Shadow & Bone: Season 2 Thoughts
aka, what I wrote over spring break instead of my Politics of Futurity Midterm paper
Edited to include more deeply relevant and resonant tweets I found since publishing this. Please enjoy.
Breaking my unintentional newsletter hiatus to be the way-too-old-to-care-this-much-about-a-YA-series Grishaverse stan that I am. Thank you for the space to honor the 15-year-old girl in me with you all. Also, spoilers below for every Grishaverse book and the entire first two seasons of Shadow and Bone abound. But first: here’s what I’ve been up to lately.
What I’m doing:
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I’m participating in the #transrightsreadathon from March 20th-27th! If you want to win free books, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) proof of donation to a trans rights org of your choosing (I recommend Callen-Lorde in Brooklyn or the Trans Health Legal Fund or whatever Trans-run mutual aid group or nonprofit operates in your area) and the name of the book you want by March 27th and I’ll be raffling off books to as many people as I can. Tell your friends!!
If you didn’t know, I’ve been Beta Reading romance novels for folks since last November and thoroughly enjoying myself. If you’d like to hire me/get a sense of what I offer, please see here!
What I’m listening to: Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi– they narrate it and it is so good. Also Hozier’s new EP.
What I’m watching: Now that I’ve decided where I’m doing my PhD, I’m wasting away my time on TV screens wherever possible. Besides S&B, I’m catching up on Abbott Elementary (perfect show, obviously), started Season 3 of Ted Lasso, and just finished Severance (Orpheus and Eurydice strike again!), which I am completely obsessed with.
I need to own a few things about myself before I get into all of my thoughts about the season. First, that I’m a person who gets really prickly about being told that I would see an adaptation’s true merit if only I divorced it from its source material entirely. Why bother doing an adaptation if you don’t give a shit about the spirit of the source material? This doesn’t mean that I’m tied to following the source material to the letter, and god knows that the Shadow and Bone trilogy has its fair share of flaws and opportunities for improvement, just that I want the heart of it all to be honored as it transfers mediums. More on this later.
Second, I’m not a film person or a TV critic, I’m just a person with opinions. That means that I will say outrageous things about how things should be with no knowledge of whether or not they’re possible on TV. That is perfectly okay with me, and hopefully with anyone reading this too. If it isn’t, I welcome you to correct me in the comments!
Third, to be honest the cleverest and most concise things I want to say about season 2 of Shadow and Bone are already written up in this definitely-not-glowing but gently-hopeful Rolling Stones review, so I encourage you to give it a read before you come back to this.
The first 4 episodes were totally watchable. The Crows are magic on the screen (but what we got of them is perplexing). The pacing for this season is nothing short of devious, chaotic, and ill-conceived. Episodes 7 and 8 actually make me spontaneously break out in hives every time I think about them. Streaming as a way of making and watching TV is bad, actually. But maybe this would have been handled better if it was handled by HBO and not Netflix. This adaptation is very Persuasion (2022)-esque for me. Eric Heisserer might have written the screenplay for one of my all time favorite adaptations, Arrival (2016), but I am still tempted to mail gorilla dung and a strongly worded letter to his home because of how this season went.
Let’s do a quick Bops and Flops before I hop on my soapbox.
Jack Wolfe’s performance as Wylan. 1000000/10, no notes.
Kit Young’s performance as Jesper Fahey. Kit as Jesper is just so damn watchable. I could actually watch him be funny and charming and suddenly-sincere and then irreverent and silly at the flip of a coin for like, hours and hours. He is quite literally overflowing with charisma, it’s outrageous.
Freddy Carter’s performance as Kaz Brekker. Thank you, writers room, for writing some violence into this season and letting us watch Kaz beat the shit out of someone with his cane. It’s all a girl wants, really.
Daisy Head’s performance as Genya Safin. Some of the most striking lines of dialogue, one of the loveliest and most thoughtful performances. Truly earned her nepo-baby stripes.
