This Shadow and Bone article contains spoilers.
Books are powerful things—not only good for entertainment, but also defense. There’s a moment in Episode 6 of Netflix’s Shadow and Bone, “The Heart is an Arrow,” that sees the Crows steal the Darkling’s carriage for their getaway after Inej is wounded. In the process, they interrupt David, who is sitting cozily in the carriage, reading a good book. When Jesper startles him, David throws the book at Jesper before he is thrown from the carriage and knocked out. Jesper then holds up the book and says, exasperated (to Kaz), “He threw a book at me.” Yes, my friends, that book is Shadow and Bone.
“That is maybe my favorite moment in the show,” Shadow and Bone author told Den of Geek during a Zoom interviews. “Because that book is a copy of Shadow and Bone in Ravkan.” The book in question actually belongs to Bardugo, and is her “most treasured possession.”
The moment not only acts as a fun Easter egg for eagle-eyed viewers (who speak Ravkan), but has further resonance within the adaptation, as it is yet another moment we get to see a character from one part of the Grishaverse universe (David) interact with a character from another part of the Grishaverse (Jesper) in a way they never get to in the books. The fact that David actually throws the book he appears in (Shadow and Bone) at Jesper, who isn’t actually in that source material, is a kind of meta passing of the baton. For Bardugo, these moments in which we get to see characters from different corners of the Grishaverse interact canonically for the first time ever were the best parts of experiencing the adaptation.
“Just actually getting to see these characters interact that don’t interact on the page is pretty exciting for me,” Bardugo told Den of Geek. “Because, once the canon is there, it’s written, it’s done, but there’s always these sort of doors labeled with ‘what if’ that have just been shut. And so this show got to throw them open and say, what happens if Kaz meets the Darkling? What happens if Inej meets Alina? And getting to see the show answer those questions was pretty extraordinary.”
It also worked extraordinarily well, especially as the season progresses and characters from Six of Crows become even more integrated into Alina’s “Chosen One” tale.
“I think it’s very natural for these stories,” said Bardugo of why the integration works so well. “They exist in the same world, so for them to be on a collision course with each other—not just once, but again and again—I think feels very organic to it. And something [showrunner] Eric [Heisserer] said so beautifully was that all of these characters are searching for a place to belong. All of them are asking the question, what is my power and how much of it do I have? How can I affect the world around me? And so I think that question is sort of resonates for the entire first season.”
Did you speak Ravkan fluently? Did you notice the Shadow and Bone book while watching the show? Let us know in the comments below.