Shadow and Bone season 2 – Storylines and mythology from all seven of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels come together in Shadow and Bone, making for a rich and nuanced lore experience. In Shadow and Bone season 2, one facet of Grisha culture becomes central, when Alina (Jessie Mei Li) and Mal (Archie Renaux) go on a journey to destroy the Fold by hunting down amplifiers. The shocking realities they unearth on their journey have far-reaching repercussions and pave the way for a hypothetical third season that would explore uncharted terrain in the Grishaverse.
One of the keys to understanding this season of Shadow and Bone, and especially the season finale, is familiarity with the history and operation of amplifiers. Therefore, let’s explain everything about amplifiers, including the surprise at the end.
EXPLAIN WHAT AN AMPLIFIER IS.
It was the first Grisha, Ilya Morozova, who invented amplifiers. The same veneer of phoney benevolence that Kirigan uses to conceal his own quest for power is present in Morozova’s goal, many centuries ago, to develop a method of enhancing Grisha might to assist them in better defending themselves from persecution. Morozova, also known as the Bonesmith, is famous for creating very strong creatures using most and his finger bones, which, when slain and merged with a Grisha’s body, increase the latter’s strength. As soon as the amplifier is fused with a Grisha, the Grisha is able to glimpse its last memories, which are likely to be from the animal’s point of view as it is being slain.
Humans like Baghra (Zo Wanamaker) and General Kirigan (Ben Barnes), whose bones can also be used to construct amplifiers, are among the few amplifiers that do exist. For obvious reasons, however, this method is rejected as heresy.
The amplifier’s effect on a Grisha’s strength varies according to the creature’s kind. Certain boosts to a Grisha’s power are rather small. The three fabled amplifiers known as Morozova’s creatures are so powerful that most people assume they can only exist in legend. Of course, the truth lies at the heart of these tales, as it does with most of the mythology of the Ravkan people.
Grisha only takes one amplifier in their lifetime because they believe taking numerous would lead them to lose control of their abilities because most was used to make amplifiers. As the stakes increase higher in the second season of Shadow and Bone, Alina risks her life to get her hands on all three of Morozova’s amplifiers so that she may use them to destroy the Fold.
Shadow and Bone season 2 HE STAG
In the first season of Shadow and Bone, the stag was a major character. The beast haunted Alina’s dreams all season, but it was Kirigan who spearheaded the search for it, and not because he wanted to eliminate the Fold as he had stated but rather to increase its size and solidify his hold over Ravka.
According to the texts, the stag is crucial to “the creation of the heart of the world,” the location of the Grisha’s ultimate source of power. Legends from Ravka portray the stag as a kind creature that can fulfil wishes and communicate with humans. The kind nature of the stag is real, but the final portion is not.
Once Mal and Alina track down the stag, Alina learns that she doesn’t have to kill it after all, since the animal has decided to share its power with her. Mal is just beginning to form a relationship with the deer when Kirigan and his followers come and start shooting arrows at her. As a result, Alina must decide whether to stop Kirigan from murdering the deer or rescue Mal. When a distraught Alina reluctantly chooses Mal, Kirigan cuts off the legendary stag’s head.
Because of Kirigin’s interference, David (Luke Pasqualino) is coerced into fusing the stag’s antlers into Alina’s upper chest, although they remain partially external to her. The antlers are still horrifyingly visible through her clavicles. Kirigan can use Alina’s abilities thanks to a little bit of antler lodged in his own palm. (In the novels, David fashions an impenetrable collar for Alina, which is enough for the Darkling to manage her abilities, sparing us all the unpleasant visual of chest antlers.)
[Editor’s note: The following post does include Season 2 spoilers for Shadow and Bone.]
After entering the Fold with Kirigan, Alina regains control of her powers by severing the antler fragment in his grasp. The remainder of the stag’s antlers is absorbed into Alina’s body, making the stag’s power her own (hallelujah). However, Kirigan’s hand retains part of the stag’s remnants, forming a mental connection between him and Alina that survives until Baghra severed his hand in her last moments of season 2.
