Four new characters from the Grishaverse play major roles in “Shadow and Bone” Season 2 on Netflix. Like the pair of The Darkling and Alina, these new characters contain contradictions.
Adapted from the last two books in Leigh Bardugo’s “Shadow and Bone” trilogy — “Seige and Storm” and “Ruin and Rising” — with plot points from the “Six of Crows” duology mixed in, the sequel installment of the YA fantasy show introduces new characters and builds upon old concepts, specifically that of identity. Twin Heartrenders Tamar Kir-Bataar (Anna Leong Brophy) and Tolya Yul-Bataar (Lewis Tan) challenge the strict Ravkan identity categories in the fantasy world because have Grisha power to manipulate elements, but they are also just as comfortable using battle axes and swords.
“There’s a lot of duality. So I feel like the twins are a physical representation of duality, they’re two different sides of a coin,” Leong Brophy told TheWrap. “And you have that with Sturmhond and Nikolai, and all kinds of things: [The] Darkling and light.”
The twins work on the crew of Sturmhond, a privateer who stirs the pot for Alina (Jessie Mei Li) and Mal (Archie Renaux). He intercepts them in Novyi Zem, where the perspective on Grisha is also different just like Shu Han, where the twins were born.
“We had to do a lot of ‘This is how Grisha are seen in Shu Han and this is how they’re seen in Ravka.’ We’re kind of betwixt and between those two things. How does that work for us?” Leong Brophy posed. “We’re both mixed race as well. This is something that we can relate to finding out where we felt like we fit in the world. Or didn’t fit.”
Tan agreed, emphasizing that the twins’ loyalty isn’t tied to nationhood or Grisha power.
“They’re very loyal to Alina and Sturmhond because they’ve chosen to be. They’re not there for any other reason. They’re not forced to be there. They’re not loyal to any specific nation,” he told TheWrap. “They’re loyal to how they feel. And obviously [as Heartrenders] they have a very good sense of people’s true intentions.”
Upcoming Movies and TV Shows Based on Books
Bardugo’s readers know that Sturmhond turns out to be the alter ego of one Nikolai Lantsov (Patrick Gibson), who in the words of Eric Heisserer, “contains multitudes” himself.
“He’s kind of got a flavor of a lot of different stuff. I think he’s an ally to Alina in a way that — because Mal and her are so close and have kind of grown up together, Nikolai can bring an outside perspective and form an alliance with her that’s a little bit more objective,” Gibson told TheWrap. “They can work really well together because they don’t know each other as well.”
While the twins and Sturmhond further connect The Crows to Alina, Mal and co., Wylan Hendricks (Jack Wolfe) starts out on The Crows’ side of things when Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) hires him to be their demolitions man.
“He brings out a protective side of some of the Crows. He also brings a lot of chaos in a very, very different way,” Hendricks told TheWrap. “He’s very necessary to the group and they need him but at the same time, I feel like he feels like he has to earn his place there. So there’s a lot of those dichotomies going on.”
Speaking of the Crows, leader Kaz Brekker returns, cane and all, to wreak havoc as a big boss with bigger connections.
“I spoke a lot with Lee about it because Leigh uses a walking aid. I wanted to know why she felt like the character needed that,” Carter told TheWrap. “And she wanted to see basically someone who uses a walking aid who isn’t impaired by it, and he loves it about himself and he uses it as this badass weapon kind of adds to the myth of Kaz Brekker around Ketterdam.”
Amita Suman, who plays character Inej, another returning Crow whose strong faith and religious beliefs come back with her.
“Faith is something so powerful and so grounding and it’s something that really no one can influence. You could be in space, you could be on Earth, you could be in the Grishaverse. It doesn’t matter, your faith is just completely and utterly yours,” Suman told TheWrap. “The most interesting thing about Season 2 with Inej is that faith can give you a lot of hope, but this time it’s such an uphill battle for her, and that is why to me the ending of Season 2 for Inej’s arc is such a shock. I’m very excited for fans to see that and see her implementing the consequences of battling with hope.”
“Shadow and Bone” Season 2 premieres March 16 on Netflix.