a longer wait for the show. I know it's frustrating, but covid has slowed down post-production and we want to keep people safe while they work. Please be patient and I hope we can share more soon 🖤" (Tweet). Archived from the original on June 30, 2020. Retrieved July 19, 2020 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ Chitwood, Adam (June 11, 2020). "Netflix's Shadow and Bone Series Lands Composer Joseph Trapanese". Collider. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  16. ^ Polo, Susana (September 17, 2020). "New York Comic Con 2020 unveils more panels from its all-digital con". Polygon. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  17. ^ Templeton, Molly (October 10, 2020). "Leigh Bardugo and Eric Heisserer Talk Shadow and Bone". Tor. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  18. ^ Barry, Josh [@JoshBarryLA] (December 16, 2020). "Finished our last @shadowandbone_ sound mix!!! It's coming..." (Tweet). Archived from the original on December 17, 2020. Retrieved December 17, 2020 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Burlingame, Jon (April 22, 2021). "How 'Shadow and Bone' Composer Joseph Trapanese Created Fantastical Music for Netflix's Take on the Grishaverse". Variety. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  20. ^ a b Moye, Clarence (April 22, 2021). "Composer Joseph Trapanese Draws from Russian, Slavic Influences for Netflix's 'Shadow and Bone'". AwardsDaily. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  21. ^ Lane, Carly (April 19, 2021). "Exclusive: Hear Alina's Theme From the 'Shadow and Bone' Soundtrack". Collider. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  22. ^ "Leigh Bardugo and Erin Morgenstern Reveal New Details About Shadow and Bone TV Show, The Starless Sea at SDCC Panel". Tor. July 18, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  23. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (December 17, 2020). "'Shadow And Bone' Teaser, Netflix Sets April 2021 Release Date For Fantasy Series From 'Stranger Things' Outfit 21 Laps". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  24. ^ Hibberd, James (January 27, 2021). "Shadow and Bone exclusive: 7 photos from new Netflix fantasy series". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  25. ^ "IGN Fan Fest 2021: New Virtual Event Lineup Revealed". IGN. February 10, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  26. ^ Mauch, Ally (February 26, 2021). "Dramatic First Shadow and Bone Trailer Sheds Light on New Netflix Fantasy Series". People. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  27. ^ Guerrero, Custodio (November 27, 2019). "Entrevista a Leigh Bardugo, autora de 'Sombra y Hueso': "La serie se espera que se estrene a finales de 2020"". SensaCine (in Spanish). Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  28. ^ Anderson, Hayley (April 28, 2021). "When is Shadow and Bone: The Afterparty out on Netflix?". Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  29. ^ "Shadow and Bone: Season 1 (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  30. ^ Shadow and Bone: Season 1. Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  31. ^ "Shadow And Bone". Empire. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  32. ^ Shadow, and Bone: Season 1 Review - IGN, retrieved April 21, 2021
  33. ^ "Shadow & Bone Review: Netflix's Fantasy Show Is A Thrilling Journey". ScreenRant. April 21, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2021.

External links[edit]