Shadow and Bone (TV series)

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.


Ravka, a fantasy kingdom based on the Tsarist Russian Empire, is set in a war-torn world plagued by the Shadow Fold, a swath of permanent darkness separating East from West Ravka which is inhabited by carnivorous winged creatures known as Volcra. Orphan mapmaker Alina Starkov discovers that she is a Grisha (holds power to manipulate matter) who possesses the power to create light, which could be the key to setting her country free from the Fold. Alina joins an elite army of Grisha serving under General Kirigan, the Shadow Summoner.

But as she struggles to hone her power, she finds that allies and enemies can be the same and that nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. There are dangerous forces at play, including a crew of charismatic criminals, and it will take more than magic to survive. [2]

Cast and characters


  • 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)
Alina Starkov, a cartographer, reunites with her childhood friend Mal Oryetsev while serving in the First Army. When Mal is chosen to be part of a team to cross the Shadow Fold, Alina burns existing maps so she will be forced to accompany the team. The team enters the Fold, overlooked by the arrival of General Kirigan. They are attacked by ravenous creatures called Volcra, who kill most of the crew. Alexei, a fellow cartographer, escapes from the skiff and runs towards the other side of the Fold. When Alina is taken by a Volcra, she uses an ancient ability called Sun Summoning, destroying all the Volcra who are attacking the skiff. Meanwhile, in the trade hub city of Ketterdam, Dregs gangleader Kaz Brekker and two gangmembers, Inej Ghafa and Jesper Fahey, compete with crime boss Pekka Rollins for a job with a payout of 1 million kruge. It is revealed that Dressen, the merchant who needs the job done, also needs a heartrender for the job to be completed. Kaz, Inej, and Jesper get to a known heartrender before Pekka, and are granted an audience with Dressen even though Dressen initially planned to meet with Pekka. Dressen reveals that his captive is the same Alexei who ran through the fold. Alexei knows how to get through the fold, but can't seem to share the information. Kaz's heartrender gets Alexei to reveal that Alina is a Sun Summoner, and as promised by legend, can get through the Fold. Dressen kills Alexei, and tells Kaz that if he wants the job, he needs to bring Alina.
2"We're All Someone's Monster"Lee Toland KriegerEric HeissererApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
In East Ravka, Alina is taken to General Kirigan, who proves she is the Sun Summoner when she leaks light after he cuts her. She is taken away to the Ravkan capital Os Alta, where she will be given to the king and queen. Her convoy is attacked by Fjerdan drüskelle, warriors who hunt down and exterminate Grisha. Most of her Grisha guard is killed but she is rescued when Kirigan arrives and uses his shadows in a "Cut" that dismembers her captor. The two make it to Os Alta on horseback and Alina is put into captivity, though she promises to find and reunite with Mal after he was left behind with the First Army. In Ketterdam, Kaz is threatened by Pekka to drop the job, but he refuses. After being summoned, Inej meets with Tante Heleen, the owner of a brothel where Inej had been forced to work before Kaz began paying for her. Heleen promises to drop Kaz's outstanding debts on her if she will kill a human trafficker named Arken. Meanwhile, Kaz talks with a woman who eventually admits to having crossed through the Fold with the help of a man called The Conductor. While she does not know The Conductor's identity or how he got her through, she gives Kaz the name of someone who works with The Conductor, Poppy. Kaz goes to speak with Poppy, then discovers that Tante's found The Conductor, and plans to kill him. Inej is about to kill Arken when Kaz stops her, telling her that Arken is The Conductor. He then meets with Tante, paying acceptable collateral and promising to pay off his debt once he completes Dressen's job.
3"The Making at the Heart of the World"Dan LiuDaegan FryklindApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
Alina wakes up and meets a Tailor, Genya Safin, who has been sent to help Alina prepare to be presented to King Pytor and the Court. At court, Alina preforms a beautiful demonstration of her Sun Summoning abilities. While she is accepted by many of the Grisha, Zoya Nazyalensky believe her to be nothing more than an orphan half-breed. During combat training, Alina and Zoya spar, and Zoya prove to be a better fighter, through her Grisha Powers leaving the teacher to criticize her. In the library, Alina runs into The Apparat, who tells her about the stag. He then sends her to the Baghra, who will train her Grisha abilities. However, she believes Alina does not trust her abilities and tells her to return when she does. Meanwhile, Kaz, Jesper, Inej, and Arken seek to find Nina Zenik, a Heartrender who will help them break into the Little Palace, but she is captured by drüskelle before they can get to her. Kaz and Arken decide to continue with their mission, and Arken reveals that he needs, twenty pounds of alabaster coal. Jesper is only able to obtain sixteen pounds, but the four are forced to carry on with only that. On the train in the Fold, they are attacked by Volcra. Jesper then uses his revolvers and kills all the attacking volcra. The trains safely reach the other side.
4"Otkazat'sya"Dan LiuVanya AsherApril 23, 2021 (2021-04-23)
Alina is informed by Genya that she is to go riding with General Kirigan. When offered the choice between a blue or black kefta, Alina decides not to choose black as its Kirigan's color. The two bond over the course of the day and Kirigan tells his first name, Aleksander. They ride to an old fountain that Kirigan used to come to as a child. Kirigan explains the burden of growing up to be the last descendant of the most evil Grisha; The Black Heretic. As a child, he used to visit the fountain every day with a coin, wishing the same every time: “To be anyone else.” As Alina still struggles to summon her power Baghra uses her memories to learn more about her and asks Alina to let go of Mal and the past to become stronger. Mal's group are ambushed on their way whilst finding a stag that will secure them a way into the Little Palace to find Alina. Mal reveals he can sense Alina through a sound that she emits.
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. Alina learns a secret about Kirigan and attempts to flee The Little Palace. 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, Mattias and the two start to 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 aswell 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 Jasper 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)

As the ship starts its journey through the Fold, Alina uses her powers to shield it and the passengers. Kirigan shows his true colours in front of everyone. Kaz and the others find Mal has snuck on board and they hatch a plan.