Amita Suman’s performance as Inej Ghafa. Bless her for making the most out of a truly raggedy set of scripts for Inej’s character.
Specifically the one scene where Inej and Kaz almost almost almost kiss in the dream-state, but it’s preceded by Kaz taking all of her knives out of her vest. Incredible work.
Lewis Tan’s performance as Tolya Yul-Bataar. Bless him for being so hot. His left bicep alone carried half the scenes he was in.
Zoe Wanamaker as Baghra. She has always been a star and is a bop-by-default, but I wanted to shout out her work as Alina’s mentor and her fabulously dramatic exit from the show.
Archie Renaux and Jessie Mei Li’s performances as Mal and Alina, together. Chemistry chemistry chemistry. I love to see it. Good for them!
All the times they put Calahan Skogman on screen, shirtless. This season is decidedly hornier than its predecessor and I am thrilled about it.
One of the big critiques in Season 1 was that Alina’s identity as a biracial person only worked to her detriment, rather than being something that was celebrated. I thought it was really lovely how this season made space to celebrate her Shu identity in concert with Tolya and Tamar.
Unnamed Darkling Sympathizers 1-10. WHyYyYYY did they get so much screen time. Why was their makeup so bad. Why did they get so much dialogue! Why! Why! Why!
Paddy Gibson’s performance as Nikolai. Sorry to report that I did not enjoy this portrayal, BUT I feel deeply hopeful about the possibility that the writers are doing what they did with Kaz last season and creating a less-confident, less-sure, less version of Nikolai who can be grown into and refined in future seasons. Also, this flop is at least 80% a result of the fact that Nikolai is like, un-castable for me. He occupies rarefied air in my mind that can’t be materialized into human form, so maybe ignore this.
The costuming this season is a hot-ass mess. Why was Wylan in a checked shirt and a sweater in one scene looking like a Deloitte employee who got lost and wandered onto set. Why did they design a kilt for Jesper and then have it be potato-sack brown and like, too long. Why did they dress Nikolai like that. The person who dressed Zoya better sleep with one fucking eye open for that pink monstrosity they put her in at the end of the season.
Ben Barnes’ performance as the Darkling. To be fair, I think he’s maybe doing the best he can with what he’s given, in terms of having most of his scene partners be unnamed and irrelevant Darkling Sympathizers 1-10, and he did a really decent job with that one scene where he’s holding Jessie Mei Li (Alina)’s jaw and scaring the shit out of her, but he spent most of this season looking like he needed a fainting couch, smelling salts, and a dirty handkerchief to put his dusty coughs in. The theater kid in him was a little too close to the surface to work for me#ShadowAndBone Season 2: . . . . The Darkling: The world no longer needs a saint to protect it. It needs a monster. And while I remain—
Continuity issues. There are lots of examples of this but the one that comes to mind most immediately is the way that Mal is like, captured and taken away to be court-martialed by Crown Prince Vasily in one scene and then simply reappears in the next episode with no mention made of the incident. Or when Genya is fully welded shut into a dumbwaiter and then walks right out of it in the next scene ???????
Worldbuilding issues. Why was the big battle scene in episode 7 comprised of like. 15 people total, three of whom are named and known? Why was the final scene with Alina and the Darkling comprised of five people in a dusty patch of the Fold? Why were there heartrenders producing electricity off of normal amplifiers? Why were people wearing keftas that didn’t match their Grisha specialization? What even happened with the Keramzin orphanage? How did Kaz own the Crow Club if Per Haskell wasn’t involved?
Maybe this isn’t a Flop, and I can be persuaded otherwise on this if I’m misunderstanding, but the worldbuilding for Novyi Zem and Shu Han uhhhh… gave me pause. I don’t know if it’s just because Shu Han read as an orientalist wet dream the likes of which Edward Said would clutch his pearls over, or if Novyi Zem was also just “African” in a way that feels markedly different from Ravka being Russia-inspired, but I’m not exactly thrilled by it.
