When the Darkling meets Alina for the first time to see if she is a Grisha, the lights go out and everyone in the room disappears into the dark. This is the first time we see his powers at work. Then he scratches her arm, and a powerful beam of light shoots up from her skin and goes all the way to the sky. The Sun Summoner is found by the Shadow Summoner.
At this point in the show, there are a lot of important questions to answer, like what will happen to Alina next, will she be separated from Mal, and is she in danger now that her secret is out? But I couldn’t help but swoon when I saw how Alina’s light lit up the Darkling’s towering darkness.
The romance between Alina and Darkling looks good from the start. Even while Alina is learning to control her powers at the Darkling’s Little Palace, they spend a little time together. But their love doesn’t last long because Alina finds out that the Darkling has been lying to her.
By the end of Season 1, Alina and the Darkling are actually bitter enemies. Here’s what all went down.
Who Is Darkling in Shadow and Bone? Is General Kirigan the Darkling?
The Darkling has a face for the first time in Netflix’s adaptation of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. The Darkling is one of the darkest and most secretly loved villains in fantasy fiction. And the fact that actor Ben Barnes is “extraordinary handsome” only adds to the mystery of the Darkling.
One of the many ways the show is different from the books is that the Darkling is called General Kirigan. He is a special kind of Grisha who controls the darkness. He is the leader of the Second Army.
Kirigan is first shown to us as the descendant of the Dark Heretic, who was the first person to lose control of his darkness and make The Fold. Later on, though, the show shows that General Kirigan is in fact the Dark Heretic, also known as the Darkling. He is also the main bad guy in the story because of this.
Is the Darkling Really in Love with Alina?
In the show, Darkling’s backstory is much more detailed and likable than in the books. We learn that the Darkling made The Fold after the king’s men killed his partner and fellow Grisha, Luda.
In this situation, his fixation on Alina could seem like a longing for lost love. But by the end of the season, it becomes clear that the Darkling might be up to something worse than finding a better match.
His plans are shown to be to lie to Alina and try to make her his slave, to control and not destroy The Fold, and possibly to take the king’s place as the most powerful person in Ravka.
So, the show gives us so many different ideas about the Darkling that we can’t tell if he really loved Alina or not.
Do the Darkling and Alina End up Together?
Alina’s life is turned upside down when she finds out that she is a Grisha and the most powerful Grisha ever. The Darkling is with her through all of the trouble. He helps her train to improve her power control and figure out where she fits in the bigger picture.
At the same time, the Darkling keeps Alina from remembering her old life. Out of jealousy, he cuts her off from her only childhood friend, Mal. This is understandable since Alina’s hidden powers first came out to save Mal’s life.
Baghra, Alina’s new teacher, also wants her to get her powers from herself and not from anyone else. Baghra’s words, “Needing anyone else is weak,” play over and over in Alina’s head for a minute before she decides to move on from Mal and give General Kirigan a try.
Alina tells the Darkling how she feels about him as she learns to be independent and take charge of her life (beware, you will swoon and want to watch and rewatch this gif). But the love story is over before it even starts.
Before they become bitter enemies after Darkling’s failed attempt to enslave Alina, the show shows that they are both ageless Grishas and good partners. At the end of Season 1, Alina is definitely with Mal, but the Darkling-Alina ship seems to be about more than that. As this fan so well puts it:
What Happens in the Books?
In both the books and the show, Alina ends up with Mal instead of the Darkling. In the books, however, Alina’s path to Mal is much more complicated. She has a third love interest and loses all of her Grisha powers along the way.
Also, Mal turns out to be a distant relative of the Darkling. Mal in the book is much darker than the Mal we see on the show. He is obsessed with Alina, tries to control her, and is mostly just a jerk to her.
The Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bordugo ends with Mal and Alina going back to the orphanage where they grew up and running it like two normal people. Fans still argue about how happy this ending was. Some people say Bordugo got tired of trying to show that the Darkling could be liked and decided to go after Kaz Brekker instead in Six of Crows.
About Shadow and Bone (2021)
Eric Heisserer and 21 Laps Entertainment made the American fantasy TV show Shadow and Bone for Netflix. It is based on the Grisha trilogy of books by Leigh Bardugo. The first book is Shadow and Bone, and the Six of Crows books are the second and third in the series.
c, Archie Renaux, Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, Kit Young, Ben Barnes, and Zoe Wanamaker are among the main cast members.
The show is about an orphan who makes maps and finds out she has special powers that could change the world. As she goes on a journey to improve her powers, she has to make friends with people who are supposed to be her enemies.