This season of Shadow and Bone didn’t just adapt the next book in the main trilogy — it finished up Alina’s main story, and also pulled in some plotlines from the Crows books, and also from one of the companion short story books. It was a lot, so you might be wondering, Man, is there anything left for an upcoming third season?
Just kidding! You’re probably not wondering that, because Shadow and Bone season 2 ended with a lot of loose ends that weren’t actually there in the books. And even if it didn’t, there are two separate sequel series that follow different sets of characters and dive into the ramifications of the Ravkan Civil War. Some of these threads, however, are foreshadowed way more in season 2 than others — and some might actually be addressed in a possible Six of Crows spinoff instead.
[Ed. note: This post contains major spoilers for the finale of Shadow and Bone season 2, as well as the Grishaverse books.]
What’s next for the Six of Crows characters?
We are finally caught up to the Crows books. Kinda. Technically, the Six of Crows books take place two years after the main trilogy, but the show has been playing fast and loose with the timeline anyway. And technically one of the big pivotal moments in the books (getting revenge on Pekka Rollins), which happens in the last Crows book, happened this season. However, a lot more happens in the Crows books — and the last episode of this season readies the runaway for it all.
For one, the gang breaks Matthias out of prison, which is probably going to happen sooner than later next season (or in the possible Six of Crows spinoff). They are six of Crows, after all. They also infiltrate a Fjerdan military stronghold known as the Ice Court in order to break out a Shu scientist, who has developed a drug known as jurda parem that heightens Grisha’s powers — yes, that drug that Kaz mentions in the last episode and the one that the Fjerdan agent uses to massacre a ton of people all at once at Nikolai’s coronation.
So, what’s up with that drug?
The jurda parem — and the implications that weaponizing it has on the rest of the world — becomes a driving force in the Crows books and beyond. We already saw how devastating its effects are in the final scene of season 2, so it’s definitely going to play as pivotal a role in the hypothetical future seasons or spinoffs as it did in the books. Not only does the drug increase a Grisha’s powers to deadly effects, it also is highly addictive and weakens the body of its user. The withdrawal symptoms are devastating and only one person (spoiler) has been able to survive it — and their powers were completely altered afterward.
Speaking of Matthias, what’s happening with him in wolf-fighting hell?
Now, this is something that doesn’t really have a book precedent! As previously mentioned, Pekka Rollins gets his comeuppance at the end of Crooked Kingdom — which means that he and Matthias are never really in jail at the same time in the book timeline. This could introduce some juicy obstacles for the eventual “break Matthias out of prison” storyline, and also pit Kaz against his archnemesis again. Hopefully Matthias survives this cliffhanger of a wolf fight, though.
Are Alina and Nikolai still engaged?
You know… we just do not know. They never officially dissolve their engagement, and during Nikolai’s coronation, she is wearing a big crown and standing beside Nikolai, so it seems very likely. This is definitely in contrast with the books, where she officially breaks things off (especially considering she faked her death and marries Mal in the epilogue). But as far as we know, they seem to still be engaged, albeit totally platonically. This might add some angst for Alina, who pines for Mal, and add some complexities to Nikolai’s future romantic arc.
Are Mal and Inej getting a seafaring arc?
It sure looks like that! Even though it’s sad seeing Nikolai part with his dual identity of Sturmhond, we can’t deny that Archie Renaux rocks that pirate coat. In the books, Inej does get a boat and sail off, but only after all the Crows’ missions are done. Considering the big Crows exploits are only just kicking off, it’s likely that Inej will return to Ketterdam at least for a bit. Mal’s arc, meanwhile, is a blank slate, so he is free to sail off into the horizon and find his true north or whatever.
Is the Darkling, like, totally gone-gone?!
At the end of the season, Alina kills General Kirigan. They burn his body and everything. He seems totally dead.
However, this is not the last we see of the Darkling in the books. It’s hard for a sexy, all-powerful, (and most importantly) fan-favorite shadow summoner to stay dead, after all! In the Nikolai duology, the books that occur most recently in the Grishaverse timeline, a few characters get tricked into performing a ritual to revive the Darkling. His soul comes back and possesses the body of Yuri, one of his most zealous followers. They have a bit of a two-souls-in-one-body Ghost Rider thing going on. So, it is very likely that we might see Kirigan return… just not in the way we know him.
But I love Ben Barnes!
So do we! I wouldn’t put it above Netflix to integrate Barnes in some way, shape, or form, be it through flashbacks or the physical manifestation of the voice inside Yuri’s head. Or maybe Barnes is gonna finally get the rom-com he so deserves. We can only hope.
If David is dead, who takes the third place in the Grisha Triumvirate?
In the books, Alina appoints Zoya (an Etheralki), Genya (a Corporalki), and David (a Materialki) as the Grisha Triumvirate, three leaders to oversee the Second Army. Each of them represents a different faction of the Grisha, but the idea is to give each faction a voice and do away with the superfluous differences between them.
But there are two big differences in the show: David is dead and Alina is not pretending to be dead. So Alina presumably takes up the third seat, with Zoya and Genya at her side. They call their new alliance a triumvirate, though it’s definitely lacking the Materialki presence. Then again, the class differences between Grisha were not as huge of a driving tension point in the show.
What’s up with those bees on Zoya in the Fold?
It’s a very small moment in the final episode, but something that people who read King of Scars might latch onto. While everyone gathers in the barren remnants of the Fold to watch Kirigan’s funeral pyre, Zoya swats at a bee that won’t leave her alone. This could be foreshadowing her arc in King of Scars, where she and Nikolai trek into the Fold and encounter three mystical saints — one of whom is associated with bees and has a whole swarm of them that follows her around.
Is Nikolai… OK?
Well! He is alive, if that is your question. But he is definitely feeling the effects of being attacked by one of the Darkling’s nichevo’ya. While the battle is not as intense as the books, where the Darkling’s merzost ends up transforming Nikolai into a monstrous flesh-eating demon bird creature, judging by the eerie shadow creature that Nikolai sees in the mirror, it definitely infuses him with something.
If the books are anything to go by, Nikolai is going to spend a lot of time wrestling with his own inner demon (literally) and trying to figure out a way to tame it. So, we can certainly expect more of Nikolai’s hidden darkness and flesh-eating demon transformation, while he also figures out how to repair his kingdom and move forward. And also maybe fall in love with Zoya in the process (Zoyalai rights). If the Crows are getting their own spinoff series, then it would make sense for the next season of Shadow and Bone to focus on the characters still in Ravka — most notably Nikolai and his little flesh-eating demon problem.
Shadow and Bone season 2 is out on Netflix now.