Adapting Shadow and Bone:
Truthfully I get the feeling that the production team is a lot more interested in Six of Crows than they are in Shadow and Bone, which is incredibly understandable given that it is the objectively stronger of the two series, but unfortunate given that Shadow and Bone is a really powerful story to tell in its own right. It’s also a timely story to tell in a post-#MeToo cultural moment where it’s necessary to articulate the range of ways that young women are vulnerable to predation and exploitation as they desperately claw for agency (more on this in another newsletter), but I don’t feel like the writers take this or any of the other serious themes of the work very seriously at all, with few exceptions, like the writing of Genya Safin’s character.
Season 1 of the show begins to develop a context that isn’t always very successfully articulated in the books: that the Darkling’s press for power emerges out of the reality that machinery and industrialization are keeping up with and even outpacing inborn Grisha talents. The threat of lost relevancy, the rise of Otkazat'sya as military and intellectual forces, the fear that technological advancement will render Grisha vulnerable to subjugation and violence once more produce prime motivations for the Darkling to claim what he believes he is owed (and to some extent, that all Grisha are owed). This is something that makes the opposing but (in the text) equally charismatic and devious natures of non-Grisha Nikolai and the Darkling so compelling, even as Nikolai is far more welcoming and earnest about his desire to cultivate a society inclusive of all. Does this season materially explore this contrast at all? No! The Darkling is simply hungry and greedy for power… because trauma (?). His sympathizers are enacting violence on his behalf because… trauma (????).
Abandoning this context has the dual effect of robbing us of Nikolai-Darkling character parallels that become salient in later work and of flattening the core conflict of the season to an issue of “bad” Darkling v. “good” Alina, rather than a battle for Ravka’s soul (which, in the books, is what threads Nikolai and Alina’s respective books).
Season 1 also does a better job of articulating the human cost of war, which is very well captured in the books. Not just by inserting random deaths, but by showing us ordinary people in Ravka who are affected by conscription and battle and the Fold, and ongoing civil war and foreign conflict. Season 2 absolutely does not care about any of this. There are shots of the Darkling using The Cut on whole villages, moving the Fold over whole swaths of Ravka, and yet I can’t bring myself to care because it’s imbued with about as much emotional weight as a Grisha version of The Sims.
Structurally, the decision to merge books 2 and 3 of Shadow and Bone in season 2 feels like a mistake to me. Book 2 has, maybe, the most haters of any of the trilogy for being “boring” or “slow”, but I’m a fan of dwelling in spaces of transition. That’s where the good character work and good context develops, and that’s exactly what we’re robbed of in this frantic supercut of Shadow and Bone best-hits.
It feels, in part, like the writers were terrified they wouldn’t get another season so they wrote everything they could fit into 8 episodes, but it ends up being a disservice to every plotline (especially the political themes), every character (RIP David, you really could’ve fit in that stupid dumbwaiter), every rich moment in the text. Alternatively, maybe they just couldn’t afford to keep Ben Barnes on for another season so they’re setting up the Apparat (and maybe Alina herself) to be the villain next season. The speed and erratic pacing make so little feel earned. Huge, sweeping conflicts are resolved in seconds. Character development that should take years of book-time are presented without commentary devoid of context.
The show is supremely lazy with their writing of Zoya and Nikolai this season (independently– it’s a little early for them to be seen together). Zoya’s skill and prowess are nowhere to be seen. Her emergence as a member of the Triumvirate feels almost random.
Nikolai’s Achilles-and-Patroclus story with Dominick is so silly. Dominick appears, says two lines, and is shot within an episode and a half. I barely even noticed or cared, despite this friendship and arc being the cornerstone of Nikolai’s desire to actually care for Ravka as a member of the royal family. Nikolai’s alliance and friendship with Alina is also, for me, plagued by too-little-time-together concerns. There’s no space to consider their relationship (either platonic or romantic– though I am a fervent Malina & Zoyalai stan) in any real way, so when it becomes clear that Nikolai has feelings for Alina, I was sort of just like “Oh. Okay?”
