Warning: This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Shadow and Bone season 2, the Shadow and Bone book trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, and the King of Scars duology. Proceed at your own risk.
The long-awaited second season of Shadow and Bone has finally made its way to Netflix to continue the story of Alina Starkov’s journey as the Sun Summoner and her goal to destroy the Shadow Fold while the threat of the Darkling remains. If you’ve made your way through all eight episodes, you may be left wondering what the finale means for the future of the show.
Netflix has yet to renew Shadow and Bone, but in the meantime, we’ll dive into some of the major plot points that audiences can likely expect to see between a third season and any potential spin-offs. The first two seasons of the show may have covered an adapted version of the events from the Shadow and Bone trilogy, but four books full of content still remain in Bardugo’s Grishaverse!
The Ice Court Heist
While audiences were thrilled that the show was able to bend the timeline of the Grishaverse in order to introduce our beloved Crows alongside the events of Shadow and Bone (rather than having to wait until later seasons to meet them), this meant that their own major plot lines had to be sidelined in order to work them into the story of the Sun Summoner.
In the season 2 finale, “No Funerals,” jurda parem is finally introduced. Jurda parem is a highly addictive drug that amplifies the power of Grisha a thousand times over. Kaz explains to the Crows that the chemist who created it is currently awaiting trial in the hands of the Fjerdans, and if they were to weaponize it, the consequences would be devastating worldwide. We get a taste of this power when a Fjerdan Heartrender attacks everyone at Nikolai’s coronation, sending all of the guests plummeting to the floor as the choke on their own blood.
Kaz tells his crew that they’ve received an offer for the most lucrative job they’ve ever taken. Given the fact that the show has confirmed that the chemist is indeed in Fjerda, this means that the Ice Court heist is finally coming. This should also guarantee that the six Crows will finally all be united on-screen, as they will need to break Matthias out of Hellgate in order to infiltrate the formidable, impenetrable Ice Court.
Based on series showrunner Eric Heisserer’s interview with Entertainment Weekly, it sounds like we could even see this play out as a spin-off, rather than side-by-side in the central Shadow and Bone series.
King of Scars
The second season saw Nikolai attacked by one of the Darkling’s nichevo’ya, thus infecting him with merzost. In Ruin and Rising, Nikolai ens up transforming into a bloodthirsty, winged monster as a result of this infection. Though he eventually returns to his human form after Alina kills the Darkling, in King of Scars, we learn that some of the darkness still lingers inside of him, and he struggles to maintain control of it.
When he’s getting dressed for the coronation in the show, Nikolai takes off his shirt, and we see tendrils of darkness spreading from the wound on his shoulder. He turns to look in the mirror, and he’s met with the horrifying sight of a shadow monster staring back at him for a moment. This means that we can likely expect to find Nikolai grappling with this growing problem in season 3. Additionally, given Zoya’s sly comment — “Well, that one’s a mess. I could fix him” — we’ll hopefully see this slow burn romance come to fruition as she potentially works alongside him. (And following Nikolai’s brief nod to being a bastard, will we dive into the controversy of his heritage, too?)
Elizaveta and the Darkling
It remains to be seen just how much of the plot-heavy King of Scars and Rule of Wolves will be adapted, because there’s an entire array of characters and storylines there. However, in regards to one character in particular, it’s worth noting that there’s a brief moment in the finale where a bee lands on Zoya’s kefta. This is meant to be a nod to Elizaveta, the patron saint of gardeners who first appears to Nikolai and Zoya as a swarm of bees in King of Scars.
In the books, Nikolai, Zoya, and Yuri (of the Cult of the Starless Saint) set off on a mind-bending journey into a remnant of the Shadow Fold in an attempt to harness control of the monster inside of Nikolai. While they’re there, they meet three Saints — Elizaveta, Juris, and Grigori. While she initially seemed to be on their side, Elizaveta was revealed to working under the ulterior motive of bringing the Darkling back to life.
A New Shadow Summoner?
Alina’s involvement in the story moving forward has been altered, given the fact that her and Mal have not disappeared into obscurity with their happy ending yet (faking her death in the process). Mal is off playing Sturmhond, and Alina still remains at Nikolai’s side for the time being. And instead of just losing her powers as the Sun Summoner like in Ruin and Rising, when she rebukes the Fjerdan Heartrender’s attack on Nikolai’s coronation, she shockingly strikes her down using the Darkling’s signature move, the Cut … and it’s made from shadows, not light.
Now, returning to the prior section, Alina still being a major player in the story at this point will affect the events surrounding the resurrection of the Darkling and Nikolai’s story, so we’ll just have to wait and see how it will all tie together.