This feature contains spoilers for Shadow and Bone Season 1.
When Netflix’s critically-acclaimed fantasy series Shadow and Bone first debuted last year, it had more than 55 million member-households watching the fantasy series in its first 28 days. The series made the Top 10 list in 93 countries around the world and hit #1 in 79 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Germany, and the U.S. It therefore came as no surprise when Netflix announced a second season to be made.
The first season centered around Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), a mapmaker who has the power to summon sunlight and was sent to train with fellow magic-based users, Grishas, to learn how to control her power. The Grishas are led by the mysterious General Kirigan (Ben Barnes), a Grisha with the power to summon the darkness. After spending some time with Kirigan, Alina is hastily enamored by him and his promise of working together to destroy the Fold.
Breaking Down the New Characters Announced for Shadow and Bone Season 2
Alina eventually learns the truth about Kirigan and his real quest to expand the fold and, therefore, its darkness. She works with her childhood friend Mal (Archie Renaux) and a crew of thieves who call themselves “Crows” (Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, and Kit Young) to stop him. The team is successful, ending the season with Alina, Mal and the Crows going on their own journeys towards Ketterdam. Of course, audiences also learn that Kirigan survived the battle and is now in control of the monsters of the Shadow Fold.
With Alina and Mal now in hiding, Season 2 seems to follow immediately after the events at the end of the first, which would be based on some elements of the second book, “Siege and Storm”. Fans of the novels have been anticipating the casting call for several of the new characters that make an appearance in the story, including Nikolai Lantsov, Tama Kir-Bataar, and Tolya Yul-Bataar. Since the show merges with some aspects of the Six of Crows duology, many will recognize a key member of the Crows gang, Wylan Hendriks, joining the series. Netflix recently announced the actors who will be portraying these characters in the series–Patrick Gibson as Nikolai Lantsov, Anna Leong Brophy as Tama Kir-Bataar, Lewis Tan as Tolya Yul-Bataar, and Jack Wolfe as Wylan.
To give some insight into the new characters, here is a quick guide on who these characters are based on what we know from the Grishaverse novels. Netflix has made several adjustments to the storyline and characters in the first season. So what we know about these new characters from the novels may have some slight changes for the series.
First introduced in “Siege and Storm” as the infamous privateer Stumhond, he is a young captain with his own fleet of ships. Initially, when he first meets Alina and Mal, it appears that he is working for the Darkling. But he later reveals that he is Nikolai Lantsov, the second son of the King of Ravka. Nikolai is determined to help Ravka by bringing Alina back to fight the Shadow Fold, which would further his political agenda to become the heir to the throne. Although ambitious, Nikolai is extremely charming and has built a very loyal crew, which includes Heartrender twins Tama Kir-Bataar and Tolya Yul-Bataar.
Although Alina and Nikolai have a rough first meeting, there is undeniable chemistry between the two. Nikolai is smitten by the Sun Summoner and makes it known throughout the novel. Gibson certainly looks the part of the handsome prince and may even throw the Alina-Mal shippers off course. One thing is for sure–he’s definitely going to cause some trouble in Ravka.
Born from a Ravkan Grisha and Shu Han mercenary, Tama and her twin brother are of mixed Shu Han ancestry like Alina (in the series). She is also a Heartrender who works for Nikolai on his ship. Fiercely loyal to her captain, Tama becomes close to Alina throughout their time on the ship. Like Inej, she is religious and believes in the Sun Saint, which only strengthens her bond with Alina. With Alina being mixed Shu Han in the series, this will provide an opportunity for Alina to find commonality and a closer connection with Tama and Tolya. Alina and Mal may feel less alone knowing there are others like them.
In the books, Tama also falls in love and eventually marries Nadia Zhabin, a squaller for the Ravkan Second Army. With Nadia (Gabrielle Brooks) already introduced in the first season as one of the Tidemaker Grisha who befriends Alina, it looks like a romance could be on the horizon.
Not much is shared about Tolya in the second novel, Siege and Storm. Known for being the more stoic of the twins, Tolya is both strong and fearless when it comes to his loyalty towards Nikolai–and eventually Alina. He shares his sister’s faith and believes in the Sun Summoner as a saint. As both Shu Han and Ravkan, Tolya is in touch with both his roots. This may provide Alina some more knowledge and insight into her Shu Han side, if the series decides to take it there.
Although he is ruggedly handsome and bonds with Alina, there is no romance between the two. In fact, in the novels, he supports Mal and Alina’s relationship. In Siege and Storm, Alina makes Tolya vow to prevent Mal from following her on a mission. Tolya breaks that promise because he “didn’t want to be the one to keep Mal away from her”. It would be lovely to see that scene eventually take place in the Netflix series as it really exemplifies Mal’s obvious dedication and love for Alina.
Wylan Henriks/Van Eck
First introduced in the first book “Six of Crows”, Wylan is the Crows’ demolition-weapons expert. After the death of his mother at an early age, Wylan becomes estranged from his wealthy and manipulative father, Jan Van Eck. Jan is cruel to his son and even goes as far as attempting to kill him. Wylan runs away and starts a new life in Ketterdam, taking his mother’s maiden name–Henriks. He joins the Crows, but isn’t used to the violence that the crew regularly experience.
As for romance, Wylan and Jesper have a sweet and loving relationship throughout the duology. With the series not shying away queer couplings in the first season, it’ll be exciting how the series will portray Wylan and Jesper’s story.