But my biggest gripe of all is with episode 8, when Alina destroys The Fold by virtue of her own power. In the books, this scene takes place in the middle of a battlefield of hundreds and hundreds of soldiers. Acquiring her third amplifier via Mal’s sacrifice gives her enough power to gift her power to hundreds of soldiers, who collectively blast through the fold in a truly miraculous saintly act. It seems like a small change, to have Alina do this alone, but it betrays the way that the writers room doesn’t understand her, or Shadow and Bone, very much at all.
The act of sharing power is quite literally the thesis of this trilogy. Alina’s ability to distribute her gifts to her peers and fellow soldiers is the thing that separates her profoundly from the Darkling. Her desire not to be the singular savior of Ravka, and her desire to live an ordinary life that does not subscribe to or succumb to authoritarian power is the thing that shapes her. It is the whole fucking point. And it’s just not in this season.
Whether it was an intentional choice, to set her up for her villain-arc (which I hate!), or an accidental one made by budget-cuts on how many extras they could afford (which I still hate!), it upsets me that the writers only seem to find Alina interesting when she is accruing ever-more power and authority. When she finishes the season, even her separation from Mal seems to be evidence of the show’s interest in girlbossifying Alina. Lean in! Be a saint, and a queen, and a sun summoner, and a woman of the people! Forsake romantic love, it makes you weak!
But the book understands that individual power will not save us. That collective action is a profound and necessary project. That glory and fame and worship are not worthwhile goals. Perhaps this is a lesson she will learn the hard way. I guess we’ll see.
In my mind, there are ways to write Alina’s ongoing growth without having her essential character scrapped and replaced with whatever-the-hell they wrote. There are ways to consider what it takes to rebuild a country that is cornered by two very powerful and very rich other countries, susceptible to economic collapse, and still healing the wounds of a civil war and grisha-non-grisha social divide that are compatible with Alina as she is. The writers taking the CW Riverdale route of doing too much to keep people engaged is supremely unimpressive to me.
Adapting Six of Crows:
I have nicer things to say about the Crows, I promise. The scenes with The Crows are really buoyed by the fact that they have the most terrific chemistry with each other. Danielle Galligan as Nina Zenik absolutely blends right in as a member of the Crows. Wylan is perfect. There are sparks flying everywhere you look when they’re in a room together. They’re funny, they’re witty. Wesper is one of the best parts of the entire show, even though they follow few of the milestones or benchmarks of the couple in the book. Nina and Inej’s immediate friendship feels authentic. Amita and Freddy have stellar chemistry together as Kaz and Inej, even when working with… what they were working with. Freddy as Kaz gets to come into his own as a brutal, bloodthirsty, ever-so-clever leader even as he hits character milestones at breakneck speed.
The writers clearly love these characters (how could you not!?). You see it in how Inej watches Tolya pray and then prays the same way, or in how every breakthrough scene with Inej and Kaz seems to take place in a place of worship, or in the way they seem to delight in writing scenes with all of them together.
And still, it feels like they succeed in spite of the writing rather than because of it.
Yet again, these characters are susceptible to the frantic supercut effect of the Shadow and Bone cast. Whole chunks of Kaz Brekker’s backstory and character arcs presented without commentary or weight. Iconic Kanej scenes delivered randomly and wherever they fit in the episode. Several minutes of Matthias wearing school-janitor outfits and walking around angrily in Hellgate spliced between scenes that actually contribute to the plot. Over and over, the most important lines are pulled verbatim from the books but totally severed of their proper context and plopped in various scenes almost like the writers were saying “Here are your scraps, eat up!” to readers. The Crows frequently appear to be yanked through the narrative and from place to place, rather than propelled through it.
