The Shadow and Bone showrunner is speaking out about some of the changes that season 2 of the show has made to Leigh Bardugo’s popular book series. A fantasy show revolving around an orphan who discovers her identity as a magical Sun Summoner, Shadow and Bone features many magical Grisha with different powers and abilities. The show itself focuses on the journey of Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li) as she sets about to destroy the Shadow Fold — and other minor characters as they traverse the world.
While the show has attempted to remain close to the books, it has changed Alina and the Crows’ stories. Rather than following the timeline that Bardugo presented, showrunner Eric Heisserer has accelerated the pace tremendously. In an interview with Mashable, he explained exactly why he found it so important to change the world of Shadow and Bone.
“[Combining the series] covers different groups of people who live in the Grishaverse and gets you exposed to different ways of life that you wouldn’t [see] otherwise. I don’t know if we’d have as great an appreciation for Grisha and specifically for what Alina [the Sun Summoner, played by Jessie Mei Li] is and what she stands for if we didn’t also have a good sense of the scrappy kids from Ketterdam, who by and large don’t have much in the way of powers and get by on their wits, their reflexes, and their cunning mental abilities. We’re trying to make one show. So it’s about finding the things that unify these different groups of people or it’s finding moments to highlight how they are disparate. Is there a dichotomy between these characters that we can put a spotlight on?”
Should Shadow & Bone Have Made So Many Changes?
Shadow and Bone has always ignored the reality of the books because it includes characters from the sequel series Six of Crows. It leaves the show feeling distinct from the book series, especially since there are interactions, conflicts, and meetings that never would have occurred had the show been more faithful. Yet, considering the poor responses to Game of Thrones’ changes after diverging from the books, Shadow and Bone has enjoyed a much smoother ride after its adjustments.
One particular positive choice made is that Shadow and Bone chose to adapt the book Crooked Kingdom before tackling Six of Crows. With the first season essentially serving as a prequel to Six of Crows, it was easy to anticipate that the story would be adapted in season 2, yet Heisserer instead chose to divert. Pekka Rollins is now jailed and relationships are already forming that should not yet be there.
Yet, all the while, the show continues to get better. The fast pace and slight adjustments help to make an interesting world, while also keeping the story from dragging as directors arbitrarily wait for the next moment when character moments can resume. For instance, Nikolai is allowed to have adventures in Hellgate Prison, rather than having the moment skipped over, which has made the Shadow and Bone season 2 ending more impactful. As Shadow and Bone moves forward, the adjustments may become more grating. For now, they work perfectly well and deliver a positive experience.
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