Alina struggles to take back full control of her powers.



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. Also set to executive produce are Leigh Bardugo herself as well as Pouya Shahbazian, Dan Levine, Dan Cohen, and Josh Barry.[3] Author Leigh Bardugo and show creator Eric Heisserer discussed their expectations in Season 2 of the show.[4]


Casting began in April 2019 with calls for Alina.[5] 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.[6] Sujaya Dasgupta, Danielle Galligan, Daisy Head, and Simon Sears would also feature.[7] 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.[8] Prominent book characters Nikolai Lantsov and Wylan Van Eck did not appear in the first season.[9]


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.[10][11][12] 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.[13]


Joseph Trapanese is the composer for the series.[14] Heisserer and Bardugo appeared on a panel at New York Comic Con in October 2020,[15] during which they played some of the score.[16] Executive producer Josh Barry reported on December 16, 2020 that the final sound mix was complete.[17]

Trapanese wrote the score over 11 months.[18] In an interview with AwardsDaily, he explained how he put it together in lockdown, between conducting an orchestra over Zoom and incorporating solo recordings.[19] Russian and Slavic music provided the basis of the score's inspiration, Bardugo naming Sergei Prokofiev and folk songs as specific examples.[20] In addition, elements from other musical traditions were used, such as gamelan.[19]


David J. Peterson and Christian Thalmann are behind the Grishaverse's fictional languages.[21]


Bardugo answered in a November 2019 interview with SensaCine that the series was expected in late 2020.[22] 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.[23]


Netflix released an announcement teaser in December 2020 followed by promotional stills through Entertainment Weekly as well as main character posters in January 2021.[24][25] 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.[26][27] The official trailer was released on March 30, 2021 by Netflix, after having been leaked previously.[citation needed]


Shadow and Bone has received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 85% based on 52 reviews, with an average rating of 7.14 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."[28] Metacritic gave the series a weighted average score of 70 out of 100 based on 17 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[29]

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.[30] 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."[31] Molly Freeman praised it as a "thrillingly exciting fantasy drama".[32]


  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. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Shadow and Bone Season 2 Renewed on Netflix? and Other Details". Daily Research Plot. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  5. ^ "Pre-Production on SHADOW AND BONE Series Begins Casting Calls". The Fandom. April 16, 2019. Retrieved August 24, 2020.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Harris, Latesha (October 2, 2019). "TV News Roundup: Netflix Reveals Cast of New Series Shadow and Bone". Variety. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  8. ^ Petski, Denise (December 18, 2019). "'Shadow And Bone': Netflix Series Adds Seven To Cast". Deadline. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  9. ^ Dempsey, Mary (December 23, 2019). "'Shadow and Bone' series reveals additional cast". BookStacked. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  10. ^ Daniels, Nia (July 12, 2019). "Shadow and Bone to film in Budapest for Netflix". KFTV. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  11. ^ "Netflix's Shadow and Bone Sets Cast as Production begins in Budapest". Broadway World. October 2, 2019. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  12. ^ Freeman, Molly (February 18, 2020). "Netflix's Shadow & Bone Video Introduces Main Cast As Filming Wraps". ScreenRant. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Chitwood, Adam (June 11, 2020). "Netflix's Shadow and Bone Series Lands Composer Joseph Trapanese". Collider. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  15. ^ Polo, Susana (September 17, 2020). "New York Comic Con 2020 unveils more panels from its all-digital con". Polygon. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  16. ^ Templeton, Molly (October 10, 2020). "Leigh Bardugo and Eric Heisserer Talk Shadow and Bone". Tor. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ 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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ 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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ Lane, Carly (April 19, 2021). "Exclusive: Hear Alina's Theme From the 'Shadow and Bone' Soundtrack". Collider. Retrieved April 22, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Anderson, Hayley (April 28, 2021). "When is Shadow and Bone: The Afterparty out on Netflix?". Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Hibberd, James (January 27, 2021). "Shadow and Bone exclusive: 7 photos from new Netflix fantasy series". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  26. ^ "IGN Fan Fest 2021: New Virtual Event Lineup Revealed". IGN. February 10, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  27. ^ Mauch, Ally (February 26, 2021). "Dramatic First Shadow and Bone Trailer Sheds Light on New Netflix Fantasy Series". People. Retrieved February 26, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  28. ^ "Shadow and Bone: Season 1 (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  29. ^ Shadow and Bone: Season 1 at Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  30. ^ "Shadow And Bone". Empire. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  31. ^ Shadow, and Bone: Season 1 Review - IGN, retrieved April 21, 2021
  32. ^ "Shadow & Bone Review: Netflix's Fantasy Show Is A Thrilling Journey". ScreenRant. April 21, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2021.

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