The thing that strikes me is how much missed opportunity there is with the writing of the Crows. The duology is constrained by time and POV. Bardugo has to be concise with establishing existing relationships or risk dawdling in the past when the heist is hurtling towards a finish line. There are paragraphs tucked and hidden between pages about how Kaz helped Inej become the force to be reckoned with that she is in the duology. He gives her the first knife she ever uses. Gifts her the use of the name The Wraith. There are references made to the countless hours of silent stakeouts, the way he teaches her to pick locks, the way he guides her into (and drops the ball on) her initiation into the Dregs and criminal life. References to jobs of years past and the way that they cultivated the silent, present, intense connection between them over time. People who read the books and love these characters (me) eke out every possible emotion and feeling from these brief lines and have to extrapolate on them. It’s a prime opportunity for the show to explore, and yet they choose not to make use of that at all.
The books also play a lot with themes of capitalism, alienation, and exploitation in economic and other ways, which I have talked about at length on TikTok. This is something that can really be explored when you age-up the characters and the audience, but yet again the writers don’t seem to take any of this very seriously, which is a damn shame.
There’s also something here about how Bardugo is able to harness subtlety and purposefulness in her writing that the show is not similarly gifted with. You’re beat over the head with every possible thought, feeling, word, emotion. And don’t tell me this is just because of the visual medium, because I watched Severance this week and it is living, breathing proof that subtlety is both possible and necessary with complex storytelling in a visual medium.
Inej is possibly a difficult character to adapt because she’s so intentional with her words in the book that she doesn’t exactly say a lot out loud, even as she thinks and thinks and thinks. In lieu of creatively adapting that, the show just doesn’t. There are spare references to her religiosity, her attraction to Kaz, her frustration with him. There’s nothing real about her arc in the duology, which centers on her capital-B Becoming. No earnest exploration of her own touch aversion, her recovery from sexual violence (besides general comments about the possibility of rape at the hands of a taxidermist-assassin hybrid character), her indentured servitude, her longing for her family. It’s a flattening, often in service of Kaz’s characterization. A painful flattening.
Jesper is similarly resigned to a 3 minute dream-interlude with his deceased mother, ever the comic relief and not the star he deserves to be. There is, however, a useful little moment where Wylan talks about leaving a previous (not remembered) hookup with Jesper, given Jesper’s reputation for sleeping around. It opens a window for Jesper to talk about how he likes to leave before he’s been left.
All of this, I’m told, will be explored more sincerely and completely in the possible Six of Crows series that hasn’t been greenlit yet, but I’m frustrated by how the writers smashed scenes from the end of the duology haphazardly into this eight episode arc, even if some of these scenes are planned to be repeated with better writing in that Six of Crows series.
I also think the editing of the show, in lieu of Bardugo’s use of six POVs to conceal details about events from the reader, needs to fuck with time more and do more interesting work overall. Linearity does not suit heist scenes, and the only time that the show acknowledges and messes with that is when Nina knocks Kaz out and there’s a flashback later to the moment when he’s speaking with her about the deception they’re going to undertake with Pekka Rollins.
In truth, I just want the script to take the Crows as seriously as I know they could be taken, and as seriously as the performers clearly take the characters they play. It’s just not doing enough yet, but maybe the show will?
Chaos Mode Thoughts:
Okay, so maybe you don’t care about adaptations staying true to the letter or spirit of the books. Or maybe you haven’t read the books! And they aren’t a useful goalpost for your viewing experience. Great! Love that for you!
I still think this season blows in a few really important moments. First, in episode 7 during the saddest little understaffed game of laser tag between a bunch of unimportant and largely unnamed characters, Nikolai, and Tamar. Second, in the smash-cut of trauma stories during the hallucinogenic poisoning scene that has neither the weight nor the context necessary to be meaningful to someone who hasn’t read the books. Third, in that the pacing is so bananas that I don’t even know if you can keep everything straight if you haven’t read the books. That last point is a question, actually. Can you keep everything straight if you haven’t read the books? Do you feel like you know anyone at all?