WHIP OF THE SEA
The sea whip is the second of Morozova’s monsters. Mal and Alina find the ice dragon in the island’s tunnels with the assistance of Nikolai (Patrick Gibson) and his crew. With faith that the sea whip would bestow its power on her as the stag did, Alina issues the order to catch it alive. As the sea whip tries to attack Mal, Alina kills it, making the same sacrifice she made with the other amplifier to save Mal’s life. Two of the sea whip’s scales have been permanently fused into Alina’s flesh, albeit, unlike the antlers, they are still externally visible on her wrist in the form of an implanted bracelet.
Some further information about the sea whip’s history is included in the books. According to folklore, the monster is really the doomed dragon prince Rusalye. Rusalye, a sea snake trapped in its serpentine form, is tasked with protecting the northern part of the True Sea along the Bone Road. Despite the tragedy of the story, Rusalye isn’t a hero to us. It is said that Rusalye would regularly abduct ladies to serve as his underwater companions; but, since there was no food down there, they all perished from starvation.
Shadow and Bone season 2 HOUSE OF THE FLAMINGO
Just about here is when things start to become strange and difficult. The firebird is the last of Morozova’s monsters. Yet Mal is the third amplifier, not the firebird.
WAIT. MAL THE FIREBIRD, HOW ARE YOU?
In reality, the firebird was misunderstood as a third amplifier. But the joke was on them, for the third booster was really Baghra’s little sister.
Baghra reveals in season 2 that she is Morozova’s daughter, despite the fact that he has never embraced her because of her shadow skills. Baghra’s abilities were unleashed and she murdered her sister when she shattered the clay swan their father had given them. Similar to how he brought back the stag and the sea whip, Morozova used most and his finger bone to bring back Baghra’s younger sister and transform her into the third amplifier. This ability was transmitted to her offspring, Mal, and forth through the generations.
Mal has no recollection of his birth family and is thus surprised to learn that he is a Morozova. Nevertheless, the warnings were there from the start: Mal’s parents had been slain in the war, so he and his siblings had to choose a new home. After passing various orphanages, he finally settled on Keramzin because it “felt like home.” Mal’s enhanced tracking skill and subconscious attraction to Keramzin (where Alina was) are both results of his status as one of Morozova’s amplifiers. Mal begins to wonder whether he and Alina are destined for a love relationship or if he is only a stepping stone on her path to greater and greater success.
If anything, Mal seems to be handling the news that he is an amplifier better than Alina does. Alina is heartbroken to realise that, after killing the stag and the sea whip, she must now murder Mal in order to rescue Ravka. Mal, the martyr, is prepared to give his life, but Alina insists there must be another way.
After Mal is wounded in the last showdown with Kirigan, he and Alina no longer have a say in the matter. Alina stabs Mal in the heart as he bleeds out so that she might harness his amplifier abilities and wipe out the Fold. After killing Kirigan, Alina orders Nina (Danielle Galligan) to use her Heartrender abilities to bring Mal back to life. On the other hand, Alina’s covert usage is what helps him recover. Mal regains his life, but not before losing his amplifying skills and, along with them, his natural sense of direction (his “true north”). To use most, Alina must also cover its price. Alina, who had been the textbook-perfect Sun Summoner, now has the terrifying shadow skills of Kirigan.
So, not even a single firebird exists?
Not in the show, however. Indeed, it is recorded in the books. To be sure, the firebird isn’t strictly speaking a bird.
Legend has it that Santa Vasilka, the first firebird, used her Grisha talents to weave herself wings so she could flee from a power-hungry sorcerer who was attempting to force her into marriage. Because of this, Vasilka is revered as a patron saint of single women.
The legend of the firebird continues on. The monster has deep historical roots in Ravka and is often regarded as the city’s mascot. The Lantsov family is supposed to be derived from the mythical firebird, and the territory of Ravka itself is said to have been originally defined by the firebird’s flight route. (Knowing that the firebird has or at least had a human shape lends a great deal of credibility to this narrative.) Legend has it that the firebird can sing an army to sleep like one giant flaming Jigglypuff, that its feathers can cure any wound, that its wings can reveal the future, and that its tears are made of diamonds.
In Ruin and Rising, the firebird makes a cameo appearance when it threatens Mal and Alina and they go on the hunt for it. The firebird first threatened them, but after Mal’s amplification abilities kicked in, it realised it was no longer in danger.
No wonder the lovesick himbo with a surprisingly good sense of direction was misunderstood for the third amplifier; the firebird has an outstanding resume and skill set.