'Shadow and Bone' Season 2 makes a lot of changes from the Grishaverse books.

Shadow And Bone Season 2 Made Some Pretty Massive Changes From The Books

It's more of a remix than an adaptation at this point.


When Shadow and Bone first debuted in 2021, longtime fans of Leigh Bardugo’s fantasy novels celebrated finally getting to see the Grishaverse come to life. But... it didn’t look exactly like readers imagined. The show made a few notable changes in its first season. It was nothing too major, and mostly made sense to better balance all the interconnecting stories across multiple interconnected books. But in Season 2, the changes from page to screen are massive. Storylines are drastically changed, important deaths are altered, and the most climactic moment looks very different from how it was described in the books.

Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from throughout Shadow and Bone Season 2. The television adaptation of Bardugo’s novels has a gargantuan task in coalescing 10 beloved books into one digestible timeline. The core plot of Season 2 largely follows the final two books in the Shadow and Bone trilogySiege and Storm and Ruin and Rising — but it also incorporates several characters and plotlines from the Six of Crows duology, as well as bringing in tales from some of the companion novels, most notably The Lives of Saints.

With such a wealth of material, it’s understandable why the show would make some changes to weave all the stories together. In Season 2, those changes were more notable than ever, and for the first time, even avid book readers were shocked by some of the twists that were invented solely for the show.

1. The Darkling isn’t on Sturmhond’s ship.


Alina and Mal don’t really run into the Darkling all too much in the beginning of Season 2, which isn’t the case at all in the books. He actually kidnapped Alina and Mal and put them on board Sturmhond’s ship to help him track the Sea Whip. But the show handled this situation much differently. Instead, Alina and Mal boarded Sturmhond’s ship on their own and convinced him to help them find the Sea Whip. The Darkling was busy recruiting his Grisha army at the time, and wasn’t even attempting to find the Sea Whip.

2. Vasily dies at Nikolai and Alina’s engagement party.

Vasily’s death is pretty similar in both the show and the books — he’s killed at a fancy palace party by the Darkling’s nichevo’ya. But unlike the engagement party in the show, he’s killed at Nikolai’s birthday party in the books, and the scene is more chaotic given that it involves Vasily revealing a double-crossing deal he made with Fjerda and drawing his sword on Nikolai.

3. The Darkling attacks Genya for trying to run from him.

The reason for the Darkling scarring Genya is also changed up a bit. The book version finds the Darkling inflicting merzost scars on Genya’s face as a punishment for her not shooting Alina when she had a chance to. But in the show, the Darkling attacks her for trying to flee from his encampment.

4. The Darkling kills Baghra.


Baghra’s death is one of the first really major changes of the season. Ruin and Rising has Baghra jumping off a cliff, sacrificing herself to distract the Darkling during one of his battles with Alina. However, in the show, the Darkling’s nichevo’ya directly kill his mother despite his protests, but she’s able to cut off his hand before dying.

5. Pekka is imprisoned in the Hellgate.

Pekka Rollins got a different ending to his story in the Netflix series. The crimelord disappeared from Ketterdam after the Crows threatened his hidden family in the book series, but in the show, Pekka remained a player even in Hellgate by instigating a tenuous agreement with Matthias. Though Pekka was briefly imprisoned in the Ice Court in the books, he was never an inmate at Hellgate.

6. The Crows take Neshyenyer.


Only the true Grishaverse superfans recognized the name Neshyenyer when it became an important part of Season 2. The legendary blade isn’t actually a part of the core Shadow and Bone book series at all, and only appears in the companion novel The Lives of Saints. The show brought in the myth of Sankta Neyar and interpolated it with the Crows’ story, creating a whole new adventure by combining two previously unrelated stories from the novels.

7. Alina doesn’t create new Sun Summoners when destroying the Fold.

Without a doubt, the biggest change in Season 2 is all about how Alina destroys the Fold. The series’ sparse and brief showdown between Alina and the Darkling is the polar opposite of the all-out war scene depicted in the novels. Most notably, when Alina uses Mal as an amplifier and destroys the Fold, she doesn’t bestow her Sun Summoner powers on those nearby, like in the book. Instead, Alina seems to retain her powers in the show, and remains the only Sun Summoner.

8. Alina doesn’t fake her own death.

The book version of Alina faked her death after losing her Grisha powers so she could run off with Mal and live a nice normal life together. Well... that didn’t happen in the show. Alina didn’t lose her powers, and still plans on marrying Nikolai to become Ravka’s queen. Not exactly the quaint countryside life.

9. Alina develops Shadow Summoner abilities.


Season 2’s final moment was a massive curveball even for those familiar with the books. When a Fjerdan assassin went on a killing spree at Nikolai’s coronation, Alina sliced the woman in half using Cut. But it wasn’t her normal Sun Summoner Cut, it was the Shadow Summoner version. Aline never displayed Shadow Summoner abilities in the novels, so this is a totally new direction for the show.

10. The nichevo'ya kill David.

Poor David; he’s really gone too soon. The show surprised fans by having a nichevo’ya kill the Durast in the final battle, before he could even give Genya the ruby engagement ring he was crafting for her. In the books, David at least makes it to his wedding day with Genya... until he’s tragically killed by a Fjerdan attack before getting to say “I do.”

11. Mal becomes Sturmhond.

Since Alina didn’t run off to start a new life with him like in Ruin and Rising, Mal got a different Season 2 ending as well. Though he lost his tracking abilities in his resurrection, Mal set off to live the pirate life with Tamar, Tolya, Nadia, and Inej. In an especially heartwarming show of compassion, Nikolai even gifted Mal his pirate alias Sturmhond, a name he never gave away to anyone else in the book series.

12. Matthias doesn’t kill the wolves.


Thank Saints the Netflix series changed one of the most traumatizing Matthias scenes from the Six of Crows duology. Rather than kill the wolves he’s forced to fight against in the Hellshow in the books, the series has Matthias bonding with them instead, even if it means a beatdown from the guards.

13. Wylan’s dad is out of the picture.

One very important character has yet to make an appearance on the show, even though his son was a main player in Season 2. Wealthy merchant Jan Van Eck is a central antagonist in the Six of Crows books, and his hostile relationship with his son Wylan is central not only to Wylan’s introduction, but the bulk of his story. However, Shadow and Bone Season 2 brought Wylan in without any mention of his dad at all. Since Jan is such a big part of the books, fans can probably expect him to show up in future seasons.