I’m complaining a lot about this show, and I do feel really justified in saying all of this, but I’ll be tuned in for the next season or the Crows show, notes-app opened and ready. It’s nice to get to care so much about things, even as they piss me off. And boy oh boy did this season piss me off.
I’ve always been a proponent of mini-series or limited series models, where the constraints of time are laid out well in advance and become the frame within which the art lives. This season, for me, becomes the perfect case for why limited series are necessary and worthwhile ways to make art. Without the looming specter of season 3 renewal or Six of Crows greenlighting, I wonder if this massive, sprawling, talented cast stood a better chance at making something that honors and complicates and elevates the books it’s adapting.
Gah. Whatever. At least everyone is really hot.
Thank you to everyone who listened to me complain (or complained with me) about this show before I wrote this and got all my feelings out— Swen, Emma, Leilani, Rachel. Also, if you see good edits from this season on Tiktok, please send them my way <3
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So I finished the season & had myself a good cry because what the hell did I just watch? Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this. As someone who deeply resonated with the themes on loneliness & the struggle of finding your place in the world in the original trilogy, I was quite devastated that those themes were completely butchered/eliminated. My thoughts are not nearly as cohesive as yours but here are some things I wanted to say:
I agree with everything you've said. I think we can all agree that good adaptions do not need to be 1:1 correlations of their source material, but you need to maintain the integrity and heart of the story, otherwise why are you adapting the material? During pre-release press, the show runners were really firmly stressed that this season would not be like the books chalking it up to wanting to make the story their own, good adaptations not having to be exactly like the books and to not having a season 3 renewal prior to filming but wanting to include as much from the books as possible in case they were not renewed. After watching this season, it's very clear that all of this "justification" was just a scapegoat for getting the plot to end right before SOC picks up by any means possible which resulted in pretty horrendous writing. I love SOC and think it's definitely Leigh's best written book in the Grishaverse, but I don't think that means the storylines and character arcs of Ruin & Rising and Seige & Storm (which are you said do have powerful stories to tell) deserved to be butchered the way they were. I also really do not appreciate how they are trying to gaslight, for lack of a better word, any fans who didn’t like this season into believing its because they don’t understand how “adaptions” are mean to work. Eric Heisserer stated in an interview that to him a good adaption preserves the way you feel when you read the source material which ding ding ding but how can you feel that way if the adaption strips away all the nuance that allows the events of the book to have the emotional impact that they do?
Season 1 proved to me that the writers are capable of adapting source material well & making changes that enhanced the plot & made the story their own all while overall remaining true to the heart of books/characters so watching this season and seeing all the nuance of the books go out the window was quite devastating. I know most fans of the books prefer the SOC duology, but I actually came to read the books after watching the show and found the Shadow & Bone storyline and characters quite compelling with the changes the show made (ie Alina's agency and Mal's being more supportive of Alina) and was looking forward to seeing how this would play out in the subsequent books. Again based on how season 1 was done I thought that writers would potentially be able to pull off condensing books 2 & 3 while maintaining the integrity of the story but all of the upgrades that went into season 1 this fell apart this season because the writers were only interested in servicing the crow's plot line and using the Shadow & Bone characters as a vessel to do so and that felt like a slap in the face for fans of the original trilogy.
What happened to one of the most basic tenants of good writing show not tell in the S&B plot? Why was everyone talking AT each other and not with each other? It felt like they skimmed through the books, plucked out quotes that “sounded good”, and shoved them into random scenes which without their original context made them lose their meaning. The pacing of these individuals scenes were also so fast that none of the characters actually had time to digest & emotionally respond to what was being said and instead would just spout book lines back. Without this time to breathe and develop character and context, none of the characters from S&B had satisfying conclusions to their arcs. Where the characters ended this season felt forced instead of earned. Mal became Sturmhond because they were telling us that’s how it had to be … not once did we get the indication that’s given in book 2 that Mal is beginning to question what his purpose is outside of Alina. We are supposed to sit back & go … yes, absolutely I believe that. Do they think we are stupid?
