The ending of Game of Thrones left a sizable gap in many fantasy aficionados’ lives, and if you’re one of them, a forthcoming show to check out is the Netflix series Shadow and Bone. The show is based on Leigh Bardugo’s highly popular Grishaverse novels; Shadow and Bone is the title of the first novel of a trilogy by Bardugo, but the series will draw from her Six of Crow series, as well.
Shadow and Bone is set in a fantastical world divided in two by a massive barrier of perpetual darkness called the Shadow Fold. Unnatural creatures with an appetite for human flesh make passage to the other side of the Shadow Fold deadly even for the powerful armies who battle those forces. Enter Alina Starkov (Jessie Mei Li), a young soldier who uncovers a power within herself that could unite her divided and ravaged country. As she grapples with this newfound power, thugs, thieves, saints and assassins wage war around her, and dangerous forces plot against her, Alina is all too aware that magic isn’t the only ally she needs.
Malyen Oretsev (Archie Renaux), Alina’s childhood friend and gifted tracker, stands by her side, but their foes are numerous, and Alina isn’t the only character with supernatural powers. There’s Zoya Nazyalensky (Sujaya Dasgupta), a soldier who can manipulate the weather; Nina Zenik (Danielle Galligan), a “Heartrender” who can kill without touch; and Genya Safin (Daisy Head), a “Grisha” who is able to manipulate her appearance. Other formidable fighters on the show include Ivan (Simon Sears), Jesper Fahey (Kit Young), Inej (Amita Suman), Kaz Brekker (Freddy Carter) and the steely General Kirigan, otherwise known as the “Darkling” to his enemies (and as Ben Barnes in real life).
Barnes has starred in HBO’s Westworld, Suman on Doctor Who and Galligan on Game of Thrones, so it is clear the cast is familiar with the fantasy realm. Bardugo is clearly excited about the show’s stars, stating, “Watching these actors begin to inhabit these roles has been pure magic.”
Production is beginning in Budapest, Hungary, likely to match the Russia-inspired world Bardugo created in her novel. The show will be split into eight one-hour episodes.
Bardugo is serving as an executive producer on the project alongside showrunner and writer Eric Heisserer and director Lee Toland Krieger. Other executive producers include Pouya Shahbazian (New Leaf Literary & Media) and Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Dan Cohen and Josh Barry for 21 Laps.
No word yet on when Shadow and Bone will be released, but in the meantime, you could always read some of Bardugo’s books to get acquainted with this story’s densely rich world.