Spoilers for Season 2 of Shadow and Bone ahead. If you haven’t watched the hit fantasy series yet, you can stream it with a Netflix subscription.
When I watched Season 2 of Shadow and Bone I was in shock when I realized there were elements from four different novels weaved into a single season of TV. The incorporation of Seige and Storm as well as Ruin and Rising from the original Shadow and Bone trilogy, plus elements of the Six of Crows duology is a lot to take in. Like the fans, the cast was also gripped by the large number of stories represented in this new season, and the newest members of the ensemble, Patrick Gibson, Lewis Tan and Anna Leong Brophy weighed in on what it was like seeing all these different stories from the books come together over the course of eight episodes.
The trio, who play fan-favorite characters from the second and third books in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, spoke about what it was like reading the scripts for the first time. They noted what it was like seeing Nikolai, Tolya and Tamar on screen, as well as realizing there were plot points from various books that would involve exciting and new character interactions. Anna Leong Brophy, who plays Tamar, told CinemaBlend she was glued to the pages, and just wanted them to keep coming, saying:
I mean, as soon as the scripts were coming through, I was like, on my phone on set just being like ‘What happens next!?’ I was so gripped by it.
Meanwhile, Patrick Gibson, who plays Nikolai, noted that he was blown away by how much was packed into the season. The series showrunner Eric Heisserer spoke to Polygon about this fact, and why they added so many stories, saying they wanted to make sure there was a “full meal” for each character this season. Gibson had a similar idea, noting how well the writers weaved the stories from the books together for the show, explaining:
I mean they’ve packed so much in, and then somehow, like, I don't know, it just flowed and like getting all those stories to work together and complement each other is such a feat.
The trio also noted that along with the writing for this season, Season 1 laid a lot of groundwork that made it possible to pack so much into Season 2. Even though their characters were not featured in the first installment, the small details dropped within the first eight episodes, along with the worldbuilding and character development made it possible for their character’s epic introductions and seamless inclusion. All this story in Season 2 also made it so long-awaited character arcs, like the introduction of these three characters, Jesper and Wylan’s relationship and Alina becoming confident in her power, could happen. Leong Brophy touched on this, saying:
I think it's a credit to Season 1 as well. There’s so much established in Season 1 that you then have this amazing foundation to kind of go wherever you need to go.
Lewis Tan also made a good point about the combination of books and how it allows the audience to see various characters interacting on the show who never got to meet in the novels. This was especially true in his character Tolya’s case because he got to spend half the season with the Shadow and Bone cast and the other half with the Crows cast. The actor said:
Yeah, that's the exciting part about the season is the people that know the book and are familiar with the storylines are still going to be surprised and intrigued because we're just offering new things around each corner but [it] also still feels familiar. You know, I think that's hats off to the writers.
He’s totally right, as a fan of both the books and show, I thought it was so fun seeing characters I know and love interacting with other characters and places in ways they never got to in the book. Whenever this happens it’s always one of the most exciting aspects of watching book-to-screen adaptations, and I thought Shadow and Bone did a great job of pulling this off.
It may be overwhelming at first to realize there are four books worth of plot going on in Season 2 of Shadow and Bone. However, as the cast said, in the end, everything weaves together in a really cool way that results in an epic story that sets up a possible Season 3 and even a Six of Crows spin-off perfectly.