The Darkling was also reduced to a one dimensional villain when he had the potential to be so much more? He came across as a kitschy villain who did bad things because he's evil and supposed to. All the nuance of his character was lost. His storyline from Demon in the Woods is so powerful because it illuminates how the systematic failures of Ravka & the rest of the world to protect Grisha made the world so unsafe for them that they were willing to kill one another if it made even just a little more power to protect themselves. It also does such a powerful job of illuminating how evil isn't born but made - we met him in DITW as a child who just wants stability, community and friendship and we leave the story seeing his life altered by the attempt on his life by someone he not only trusts but has saved the life of - the wound from which no doubts festers into the man he becomes alongside Baghra's upbringing of him as someone whose untouchable and not bound by any laws. I think a large part of the reason that was tossed out, apart from there being no time to flesh all this out, was the huge fan interest in the Darkling and Darklina. Fans went crazy for that after season 1. I think the watered down 1d villain was an attempt to squash the fan craze and also there was no time for the Darkling to be anything but a 1d villain really - he felt very S8 Cersei looking out of windows and just brooding to me. I also think it was pretty out of character for him to be so unhinged & theatrical. What makes the Darkling an absolutely terrifying villain in the books is his ability to manipulate with simply his words & charm. In the tether scenes he is able to provoke Alina so easily simply by what he says all while remaining calm & collected — where the hell did that go?
I have several other notes but also the magic system went out of the window this season? What is the point of adapting a fantasy series if you aren't going to adapt the magic of what makes fantasy so special properly? There was tons of discontinuities issues (Genya being able to heartrender/heal when we know she has never trained in those skills, Nina being to heal as well when she never trained as healer and in SOC specifically states that she isn’t sure how good she’ll be at it when she has to heal Inej - are these characters training off screen? If so, why aren’t we at least hearing a bit about that?) and also how did everyone just casually know and understand all the saint lore & Morozova's journals? In the books this wasn’t common knowledge but Mal reads the Lives of Saints & immediately goes to Nikolai about the shadow sword and he immediately knows its a fake as does Tolya. Perhaps Tolya being aware of this could be justified had we gotten to see the twins more and learn about their deep spirituality but alas that was also completely omitted this season. Nameless Grisha 0 who is working with the Darkling on whatever merzost/amplifier project also has a huge working knowledge on Morozova? I seriously don’t understand how that works because his work was kept a secret and only a select few people knew about it and even they did not properly understand it. Now if this was going to be a change in the screen universe why did we not get better explanations of his writings?
While the crows fared better, I completely agreeing that shoving so much backstory into season 2 started to eat away at the integrity of their stories as well. Once again changes are fine but when you start unraveling the chronology with which Leigh Bardugo reveals certain pieces of information to us about each Crow, the impact of that knowledge lessens and also alters the character fundamentally. I do the writers plan to handle Six of Crows better but unfortunately there is no coming back from the damage that was done to Seige & Storm and Ruin & Rising which is truly a shame. If it does get renewed for season 3 alongside a SOC spinoff, I’ll hope tenuously for redemption.
hello just reading this now 2 months later (lol) but I agree with pretty much everything you said!!
I was heartbroken when they scrapped the original ending of the books, because for all the flack it gets for the optics of a girl giving up her power to be with a man the last line of the books made me cry. And for some GODFORSAKEN REASON they threw that line in??? For Nikolai to say?? While Mal and Alina parted ways???
Rushing allllll of the character development that happens in books 2 and 3 made every single relationship fall flat for me...I felt nothing when we got that Malina scene even though in the books I was having my tender heart crushed. I hated that we didn't get to see how much Mal really changed and fought for Alina. Even the Kanej scenes felt a bit random, like scenes plucked from the books and thrown into the series without the show doing the legwork to get us there emotionally.
However...I was thrilled to see Kaz using his cane, finally, for its intended purpose lmao. His revenge on Peka Rollins come to life made me fiendishly gleeful.