Warning: Spoilers for Netflix's Shadow and Bone Season 1 follow. Shadow and Bone is, at its heart, a YA love triangle. Alina Starkov starts her journey in love with her best friend, the good-hearted Mal. But when her Grisha powers manifest, she finds herself under the command of General Kirigan, who controls darkness. As the only Sun Summoner, Alina discovers they have a lot in common, even as opposites attract. But although the show goes to great lengths to improve Mal from the books by playing out his story onscreen, there are a lot of fans on Team Black Heretic. These thirsty tweets about The Darkling from Shadow and Bone suggest fans might want to take the Bone Road more ways than one. After all, the internet loves a bad boy.
It doesn't help that Shadow and Bone's directors cast Ben Barnes, one of the hottest character actors around, as General Kirigan, aka The Darkling. The actor has been a heartthrob ever since he played the titular Prince Caspian in the Narnia franchise. When it comes to science fiction and fantasy TV, his turns in Westworld and The Punisher haven't gone un-thirsted either.
In short, the series' creators picked Barnes because he would drive fans to distraction. He's the perfect guy you know you shouldn't want, even though you totally do.
For those who have been following Barnes since his big-screen franchise days, his turn as the Darkling was just proof that some men age like fine wine. Or perhaps it's just that some of us had good taste the first time around too.
Archie Renaux (who plays Mal) is probably set to become a big star now that Shadow and Bone is out. (He's also in the Spidey-verse's Morbius film coming out in 2022.) But let's be honest: In a one-on-one match-up, poor Mal never stood a chance with the goth-loving fantasy crowd.
Even the holdouts had to admit, when it comes to Ben Barnes, the Twitter stans are correct.