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Exploring the Romance of Alina Starkov in “Shadow and Bone”: Comparing the Book Series to the Netflix Show

Exploring the Romance of Alina Starkov in "Shadow and Bone": Comparing the Book Series to the Netflix Show

Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” is an epic fantasy show with plenty of romance. Fans are torn between rooting for Alina (Jessie Mei Li) and her best friend Mal (Archie Renaux), or Alina and General Kirigan — aka the Darkling (Ben Barnes). Season two, released on March 16, adds Nikolai (Patrick Gibson) to the mix, who wants Alina to marry him. The series is based on Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha book trilogy, but it’s not a direct adaptation. Here, we’re breaking down who Alina ends up with in the books and how the show has changed her romantic fate.

In the books, Alina and Mal get their happily ever after, but not without complications. After Alina kills the Darkling, most of Ravka think they’re dead. They change their names, get married, and go into hiding. They also reopen the Keramzin orphanage where they grew up.

At the end of season one of the show, Alina isn’t in a relationship with anyone. She kisses General Kirigan, only to find out he’s the Darkling who created the Fold. In season two, she kills him. Alina agrees to marry Nikolai, who is next in line for the Ravka throne. After the Darkling is defeated, she still agrees to marry Nikolai, because she thinks Ravka needs help healing and protection (and, unlike in the book, she still has powers). Mal decides to become a pirate. Alina admits she doesn’t know where their paths will lead. Mal says if the path leads him back to her, they’ll know they’re meant to be together.

Will Mal and Alina get a happy ending in a third season? We’ll have to wait and see.

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